Sheaffer Balance Vac Fountain Pen, Marine Green, XXF

(Sold) This is a late 1930s White Dot Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler in striated Marine Green celluloid with a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime XXF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tune-up, and a gentle hand polish. This is a full-length slender White Dot Balance, measuring 5.4" capped with a barrel diameter of 0.42". I work according to current best practices in pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement components.

Sheaffer Balance Vac Fountain Pen, Marine Green, XXF, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

In the 1930s, the fountain pen was the writing instrument of choice in the office. Most office personnel would have outstanding penmanship and employ it all day, every day for the majority of clerical tasks. The Balance was Sheaffer's most successful model, and the White Dot Lifetime variant, carrying lifetime warranty, was its flagship. It was was beautiful as it was functional. A truly superb example of the successful marriage of art and engineering.

Sheaffer Balance Vac Fountain Pen, Marine Green, XXF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

The phrase I wrote comes from an old penmanship book, used frequently to train office workers. I can easily imagine the pen I'm offering today in the hand of an a book keeper, a secretary, or an office manager. Thanks to its large ink capacity, it probably needed filling once a week, and thanks to its fantastic XXF nib, it was most likely a very versatile tool, capable of writing a precise line on all kinds of paper, including carbon copy.

How does it write? I'd describe this nib as very precise. Ink flow is a touch above average, which gives you most options in terms of ink and paper choices. Fill with an iron-gall dry ink, and it will write perfectly on copy paper, ink it up with a wet, lubricated conventional ink, and it will bring out its beautiful color depth, shading, even sheen. The nib writes at the lightest pressure, and would be an ideal instrument with which to write or learn a business cursive handwriting. The resulting line of about 0.3 mm is confident, consistent, and utterly enjoyable.

The Marine Green celluloid is gorgeous, with excellent vibrancy and depth. Barrel transparency is outstanding, as is the gold-filled trim. The imprint is strong. A truly gorgeous specimen!

Sheaffer Balance Vac Fountain Pen, Marine Green, XXF, capped

Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen, Golden Brown, XF

(Sold) This is a wartime Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen in striated Golden Brown celluloid with a gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold, two-tone Feather Touch XF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration, and I use high-quality replacement materials.

Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen, Golden Brown, XF, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

This is a beautiful, rare Sheaffer fountain pen made specifically to comply with U.S. Armed Forces regulations, such that the pen had to be flush with a uniform breast pocket. These pens are beautiful, yes, but they were also made tough. They were dependable daily writers, performing very well in the office, out in the field, at sea, and in the air. Today, they still make fantastic performers, and their rare beauty makes them particularly desirable among collectors.

This particular pen is in fantastic condition, with vibrant, rich celluloid, excellent barrel transparency, fantastic gold-filled trim, and a gorgeous XF nib. Did I mention the vacuum filling mechanism? It works flawlessly, holding a lot of ink (2.2 ml using the two-stroke method). If you still aren't convinced this pen is for you, read on :).

Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen, Golden Brown, XF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment. Also, note very clear barrel transparency

This is a full-size pen, measuring 5.2" capped and 0.48" in diameter. It posts well, so it should be comfortable even for people with large hands. The material has incredible depth and chatoyancy. Barrel transparency means you can watch the pen being filled, which is always fun, and you can see your favorite ink sloshing around inside the barrel. This is a writer's pen - one fill is going to last for weeks and the awesome writing ability is going to have you keep coming back for more. Being part of the Balance family, the pen is ergonomically sound, and it writes effortlessly. The Feather Touch really deserves its name. It does write at the lightest touch, laying down a confident line of about 0.4 mm. It probably sold as a Fine, but, by today's Western standards, I'd rank it has a generous XF. If you press harder,  you will be rewarded with a gentle "give," a little bit of spring that's going to make your writing that much more enjoyable and might even give you a hint of line variation.

Sheaffer Balance "Defender" Vac fountain pen, Golden Brown, XF, capped

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F

(Sold) This is a c. 1935 Sheaffer Balance Lever-filler fountain pen in Marine Green celluloid, with a 14k gold Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth. The pen measures 4.7" capped and 0.42" in diameter.

