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.

Sheaffer Triumph Tuckaway Sentinel Deluxe, Marine Green, M

(SOLD) This is a 1942 White Dot Sheaffer Triumph Tuckaway Sentinel Deluxe ("1250") fountain pen in striated Marine Green celluloid, with a 14k gold two-tone Triumph Medium nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an adjustment to ink flow and nib performance, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand).

Sheaffer Triumph Tuckaway Sentinel Deluxe, Marine Green, M, uncapped, with the plunger rod partially extended

In 1942, Sheaffer achieved what very few enterprises had before them. The Iowa company succeeded in incorporating their mandatory wartime production efforts into their day-to-day operations, while, at the same time, bringing to market the most advanced fountain pen, yet, the Lifetime Triumph. The Triumph was not just a nib, it was an entire nib and feed system, whose task was to deliver, buffer, and regulate the flow of ink. The system was so robust that it was broadly used by U.S. Military personnel out in the field, at sea, and in the air. The Triumph nib took a lot of advanced engineering, combined with personal attention by a team of experienced technicians, who oversaw the melting, forging, rolling of gold, fusing Osmallloy tips, stamping out blanks, slitting the nib, shaping, grinding, and polishing of each and every nib that ended up on Sheaffer pens. With tight tolerances and strict quality control, the Triumph nib was a significant departure from conventional nibs. A gold point with two writing surfaces, capable of writing in all directions without catching the paper, a forgiving, smooth performer, a nib that writes confidently, consistently, and one that adds character to your handwriting.

Sheaffer Triumph Tuckaway Sentinel Deluxe, Marine Green, M, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

This particular Tuckaway was a top-of-the-line model, made of the gorgeous, gleaming semi-transparent celluloid, with a matching section, and a two-tone cap, this is a beautiful pen, and it looks as good as though it left the factory seventy five days, rather than seventy five years ago. Barrel transparency is excellent, the imprint is strong, and gold-filled trim in equally great shape.

The Triumph point is of Medium width (0.5 mm on my paper), which is rare for this model. Most likely, this was a special-order item, as the vast majority of Sheaffer pens of that vintage have Fine nibs. The point has a slight stub-like shape, which will give you subtle line variation. A superbly smooth, self-assured writer, one can easily imagine it being used by a high-ranking office executive, handsome and immaculately dressed, with the obligatory cigarette in his mouth and a gold signet on his pinky, the Roger Sterling kind of man. The phrase I wrote comes from an old penmanship book, frequently used by accountants, hence the quote.

Sheaffer Triumph Tuckaway Sentinel Deluxe, Marine Green, M, capped

The pen is portable, but it converts to a full-size pen easily and is comfortable to hold, even for people with larger hands. Sheaffer really did get the ergonomics of the Tuckaway right, and if you are a fan of the Kaweco Sport or TWSBI Vac Mini, you're going to love this pen.