This is a 1942 Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Vac-filler Oversize in striated Carmine celluloid, with a transparent barrel, and a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime Triumph Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle hand polish. This was the largest Sheaffer Triumph Vac filler at the time, measuring 5.2" capped, and 0.48" barrel diameter. This pen is also know as the "1250."
When the U.S. entered World War II, Sheaffer had a 40% preference rating out of nearly fifty fountain pen companies. A staggering lead in the pen industry. By comparison, today, the U.S. has only a handful of pen brands, very few of which manufacture pens in house, and none of which make nibs, except for special-order pieces made by a jeweler (Newton Pens). Sheaffer leadership was present all across the market, the Valiant I am offering here, occupying the top of the line, but even the entry-level Balance Vac-fillers were of excellent quality.
The phrase I wrote is a 1942 quote by Sheaffer's Chairman speaking on the subject of quality. I think it sums up this particular pen perfectly. The Triumph Valiant was an marvel of technology, born in an era of a serious economic and political crisis and severe material and labor shortages. Sheaffer engineers made a pen that had it all: a timeless, ergonomically sound design, a breathtakingly beautiful celluloid, a vacuum filling mechanism (holding up to 1.7 ml of ink), and a phenomenal Triumph nib and feed system.
I call the Triumph a "system" because it was more than just a nib and a feed. Today's pen makers, with a few exceptions, buy nib and feed screw-in units from third-party manufacturers. The units are of high quality, but they have a simple construction and a somewhat generic performance. The Triumph, on the other hand, was the result of a lot of hands-on craftsmanship by a team of highly skilled technicians, who made sure each system performed perfectly before it left the factory.
This nib is ground to a Sheaffer "standard" Fine geometry, laying down a line of about 0.4 mm (subject to variability as a function of paper, ink, and writing pressure) and the supplemental writing surface (top of the nib) that produces a much finer line of about 0.25 mm. The pen writes under the lightest pressure, it's confident, precise, and a lot of fun. I tuned it a bit more wet than Sheaffer intended, so that you can bring out the best color and shading out of your favorite inks, but without making a mess on the page.
This nib would make a perfect business writer. It's so consistent and versatile that you can easily imagine writing with it all day, not worrying about running out of ink, or the nib skipping, hard starting, or starving for ink. The transparent barrel makes it easy to gauge your remaining ink level, and it's just such a cool "demonstrator" feature!
Sheaffer made two versions of the Oversize Valiant. This particular model is the early variant, featuring a matching section (see the striated celluloid in the photo). Also, here the ink is stored directly inside the barrel. The other, later variant, had a more generic black section, and the ink was stored inside an inner "cartridge." I will leave it up to you to decide which model you prefer, but to me, this one takes the cake.
The pen is in excellent cosmetic condition. The celluloid gorgeous: deep, rich, and vibrant. There are no flaws or defects, only very, very slight surface wear. The niband the gold-filled trim are in equally excellent shape. Frankly, this is one of the nicest Valiants I've seen in a long time. Do not let this one slip away! It'll be a while before I can source a similar pen.