Sheaffer Craftsman Fountain Pen, Carmine, F

(sold) This is a mid-1940s Sheaffer Craftsman lever-filled fountain pen in striated Carmine red celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone Feather Touch Fine 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 (by hand, with a soft cloth). The pen measures 5.1" capped and 0.45" in diameter.

The vast majority of modern fountain pens are made of injection-molded plastic. Such pens are relatively inexpensive, as the manufacturing process lends itself to the usual cost-saving thanks to mass production. If you wish to own a more visually interesting  pen, you need to pay more, and your typical material choices include acrylic, ebonite, wood, and celluloid.  Each material has its pros and cons, but there seems to be a consensus in the pen community that celluloid is the royalty of pen materials.

Celluloid is truly an organic material, made from natural cotton seed fibers, colored with natural dyes, created in a painstakingly long, intricate, and tightly controlled process. Today, only a handful of pen companies use celluloid due to the incredibly high cost of the material and the inherent manufacturing complexity involved. Still, many discerning customers are willing to pay a substantial premium for modern Montegrappa celluloid pen. The material's beauty, its depth and chatoyancy, it's shimmering quality are simply irresistible.

If you are interested in owning a celluloid pen but are discouraged by the price, may I offer you an alternative? Here is a beautiful, restored, vintage Sheaffer Craftsman, made of the famous striated Carmine celluloid, a lever-filler, vested with a fantastic 14k gold Feather Touch Fine nib. A pen that's truly as beautiful as it is functional, and, best of all, it costs a fraction of a modern Italian celluloid fountain pen.

The pen is in excellent condition, without any flaws or defects, with gorgeous, vibrant, smooth celluloid, excellent gold-filled trim, and a strong imprint. The nib is tuned to write at the lightest touch, laying down a Fine line of about 0.4 mm (on my paper). The pen provides an enjoyable, smooth, confident writing experience that would be very hard to match by a modern pen, regardless of price. It would be an ideal first vintage pen for a fountain pen enthusiast, but, in the hand of a skilled fountain pen writer, it would produce the most graceful handwriting, and, most importantly, give you lots of joy and a great reason to just write.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown Fountain Pen, Black, F

(Sold) This is a late 1940s Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown fountain pen in Black, with a 14k gold, two-tone Feather Touch Fine 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. This is a medium-size pen, measuring 5.08" capped and 0.44" in diameter.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown Fountain Pen, Black, F, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

One of the reasons I enjoy restoring vintage Sheaffer pens is that all of the models made between the early 1930s and the late 1950s, including entry-level pens, were of very high quality. Such pens, if restored well, can be enjoyed today even by people who are new to the pen hobby. No special skills required! The pen I am offering today is a very interesting Craftsman from the late 1940s, equipped with Sheaffer's trademarked Touchdown filling mechanism. The mechanism is very easy to use, and, with one push of the plunger, the pen fills up to capacity, holding more ink than most modern cartridge/converter pens. A simple, yet efficient design. And, it's a lot of fun to use!

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown Fountain Pen, Black, F, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

The Craftsman was economically priced then, and I price it economically today. I think it would be an ideal first vintage pen for a pen novice, and it would be perfect as a gift for your friend or family member, to start them on the exciting and utterly enjoyable journey into the world of vintage stationery and penmanship. The pen is in very good condition, without any flaws or defects, with excellent gold-filled trim. It functions as well as it did when it left the factory. 

The Feather Touch really deserves its name. A soft, springy nib, it writes reliably at the lightest pressure, laying down a consistent line of about 0.5 mm (on my paper). Today, gold-nibbed pens are extremely expensive, but you can purchase this complete pen, restored and tuned, for much less than the price of a modern gold nib alone.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown Fountain Pen, Black, F, 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