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Sheaffer 7-30

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Malcy


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Posted 25 February 2012 - 21:32

OK, like flat tops. I don't collect any particular type of pen just those that take my fancy and that will write well. Perhaps that's why this is Sheaffer flat-top No3. :)

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So, you are thinking 7-30, what does that mean? In the mid 1920's Sheaffer started selling pens in the flat top design made from plastic (radlite). The pen that most associate with the name 'Sheaffer flat top' is the classic Lifetime model in jade.

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It would be strange for any manufacturer to only sell a flagship model. Sheaffer had a wide range of other models and the next step down from the Lifetime flat top was the 7-30. Deciphering the code shows that the pen cost $7 and had a guarantee for 30 years. This pen is a 1928 model, so was guaranteed until 1958. Surely long enough you would think but most buyers opted to pay an extra dollar and buy the lifetime model. The result is that there are a lot less 7-30s around than there are lifetime flat tops.

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Comparing the 7-30 and the lifetime, there are relatively few differences. The basic dimensions are the same, where they differ (apart from the guarantee) is that the 7-30 has a black end to the barrel and cap which features the 7-30 legend) and the nib. The 7-30 nib is of equal size but is plainer with the Sheaffer's name, 7-30 and 'Made in USA'.

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The 7-30 is a large pen at 136mm capped but is not heavy due to it's plastic construction. The pen fills with Sheaffer's lever fill system, so you know that it will be reliable. The large nib is smooth and writes with a medium line but is very firm as many vintage Sheaffer nibs are. There is little to go wrong with this pen which is why many are still usable day to day.

A writing sample in Montblanc Royal Blue.

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So what can I say in conclusion? It's an interesting addition to my collection of Sheaffer flat-tops. It was a bit more discoloured in real life than the photos showed but this is common in jade radlite pens and good specimens cost a lot more. How much? £35, so not a great outlay for such an interesting pen.

Finally all three flat tops together:

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My pen photo galleries - Reorganised

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#2 Roger W.

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:12

Initially, the 7-30 was distinguished by the black end caps and the double bands. The double bands were a bit of a hit so they went onto lifetimes only a few months later. The black 7-30 was in the thinner "T" size of .56" cap diameter compared to the full .59" of a lifetime but the jades seem to always have been the full .59". The late single banded black 7-30's would be full .59" pens.

While it was $1.75 (not a $1) lower than the life time I agree that it was a terrible price point at which the earlier Secretary and later 7-30's suffered for. If you went cheaper and for 30 years you bought the 5-30 while this is a standard as far as thickness everything else is very similar to the OS flattops.

Roger W.

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7-30's, Secretary's and Lifetimes

Edited by Roger W., 26 February 2012 - 01:14.

#3 watch_art


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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:28

That's awesome. I like the black ends better than all jade. Looks nicer IMO.

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122

#4 lovemy51


    legal? of course... and with all my papers. FP-friendly, mostly

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:17

nice! malcy, the hand writing is quite nice too!!

#5 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 12:17

very nice review :thumbup:
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

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