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F, uncapped

Do you ever wonder if your handwriting would improve if only you had that special fountain pen that does what your hand commands? I know I do, and this pen does. What joy this pen is to write with! Being part of the Balance family, its ergonomically sound, very comfortable (posted or unposted), it fits my hand like a glove, though if you are a lover of the Delta Dolcevita OS, this pen is probably not for you.

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F, nib profile

The nib writes a true-to-size Fine line (about 0.5 mm on my paper), laying down a silky smooth line with generous ink flow. The nib conforms to your movement perfectly, obeying your subtle shifts in movement in any direction. The downstrokes are as self-assured as upstrokes, the cross-strokes feel as smooth and as confident. It writes at the lightest pressure, and will reward you with a gentle "give" if pressed harder. This would be an ideal "first vintage pen" for a person who loves to write in their journal, for someone who loves inks, their color and shading, for someone who enjoys long writing sessions in a coffee shop, interspersed with delicious bites of tiramisu.

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F, nib close-up

The pen is in excellent condition. If you saw it in a display case next to a modern Italian beauty, you'd think they absolutely belong together. This celluloid tends to be discolored on most pens of this era, but this particular pen is free of any discoloration or flaw. The gold-filled trim is excellent. The imprint is strong. A beautiful specimen of this fantastic model! 

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F, capped

Sheaffer Balance Junior Vac, Rose Glow, XF

(Sold) This is a mid-1930s Sheaffer Balance Junior Vac filler fountain pen in Rose Glow celluloid, with a 14k gold XF nib. The pen measures 4.8" capped and 0.42" in diameter. The pen has been restored, which included a a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand).

Sheaffer Balance Junior Vac, Rose Glow, XF, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

As the #fountainpenday2016 countdown continues, as part of my "special" theme, I have another beautiful, rare pen at a reasonable price. This Sheaffer Balance Junior Vac comes in a much sought-after Rose Glow celluloid. A truly distinguished, handsome pen, this Sheaffer will make a fantastic daily writer, and its gorgeous celluloid is bound to put a smile on your face every time you reach for the pen. And when you put it to paper, magic happens. A fantastic XF nib, it writes a line of about 0.3 mm on my paper, effortlessly gliding across the page, grabbing on to the surface of the paper, holding on, until you command it to stop. In my experience, very few companies make such nibs today; nibs with tipping geometry that promotes capillary action, allowing the ink to flow exactly right. The nib performs at its best with a light touch, but if you bear down on it, it will reward you with a pleasant "give," and will keep on writing, as it was designed to do.

Sheaffer Balance Junior Vac, Rose Glow, XF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

The pen is in good cosmetic condition, with some wear on the cap and the chrome-plated trim. However, the wear is rather minor, and the pen is free from any flaws or defects. The filling mechanism is quick to use and efficient, holding up to 1.7 ml of ink (using the two-stroke filling method). The phrase comes from an old penmanship book.

Sheaffer Balance Junior Vac, Rose Glow, XF, capped

Sheaffer Balance "Lady" Carmine, XXF

(On Hold) This is a mid-1930s Sheaffer Balance "Lady" (a.k.a., "350") fountain pen in striated Carmine celluloid, a lever-filler, with a 14k gold XXF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle but thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, adjustment of ink flow, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). The pen measures 4.7" capped and 0.42" in diameter.

Sheaffer Balance "Lady" Carmine, XXF, uncapped

Last time I posted a Carmine Sheaffer Balance, I received a lot of inquires and some of you missed out on that pen. I am happy to report that I have just restored another beautiful "Lady" Sheaffer Balance in the gorgeous striated Carmine celluloid, with a smooth, precise 14k gold XXF nib.

Sheaffer Balance "Lady" Carmine, XXF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment. Also, note a nice ink view window.

