Just picked up my first vintage pen...

Discussion in 'The Nib' started by CallMeChris, Jul 10, 2019.

    So I just picked up my first vintage fountain pen...it’s a Sheaffer and the only thing I know about it so far is that it’s gorgeous and that the owner of the shop has went through it and guarantees it to be in tip top shape. Oh, and I’m sure I paid way too much but I just couldn’t walk away from it. So, how did I do? Is the Shaeffer a pen worthy of owning?

  1. From what I can tell so far i am pretty sure it is a Shaeffer 500 with the feather touch fine gold nib from the mid 1940’s.

    I also picked up a bottle of noodles sequoia greenwood christen it with later tonight.
  2. nemo

    nemo Moderator Emeritus

    You got a winner, looks like a late-30s, early-40s Balance (radius clip). I personally enjoy and prefer the FeatherTouch to the nail-hard Lifetime nibs.

    You know, it looks awfully similar to the one I was carrying around a few days ago ... except yours is a lever fill.
    What's in your pocket today?
  3. Jut


    Pretty much all Sheaffer pens from that era are worth owning.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
  4. Awesome pen! Congrats!

    I know the feeling of thinking “darn, I probably could have got it for cheaper on whatever.com auction/antique site.” But its worth something to hold it in your hands and know it’s a good pen and works and all that. Plus, it still likely costs less than a comparable modern pen, most especially one made of celluloid. So yeah, if you love the pen, you got a good deal.

    I don’t mean to insult your intelligence, but since you mentioned this is your first vintage pen, if you’re not familiar with the ink issues with older pens then read the Richard Binder’s excellent article on richardspens.com. In general, old school inks like Waterman, Parker Quink, and Schaefer Skrip should be fine, but avoid Japanese or boutique inks (or at least proceed with caution).
  5. I am not familiar with the ink issues and will read up for sure. They gave me a bottle of noodlers ink to go with it and said that is what they use in their pens so I thought I was good...looks like I need to read before inking it up the first time. Appreciate the info!
  6. Noodlers!? Really!? That’s too funny. Some people will swear up and down that Noodlers destroys ink sacs and others say that’s a bunch of whoey and Noodlers is just fine. Some Noodlers formulations are known to be more caustic than others. I don’t want to badmouth Noodlers or say you shouldn’t use it. But it’s worth researching. And if you’re not concerned about ink brand, Waterman Serenity Blue is widely regarded as the safest ink on the planet and is pretty cheap to boot. Just sayin...
  7. It was a pretty green to match the pen too...lol

    My first color that wasn’t a black or blue.

  8. Well, I searched around for the sequoia green and I didn’t see anyone really having issues with it like some of the other noodlers inks so I took a chance and loaded my Sheaffer up with it. This pen just needed something in it besides black I thought. So far so good, let me see how the next week or so goes. It writes beautifully but is definitely much smaller than I am used to (My go to pen before this was a Lamy Safari). I am trying to adjust to the size and not post the cap since I’ve seen where that’s a weak point on these pens and the cap develops cracks.

    Now I just wish my handwriting did such a beautiful instrument justice!

  9. ajkel64

    ajkel64 Moderator

    Nice pen, congratulations. I like it a lot.
  10. Most people either find their first collectible pen in the back of an old desk drawer . . . or buy one and pay a bit too much for it (which is how I got started). No regrets nonetheless.

    As for Noodler's Ink, Nathan Tardif, the guy behind the stuff, used to (and may still) buy, sell and trade pens, most of which, as I recall, were Sheaffers. I cannot imagine him manufacturing an ink which would adversely affect any of the pens he dealt in--or any other pens.
  11. As a heads-up, I have had several vintage pens get ruined by modern inks. I would avoid red inks especially. I do use Noodlers sometimes, but I am careful to flush after every change and I tend to only use it with converter pens. I think with vintage sacs, it is a good idea not to let inks dry in the sac, and to not use anything too saturated. Do your research- like Tanker John said. There is plenty of information and a lot of sad stories out there.
  12. This pen was gone through and had a new sac installed. I read somewhere most of the issues were with vintage sacs and the new ones were safer. I’m still reading and proceeding with caution though, thank you everyone for the information. I’m trying to soak it all up.
  13. nemo

    nemo Moderator Emeritus

    I had a Sheaffer with a fairly fresh sac ruined by a modern boutique ink, first letter N.
    Beware and use at your own risk, folks.
    Melted ink sac, gooey mess!
  14. I can't say I'd blame a single ink on that one.
  15. Ouch!
  16. As much as I enjoyed the sequoia green I decided to play it safe so I’ve spent most of the morning flushing my Shaeffer and got it loaded with Lamy black. I’ll save the noodlers for my Lamy Safari.

    This pen really is a pleasure to write with! I have found myself picking my journal back up and enjoying my writing sessions again. My small collection only has 3 pens so far....miserable in comparison to all of you, I know. My cross has been cleaned and is an ornament now since I just really don’t care for how wet it writes. My Safari is my daily pocket carry I use for almost everything, and the Shaeffer is what I’ve started using when I want to enjoy what I write. It really sounds stupid saying that out loud! Hahaha
  17. jar_

    jar_ Contributor

    Just some more info.

    500 is not a model, it was the original MSRP of the pen. 500 was $5.00, 275 was $2.75, 1000 was a $10.00 pen. Often there were several different pens at any given price point.

    My first fountain pen is below. It was my grandfathers and he gave it to me when I was in about the 5th grade. It's been restored a couple times but still works fine.

    Here is a story about another Sheaffer pen.
  18. What an amazing story!
  19. BigFoot

    BigFoot Moderator

    I have used Noodlers in my Parkers and Schaeffer for years and have never had an issue. I do primarily just use Lexington Gray and Bullet black though. Do the boutique inks run a higher risk?

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