About the company: Sheaffer Pen Corporation is a manufacturer of writing instruments, particularly luxury fountain pens. The company was founded by Walter A. Sheaffer in Fort Madison, Iowa, and incorporated in 1913 to exploit his invention of a lever-filling fountain pen. The brand was sold by French parent company BiC to A. T. Cross Company in August, 2014. I think everyone knows about BiC, world’s second largest manufacturer of stationary, including their famous ball point invention (not technically invention, they bought the patent and were the first ones to succeed by making the best use of economies of scale!).
Pen Models: Sheaffer currently manufactures thirteen models of luxury writing instruments, including: Taranis, Legacy Heritage, Prelude, Prelude Mini, Sagaris, Intensity, 500, 300, 200, 100, Stylus, Sentinel, and VFM. In this post I will review two 100 models and one VFM.
Packaging: It comes in a hard cardboard black box with the pen resting on the cushion within it. The box says ‘Imported and Marketed by, William Penn Pvt Ltd’. On the label it also says, manufacturer name – A T Cross Ltd. The packaging definitely gives you the feel of holding something of value.
Look and feel: I have a black ink, matte black body, classic Shaeffer VFM pen. The refill says, Made in China, medium 99335 ballpoint. The refill is available for 190 rupees on Flipkart.com. The body is sturdy and light (not feather light!) with a touch of chrome on the plunger, the clip, the center ring on the body and near the nib. The clip holds the iconic Shaeffer white dot. The White Dot appeared in 1923 or 1924 and remained the mark of the Lifetime warranty until 1946 or thereabouts, when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission laid down certain restrictions. The FTC’s original 1945 ruling forbade “unconditional” warranties altogether if there was a fee. L. E. Waterman and Parker challenged the ruling, but Waterman withdrew its petition in 1946. Parker fought on, and the resulting 1948 court judgement softened the ruling, with the end result that it prohibited the offering of a warranty if a fee was charged (the prohibition remained on the use of the word “unconditional”). Sheaffer retained the Lifetime warranty on its Crest Masterpiece but dropped it on all other models, and the Crest Masterpiece also lost it in the 1950s. It’s been on again, off again — mostly off — since then, and it’s currently off.
The clip is too tight to hook in our pockets with one hand. Maybe with time it will loosen up but as of now, it sits in my bag and never on my pocket. The plunger uses a push mechanism to get the nib in and out and it’s pretty neat.
Writing: Well..it’s not the smoothest pen considering its price tag. Here’s a sample written with this pen, be a judge of yourself. The light weight definitely helps with long writing hours but again not the best in this segment.
Price Tag: 900 Rupees.
Sheaffer 100 (Silver)
Packaging: It came in a solid flip box. The box gives you a feeling of luxury and it holds the warranty card (1 Year Warranty on Manufacturing Defects).
Look and Feel: Silver body with chrome touches all over. It definitely looks like a jewel on the front pocket of a crisp white shirt. The iconic white Sheaffer dot sits on the pen clip. The ball point nib comes in and out using a twist mechanism. Pretty smooth and durable. One downside of the pen is its weight. It’s too heavy to write for long hours. It can be put under the signature pen category.
Writing: Really really smooth. It’s like butter on a pan!
Price Tag: 1500 Rupees.
Sheaffer 100 (Matt Black)
Packaging: It was a combo pack of a Sheaffer 100 matt black pen and a card holder. It came in a cardboard box with both the pen and card holder placed in a foamy white bed!
Look and Feel: Same as VFM (above) except that it opens by a twist mechanism. The pen is light (not as heavy as my Sheaffer 100 [Silver] pen).
Writing: Definitely smoother than my VFM Sheaffer ball point pen but not as smooth as my other Sheaffer 100.
Price Tag: 1500 Rupees (including the card holder).
Sheaffer is the most gifted pen in India and most of the people are always confused between buying a Cross pen or a Sheaffer pen, but I hope after reading this article, they will understand that these arrows are from the same quill. If you want an upgrade to your Parker, Sheaffer is what you should be hunting next, especially their Ferrari collection (which is to die for)!
Till next time!!