Sheaffer Lifetime

1930s

About This Model

Imperials were Sheaffer’s main line pens in the 1960s, following the 1950s Snorkels. They covered a range of quality, but usually were Touchdown fillers and carried diamond inlaid nibs or Triumph conical nibs. The IV and VI are very closely related to the PFM III and IV, differentiated only by the PFM's greater size. At the lowest level, I's were all plastic, with hooded tabbed nibs and plastic sac protectors. The IV's, on the other hand, had beautiful diamond-shaped 14K nibs and very nice Forticel bodies. The IV's and their 1964 Lifetime, made to commemorate Sheaffer's 50th birthday, are wonderful writers. On a lower level, also in the early 1960s Sheaffer produced a line of almost-Imperials, called Dolphins.The Dolphins appear to have inlaid nibs, but close inspection shows them to be tabbed, hooded nibs that match the two ends of an inverted "V" trim that looks like a diamond. They were cartridge pens, write well, but are distinctly lower level pens than the Imperials. Last in this run, in the 1990s, Sheaffer returned to its habit of reprising great pens, and issued the Triumph Imperial, a pen that looked very much like the Imperial IVs, with the diamond inlaid nibs, but in a concession to the times, had C/C fillers.

About This Pen

The arrival of Sheaffer’s Radite brought patterned pens, in Lifetimes with flat-tops and, after 1929, in torpedo-shaped Balances. This pen, in black and pearl, is a pretty nice example of a shorter, full-girth Lifetime. Although the “flat-top” makes one think it’s an early pen, the clip places it in 1934 or later, so this pen was probably off-catalog production to satisfy an audience who preferred the older flat-top style (and yes, I had expert help on pinning that one down). History aside, this is a decent user pen, attractive with the two-tone appearance. It’s in sound condition, no deterioration or cracks from age, not chewed or deeply scratched. The clip is worn, with some missing plate but no deep corrosion. The nib is a Lifetime, large, quite firm, writing a wet enough very fine/almost extra fine line. This is the kind of pen I like to use (and did for a week…): fast writer, easy to carry in a shirt pocket.

Price: $52 Sold

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