The pen is as gorgeous as it gets, in my opinion. It's probably my favorite fountain pen material of the 1930s. Sheaffer was a major innovator in the area of material science, and the striated celluloid came out of its laboratories, following years of research, trying to replace hard rubber as the main pen material. Obviously, the Iowa company succeeded, and the Carmine celluloid is among the most sought after materials in the vintage world today. The pen is in excellent condition, without any flaws or defects, with only very minor surface wear, excellent gold-filled trim, and a perfectly usable ink view window in the section. A handsome pen, it will make a perfect companion on your travels or a faithful friend on your visits to a coffee shop. It'll make your journaling that much more enjoyable. Once you hold it in your hand, put it to paper, you'll want to write, write, write.

Sheaffer Balance "Lady" Carmine, XXF, nib close-up

The nib is, once again, one of my frequently requested points. A true XXF, it lays down a consistent line of about 0.3 mm, and if you write on very dry paper, such as Rhodia, you might easily get it down to a needlepoint width (0.2 mm). However, the nib is free of most of the unpleasant toothiness associated with modern XXF nibs. That's thanks to the nib's incredible ability to absorb vibrations coming from the roughness of the paper, also known as "feedback." You will still feel connected to the paper, the pen being an extension of your hand, and, in turn, of your thoughts, but the experience will be full of joy. I do want to point out that the nib performs at its best if you write with a light hand. It will reward you with consistent performance in strokes in virtually all directions, including long curves, without ever catching the paper. However, if you write with a heavy hand, this pen is probably not for you.

Sheaffer Balance "Lady" Carmine, XXF, capped

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF

(On hold) This is an early 1940s Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Vac fountain pen in striated Golden Brown celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime XXF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough, but gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). The pen measures 5.1" capped and 0.42" in diameter.

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

I think it's fair to say that Apple and Google are today's Parker and Sheaffer. The two pen companies were among the greatest innovators of their respective era. They both created incredible, timeless fountain pens, built around sophisticated technologies. The pen I am offering today is a great example of a 1940s pen. It's beautiful, ergonomically sound, performs very well, and was built to withstand "the hardest of pen ordeals." The pen came to me with a broken nib, so I replaced it with a better, Lifetime nib, which is correct for the "White Dot" version of the pen.

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

If you're thinking of buying the new Pelikan M400 Tortoise, may I suggest an alternative. This Sheaffer pen is about the same size, made of similarly beautiful material, has an even greater ink capacity, and comes with a fantastic gold nib that writes a much finer line (about 0.2 mm on my paper) than the Pelikan XF nib. And, it has some really interesting history behind it. A pen designed specifically for the US Armed Forces, it was meant to be used in the field, at sea, and in the air. A beautiful, sturdy, and dependable writer, at a fraction of the M400 price!

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF, nib close-up

The pen is free from any flaws or defects. The celluloid has a deep, rich, and vibrant color, with excellent barrel transparency. You can watch the pen getting filled and gauge remaining ink level with ease. The clip is known as the "Military" clip, and it's rather unique. Why buy a modern pen that thousands of other people already have, if you have have this beauty for a lot less?

The Lifetime nib is a fantastic performer. It writes an XXF line (bordering on a needlepoint), but without the typical "toothiness" of modern XXF nibs. It allows you to write rapid strokes in all directions (including curves) without catching the paper, and a generous, yet controlled flow of ink. A perfect pen for business cursive, a great journaling pen, a travel companion. This pen was meant to be used on the road. It'll fit in your journal's pen loop and will bring a smile to your face every time you reach for it to write down your thoughts. An extension of your hand.

Sheaffer Balance "Vigilant" Military Golden Brown, XXF, capped

Sheaffer "Lady" Balance Vac, Carmine, XF

(On Hold) This is a mid-1930s White Dot Sheaffer "Lady" Balance Vac-filler in striated Carmine celluloid and a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime XF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). The pen measures 4.8"capped and 0.43"in diameter.

