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Sheaffer 500 (1962-1964 Model)


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 18:52

First Impressions
“What the ding-dong is that?” The cap sits funny, the point has this odd load of plastic above and below. The first one I saw on eBay I squinted at, then said, “Frankenpen!” and dismissed it. This one I bid on because the vendor’s pictures were grainy enough that I thought I was contesting an Imperial VI with a metal cap. By the time it arrived, I had done enough further reading to actually be sort of pleased with my mistake.

Appearance
Happily, this pen has gotten through the years with little obvious wear-- some of the shine is off the plastic, but the phrase “looks good as new” is still available. I am not a huge fan of the all-metal cap, but the high-gloss finish on this on is pleasing. The burgundy colour sort of swallows the the break of the blind cap and the little touchdown vent just fore of it. With the lid off, the fake nature of the “inlay” is not at all obvious. For what was at the time the bottom rung of its particular ladder (there being an 800 and a 1000 to aspire to), the attention to the finish is gratifying.

Design
“What the ding-dong is that?” This pen CAN be attractive, but only if you’re careful about which angle you look at. With the cap on, it’s a fairly nice pen, but the cap is proud of the barrel (moreso than on a Parker ‘21’ I’ve got for comparison)-- it gives the impression of being borrowed from a different pen altogether. When the cap comes off and is set off to one side, this is a beautiful pen... when seen from above. Actually, within about 30 degrees of vertical, this is a very stylish pen. Once the “forehead” starts to become noticeable, things start to come unstuck. This anterior bulge is less of an issue than the big prow-like fairing which encloses the feed, even with the cool gun-port appearance of the breather/feeder hole in the underside.

Nib
Well, it’s... silvery. No telling what it’s made of, as there’s not a mark on it. It writes with a fine, smooth but slightly dry line, and it’s stiff as can be. It works, but you’ll never design a wedding invitation with it. It’s a little toothier than I might like, but well clear of scratchy.

Filling System
This is the fourth touchdown/snorkel filler I’ve gotten. I’m still awaiting repair parts for the other three, but the sac is nice and floppy in this one, so I finally got to try on out. I’ve tried all the other styles of filler except eye-dropper and vacuum-plunger, and I’m pretty sure this is about as good as it’s going to get. I’m tempted to pull a half-point for lack of any ink-window, but I expect I’d get squirted in the side of the head if I did.

Cost and Value
This pen cost $5.95 when it was born (the $5.00 version was a cartridge filler). Converted to modern money, that’s about $40 (according to these guys). While this is less over-the-top in its design than the recently discontinued Waterman Phileas, it’s every bit a nice to write with and costs about the same. I’m happy with my Phileas, so I’d be a big hypocrite to say this is any less cost-effective. I don’t know the market well enough to know what the going rate for these as a vintage pen is, but I paid... a very reasonable amount for it (rather less than for a Phileas), so the contentment continues.

Conclusion
I wouldn’t say you should push down your grandmother to get at one of these, and if you can’t get past the looks you should avoid it (because it’s not getting any prettier), but I do recommend it if you find it at a reasonable price.






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#2 Video11

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 19:39

Nice review, thanks.

Ah yes, the Dolphin pen. I too bid and won one of these pens thinking it was something else. I remember being a little disappointed when it arrived, but the dolphin really is a nice simple pen, nothing fancy. Your description matches my pen to a tee: the cap that seems too big for the barrel, the nib that must be steel because it writes like a nail, and the 'fooled ya' pseudo-inlaid nib. Mine is a black cartridge filler and not a touchdown so you have the better of me there.

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#3 Maja

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 08:02

QUOTE(Video11 @ May 6 2007, 12:39 PM) View Post
Nice review, thanks.

Ah yes, the Dolphin pen. I too bid and won one of these pens thinking it was something else. I remember being a little disappointed when it arrived, but the dolphin really is a nice simple pen, nothing fancy. Your description matches my pen to a tee: the cap that seems too big for the barrel, the nib that must be steel because it writes like a nail, and the 'fooled ya' pseudo-inlaid nib. Mine is a black cartridge filler and not a touchdown so you have the better of me there.

Rick.


....I agree with Rick. I have a dark blue cartridge version but your burgundy TD filler looks even better smile.gif

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#4 artaddict

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 23:49

I love my black Sheaffer 500. It's a nice reliable writer, lays down nice wet lines using Quink or Polar Black; and a dryer, finer line using PR Black Cherry.
I love using the touchdown filling mechanism.
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#5 lovemy51

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 06:00

hello guys... i know this is an old post, but wanted to let you know that i got one in black (TD) of this in an antique shop in San Juan Capistrano, Southern Cal. for just $8 USD.

it writes well (after a couple of good flushes) and i love the balance of it. i started carrying this one everywhere now.

for $8, i don't complaint

#6 Maja

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 06:35

Oh wow, I read the review and thought "Gee, this is a nicely-written pen review! I should comment on it... "...and then I realized I already had embarrassed_smile.gif embarrassed_smile.gif
Thanks again for the review, EB!
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