Browsing the Classic Fountain Pens (nibs.com) website is both enjoyable and dangerous. The danger rose up and bit me when I was browsing about two weeks ago. There were several newly listed NOS and pre-owned post–1950 Sheaffer pens listed. Several of them caught my eye and despite my plans to enjoy the pens I already have I couldn’t stay away and after an internal struggle I broke down and ordered two of them. They arrived Monday of last week.
Both pens were manufactured around the turn of the century when Sheaffer still made fountain pens in the USA. While this makes the pens sound old both pens were introduced in 1998 which does make the modern and not vintage. Like my Sheaffer Balance Aspen these have the reputation of being prone to cracks. While called “Balance” when they were released and thus the official name they are often referred to as “Balance II” because they were based on the vintage Balances.
Both pens are in mint condition. The Jade Green Balance could be NOS as it arrived with a box, papers, converter and a couple cartridges. The cartridges appear to have suffered some evaporation. The converters are the more modern piston type and not the older style aerometric converters. The Crimson Glow model Balance had only the converter but appeared mint.
For their first ink I had no choice and used Sheaffer ink from the same era and possibly the same factory. The Sheaffer Glow got Sheaffer Skrip Peacock Blue while the Jade Green Balance was filled with Sheaffer Emerald Green. The Emerald Green was sold as calligraphy ink in 12ml bottles. Since I had several enjoyable pens inked I only gave each about half a fill.
I really like the 18K gold feather-touch nibs. I’ve said it before, while I don’t like gold trim or nibs I really like the Sheaffer nib despite the gold color in the nib. The find the two-tone nibs to be classy and reminiscent of the vintage nibs. Both are the same, medium nibs but on the thin side which is to my liking. They are comparable to my Sheaffer Balance Aspen nib which is a little wide for note taking but I really enjoy when doing regular writing.
I’ve used the pens since April 6th and have enjoyed them quit a bit. The pens fit well in my hand and the flow is good. There were occasional skips on the first stroke when I uncapped the pen but other than that they were skip free until the ink got low. Skipping returned when the ink was low, by which I mean there wasn’t any ink in the converter but there was still some in the feed. I could get about half a page after the skipping started. My Aspen does well right to the last drop but that pen was tuned by Mike Masuyama.
Despite their reputation as fragile I’m not as protective of these as I am with my Aspen. I have clipped them in my pocket to carry out and about. I also clipped them in my Nocko Lockout pen case although I’ve avoided letting that case bounce around my computer bag.
I really love the marbled acrylic that these are made of. There’s a nice depth to it. Classic Fountain Pens did have all four models in the marbleized acrylic from this line of pens but now they’re all gone, which is a good thing as I’d be tempted to return for the the remaining two.
I’m happy with both of these Sheaffer Balance IIs and glad to add them to my accumulation.