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Lifetime vs Waverly


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18 replies to this topic

#1 sasurgner

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 13:17

I am a relatively new FPN member/collector who needs someone to explain the difference and the pros/cons between these two types of Sheaffer nibs. After reading that the std Lifetime is rather stiff and the Waverly is flexi, I am overfilled with info. I am a left-handed writer and thought a Waverly would be the way to go.
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Best Regards,
Scott


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#2 kirchh

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 13:54

QUOTE (sasurgner @ May 7 2009, 09:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am a relatively new FPN member/collector who needs someone to explain the difference and the pros/cons between these two types of Sheaffer nibs. After reading that the std Lifetime is rather stiff and the Waverly is flexi, I am overfilled with info. I am a left-handed writer and thought a Waverly would be the way to go.
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Best Regards,
Scott

Several misunderstandings are at work here. A Lifetime nib is a Sheaffer nib that carried a lifetime guarantee (or it was fitted to a pen that carried a lifetime guarantee that included the nib). Such nibs were made from 1920 to 1947 (and then again for a time starting in the early 1960s), and they appear in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, appearances, line widths, stroke types, and flexibilities.

Please see this thread for some discussion of the "Waverley" (note spelling) label.

--Daniel

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#3 RevAaron

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 14:03

Might be a bit'o'confusion out there, so here are things as I understand it:

Lifetime and Waverley are two different classes of nibs. Lifetime nibs are a particular kind of nib, identified by the "Lifetime" imprint; Waverley nibs are those with specific characteristics. There are Lifetime nibs which are Waverley- many of the two-tone Balance nibs, for instance.

A Waverley nib is a nib whose tip is curved upwards a bit. They do make good choices for lefties, and for those who hold their pen at a higher angle. They tend to make sense for firm nibs, not so much for flexible nibs. An image borrowed from Richard Binder's glossary:



Sheaffer's Lifetime nibs in general tend quite firm. Sheaffer's Waverley nibs also tend to be quite firm.

Perhaps you mean Lifetime vs Feathertouch nibs? Those are two different kinds of nibs during a particular period. The Feathertouch nibs are generally not flexible per se, but they are often softer and more responsive than a Lifetime nib.

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Edited by RevAaron, 07 May 2009 - 14:04.

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#4 sasurgner

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 14:14

QUOTE (RevAaron @ May 7 2009, 10:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Might be a bit'o'confusion out there, so here are things as I understand it:

Lifetime and Waverley are two different classes of nibs. Lifetime nibs are a particular kind of nib, identified by the "Lifetime" imprint; Waverley nibs are those with specific characteristics. There are Lifetime nibs which are Waverley- many of the two-tone Balance nibs, for instance.

A Waverley nib is a nib whose tip is curved upwards a bit. They do make good choices for lefties, and for those who hold their pen at a higher angle. They tend to make sense for firm nibs, not so much for flexible nibs. An image borrowed from Richard Binder's glossary:



Sheaffer's Lifetime nibs in general tend quite firm. Sheaffer's Waverley nibs also tend to be quite firm.

Perhaps you mean Lifetime vs Feathertouch nibs? Those are two different kinds of nibs during a particular period. The Feathertouch nibs are generally not flexible per se, but they are often softer and more responsive than a Lifetime nib.

smile.gif


Thank you both. What I may need to find is a medium Lifetime two-tone nib that has an upturned tip that would indicate a Waverely. Am I correct in this assumption?

Regards,
Scott


#5 kirchh

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 14:21

QUOTE (RevAaron @ May 7 2009, 10:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Waverley nibs are those with specific characteristics. There are Lifetime nibs which are Waverley....A Waverley nib is a nib whose tip is curved upwards a bit....

To be clear, a Waverley nib is a specific model (or set of models) of nibs made by a defunct UK company; these models had a set of particular characteristics, one of which is a turn-up tip. Recently, Richard Binder has taken this name and re-used it as his own trademark for a modification he offers for nibs wherein he imparts a turned-up tip. Therefore, an original Waverley nib is a nib from that defunct maker designated as a Waverley model by that maker, and there is also a Binder Waverley™ nib, which is a nib created or modified by Richard Binder to have a particular type of turned-up tip. However, "Waverley" is not a generic term for a nib with a turned-up tip, despite recent attempts to apply it as such. Again, I would refer those interested in the topic (and in my position on it) to peruse this thread.

--Daniel

"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

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#6 kirchh

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 14:24

QUOTE (sasurgner @ May 7 2009, 10:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you both. What I may need to find is a medium Lifetime two-tone nib that has an upturned tip that would indicate a Waverely. Am I correct in this assumption?

No. An upturned tip indicates...an upturned tip. There is no further Waverley-ness that would be implied by an upturned tip on a Sheaffer Lifetime nib.
--Daniel

"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

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#7 sasurgner

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 15:18

Daniel,
Thanks for the crisp clarification. Much learned information available at FPN. Much appreciated.

