Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint (NOS)

(SOLD) This is a rare 1949 Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe in Pastel Green with a 14k gold, two-tone Triumph needlepoint nib and a stainless steel cap. The pen is in a new-old-stock (NOS) condition. However, since the internal components have hardened over time, I restored the pen's filling mechanism, adjusted ink flow, did a nib tune-up, and polished the pen gently with a soft cloth. The pen came with original Sheaffer stickers, but I removed them, as they were unsightly.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

The pen is a very rare, "first year" Touchdown, also know as the "Fat" Touchdown. It was in production for only a year, and later replaced by the Thin Model (TM) and the Snorkel. Sheaffer replaced the venerable Vac filler with the Fat Touchdown, as the former proved expensive to manufacture and service. The Touchdown filling mechanism really is the simplest way to fill a pen (the phrase I wrote comes from a Sheaffer ad). In a one-stroke operation, the pen gets filled to capacity. It holds more ink than the Snorkel and most modern C/C pens. It's reliable and enjoyable. The mechanism is making a small but significant comeback with the Edison Beaumont and Wahl-Eversharp Decoband.

This is a beautiful pen, yes, but it is also an extremely good tool for the calligrapher or anyone wishing to write with an excellent needlepoint nib. The problem with most modern needlepoint nibs is that they are designed for short downward strokes, as needed for Japanese handwriting. They are not as good for rapid upstrokes and long, curved cross-strokes. The other option is to buy an  XF nib and send it off to a nib meister to regrind it into a needlepoint. It's probably your best way to go, though it tends to increase the total cost of your pen.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

Thankfully, we can still find the Sheaffer Triumph XXF nibs, and, if restored well, these nibs are wonderful performers for Spencerian penmanship, business cursive, the Palmer Method, M. Sull's American Cursive Handwriting, etc. The Triumph writes a very fine line (0.2 mm on my paper) but without the toothiness or paper catching, typically associated with a conventional XXF nib. Thanks to Triumph's "rocker" design, the nib never feels scratchy and writes equally well in virtually all directions, producing consistent strokes and flowing lines, as required by cursive handwriting. The nib is extremely consistent, tuned to lay down a somewhat wet line, so you can experience that effortless gliding sensation, but without losing control of your writing. A very precise tool. If you want an even finer line, you can flip the nib upside down.

So what's so special about the "Fat" Touchdown? Well, in addition to it being rare, the pen is significantly larger than the TM and the Snorkel. Today, people appreciate larger pens, and there aren't that many large pens among Parker's and Sheaffer's vintage catalogs. The pen measures 5 1/4" capped, with a barrel diameter of 0.45 barrel diameter, which puts it in the vicinity of the Montblac 146 (LeGrand), so it should feel comfortable even for people with large hands. This is the only Sentinel Deluxe I've restored that has gold-plated cap threads. It's a detail, but it's rather cool.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, capped

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent condition. Being an NOS item, that's what you'd expect. Still, the pen spent over sixty five years in storage, so there's some really minor surface "handling" wear, but it's difficult to see it with the naked eye. The gold-filled trim and the cap are both in excellent condition. The ink window is clear, the imprint strong. Here's a chance to own this rare, beautiful pen that's as good as new.