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Thread: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

  1. #1
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    I picked up this Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen with Triumph nib and "1050" price code from a fellow Pennsylvanian. It was offered to me with the cap as though it was part of an original set. I can't get my head around a tapered barrel with a clip cap. Though the barrel is threaded as is the cap, so is the trumpet/tulip. Where would the taper go when a desk pen is clipped in one's pocket?

    Although this cap threads onto the barrel, I believe the cap is from another pen. But wonders never cease. So, if anyone has a period Sheaffer advertisement from the '40s that shows the cap is included with the desk pen and base (or even offered by Sheaffer as an accessory), I'd love to see it. Thanks!

    IMG_3089.jpg

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    Man, that is a handsome set, Fred. Tell me: does the threading in the tulip work well enough to keep the pen from drying out? One of the biggest issues with any pen that you want to devote to "always inked" status is whether they can withstand the test of time and still write. Nothing more frustrating than have a pen that you "just reach for" and then have it not start up. Yeah, I have a tiny glass of water on the desk to dip the tip in to start it again, but...

    So, how's the seal?
    "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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    Member Ron Z's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    The tapers aren't attached to the plunger rod on a desk pen like they are on a pocket pen. Therefore its possible that a blind cap came with it that could be swapped out for the taper when the owner wanted to carry the pen. Then again, I've never seen a set like that, but I also haven't dug into catalogs to see if they existed, so who knows?

    You could relieve boredom by digging into the Sheaffer catalogs in the PCA library and share what you find....

    Visit Main Street Pens
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    Member jos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    These are very attractive desk pens and I believe that these pens came without caps.

    The brown striated desk pen plus accompanying socked was definitely sold as a proper desk pen set (including a base) as can be seen in 1945 and 1946 advertisements. Sheaffer catalogs of this period are scarce (or non existent). The PCA library has a 1945 Sheaffer parts list which shows all the desk pen parts (barrel, quill/taper, socket and socket hinge) but it does not show or mention a cap for these pens.

    The barrel of the desk pen has threads because there are also internal threads in the socket: this should provide an airtight closure.

    From Life Magazine, May 1945:

    Last edited by jos; March 28th, 2020 at 03:16 PM.

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    That is a very handsome desk set indeed.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Member controlsfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    Jon, I have the same pen on my desk. I keep it inked almost constantly and the threads in the tulip do, indeed, keep it so that it is ready to write as soon as I reach for it. And it doesn't seem to dry out any more than a regular cap.

    To Ron's point, I don't think there is a 1945 Sheaffer catalog. At least I've not seen a copy. But, there is a 1945 parts price list. The price for a barrel cap is listed as "Exchange .20 on Pens $8.75 up".

    Stacy Hills
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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    I haven't inked it yet, and only finished some cleaning and polishing, so I have no experience with drying out. Anyway, I'm evaluating plunger servicing.

    Come to think of it, if this cap was original to the barrel, the pen would have two white dots! The taper doesn't appear to be from the same celluloid batch as the barrel, because the golden brown tint of each are slightly different. The barrel's ink-view between the brown striations is nice and clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Z View Post
    ...You could relieve boredom by digging into the Sheaffer catalogs in the PCA library and share what you find....
    True. But Gail just signed up for AcornTV, and I am being summoned to watch Doc Martin. Later, then. :-)
    Last edited by FredRydr; March 28th, 2020 at 04:32 PM.

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    Senior Member grainweevil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    That's a lovely set, Fred.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Z View Post
    The tapers aren't attached to the plunger rod on a desk pen like they are on a pocket pen. Therefore its possible that a blind cap came with it that could be swapped out for the taper when the owner wanted to carry the pen.
    It's not really relevant to Fred's query, but I have a Tropen that came with exactly that set up (although no stand as it was never intended to be a desk pen). Anyway, it made me wonder if the original owner could have seen such a thing and bought him or herself a spare cap to emulate it.
    In the words of Paul Simon, you can call me Al.

  12. #9
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    ...The taper doesn't appear to be from the same celluloid batch as the barrel, because the golden brown tint of each are slightly different. The barrel's ink-view between the brown striations is nice and clear....
    I found an identical Fort Madison pen in the UK with the same subtle difference in shade between barrel and taper/tail. I'm convinced it's factory. Walter Sheaffer was probably shouting, "They won't notice! It's wartime and we need the cash flow, so get'em packed and out the door!"
    Last edited by FredRydr; April 1st, 2020 at 10:05 AM.

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    Senior Member Wile E Coyote's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    Did you try swapping barrel and tail from the two?

  14. #11
    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Vac-Fill desk pen

    Quote Originally Posted by Wile E Coyote View Post
    Did you try swapping barrel and tail from the two?
    I didn't buy the other one. I compared photos and description. And besides, swapping the same parts wouldn't resolve the color difference. But you knew that!

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