Sheaffer Tuckaway Pencil
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 is a Tuckaway pencil, probably sold in a set with a fountain pen. It is the earlier version, probably from the early war years, in standard Tuckaway length of 4.2”. It has a 7/8” broad barrel ring; the ring is in silver that looks and polishes like sterling but is not hallmarked. The celluloid is marine green, and there are no significant scratches or marks. The mechanism works well. An elegant and practical pencil that won’t be a cause of worry in any pocket.