Sheaffer "Lady" Balance Vac, Carmine, XF, uncapped with the plunger partially extended

If you've never owned a vintage fountain pen, you may not be aware of the joy that comes from writing with a restored vintage pen. I am not just saying that because I happen to restore pens, I am saying that because vintage pens, esp. the Sheaffer Balance from the 1930s, provide that special sensation that very few modern pens can approximate. The Balance was made to be what we call today EDC, a workhorse pen, to be used all day, every day. It's priority was to provide the best writing experience possible at the time. Every part of the pen serves the purpose to enhance the pen's utility as a writing instrument. And, as a result, the pleasure you get from writing with such a pen is amazing. The confidence, the softness of the nib on paper, the forgiving "sweet spot," the vacuum filling mechanism, and superb ergonomics, are all part of that experience. The XF nib (0.3 mm on my paper) writes a smooth and self-assured line, producing consistent strokes in virtually all directions, without catching the paper. An awesome writer.

Sheaffer "Lady" Balance Vac, Carmine, XF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

This pen is sometimes known as a "Lady" pen, as it was marketed to primarily to women. I can easily imagine Peggy Olson using this pen in the office, carrying it in her purse, writing thank you cards and love letters with it. A beautiful Carmine celluloid, with a nicely transparent barrel, and an excellent gold-filled trim, make this pen one of the most beautiful writing instruments of the 1930s. 

Sheaffer "Lady" Balance Vac, Carmine, XF, nib close-up

I am offering this pen at a discount because it has a monogram. The monogram has no bearing on one's enjoyment of the pen, but collectors prefer not to buy monogrammed pens. To me, it's an integral part of the pen's provenance, which is why I decided to carry it. If you don't mind it, here's a chance for you to buy this great pen at an affordable price.

Sheaffer "Lady" Balance Vac, Carmine, XF, capped

Sheaffer Balance Pen and Pencil Set, Marine Green, F

(SOLD) This is a mid-1930s White Dot Sheaffer Balance Fountain Pen and Pencil set in Marine Green celluloid. The pen has a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime Fine nib. The set comes in the original box. The pen is a full-length Balance, measuring around 5.4" capped and 0.42" in diameter. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, adjustment to ink flow, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). The pencil has also been restored to full mechanical function.

Sheaffer Balance Pen and Pencil Set, Marine Green, F, uncapped

The phrase I wrote comes from a Sheaffer advertisement, emphasizing its Lifetime warranty program whereby each pen bearing the designation would receive unconditional guarantee for the lifetime of its original owner. The set appears to have been found unused, put away in a desk drawer for decades. Based on my inspection, the set does seem to be an a mint condition, with no signs of use, just very faint "handling" wear, difficult to see with the naked eye. The ink window is perfectly clear. The imprint strong.

Sheaffer Balance Pen and Pencil Set, Marine Green, F, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

The set's condition is its main attraction here. Imagine being transported back in time to the 1930s and purchasing this set from your local fountain pen store. It would be guaranteed for life. Now, you have a chance to own this set as though it had been preserved in a pristine condition specially for you. Pretty cool, isn't it?

I did restore the pen much like I do every other pen. I want to be sure that the pen functions as well as it's supposed to, and you will decide whether to make it your daily writer or put it away as part of your precious collection. A truly beautiful writing instrument, with gorgeous, gleaming celluloid, perfect gold-filled trim, and it even comes boxed. One does not come across such as set every day.

Sheaffer Balance Pen and Pencil Set, Marine Green, F, capped

The nib writes a confident Fine line (0.4 mm on my paper) and it's a pleasure to use. After I did my writing sample, I replaced the sac, so that when you receive the pen it'll be in 'as new" condition, ready for your favorite ink. These Lifetime nibs are excellent performers! The nib is firm, but feels soft and pleasant on paper. A joy to use!

Sheaffer Balance Pen and Pencil Set, Marine Green, F, pen and pencil in box

Sheaffer Balance "500" Vac, Marine Green, XXF Semi-Flex

(SOLD) This is a mid-1930s Sheaffer Balance "500" Vac fountain pen in striated Marine Green celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone Feathertouch XXF Semi-Flex nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, and adjustment to ink flow, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). The pen is also know as a "500" and it measures 4.8" capped and 0.42" in diameter.

