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Sheaffer Imperial III


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Mudge

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 12:49

My latest FleaBay score is what I think is probably a Sheaffer Imperial III, which seems to be a re-badged Sheaffer Target. This one might be unusual in that it is stamped "MADE IN AUSTRALIA" around the barrel just below the lip of the push-on cap. From what I've read at http://www.penhero.c...erialsEarly.htm, it seems to date from about 1961 (making it just a little older than myself, so I'm not sure whether I should call it Vintage smile.gif).Given the Australian stamp, I'm inclined to doubt the alternative identification as a Sheaffer Target, which as far as I can tell might have been a testing of the marketing water a year earlier.

I didn't really know what to expect from this pen, but I was a bit ruthless with myself in the bidding, and I scored it at a low enough price to allow for disappointments.

When I first took it out of its packaging, I was slightly crestfallen at how light the pen was, and my first impression was that this reflected a plastickyness that I was only half-prepared for. But the instrument seemed to be in good condition, with only the usual scuff marks of general wear and tear that are (as far as I'm concerned) perfectly legitimate signs of age for a pen that is nearly fifty years old. I probably won't even bother polishing it. There isn't even any brassing of the clip.

Since I bought the pen "as seen", I fully expected to see a train wreck within the barrel. However, the rubber sac seems to be in perfect condition. The touchdown plunger, however, doesn't seem to do anything, so I guess there must be leakage between the plunger and the metal sleeve holding the sac. If anyone has any advice for me there, I would be grateful to receive it. smile.gif Unless I hear advice to the contrary, I might try the judicious application of a little silicone grease to the sleeve containing the sac. In the meantime, I am able to pull the sleeve off the sac and squeeze the air out of the sac with my fingers to fill the pen.

I gave the pen as thorough a rinse under the tap as I could, and was pleased to see that the ink that came out seemed to be of an innocuous quink-blue variety. So when I was ready, I loaded it up with Mudge's Mix and tried it out.

Here came the revelation. I had expected fairly ordinary performance from this short, fine-point silver-palladium conical nib. I have quite big, loopy handwriting which tends to test the delivery of a feed to the maximum, and I usually prefer a broadish italic or stub nib. However, this little pen delivers a perfect line of almost identical thickness to my Namiki VP medium (which in my book is fine), but with even better consistency (!) than the Namiki.The design of the conical nib pretty much precludes any degree of flex, so I had no expectations in that department. However, I was gobsmacked at the smoothness of delivery of ink to the point. The line is nice and wet (though not too much so) and never, EVER skips, which is something I can't say for some pens of a hundred times the cost.

Since then, I have to say this unassuming little pen has rarely left my hand, and is likely to remain an everyday writer for the foreseeable future. Its only fault, other than the mechanical one I mentioned earlier (and this is entirely subjective, since I don't go in for posting) is that the pen is just a little too short, given that I tend to hold pens from a relatively high position. However, this objection is trifling, since the Sheaffer Imperial III is an infallible delight to use.

Attached Images

  • imperial_III.jpg
  • imperial_III_nib.jpg
  • imperial_III_touchdown.jpg


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#2 alpha1

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 19:08

why is the nib-tip upturned?

#3 Armchop

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 19:23

sm_cat.gif
Hi there Mudge
lots of people may correct me here. Lovely pen. I have one or two.
Therefore:
1) Not an Imperial. The Imperials started with a semi hooded/sheathed nib like a particular Lamy pen.
Then went to the inlaid nibs. I believe you have a Target (or a Statreman)
2) The target does have an upturned nib but not sure if yours is more uppy than it should be.
3) Do several searches of method of filling Touchdowns. Basically You need to pump once to form a vacuum then repump to get ink. Hold in for few seconds to absorb ink before lifting.

Welcome to old sheaffer club!

Armchop

#4 jmw19

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 19:32

QUOTE(alpha1 @ Sep 27 2007, 03:08 PM) View Post
why is the nib-tip upturned?


It's a feature of the Sheaffer Triumph nib, and makes the sweet spot of the nib seem a lot bigger. I really like a good Triumph nib, but so many seem to have been (repaired) to straight or even curved inward.

Lovely pen, though - I just missed a few on the 'Bay, but they closed in the low $20s. Time to get ruthless.

Oh yes, if the sac is good, a failure of the Touchdown filler means the o-ring inside the barrel is dry or worn. Several places sell these - I suspect you'll want the smaller of the two sizes offered, but they're inexpensive and useful enough to get a few of each.
There's a small flat-head screw inside the barrel, that holds the end cap in place. There should be a seal between the metal inner tube and the end - they're small and easy to lose, but not vital.
Removing the old o-ring can be touchy, especially if it's hardened, but I find a small jeweler's screwdriver will get it started.
To reinsert, grease the indent where it rests with silicone, then work the new ring in. In general, once you get one spot into place, the rest will slip in pretty easily. The grease helps, too.
Then grease the inner surface of the ring (I add a bit to the end cap-s threads and over the seal, to help airtightness any way I can. Reassemble, replace the screw, and hold a finger over the open end of the barrel. When extending or collapsing the piston, you should hear and feel pressure being built up and released. If not, you may have a crack or a clogged breather hole in the barrel.

