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Bought myself a new old pen - Sheaffer Touchdown circa 1950


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8 replies to this topic

#1 biffybeans

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 16:04

Full review here with Pictures

My 2nd most recent acquisition. A Sheaffer Statesman fountain pen, circa 1950.

I've been back and forth on my thoughts on vintage pens. Part of me wants to write with an unused pen - to inject it with my own creative energy, and another part of me thinks it's just so darn cool to use something that's been around for 60 years... Who used it? How did they use it? There's also a part of me that doesn't want to buy/use a vintage pen for fear of damaging it in a way that would render it useless because they are not so easy to replace.

I absolutely love the curves on this nib...

I've tried a few other vintage pens, in fact paid a small fortune to have a Parker 51 restored only to find out that I couldn't get it to write nor could I easily flush/fill it. (My inability to get it to write may have had to do with my writing angle and the way it was set up.) The filling mechanism was beyond my comprehension. I could not for the life of me get ink into that pen.

Most modern fountain pens use either a cartridge/converter system or a piston filling system. Older pens utilized a number of different filling mechanisms such as lever fill, vac fill, or in this case, a touchdown filler. Screw off the blind cap at the end of the pen and a plunger mechanism is exposed. You simply place the nib into a bottle of ink and press down on the plunger. Viola! Pen filled. Screw the blind cap closed and you are ready to go. (Wipe pen nib first.)

This is an extremely thin and lightweight pen- more so than any other I currently own. It's a smooth writer, and the sac seems to hold a reasonable amount of ink. The F (fine) nib seems to write fairly true to it's size - maybe just a little wider and wetter when filled with certain inks. (I have Diamine Imperial Purple in it right now, or I should say had.... It needs to be refilled.) Flushing is easier with this pen than with my other piston fillers.

I included this last picture because I wanted to show off the heart shaped breather hole. Love that!

I paid $30 for this pen from another pen enthusiast on the Fountain Pen Network. He had replaced the sac (commonly needed in older pens) and it was ready to go. The plastic was a bit scratched from normal use, and I was able to smooth it out somewhat with some light grit sanding paper.

I'm happy with it, and it's going to stay in my stable for at least a little while.

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#2 DRP

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 16:40

Interesting and informative review. Thanks for posting it.

#3 biffybeans

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 16:51

No Problem. smile.gif

QUOTE (DRP @ Mar 10 2009, 12:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Interesting and informative review. Thanks for posting it.



#4 Brian

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 23:09

Nice review and I like the consideration and respect (if I may call it that for lack of a better word) you have for the pen. Sheaffer pens are a kind of anomaly in that many collectors tend to discount them as a serious pen collector's pen. I've had some collectors even tell me that they are "closet Sheaffer collectors." Oh the humanity. OK, that was a lame joke, but the lower regard for vintage Sheaffers is true.

And yet, if you examine the history of this brand you will find so much depth and detail. The conical nib on your Statesman is only one of many Sheaffer innovations. The inlaid nib, the lever filler, the torpedo design, all of these can be traced to this brand. And yet, I think we are lucky that this brand tends to fly under the radar screen so that there are more to go around.

Anyway, just sharing a junkies POV and thanks for a great review.



#5 troglokev

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 07:26

Thanks once again for a nice review!

Is that a Waverly nib I see before me? It certainly appears to be one. I'd be interested to know a bit more about how the original version writes, though you seem to be very happy with it. Richard's description of his Waverlys would imply that it should be smooth, as fine points go.

#6 stevlight

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 11:17

great review. Love that nib!
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#7 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 19:53

great review smile.gif hope your pen brings you a lot of writing pleasure.
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

#8 wspohn

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 22:45

QUOTE (troglokev @ Mar 17 2009, 12:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is that a Waverly nib I see before me? It certainly appears to be one.


That was my thought. Have to haul out my Sheaffers and see if they recurve that much!
Bill Spohn
Vancouver BC
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#9 PaulT00

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 22:47

Nice little Sheaffer and a very nice review. I have one which is almost identical, but fitted with the needlepoint nib - which despite its extreeeeeeeeme fineness is still smooth enough to write normally with. Lovely nibs, the Triumphs - my collection includes 4 assorted Triumph nibbed pens and every one is really smooth... most are nails but I do have a flexible broad on a Touchdown as well. They really knew how to make nibs in Fort Madison. Have you considered getting a Snorkel to keep this one company?

Edited to add - all my Triumph nibs have the recurved 'Waverley' shape, most if not all of them seem to be like that.

Edited by PaulT00, 18 March 2009 - 22:49.







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