Sheaffer Touchdown Tuckaway

About This Model

On an official basis, production of the venerable Sheaffer Balance ended in 1942, after thirteen years of production and after two years of diminished production of the wartime Balances, and with the arrival of the Triumph-nibbed models. However, the transition from its most successful model ever to the future took time. At the end of the war, Sheaffer was already at work on its next generation, which turned out to be the Touchdown in 1949. From 1942-48, Sheaffer produced a wide range of Triumphs, from full-sized executive pens to the very short Tuckaways, all with Triumph nibs and most with Vac-fill plunger filling systems. Today, these are some of the most desirable of Sheaffer's many pens, because the Triumph nibs were often outstanding writers. Their names are a mass of repetition and combination, using Triumph and Tuckaway in different combinations. Writ large, these post-WWII Balance style pens were usually either Vac-Fil fillers, or the occasional lever filler; and full length pens were called Triumph, while the short pens were called Tuckaway. Almost all, but with exceptions, they carried Triumph nibs. The Tuckaways, shorter Balances, appeared just before WWII and, through a number of iterations, lasted well into the 1950’s. They were made for women’s purses and for pockets for both men and women, with uniforms clearly in mind. Indeed, they were original designs, practical, and like all Balances, amazingly durable. Tuckaways started as lever pens with open nibs, added Vac-Fills and Triumph nibs to the line in the early 1940’s, and finished as Triumph-nibbed Touchdown fillers in the 1950’s. Great pens, although the Vac-Fills are quite challenging to restore. The Touchdown Tuckaways have an engineering flaw -- their barrels tend to crack just below the top of the barrel, at the point where the pneumatic stress of expelling/filling is concentrated. These cracks, in my experience, do not solvent weld closed in a durable fashion, and since the barrel is designed to be a tight sliding fit over the Touchdown tube, there is no room to insert a sleeve. If your TD Tuckaway cracks, a replacement barrel will probably be needed.

About This Pen

This pen has small stature but carries four names! It’s a Sheaffer Touchdown Tuckaway Sentinel, a lot to deal with. In 1949 and 1950, Sheaffer was in the midst of a major transition, leaving the last of the Balance generation, the wonderful Triumphs, aside and moving on to the Touchdown era. The Tuckaways were available in Vac-Fill since WWII, essentially shorter Balances, and then issued as Touchdown fillers to carry their need for a shorter pen into the 1950s. It’s a Sentinel because of its chrome cap with gold chrome trim and the scalloped pattern in the cap’s vertical chasing. This pen is indeed on the shorter end at 4.6″ long capped, but has some girth, .45″ just below the cap edge, to not let one think it’s tiny. In fact, its girth was necessary to enable the Touchdown to work well since it did not have a lot of length. It has the very short Tuckaway clip, in gold with the White Dot. The black barrel polished up well, showing only a bit of light nibbling on the blind cap and some posting wear which, even for this non-poster, is forgivable in a pen this short. The imprint is complete and legible. The nib is a Sheaffer Triumph, a firm fine that writes well. Its full fill is perhaps a bit small, but actually quite substantial for such a short barrel! This is a pen to be used and enjoyed.

Price: $80 Sold

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