Sheaffer’S 1500/500 Pen Set

And welcome back to another fountain pen post! …I have yet to come up with a catchy, snazzy name.

In any case, today I present to you the set that I bought for my birthday:

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It is a Triumph nib 1500 with matching 500 pencil. It comes presented in a rather nice case. It doesn’t have the original papers and the bottom portion doesn’t come out easily so I imagine it isn’t meant to come out. What I didn’t notice until I started to take pictures was the barely visible “Sheaffer’S” on the front of the case. I thought that was a neat little addition to the case.

This set is actually being a total pain to ID, but I do love doing detective work. That’s half the fun of collecting things like this. You are often presented with something and if you want to find out more about it, you have to dig around a bit to find information. Let’s start with the filling mechanism:

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This pen fills with the venerable vacuum filling system. The blind cap (also known as a plunger cap) unscrews and when pulled back reveals a rod. This rod is connected to a disk within the body of the fountain pen. Very simple method of filling — but also very delicate. If too much force is applied in either direction, ink can force its way out between seams between the nib section and body! This mechanism was put into the Sheaffer line-up in 1934 and remained in use until the Touchdown filling mechanism was introduced in 1949.

There is our first window: 1934-1949.

What about the nib? Well, the Triumph nib — which is worth an article on its own — was introduced in 1942.

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Initially the nibs had the full hallmarks of the older non-Triumph nibs which included the “Lifetime” imprint. But approximately in the spring of 1948 that hallmark was mostly dropped then entirely in 1949 with the full roll-out of the Touchdown pens. In the same year a new method for making the nibs was devised and pushed into service.

Our updated window: 1948-1949. Getting pretty tight there…

This pen is a white dot model. And you wouldn’t notice that unless you looked at the tip of the plunger cap:

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Sheaffer had a beast of a time trying to get the white dot on metal caps for the longest time. They always kind of just settled to put it somewhere else on the body of the pen. But by 1949 they had figured out how to put it onto metal caps. This was applied to all white dot models from 1950 onwards. Since the pen still has a dot on the plunger cap… we know for a fact this pen was made pre-1950.

Well, that didn’t really help too much beyond really cementing the 1950 date. Needless to say, we can probably say with some confidence that this pen was manufactured within 1948-49.

Pictorial research suggests that the “1500” imprint is the price: $15.00. And this is a Sentinel set.

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I cannot find an example of this color with a vacuum fill at all. Even if it were exposed to sunlight and the color aged from a burgundy, the portions that are protected from UV should remain unchanged. Not to mention that UV discoloration is fading not darkening.

With the release of the Touchdown model, however, new colors were added. Though this is not the Crest (characteristic gold cap), we can use it for some information. At first the Crest was released with striated colorations and solid black plastic. However, in the late 1940s many of Sheaffer’s pens were going into injection molded solid colored plastics. The Crest was available in black, blue, green, and burgundy. The Touchdown Sentinel, when released in 1949, was released with black, burgundy, evergreen green, Persian blue, and burnt umber brown. This pen, when compared against a 1949/50 burnt umber brown Touchdown Statesman, matches that brown. (Link is from Vacumania’s Sold Sheaffer pens section.)

A theory, that comes from that tidbit of information, is this pen was produced in 1949 and is a late model/bridge between several things: 1) the transfer out of the vacuum fill and into the Touchdown, 2) the transfer into a new color set, and 3) the transfer from dots on the plunger cap/blind cap to dots on metal caps. If that is really true, then this is a pretty neat pen!

The other theory is this is all gibberish. Which might be the case and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised. As with typewriters, manufacturing history is hard to come by and is often riddled with cross overs, brand takeovers, and the like. But still… it would be neat. Haha!

Performance wise, the pen is absolutely fantastic. Ultra smooth and just feels great in the paw. It’s much lighter than what one would expect. It can be used with the cap unposted, but the cap does add some balance. The nib is far broader than what I normally write with and forces me to write larger than what I’m accustomed to.

The pencil has the original eraser and lead — both are hard as rock. I’ll be needing to replace both… Easy fix. The lead will be replaced with B softness and the eraser can be home manufactured easily enough. Thickness wise, it is, again, broader than what I’m used to at 0.9mm.