Sheaffer Balance "500" Vac, Marine Green, XXF Semi-Flex, uncapped, with the plunger rod partially extended

This Sheaffer Balance will make a great precision writing instrument with which to write or learn a business cursive or Spencerian penmanship. The nib is ground to a needlepoint tip, and it is semi-flexible, giving you reliable line variation of about XXF-BB. It is not a full-flex nib, but the tines open up nicely and spring back quickly, giving you a tool that's bound to add character to your handwriting. Being such a fine point, the nib has a bit of a tooth, but it is perfectly aligned, with excellent tipping geometry. It writes consistent strokes in virtually all directions, but it does perform at its best with a light touch. The oversize ebonite feed provides a steady and reliable flow of ink.

If you like broader nibs and write with a heavy hand, this pen is not for you.

Sheaffer Balance "500" Vac, Marine Green, XXF Semi-Flex, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent shape. The celluloid is deep, rich, and vibrant, with very good barrel transparency (with some "ambering" present). The filling mechanism works like a charm, holding a lot of ink. The gold-filled trim is in excellent condition, as well. A really handsome pen! The orange tones you see in the barrel is the wood background showing through the transparency.

Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler, Golden Brown, XF

(SOLD) This is a mid-1930s Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler fountain pen in striated Golden Brown celluloid, with a 14k gold XF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, a complete overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth. I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration and I use high-quality modern replacement materials. This pen is also known as a "350" or a "short and slender" Balance, measuring around 4.8" capped and 0.42" in diameter. 

Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler, Golden Brown, XF, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

I restore pens for people who love to write. This simple formula entails that I select fountain pens from among pens made between the early 1930s and late 1950s, made by the four major American brands. This pen meets the criteria perfectly. Made by Sheaffer, the famous Balance, was a revolutionary pen at the time. The Iowa company had the most extensive pen catalog in the industry, and even their lower-end pens were made of high-quality materials and at the same high level of craftsmanship. I love restoring Sheaffer pens because their quality makes the process incredibly rewarding and it ensures that my customers are going to enjoy the pen's performance.

Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler, Golden Brown, XF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment, the imprint looks strong.

This Balance is in excellent shape, with a gleaming, shimmering Golden Brown celluloid that is deep, rich, and vibrant, with good barrel transparency, and a smooth, blemish-free surface. The gold-filled trim is in equally excellent shape. A beautiful, classic pen, it will make a great companion in your travels, for journaling purposes, a fantastic, compact pen to take to the office or your favorite coffee shop. The pen posts very well, and it should be comfortable even for people with larger hands.

The nib is such joy to write with! A smooth, springy writer, it lays down a wet, consistent line that is close to modern Western extra-fine, though the nib probably sold as a Fine. It is ground to write at the lightest pressure, and that's where it performs best. If you press harder, the nib will respond with a pleasant "give" and the tines will spread, giving you a hint of line variation. Today, such a nib would be very difficult to outperform, either by European or Japanese models. It's the kind of nib that makes you want to write for hours, loving every stroke.

Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler, Golden Brown, XF, capped

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance Vac, Golden Brown, F

(sold) This is a mid-1930s Sheaffer Lifetime Balance Vac-filler in striated Golden Brown celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an adjustment to ink flow and nib tuning, followed by a gentle polish with a soft cloth. I use current "best practices" in pen restoration, and I use high-quality replacement materials. This is the so-called "Slender" model, measuring 5.1" capped, and 0.43" in diameter.

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance Vac, Golden Brown, F with the cap off and plunger rod partially extended

The Sheaffer Balance gave rise to generations of pens based on this timeless design. The beauty of the design was its simplicity, and the strength its comfort. I cannot think of another 1930s pen that embodies these two characteristics better than the Balance. Add to it the gorgeous, gleaming, semi-transparent Golden Brown celluloid and tasteful gold-filled accents and you have a pen that looks as handsome as some of the well-known modern Italian pens.

