(Not available for sale) This is an early 1930s Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler fountain pen and mechanical pencil set in striated Golden Brown celluloid, with a 14k gold Extra-Fine nib. This model is known as "350" or short, slender, measuring around 4.9" capped, and 0.422" in barrel diameter. 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. The pencil has also been brought to a fully functioning condition. I work according to current "best practices" in the area of pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement materials and specialized tools.
It's not easy to come across a beautiful set from the early 1930s, such as this. The material is in great shape, without any flaws or defects. The celluloid is deep, rich, and vibrant, with very good barrel transparency. The gold-filled trim is excellent, too. Frankly, this pen looks every bit as good as a modern pen fresh off the production line.
The phrase I wrote, which comes from a Sheaffer ad, sums up the pen's essence perfectly. Not only was the Balance a revolutionary design in terms of writing comfort, but it was also built to last, for people who wrote with a fountain pen all day, every day. An item that's as utilitarian as it is handsome. And now, having been restored, this set can be yours, and it is likely to give you years of dependable service.
The 14k gold nib has quite a bit of spring, so it will give you a very pleasant writing experience, with a hint of line variation. If you push harder, I am sure the tines will open up. However, please, be careful so as not to spring the nib. It is ground to a perfect XF geometry, giving you a confident line, at the lightest touch. These pens were made to be written with a very light hand, so that's where this pen shines. It's perfect for business cursive or Spencerian handwriting, but it is tough enough to take a heavier hand, such as that used in modern block handwriting. A smooth nib, with a touch of tooth, required for the dependable writing performance, but in no way unpleasant!