Regards,
Scott

#8 Johnny Appleseed

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 16:02

Yes, very important points. To recap and summarize:

Sheaffer never made a nib called a Waverly (or Waverley).

Sheaffer made some nibs with an upturned point.

Some Sheaffer Lifetime nibs had upturned points.

So there is no way to describe a distinction between Lifetime and Waverly points.


Also, to elaborate on what Daniel mentioned above is that Sheaffer Lifetime nibs are nibs that carry a Lifetime guarantee - there is no other all-encompasing distinction between lifetime and non-lifetime nibs. Lifetime nibs tend to be very firm, but there are full-flex lifetime nibs as well. Lifetime nibs tend to be slightly larger and thicker than their non-lifetime counterparts, but not always. Lifetime nibs vary from the mono-color traditional nibs of the early Lifetime flat tops, to the triumph nibs of the Triumph and Snorkel line, to some of the inlaid nibs of the Quasi-Imperial Lifetime pens in the 60s. So any description or comparison of lifetime nibs needs a few qualifiers as to what we are really talking about.

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#9 ToasterPastry

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 16:04

The "Waverley" nib was patented by Duncan Cameron in the 1860s. The pen manufacturer was MacNiven and Cameron of Edinburgh, Scotland, later moving to Birmingham, England. The "Waverley" design with upturned nib was primarily used for their dip pen steel nibs. Most of their fountain pens in the marketplace have the standard "Warranted" gold nib, not "Waverley" design. Although I did see one nib on the Lion & Pen web site, a good example of a gold "Waverley" design. Richard Binder's "Waverley" nibs feature only the upturned design, but not the pinched look. Sheaffer began featuring upturned nibs in the 1950s, but never called them "Waverley" nibs. These Sheaffer nibs are very stiff, as are the Lifetime nibs.

Edited by ToasterPastry, 07 May 2009 - 16:35.

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#10 kirchh

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 16:18

QUOTE (ToasterPastry @ May 7 2009, 12:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The "Waverly" nib was patented by Duncan Cameron in the 1860s. The pen manufacturer was MacNiven and Cameron of Edinborough, Scotland, later moving to Birmingham, England. The "Waverly" design with upturned nib was primarily used for their dip pen steel nibs. Most of their fountain pens in the marketplace have the standard "Warranted" gold nib, not "Waverly" design. Although I did see on Lion & Pen web site, an example of a gold "Waverly" design. Richard Binder's "Waverly" nibs feature only the upturned design, but not the pinched look.

I'm not sure why this seems to keep happening, but the spelling of the nib in question is "Waverley", not "Waverly".

--Daniel

"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

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#11 ToasterPastry

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 16:37

QUOTE (kirchh @ May 7 2009, 09:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (ToasterPastry @ May 7 2009, 12:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The "Waverly" nib was patented by Duncan Cameron in the 1860s. The pen manufacturer was MacNiven and Cameron of Edinborough, Scotland, later moving to Birmingham, England. The "Waverly" design with upturned nib was primarily used for their dip pen steel nibs. Most of their fountain pens in the marketplace have the standard "Warranted" gold nib, not "Waverly" design. Although I did see on Lion & Pen web site, an example of a gold "Waverly" design. Richard Binder's "Waverly" nibs feature only the upturned design, but not the pinched look.

I'm not sure why this seems to keep happening, but the spelling of the nib in question is "Waverley", not "Waverly".

--Daniel


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#12 Artie

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 18:56

This may be somewhat off topic but I am having a problem with people saying that Lifetime nibs are quite firm, period. From personal observation of the few pens I have, about 20, ten percent of them are not 'quite' firm but somewhat firm or semi flexible, and another ten percent are quite flexible. My random sample suggests -but by no means proves- that perhaps as many as 2 out of ten are not "quite" firm.

#13 kirchh

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 20:07

QUOTE (Artie @ May 7 2009, 02:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This may be somewhat off topic but I am having a problem with people saying that Lifetime nibs are quite firm, period. From personal observation of the few pens I have, about 20, ten percent of them are not 'quite' firm but somewhat firm or semi flexible, and another ten percent are quite flexible. My random sample suggests -but by no means proves- that perhaps as many as 2 out of ten are not "quite" firm.

I'd be surprised if someone with even a little knowledge would claim that Lifetime nibs are firm, period. It is widely known and well-documented that Sheaffer offered truly flexible Lifetime nibs, and they do turn up now and then.

--Daniel

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#14 Artie

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 23:07

QUOTE (ToasterPastry @ May 7 2009, 11:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The "Waverley" nib was patented by Duncan Cameron in the 1860s. The pen manufacturer was MacNiven and Cameron of Edinburgh, Scotland, later moving to Birmingham, England. The "Waverley" design with upturned nib was primarily used for their dip pen steel nibs. Most of their fountain pens in the marketplace have the standard "Warranted" gold nib, not "Waverley" design. Although I did see one nib on the Lion & Pen web site, a good example of a gold "Waverley" design. Richard Binder's "Waverley" nibs feature only the upturned design, but not the pinched look. Sheaffer began featuring upturned nibs in the 1950s, but never called them "Waverley" nibs. These Sheaffer nibs are very stiff, as are the Lifetime nibs.