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance Vac, Golden Brown, F, nib close-up showing excellent geometry and alignment

To me, and many other pen enthusiasts, the true source of the Balance's success is its writing ability. Vested with a large 14k gold Lifetime nib and a large ebonite feed, the pen writes like a dream, the instant you put it to paper. It's tuned to write at the lightest touch, but it will take greater pressure with ease. Sheaffer boasted that "no one can wear out a Lifetime nib," and I find this statement truthful. This particular nib is in excellent shape, with ample tipping material, of perfect geometry. Today, Visconti has the trademark for "Dreamtouch" nib but I feel the Lifetime deserves the moniker just as much.

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance Vac, Golden Brown, F, capped

Cosmetically, the celluloid is gorgeous, with a deep, rich, and vibrant color, and nice barrel transparency. You can watch the pen fill (up to 1.7 ml of ink) and gauge remaining ink level easily. The gold-filled trim is also in very good shape.

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance, Full-Size, Black, F

(SOLD) This is an early 1930s Sheaffer Lifetime Balance "Full-Size" (5-3/8 capped, 0.47" in diameter)  in Black celluloid with a 14k gold Lifetime 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 polish by hand. I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement materials.

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance, Full-Size, Black, F, with the cap off

This is a beautiful example of this classic pen. Being the "Full-Size" model, it's a fairly large pen, it posts very nicely, and it should be comfortable even for people with large hands. A supremely balanced writing instrument, this pen will make writing effortless and so enjoyable. I honestly cannot think of a 1930s pen that would be more suitable for vintage pen aficionados and novices alike. If you've been thinking of "going vintage" but were apprehensive about buying an unrestored pen of uncertain provenance, look no further.

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance, Full-Size, Black, F, nib profile showing excellent geometry and alignment

I sold this pen once before, and in my haste to get it out the door, I forgot to rinse out the cleaning solution I use to make sure the pen you receive is as clean as a brand-new model. As a result, ink flow was overly wet, and my customer proceeded to rinse the pen with water multiple times, thus unknowingly fixing the problem. However, I didn't want them to have to deal with a problem that I had caused so I accepted a return and refunded the full amount. So now, this pen is back on the market. 

The nib is huge, even by modern standards. Huge and heavy. It is ground to a Sheaffer standard Fine geometry, and it's a fabulous writer. I'd compare it to an Aurora Optima nib, a smooth, firm nib, with excellent flow writing performance. It has a touch of tooth, which is preferred so that it can write at the lightest touch. I used a silicone sac so as not to harm the celluloid, so the pen should continue to give you years of service.

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance, Full-Size, Black, F, capped

Cosmetically, the pen is in great shape, both the celluloid and gold-filled trim. There are a couple of tiny spots on the barrel, difficult to see with the naked eye, and some very faint surface wear. The celluloid is smooth, with a deep and rich color.

Sheaffer Balance Vac Golden Brown Pen & Pencil Set, XF

(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.

Sheaffer Balance Vac Golden Brown Pen & Pencil Set, XF, uncapped, with the plunger slightly extended.

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.

Sheaffer Balance Vac Golden Brown Pen & Pencil Set, XF, showing the nib's profile and the excellent tipping material geometry. You can also see a very strong imprint here.

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!

Sheaffer Balance Vac Golden Brown Pen & Pencil Set, XF, capped

Sheaffer Balance Vac Golden Brown Pen & Pencil Set, XF, boxed

Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler in Carmine, F

(SOLD) This is a late 1930s Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler in striated Carmine celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime Fine 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 hand polish. This is a full-length slender "875" model, measuring 5.3" capped, with a barrel diameter of 0.42".

Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler in Carmine, F, with the cap off and the plunger rod partially extended

The previous Balance I posted sold in minutes, so I decided to post another. Here's a chance for you to own this classic pen, made to last, a fantastic performer, made out of gorgeous vintage celluloid, and with a superb gold nib to boot. You'd be hard-pressed to find a modern pen with an equal blend of features and performance, anywhere near the price. This pen will not disappoint!

