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Thread: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Quote Originally Posted by SIR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post

    That's a little unfair. After all, Parker developed the 61 in this period. It's a flawed pen, but it's a creative solution to the problem of how to fill a fountain pen.
    Ok, tell me more - i know nothing about the Parker 61.
    The 61 looks like a slightly skinny double jewel 51 on the outside: same hooded nib, same metal cap, with the added benefit of the arrow on the hood which signals where the nib is.

    Inside it's pretty different, with the capillary filler. The capillary filler is basically a sheet of perforated plastic rolled into a cylinder. To fill the 61 though unscrew the barrel as you do with an aerometric 51, then place the back end of the filler into an ink bottle. The pen will soak up the ink through capillary action. Other than the barrel, there are no moving parts. It's therefore much simpler than the Snorkel. Cleaning is fairly easy : run water through the pen. I use an ear syringe. As c/c pens caught on, Parker came out with a c/c version of the 61.

    The downfall of the 61 is the crappy plastic, which is prone to shrinking and cracking. Otherwise, it's a nice pen.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Sheaffer made durable and well-made pens. The nibs are very nice, too, especially the Triumph nibs. Like everyone else, i like the inlaid nibs. A Sheaffer nib can take your breath away -- even in an everyday fine or medium tip.

    That said, i'm not a fan of the innovative filling systems. Sheaffer often got overly wonky and added complexity for what i consider to be minimal benefit. However i do think the TD filler was reasonable, and an improvement over the vac filler.

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  5. #23
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    I've thought the Ink-Fill Vac-Fill is about as simple as you can get: no sacs and only one moving part.
    Last edited by FredRydr; August 15th, 2019 at 07:21 AM.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    I can't think of any other pen company that, over nearly a century, consistently made pens of quality, innovation and attractiveness. I can't pick favorites among them, but I own more Sheaffers than any other pen, and write with more (usually) than any other brand. From the incredible big 8C pens of the 20s and their giant nail-ish nibs, to the OS Balances that are a perfect size and... balance, to the Vac-Fills and celluloid/plastic materials, the advent of the Triumph nib and later TD and Snorkel filling systems, the bomb-proof school and No-Nonsense pens, the incredible PFM and Legacy, the 20-year Targa line, the latter three with the remarkable Sheaffer inlaid nib...

    I don't think there is another pen company that can match that track record. There are certainly other great pens that have been made, but year in and year out, these were the pens that ended up standing the test of time, through every epoch.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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  8. #25
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    Thumbs up Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Sheaffers are my bag. I have more of them than any other pen and only Parker comes close (Pilot too).

    They were a great and innovative company. They made great nibs, had amazing feed designs. Their pens are incredibly sturdy and many of them beyond being great writers, and ergonomic, are fun to gander. From the flattops (that is where I start) to the 90s, they made great pens in every decade (fewer perhaps as the years went on) and I think they are the single greatest pen company of all time (for my uses, in my opinion etc & co), made perhaps the most innovations, they made the single greatest pen of all time (again imo) in the Sheaffer Balance and even made the greatest cheap pens of all time (school pens, Skripserts, & esp. the Nononsense).

    Highlights for me are the:

    • Lifetime Flattops and the 7-30
    • the Balance Premier
    • the Open nib Crests from '37
    • The "OS" Crests/Valiants/Sentinals with sheath points that followed
    • the 1st year Touchdown pens,
    • ALL standard TM Snorkels (conical and open nib).
    • The PFMs (all models)
    • Imperials with the long diamond inlay nibs
    • Targas
    • 90s Crest RIs & Legacy I (less so the II and Legacy Heritage).
    • Nononsense.


    I literally never have 0 Sheaffers inked. I adore them. My favorite all time brand. Sheaffer factory stubs are probably my favorite all time pens. But, for work, I love me a nice hard plain old boring M nib. I like the gold nibs, the PdAg nibs and their steel nibs. Sure the # 8 nibs are amazing beasts. Somewhat overlooked are how fantastic those #5 "feather touch nibs" can be. My kingdom for the rarely seen #7 Feather touch nib.

