Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman Pastel Blue, XF

(SOLD) This is a mid-1950s Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman fountain pen in Pastel Blue with a palladium silver Extra-Fine Triumph nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish by hand. 

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman Pastel Blue, XF, with the cap off

The Snorkel was made with a number of different nib options, including two materials (gold and palladium silver) and various grinds. The most common nibs are Fine and Medium. The mid-1950s were a transitional era in fountain pen history, where a lot of production was automated, taking advantage of economies of scale. In that spirit, more unusual nib options were usually special-order items and are exceedingly rare today.

This particular nib sold as an Extra-Fine, but I'd rank it closer to a modern XXF, laying down a smooth and consistent line of about 0.3 mm on paper. If you write a dry paper, such as Rhodia, you're going to get a finer line still. An ideal nib with which to write and learn to write a business cursive, American Cursive Handwriting, even Spencerian penmanship (without shading). You have heard me say it before, you would be hard-pressed to find a modern nib that writes as fine as smoothly. That's thanks to the Triumph nib design and Sheaffer's expertise in grinding nibs so that they are smooth, but without inhibiting flow.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman Pastel Blue, XF, nib profile showing perfect geometry and alignment

I take nib smoothness very seriously. To me, smoothness is achieved when the tipping geometry and alignment are as close to what the manufacturer intended as possible, so that you can enjoy a pleasant writing sensation but without sacrificing performance. I optimize nibs for light-pressure writing. so that the pen writes a smooth line under its own weight. I do not apply aggressive smoothing techniques, as I do not believe in changing a vintage nib's character. Also, perceived nib smoothness (as achieved by polishing the writing surface with an extremely fine-grit abrasive) is inversely proportional to writing ability. The smoother then nib, the harder you're going to have to press to get a consistent line. Interestingly, the harder you press, the less smooth the nib will feel, as you will inevitably open up the tines so that you will be "catching" the paper with the inner surface of the tines. It's a kind of a vicious cycle.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman Pastel Blue, XF, capped

This pen pen is excellent condition, though it does have some "handling wear." There are no signs that the pen had been used a lot, just that it's been handled. Perhaps it was in a drawer, rubbing against other pens, but it had not been abused. There are two small scratches on the pen body. Because of that, I am discounting this pen by 20%.