A lot of fountain pen enthusiasts believe the Sheaffer Carmine striated celluloid is among the most beautiful fountain pen materials ever made. I am inclined to agree. This particular pen is in excellent condition, the material rich, deep, and vibrant, and with great barrel transparency. The gold-filled trim is in equally good shape. Frankly, this pen looks as though it was made yesterday. The imprint is strong.

Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler in Carmine, F, capped

The Sheaffer Balance was the BMW of fountain pens, a writing instrument that was as beautiful as it was functional. It was made to fit one's hand like a glove, and to be "driven" day in, day out, offering its user consistent and satisfying performance. The pen holds an astonishing 1.7 ml of ink, has superb ergonomics (posted or unposted), and a gold nib that is firm without feeling like a nail. It's a large, beautiful, Lifetime nib that I tuned to write a generous, wet line, so you can experience it at its best, as it's effortlessly gliding across a sheet of your favorite paper. It writes without hesitation, at the lightest pressure, and will never skip, skid, or starve for ink. How many modern pens come with such dependable, enjoyable performance out-of-the-box?

Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler in Carmine, F, side view of the 14k Lifetime nib, showing perfect tipping geometry

If you've never owned a vintage pen, but are a lover of beautiful Italian celluloid pens, look no further. This pen will look every bit as gorgeous as your Montegrappa, but will give you that special vintage performance that few modern pens can match. If you are an experienced vintage pen user, then you already know what to expect of the Lifetime nib, one of the best gold nibs ever designed. The phrase comes from a Sheaffer advertisement, and the ink is Sailor Kobe Bordeaux.

Sheaffer Balance Vac, Gray Pearl, Needlepoint

(SOLD) This is a late 1930s Sheaffer Balance Vac-filler in Gray Pearl celluloid and a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime needlepoint (XXF) 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. I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration, and I use high-quality replacement components, materials, and specialized tools.

Sheaffer Balance Vac, Gray Pearl, Needlepoint, with the cap off and the plunger rod partially retracted

This is a beautiful, full-length, slender Sheaffer Balance from the late 1930s, a Vac-filler made of gorgeous Gray Pearl celluloid, with a nicely transparent barrel, a chrome-plated trim, and a 14k gold, true needlepoint Lifetime nib (5.4" capped, 0.42" barrel diameter). The phrase I wrote comes from a Sheaffer advertisement issued at the time, and it conveys the important message about Lifetime (and "White Dot") pens and nibs, i.e., they were made to last, to write all day, every day, like a Stradivarius violin, they are meant to be used and will "never wear out." Sure, they need occasional maintenance, but those are durable, "workhorse" pens that will prove to extremely good daily writers for even the most demanding fountain pen enthusiasts.

The star of the show here is the needlepoint nib. It's a "true" needlepoint, one of the finest vintage tips I've ever used, a gorgeous, large nib, with excellent tipping material geometry. I would characterize this nib as a calligrapher's tool. It's so fine, precise, with excellent, controlled flow, great stroke consistency, writing under the lightest pressure, able to keep up with fast upstrokes and loops. A fantastic tool in the arsenal of a serious business cursive and Spencerian penmanship writer or student. Being so fine, the nib has some tooth, but it is not scratchy. As long as you write with a light touch, the nib is going to effortlessly glide across the paper.

Sheaffer Balance Vac, Gray Pearl, Needlepoint, a close-up of the nib, also showing transparency of the barrel (the warm tones)

Today, if you wish to buy a needlepoint nib suitable for Spencerian penmanship, your options are limited to either (1) buying a Japanese EF or UEF pen, or (2) getting a custom-ground needlepoint from a nib meister. The Japanese nibs are excellent! However, they're ground for short, downward strokes, primarily, as is required in Japanese handwriting. They are not going to be as good for fast upstrokes and loops, unfortunately, as some of you might have already experienced. A custom nib, ground by a nib meister, is going to be exactly what you want, but you're likely to have to pay extra for the service. May I offer an alternative: a restored, beautiful Sheaffer Balance pen with a fantastic needlepoint nib, at a reasonable price.