    Sheaffer pushed the envelope. For 60-70 years in their heyday they made every other pen company sweat. They invented the lever for crying all night.

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  10. #26
    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SIR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post

    That's a little unfair. After all, Parker developed the 61 in this period. It's a flawed pen, but it's a creative solution to the problem of how to fill a fountain pen.
    Ok, tell me more - i know nothing about the Parker 61.
    The 61 looks like a slightly skinny double jewel 51 on the outside: same hooded nib, same metal cap, with the added benefit of the arrow on the hood which signals where the nib is.

    Inside it's pretty different, with the capillary filler. The capillary filler is basically a sheet of perforated plastic rolled into a cylinder. To fill the 61 though unscrew the barrel as you do with an aerometric 51, then place the back end of the filler into an ink bottle. The pen will soak up the ink through capillary action. Other than the barrel, there are no moving parts. It's therefore much simpler than the Snorkel. Cleaning is fairly easy : run water through the pen. I use an ear syringe. As c/c pens caught on, Parker came out with a c/c version of the 61.

    The downfall of the 61 is the crappy plastic, which is prone to shrinking and cracking. Otherwise, it's a nice pen.
    Another one of the downfalls of the Parker 61 is the inlaid arrow on the hood. I once remember suggesting that you risked it falling out if you dared to clean the 61 in an ultrasonic cleaner. Then Ron Zorn said the arrow would fall out if you sneezed.

    I love my Sheaffer pens. They are all well made and have excellent nibs. I have 2 Targas plus a silver Legacy with a stub nib that I use a lot.
    Last edited by Chrissy; July 24th, 2019 at 11:46 PM.
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  11. #27
    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    The 61 looks like a slightly skinny double jewel 51 on the outside: same hooded nib, same metal cap, with the added benefit of the arrow on the hood which signals where the nib is.

    Inside it's pretty different, with the capillary filler. The capillary filler is basically a sheet of perforated plastic rolled into a cylinder. To fill the 61 though unscrew the barrel as you do with an aerometric 51, then place the back end of the filler into an ink bottle. The pen will soak up the ink through capillary action. Other than the barrel, there are no moving parts. It's therefore much simpler than the Snorkel. Cleaning is fairly easy : run water through the pen. I use an ear syringe. As c/c pens caught on, Parker came out with a c/c version of the 61.

    The downfall of the 61 is the crappy plastic, which is prone to shrinking and cracking. Otherwise, it's a nice pen.
    Another one of the downfalls of the Parker 61 is the inlaid arrow on the hood. I once remember suggesting that you risked it falling out if you dared to clean the 61 in an ultrasonic cleaner. Then Ron Zorn said the arrow would fall out if you sneezed.
    Well, there is one way around all of this, and I found it by accident: a Parker 61 made in Argentina. These were manufactured for only 7 years (1969-1976) and had a number of differences: two metallic 'dots' reside where one would normally see the problematic 'arrow' on the hood; the pen is an aerometric filler instead of the capillary; the alloy used in the cap seems to be different, with the gold being more yellow in nature (I say that as a positive. More information on this rare-ish variant can be had here.

    I realized I didn't have any photos and I'm in a bit of a rush, so forgive the lighting, making it a bit harder to notice the dots. This is a very handsome pen and while I don't own many Parkers past the Vac era, this is one fine pen. And the last non-Sheaffer comment I'll make!







    (Argh! Cat hairs!!)
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; July 24th, 2019 at 06:24 PM.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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  13. #28
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Yeah those Parker 61 arrows do have a habit of falling out. I worry about it happening every time i cap or uncap the pen.

    I generally don’t have to worry about this sort of thing with my Sheaffers. On the whole, they’re more robust than non-51 Parkers. My favorites are a flex nib BHCR Self-Filler, a touchdown Imperial with a nice xf nib, and my stub & italic nib Targas.

  14. #29
    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    I dont have enough exposure to the various models to say why, but fortunately many others have covered that topic thoroughly.

    I don't consider myself a "Sheaffer guy" but the pens I have are quite good.

    Of the three Balances I own, my favorite is a late 30s grey and black striped Balance with a 3-25 posting nib and ink window section. The size and, well, balance is perfect. It's gorgeous and practical. Though it writes a bit too fine for daily use.