The set sits well in the pocket and the caps look simply stunning. I rather enjoy the plain face of them without the “Sheaffer’S” engraving that is present on my Touchdown TM Admiral’s clip. The absent white dot on the metal cap doesn’t bother me either as it’s absence adds to the simplicity. It’s almost a kind of sleeper pen: most would think it’s a cheap office supply store set until the cap comes off and reveals something totally unexpected and different.

All in all, I’m definitely going to be giving this set it’s chance in the sun — something that it’s probably been waiting for, for a long time. I will, however, been sending it in for some refinements. The filling mechanism, I feel, needs some love and I might even risk getting the nib modified a wee-bit. This pen would be fantastic with an 0.5mm or 0.7mm stub!

Until next time, I hope you have a great day and be safe out there! 🙂

Eversharp Slim Ventura, c. 1955

Alright guys n’ gals. I figured I’d start posting up tidbits about the fountain pens I own. These type of posts — since this is the first, I’ll get this out of the way — are part informational, part review. I am a user of fountain pens first and a collector second. My philosophy toward typewriters (that they should be used if they can be) applies to fountain pens and in fact fountain pens is where that idea came to be.

Today, I’d like to talk about the Eversharp Slim Ventura.

This line was Eversharp’s last real attempt at making a quality pen. All pens after this dropped dramatically in quality as well as cost. As a last attempt, or possibly more accurately a farewell, I think they did an admirable job. These pens were produced in a variety of colors. These had plastic barrels and metal caps in three grades: gold filled cap and clip, sterling cap with gold filled clip, and gold filled cap with sterling clip. To these they added two metal versions: gold filled and sterling silver.

The set that I have is sterling silver. It includes a fountain pen (set with a fine point, non-flexible 14k gold nib) and a click actuated mechanical pencil. When I got this set, it was NOS (new old stock) from c. 1955! How cool is that?! It came from these awesome folks here and with the original boxes, price tags, instructions, and plastic around the pens. (The price tags have since gone missing, because… well, I’m a user not a collector.) And interesting tidbit is the sterling silver version is the only version to have a sterling cap with a sterling clip.

First and foremost, I simply adore this case! Some of the pens I own come with shoddy, questionable at best, boxes even though they cost a decent amount (in my book). This box has character. It’s nice to the touch and solid, with the name emblazoned upon the lid.CaseStraight out of the box, everything worked like a charm! I ink up old(er) pens with an ink that I know is neutral toward their ink sacs. In this case, it’s old reliable: Waterman’s Mysterious Blue, formerly Blue-Black.  (I should mention here that the ink sac in the pen is the original one! A testament to how well things were made back then, eh?)In Case

The nib is un-frickin’-believable. Ultra smooth and flawless. There is a down-turn to the nib which gives its stiffness, but there is also a slight degree of spring due to the inherent properties of 14k gold. Though the nib is stiff, it is nothing near manifold stiffness. (The blotch on the nib isn’t damage, but ink…)Nib

The weight is pleasant and since it’s sterling, there’s definitely a degree of heft. With the cap posted, the weight is toward the rear, which is excellent for this pen as it doesn’t take very much pressure to get the ink flowing. The length is also easy going. The width is obviously smaller than other pens (as suggested by its name) but it isn’t too small for long-term writing.

The pencil is a bit more difficult to handle, especially if you’ve got larger paws like I do. Its stream-lined, aerodynamic nature that cuts through the air so you can precisely jot down ideas and musings makes it rather difficult to grip without it slipping occasionally. Another nit-picky complaint is that the click actuation to get the lead out is incredibly stiff. To my knowledge, this is on par with the mechanical pencils of the age but… wow, really stiff. Pencil Length

The lead in the pencil is original as well as the eraser — which is unusable, but understandably so, since, after all, it is well over 50 years old! The lead is definitely thick for me but totally on par with the era, at 1.1mm or thereabouts. (I personally prefer 0.5mm for mechanical pencils.) Hardness is… about HB, which is standard.Pencil Tip

Overall, the cost for this set was well worth it. I carry the pencil in my bag while I have the fountain pen in my pocket. Since it is a set, I enjoy it even more since sets have that matching allure. The pencil, unfortunately, goes more often unused partially due to its shape — not fixable — and its lead softness — fixable. Both are great daily users/writers and are in my rotation.

Hope y’all enjoyed this! Have a great day and be safe out there.