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Photo

Sheaffer Lifetime Balance Senior


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12 replies to this topic

#1 meanwhile

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 20:24

Appearence/Finish 5
The Balance is utterly gorgeous. It looks like a blob of green-grey Atlantic sea that has been persuaded into solidity. The celluloid is wonderful to hold: it's smooth but unslippery, warm, and light. The large gold nib and gilt complement the green celluloid perfectly.

Design/Size/Weight 5
Possibly the Senior Size Balance just happens to fit my hand perfectly and would be a nightmare for anyone else... But for me, this really does seem to be the perfect writing pen. It's lighter than I expected but gives a very secure effort free grip due to its curves and finger-friendly celluloid.

Nib Design and Performance 5
Richard Binder's nib width chart says that my Balance is an extra fine, but it doesn't seem to know what scratchiness is. The word "buttery" could have been made for it. Without ever forcing through more ink and than I'd like, it can keep up with any speed of stroke I can make. Perhaps a fencing master could twitch the pen fast enough to produce a dry stroke, but I can't.

To me the nib seems to have a nice semi-flex cushioning to it, but the pens I'm used to are extremely rigid - my only other fountain pens are Chinese Parker 51 clones with their stiff little tubular nibs, and an Esterbrook with a 9550 extra fine steel nib nib. In some ways the nib feels almost brush-like. But most of all it has an amazing "do what you're told" quality - when I use other pens now I'm aware of how of the motion of the nib is the result of momentum, friction, or an imperfect grip.

The pen possibly is fussy about ink - it loves Aurora Black, but hated the Herbin Ivy Green I bought to complement its colour. With the Herbin it was scratchy and dry, and I wouldn't write with the pen for love nor money if I had to use this ink. But I'm still giving the nib a perfect 5, because with the right ink it is sooo good, and I'm told this incompatibility with some modern inks is typical of pens from this period. (Conway Stewart inks are said to be a good bet.)

The Filling System 4
It's a boring lever fill. Works perfectly well. (The lever is the one to buy on vintage Sheaffers, I'm told - their vacumatics, unlike Parkers, tend to be shakey.)

Cost
Amazingly low for such an amazing pen - about £35. (And let me just say now to several other Forum users: hahaha - you really should have bid more!) The ebay seller, njoyingaz, was terrific - if anything his ad understated the quality of the pen, detailing really quite minute faults, his restoration work is excellent, communications were good, posting was fast and my pens were extremely well protected by their packing, and he refunded the postage discount I forgot to claim for buying two pens. He lists pen about weekly, I believe, and I'll certainly be checking his auctions regularly.

Conclusion
If the Balance was a Scotch, it would be Glenmorangie - deeply coloured, sweet tasting, with no rough edges. Writing with it is like performing a zen meditation ritual - both calming and uplifting. And my handwriting really has improved since using it!


I'll add some photos when I work out how to use Photobucket or something similar.

Edited by meanwhile, 14 June 2006 - 22:20.

- Jonathan

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#2 RonB

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 22:01

Thanks for the review. These old Balances are great. I have half a dozen or so and they all write well. They are some of my favorites.

Ron
Ron

Favorite Pens: Parker "51"Lamy 2000; Bexley America the Beautiful; Pilot Custom 823, 912 and 74; Sheaffer Early Touchdown; Parker Vacumatic; Sheaffer Legacy

#3 sonia_simone

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 03:10

Looking forward to a pic!
Isn't sanity really a one-trick pony, anyway? I mean, all you get is one trick, rational thinking! But when you're good and crazy . . . ooh hoo hoo hoo! . . . the sky's the limit!
--The Tick

#4 Ann Finley

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 05:40

Nice review. Wish we'd see more of them on vintage pens!

Best, Ann

#5 Mannenhitsu

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 21:07

I saw one of these on e-bay recently, and I was wondering how well they wrote. I am looking forward to any pics you can post. /:)

Edited by Mannenhitsu, 16 June 2006 - 21:07.


Sincerely yours,

Ronnie Banks
"Like a prized watch, a good fountain pen is a trusted companion for life."

#6 RonB

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 22:10

Photo deleted for more accurate photo posted below.

Edited by RonB, 17 June 2006 - 17:14.

Ron

Favorite Pens: Parker "51"Lamy 2000; Bexley America the Beautiful; Pilot Custom 823, 912 and 74; Sheaffer Early Touchdown; Parker Vacumatic; Sheaffer Legacy

#7 RonB

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 22:10

Photo deleted for more accurate photo posted below.

Edited by RonB, 17 June 2006 - 17:15.

Ron

Favorite Pens: Parker "51"Lamy 2000; Bexley America the Beautiful; Pilot Custom 823, 912 and 74; Sheaffer Early Touchdown; Parker Vacumatic; Sheaffer Legacy

#8 njoyingaz

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 03:36

Attached is the collage of photos of the Sheaffer Marine Green that "meanwhile" won on the auction. I was the seller. I am glad he is enjoying the pen. :rolleyes: It is a beauty.
NOTE: Correction: This is not the pen "Meanwhile" won. I put the wrong photos up. Check message below for correct photos.

Attached Images

  • marinegreenmain.jpg

Edited by njoyingaz, 17 June 2006 - 04:24.


#9 kirchh

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 04:09

Note that this pen is not a Lifetime Balance Senior, but an H 5-30TC (a non-Lifetime pen). The clip dates it to 1932+, most likely '32-'34.

--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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#10 njoyingaz

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 04:21

I am glad Daniel is keeping people honest. :blush: I attached the wrong photo set in haste. :bonk: Here are the correct photos for the pen "Meanwhile" won at the auction.
Sorry for the confusion. Hopefully, it is correctly identified.

Attached Images

  • sheaffermarinegreenmain.jpg

Edited by njoyingaz, 17 June 2006 - 04:41.


#11 meanwhile

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 13:07

Yes, the second one is my girl. Lee's conservative restoration work is beautiful - the pen has a the feel of something that has been nicely "lived-in" and acquired history, but functions as well or better as the day it was made.

Lee - am I right in having identified the nib as an XF? I can't remember what your ad said.

Edited by meanwhile, 17 June 2006 - 13:52.

- Jonathan

#12 njoyingaz

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 15:41

I measured the nib width using the attached chart that has been recommended in these forums before. It indicated a width of 0.35 mm, which many would put in the Extra Fine category. ;)
...Lee

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#13 meanwhile

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 23:03

I measured the nib width using the attached chart that has been recommended in these forums before. It indicated a width of 0.35 mm, which many would put in the Extra Fine category. ;)
...Lee

Yay me! I managed to use the chart right. 0.35 was what I got too.
- Jonathan






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