    Second place is my black and gold, full length, early Lifetime Balance. It is one of those few pens that I naturally write more neatly with but it is overly drippy.

    My late 30s Sheaffer Junior in the alluring Rose Glow pattern has a delightfully springy Junior nib with a subtle CI grind to it but the pen is just too short.

    My Sheaffer Skripsert with the cylindrical nib took a lot of work to correctly flow but now it does and the nib is phenomenal.

    I have a list of other Sheaffer pens to acquire eventually: snorkel, touchdown, vac fill, a Crest and a diamond nib pen.

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    Senior Member Sailor Kenshin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Two words: conical nibs.

    I also have a small, beloved collection of Sheaffer school pens from different eras. And a PFM.

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  18. #31
    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Sheaffers seemed to have a mythic quality to them when I was a little kid. I wanted a Snorkel so badly, but somehow didn't manage to acquire my first one until the age of 72. A Sentinel, aqua barrel and stainless cap. I was lucky to find one that had been properly serviced and worked perfectly. It was my first Sheaffer. Then a few months later I ran across a Balance in an antique store for $20. It needed a new sac, which I was able to replace. It MIGHT be my best writer. From the pattern (gray with red veins) and the shape of the clip, it appears to have been made in either 1934 or 1935. The nib, a 14K stub, slightly oblique, has a little bit of flex and feels alive in my hands. That's the only way I can describe it. I put the pen to paper, and cursive flows out of the nib, almost by itself. Sometimes the pen seems to pulsate and fly across the page. It's one of those things that you need to experience; I don't think I can describe it adequately. And that streamlined styling is something else! A beautiful pen that works beautifully.

    Anyway, I love them because they're great, and they're American-made (I have no interest in the current outsourced crop), there are lots of them around and the prices are reasonable, parts are easy to find, and it's easy to find someone to work on them. Several people have mentioned that Sheaffer's filling systems are innovative. Not only did they invent and perfect the Touchdown and Snorkel filling systems, they even invented the lever-filler!
    Last edited by calamus; October 22nd, 2019 at 07:12 PM.
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  20. #32
    Senior Member pajaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Conical nibs? Actually almost all of the Sheaffer nibs I have used have been superb. Nibs period.

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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    Someone's already mentioned there are not a lot of vintage Sheaffers around the UK, and there are hardly any at all in France. I don't love all Sheaffers - but there are a few really wonderful pens and I have a mini-collection of Balances, a design I really adore, in some wonderful and often unique celluloids.

    For me the high points are the flat top - jade! wonderful colour - the Balance, and far more recently the Targa and the cheapie No Nonsense. The latter is a great way to get started collecting something that's fun and doesn't take too many pennies; it's a delightful pen with a huge number of different versions and materials, and for whatever reason it's the one Sheaffer pen I do run into quite often at French sales and flea markets.

  22. #34
    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    I'm surprised to hear that Sheaffers are uncommon in the UK. Seems to me there's plenty in eBay every day. I have a leverfill Balance that Jon Szanto kindly sent me. It had some nib difficulties but once that was sorted it's a terrific pen. Small, but I have small hands and prefer small pens. I've had, and admired, some of the early flat-tops. Like some others, I'm not especially taken with some of the filling systems though the Vac, like the Onoto, makes a lot of sense. Sheaffers are about quality, for me, at least until the 1990s.
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  23. #35
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer - why so popular and what's your favourite?

    I also have a short story into this pen. My first pen was a no-nonsense Sheaffer Calligraphy with three Nibs. I bought it during 1986-1988. It was with me when I immigrated to several country in Europe. My Calligraphy skills never moved and about several years ago when I went into Ink and pens I really liked it and bought the same pen set Now named VINTAGE no-nonsense ( Ha Ha I got Old too )

    Then I got into this Vintage Pens I tried to have my hand on a SHEAFFER SNORKEL and I was not so amazed to find such a fine writer. It was because I already knew the quality of these pens even the steel Vintage nibs are special. It is in my list to add some vitage Italic to my collection.

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