#15 kirchh

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 23:36

QUOTE (Artie @ May 7 2009, 07:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (ToasterPastry @ May 7 2009, 11:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The "Waverley" nib was patented by Duncan Cameron in the 1860s. The pen manufacturer was MacNiven and Cameron of Edinburgh, Scotland, later moving to Birmingham, England. The "Waverley" design with upturned nib was primarily used for their dip pen steel nibs. Most of their fountain pens in the marketplace have the standard "Warranted" gold nib, not "Waverley" design. Although I did see one nib on the Lion & Pen web site, a good example of a gold "Waverley" design. Richard Binder's "Waverley" nibs feature only the upturned design, but not the pinched look. Sheaffer began featuring upturned nibs in the 1950s, but never called them "Waverley" nibs. These Sheaffer nibs are very stiff, as are the Lifetime nibs.


I don't intend to demean this writer, but s/he is not knowledgeable about Sheaffers; for example, the claim here about the appearance of Sheaffer's upturned nib is off by at least two decades.

--Daniel

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#16 PenHero

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 00:54

QUOTE (Artie @ May 7 2009, 07:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (ToasterPastry @ May 7 2009, 11:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The "Waverley" nib was patented by Duncan Cameron in the 1860s. The pen manufacturer was MacNiven and Cameron of Edinburgh, Scotland, later moving to Birmingham, England. The "Waverley" design with upturned nib was primarily used for their dip pen steel nibs. Most of their fountain pens in the marketplace have the standard "Warranted" gold nib, not "Waverley" design. Although I did see one nib on the Lion & Pen web site, a good example of a gold "Waverley" design. Richard Binder's "Waverley" nibs feature only the upturned design, but not the pinched look. Sheaffer began featuring upturned nibs in the 1950s, but never called them "Waverley" nibs. These Sheaffer nibs are very stiff, as are the Lifetime nibs.



To add to Daniel's comment, I can't think of any reference anywhere that ever refers to any Sheaffer nib as a "Waverley" type. I've never heard it come up in conversations with collectors. Sheaffer most definitely touted the turned up point as a writing advantage in advertising and in a short film made in the 1940s introducing the Triumph nib and explaining to dealers why they could not get more pens.

Did they get the idea from a metal pen made in the 1860s? Possible, but I doubt it. Sheaffer was into nib design as one of their core values, so they certainly may have taken derivative ideas, but their modeling shop made all sorts of things and design of the Triumph nib threw the book out, so upturning the nib point kept it from looking like a spearhead and Sheaffer emphasized this feature frequently in early advertising.

As to Triumph nibs being very stiff, this is simple ignorance. Sheaffer made at least 16 variations of Triumph nibs and many of them were very flexible indeed. The fact that these nibs are uncommon to rare is an indication of what buyers wanted in a pen in the 1940s, desiring to be able to write through carbon copies, and also that more fine points sold than anything. Have a look at this page from the 1947 Triumph instructions. Look how many flex and even music nibs are on the menu. These choices continued into the Snorkel era.

SheafferVacuumFiller06.jpg

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Jim Mamoulides
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Edited by PenHero, 08 May 2009 - 13:47.


#17 sasurgner

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:10

Jim: After reading your FPN post I took a look at your site. Remarkable! What a beautiful and functional bit of Pen information and photos. I can understand why you have received so many hits. I am still in search of a medium Lifetime nib for an OS Balance. Would you have one stashed anywhere? Flex is preferable. The ultra stiff nibs are like writing with a nail for a left-hander, and an upturned point would be ideal.

Best,
Scott

#18 Artie

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:51

Let me start over. I wanted to say that the casual reader should not make assumptions about nibs based on off-hand remarks. Just because a pen is a Sheaffer does not automatically mean it has a rigid nib. Neither should one take it as a given that a Waterman will always have a flexible nib. I have seen generalized statements like this and it bothers me that someone may make a purchase of a vintage pen and not get what they are expecting because of stereotypical comments.




#19 kirchh

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 13:38

QUOTE (Artie @ May 7 2009, 10:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Let me start over. I wanted to say that the casual reader should not make assumptions about nibs based on off-hand remarks. Just because a pen is a Sheaffer does not automatically mean it has a rigid nib. Neither should one take it as a given that a Waterman will always have a flexible nib. I have seen generalized statements like this and it bothers me that someone may make a purchase of a vintage pen and not get what they are expecting because of stereotypical comments.

I quite agree, and I would go even further -- folks seeking information shouldn't take anything said or written as unquestionable truth. There is loads of misinformation in the hobby -- in the conventional wisdom and lore as well as in the books. Keep an open mind, and try to ascertain the basis for any claim.

--Daniel

"The greatest mental derangement is to believe things because we want them to be true, not because we observe that they are in effect." --Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

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