Sheaffer Balance Vac, Gray Pearl, Needlepoint, capped

Cosmetically, the pen is in very good condition. The celluloid is deep, rich, and vibrant. The trim is not perfect, it has a couple of small blemishes on the cap ring, but, considering how poorly this trim wore over time (in general), this specimen is rather good.

Sheaffer Balance Vac, XXF (needlepoint) nib

(SOLD) This is a late 1930s Sheaffer Balance Vacuum-filler in striated Marine Green celluloid with a 14k gold XXF (needlepoint) 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. I work according to current best practices in pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement components and specialized tools.

Sheaffer Balance Vac, Needlepoint

This is a beautiful pen. Yes, I say it a lot, but this Marine Green celluloid is stunning. The gold-filled trim is also in exceptionally good condition. In fact, the pen is gleaming, almost glowing, such that it's difficult to take a photo without unwanted reflections and shadows. In the Sheaffer nomenclature, this Balance is a "350" model, measuring 4.8" capped, with a barrel diameter of 0.42".

The pen comes vested with a fantastic needlepoint nib. Such nibs are ideal for business cursive, Spencerian handwriting, and for small handwriting, in general. In the 1930s, people learned a handwriting that required a very, very light touch, with the hand hovering above the surface of the table. The nib had to write at the lightest touch, a consistent, but controlled line, that allows rapid strokes in virtually any direction. Nibs were ground to accommodate such writing. Today, your only option is a Japanese XXF nib, but those nibs are ground primarily for very short strokes, suitable for Asian handwriting, but less so for Western cursive. Realistically, you are better off sending a nib to a nib meister and having it ground to a needlepoint. Or, you can try to track down a vintage pen, such as this one, made at the time when Palmer Methodruled the business world.

Sheaffer Balance Vac, Needlepoint

The nib is somewhat toothy, but perfectly smooth. It's excellent at absorbing vibrations coming from dragging the tip across the paper, better than most nibs made today. It has a pleasant amount of spring in it, too. A delightful, rare, needlepoint. And, to make it even sweeter, this pen holds over 1.7 ml of ink, using the two-stroke filling method.

Sheaffer Oversize Lifetime Balance Marine Green

The Sheaffer Oversize Balance is one of the most iconic fountain pens of the pre-war era. Most vintage fountain pens are rather small by today's standards. There are probably good economic reasons for why that is the case, but I believe that smaller pens were more desirable because of the penmanship techniques used at the time. The so-called business cursive (a.k.a., "Palmer Method Business Writing") was written with a very light touch, the palm off the table, with just the fingernails of the ring finger and pinky gently skating across the page. Such a technique required a thing and light pen, so that it would become a natural extension of one's hand. Today, oversize vintage pens are rather scarce, and they command a premium among fountain pen enthusiasts. They're particularly suitable to today's handwriting, and their physical size attributes are more in line with modern fountain pens.

Sheaffer Balance Oversize in Marine Green celluloid

This particular pen is a writer's dream. The large Lifetime nib is slightly upturned (Sheaffer's trademark design) and the tipping material has perfect size and geometry to facilitate effortless and thoroughly enjoyable writing. The pen;s moniker, "Balance," captures the pen's ergonomics perfectly. A supremely comfortable writer, with a slightly tapered section with a gently rounded off lip, this pen will easily outperform most modern fountain pens.

A beautiful, huge two-tone 14k gold Lifetime nib. Firm, but smooth.

The Marine Green celluloid is a gorgeous material, though, now decades old it tends to be discolored. However, this particular material is still vibrant, with good depth and chatoyancy, and only slight discoloration. To avoid further discoloration, I fitted the pen with a silicone sac. There is some plating loss at the top of the clip, so this pen would probably not satisfy the high-end collector.