If all's well, replace the section, and your Touchdown filler should be ready for action. The non-snorkels don't develop quite the directed stream of the Snorks, but can still empty quite vigorously, so aim carefully.

Best,
Jon

#5 cvasara

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 19:48

Interesting discussion, so far, and the link to PenHero really doesn't seem to clear up the original question, as to whether this one is an Imperial III or a Target. The very last paragraph on the Target says
"The biggest trick to collecting the Target will be identification. Since there's no visual difference between the Target and its successor, the Imperial III, unless the pen and pencil have the Target name screened on them, you won't really know!"

These do seem to be on eBay in the low 20s, as Jon has stated, two just closed today at $20, perhaps a bit too much but I thought they were worth $20. I am eager to compare them against my daily Snorkels, and Targas, that sit around my desk, as well as the everyday Dolphin I use.

So how do we really tell if these are Imperial III or Targets?

#6 Mudge

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 06:24

Thanks for all your replies, folks, especially Jon's advice about the Touchdown. I'll definitely investigate that. smile.gif

As far as identification is concerned, I suggested that it might be an Imperial III rather than a Target because my impression was that the latter was a testing of the water. My hypothesis was that it seemed relatively improbable that Sheaffer would set up all the tooling for manufacture locally in Australia (which I thought was somewhat surprising in itself) for a relatively experimental line.

As for the upturned nib: that was the way it came, and it does indeed seem to have quite a big sweet spot. I have seen other pens where the point projects the curve of the rest of the nib to the point, and I can only imagine they must be quite scratchy, as well as looking like a particularly savage fingernail. smile.gif

For a robust everyday writer, I can't recommend this pen highly enough, though I would probably balk at US$20+. I paid that in $AU, which makes it pretty good value.

A quick note here: my camera didn't seem to want to render the colour correctly in the pictures here, so I'll fix them up when I get a chance. The true colour of the pen should be a very dark blue.

[edit]
An inspection of the barrel reveals a total absence of an O-ring where it's obviously supposed to be. Time to rummage in my box of bits... smile.gif
[/edit]

Edited by Mudge, 28 September 2007 - 19:43.


#7 lovemy51

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 05:02

well, i figured i revive this old review since i couldn't resist and i bought myself one of these beauties from Teri Morris at Payton Street Pens and wanted to share with all-o-yous!!!
http://www.peytonstr...Fountain/Detail

here are some pix from her site:
Posted Image
Posted Image

B)

#8 tonybelding

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 03:36

Here came the revelation. I had expected fairly ordinary performance from this short, fine-point silver-palladium conical nib. ... However, I was gobsmacked at the smoothness of delivery of ink to the point. The line is nice and wet (though not too much so) and never, EVER skips, which is something I can't say for some pens of a hundred times the cost.


That is ordinary performance for a conical-style Sheaffer nib. :lol:

#9 jniforat

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 16:50

great looking pen. i have a statemens and these sheaffer's are really starting to grow on me. the triumph nibs are just amazing. i love the F4's

#10 FrankB

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 19:42

This thread revival is quite timely. I am awaiting delivery of a Sheaffer Vac-Fill with a conical (upturned) nib. Now I am even more excited.

#11 bobbyk46

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 15:34

I got a burgundy at Peyton in xf and couldn't be happier with its smooth performance. Now my everyday.

#12 Motomo

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 00:27

could you compare the width of the line that your XF makes with something like a lamy safari ef? I have been looking at one of this and trying to decide what size nib.
Giving money and power to the government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys - P. J. O'Rourke

#13 paradigm

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 12:22

I purchased Imperial III (Fine) at site peytonstreetpens.com
And went with her to this New Year in Siberia. And on the slopes and away, this fountain pen has always been with me through the inner jacket pocket. During the fall of the breast on the marble staircase she too was in the pocket.
In addition to the tiny scratches on the iron rim of the cap is no trace of the fall remains.
And never, never, it did not disappoint me in my expressive recordings on the street (-30 degrees Celsius) or in a warm house! She always gave out awesome straight line!

My son chose this pen out of my small collection of pens Sheaffer (330, 444, some other). He is now working on its development in the copy-writing for first grade.

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#14 PF95

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 16:03

Here came the revelation. I had expected fairly ordinary performance from this short, fine-point silver-palladium conical nib. I have quite big, loopy handwriting which tends to test the delivery of a feed to the maximum, and I usually prefer a broadish italic or stub nib. However, this little pen delivers a perfect line of almost identical thickness to my Namiki VP medium (which in my book is fine), but with even better consistency (!) than the Namiki.The design of the conical nib pretty much precludes any degree of flex, so I had no expectations in that department. However, I was gobsmacked at the smoothness of delivery of ink to the point. The line is nice and wet (though not too much so) and never, EVER skips, which is something I can't say for some pens of a hundred times the cost.


You were right... the pen's performance IS ordinary...this is ordinary performance for Sheaffers. They're unassuming an that quality makes
them EVEN better. :) :happyberet:
I'm not your 'friend', bud

#15 t.payne93

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:02

My Mum has one of these! It took me a while to identify which sheaffer model it was, but I'm glad I now Know that it was an imperial III! She has it in dark blue
T.Payne






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