Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, F

(Sold) This is a White Dot Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman fountain pen in Black, with a palladium-silver Fine Triumph 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.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, F, uncapped

The Sheaffer Snorkel is broadly considered one of the most advanced fountain pens ever built. Most fountain pen enthusiasts are familiar with the meaning of the term "Snorkel" so I will spare you the story. However, what a lot of people are not aware of is that  a well-restored, well-tuned Snorkel is a phenomenal writer. In my opinion, the Snorkel is among some of the best performing fountain pens I've ever used, vintage or modern. The filling mechanism is easy to use and downright fun, but it is the nib (a nib and feed system, really) that really takes the cake.

So what makes it such a great writer? First of all, the ergonomics. It seems like such a simple thing, really, yet time and time again, pen designers get ergonomics wrong. Not at Sheaffer's! The Snorkel has a gently streamlined shape, a long, slightly textured section, not appreciable step-down, and excellent balance, posted or not. The ink delivery system is rather complex in terms of engineering, but what's important to us, writers, is that the overall surface area of the ebonite material that makes contact with the ink is massive, especially for a pen of this size. A large surface area means an excellent ink buffering capability. Regardless of atmospheric conditions, your writing technique, the paper or the ink used, the pen delivers a generous, yet controlled and consistent flow of ink. Again, a feature that many pen designers often get wrong.

Once the ink reaches the nib, the real magic happens. The Triumph nib is made of palladium-silver, an alloy very similar to that used by Visconti on most of their high-end "Dreamtouch" nibs. the alloy is similar to gold in both its fluid dynamics and vibration dampening properties. As a result, you're getting a nib that's both firm and soft. Yeah, I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it really is not. The nib will perform very well both in the hand of an experienced calligrapher and a complete novice. Sheaffer made sure of that by giving the nib a large sweet spot and a slightly upturned tip, which gives you that desirable sensation of smoothness, but without impediment to ink flow. A really ingenious design! Finally, if you need a thinner line, simply flip the nib upside down. On the reverse side, the writing surface is significantly finer, yet without much loss in smoothness or flow.

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent shape! The material has a nice, deep color and a smooth surface. The gold-filled trim is in equally great condition, the imprint is strong. This pen would be a fantastic first "serious" vintage pen for a fountain pen novice, and it would be excellent as a tool for cursive handwriting. It lays down a 0.4 mm line (on my paper), and it sold as  Fine, though, by today's standards, it close to a Western XF (e.g., as in a Pelikan M800, Montblanc LeGrand, etc.). 

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Pastel Blue, F

(SOLD) This is a mid-1950s White Dot Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman fountain pen in Pastel Blue with a palladium silver Triumph 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 with a soft cloth (by hand). I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement parts.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Pastel Blue, F, uncapped, with the Snorkel tube extended

This is a fantastic specimen of the famous Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman! It looks beautiful, without any flaws or defects, with just the faintest surface wear. The nib even still has the "F4" sales tag, designating its width (Fine) and material (palladium silver). The Pastel Blue material is deep, rich, and vibrant. The gold-filled trim in equally excellent shape.

The Snorkel was advertised as a "dunk-free" filler, and it truly is the cleanest, most advanced filling mechanism ever made. The Snorkel is also excellent at regulating ink flow. With its large ebonite feed and a long ebonite air exchange channel inside the Snorkel tube, the pen will expertly buffer and control the flow of ink onto the paper. The Triumph nib, perfected by the 1950s, gives you two writing surfaces, and a pleasant, gliding sensation. It's a firm nib, writing at the lightest touch, but it will take a heavier hand with ease.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Pastel Blue, F, nib profile showing excellent geometry and alignment

The Snorkel (and this one in particular) is a fantastic beginner fountain pen. If you are coming to the pen hobby from years of using a ballpoint pen, why go through several Lamy Safari, TWSBI, or Pilot pens, if you can have this vintage beauty that is better suited to daily writing tasks than most pens in its price range, and beyond. The Snorkel will be very forgiving of rotation and angle. If you are  a heavy "finger writer," and, let's be honest, most of us are, the nib will give you a large sweet spot. Though this nib sold as a Fine, I'd rank the line width closer to a Western extra-fine (0.5 mm on my business paper), so it'll be perfect for all kinds of daily writing tasks.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Pastel Blue, F, capped