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Vintage Sheaffer Research

Posted in Fountain Pens

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, as it was one of the posts you all voted on. But, better late than never, right?

It’s a little difficult to re-research a pen after I’ve identified it, mainly because I want to just type in what it is. But, I managed it. Today I’ll be walking you through the way I research pens, in this case, my vintage Sheaffer.

Sheaffer

I always work through Google, usually starting with image search. Google is your friend, really.

My first search was vintage green sheaffer. Unfortunately, that was a big nope. None of the images even came close to my pen.

I tried again with green celluloid vintage sheaffer. That got me closer, but I still didn’t see my pen. However, I did find the color name via this image. My pen is Marine Green. Which also gave me my next step.

Marine green vintage sheaffer didn’t yield any useful results. So, I decided to switch tactics.

History of sheaffer fountain pens all results search led me to Pen Hero. While the initial results page didn’t give me very much information, the Triumph Nib, 1942-1998 page gave me a possible date range of 1944-1945 as well as an additional search term (Triumph).

So, I tried Google again, this time with history of sheaffer triumph fountain pens. Peyton Street Pens popped up in the results, and their Sheaffer Pen Model Identifier yielded a few possibilities under the “TRIUMPH AND CREST” header.

Image from Peyton Street Pens, labeled as “Sheaffer Triumph 1000 Lifetime Fountain Pen – Vac-Fil, Green Striated”

The Sheaffer Triumph 1000 Lifetime is the right color and the right clip, but the band is off and there isn’t the white dot mine has.

Image from Peyton Street Pens, labeled as “Sheaffer Lifetime Valiant 1250 – Black w 3/8″ Cap Band”

The Sheaffer Lifetime Valiant 1250 has the right band and clip, but, like the 1000 doesn’t have the white dot.

Image from Peyton Street Pens, labeled as “Sheaffer Triumph 1250 Lifetime Fountain Pen – Vac-Fil, Green Striated”

Sheaffer Triumph 1250 Lifetime has the clip and the white dot, but the band is wrong.

The numbers clearly mean something, though. My pen has a 1250 on it, so that’s another thing to add to my search.

With the additional information, I went back to Google Image Search. Sheaffer Triumph 1250 Lifetime led me to a listing on Antique Digger: Circa 1945 Sheaffer Triumph 1250 Marine Green Lifetime Balance Fountain Pen Restored.

Image from Antique Digger

It’s very close, but the section is wrong. My pen has a celluloid section.

showing the celluloid barrel on my vintage sheaffer

But then, I found a Worth Point listing: Sheaffer Triumph Vac Valiant Marine Green Oversize Fountain Pen Set (Restored).

Sheaffer Triumph Vac Valiant
Image from WorthPoint.

Other than the imprint on the nib, this is identical to my pen. To recap to this point, I know my pen couldn’t have been made before 1942, and may have been made between 1944 and 1945. It’s a Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize in Marine Green.

I thought it would be easy from this point. Just find a couple of sites confirming the information and then date it. However, a Google search for Sheaffer Triumph Vac Valiant Marine Green Oversize didn’t return anything useful for all results or image results. Neither did Sheaffer Triumph Vac Valiant Marine Green or Sheaffer Triumph Valiant history.

A search for Sheaffer nib history yielded an interesting Sheaffer reference page on Pen Collectors of America. However, it didn’t have anything within the date range I’m looking for.

So, I tried again, this time with how to date a sheaffer fountain pen. This search led me down a bit of a rabbit hole. A fountain pen network post let me to fountainpen.it’s chronology page. This, in turn, led me to their Sheaffer page, then their Sheaffer Triumph Pen page, which confirmed the earliest possible date of 1942 and provided a latest possible date of 1949. Fountainpen.it’s Sheaffer Valiant page provided the following information:

The name Valiant is one of the many invented names used by Sheaffer to identify one of the variants of the versions of its models. Like the other names , it therefore does not apply to a specific pen model (that is, there is no Valiant model ), but rather to a certain price / quality range, relating to different models. In this case, it is one of the most common versions, used as a reference, together with the Sentinel and the Admiral , in most advertisements.

The name appears in a catalog of 1941 as referring to the most expensive (and largest) of the pens with the clip overturned above the cap intended for use by the military , it is then used at least in the Tuckaway model for the version with two-colored conical nib and with body and celluloid cap with 1.5 cm terminal band (and for subsequent analogs in which celluloid was replaced by plastic). The name was then used on the Touchdown , Sheaffer TM and Snorkel Pen models with the same type of finish (plastic body and cap with 0.9 cm gold end band) equipped with a conical nib Triumph Nib in two-tone gold, like the one in the photo opposite.

http://www.fountainpen.it/Sheaffer_Valiant

That page also included the below photo which shows that the Triumph Valiant was available in 1946.

Image from fountainpen.it

And it included a link to Richard Binder’s website. I jumped around his site, landing on the index of reference pages, an interesting page about the Anatomy of a Fountain Pen V: Sheaffer’s Vacuum-Fil [sic], an overview of Sheaffer’s Triumph nib, and an overview of Sheaffer’s Triumph pens.

The overview of the triumph nib leads me to believe that my pen is second generation, or post-war. However, the overview of triumph pens had conflicting information to everything else I’d found thus far.

Generally, when I start finding conflicting information, I stop searching, either content with what I’ve found so far, like today, or to search again another day.

So, Given everything, I feel comfortable saying I have a Sheaffer Triumph Valiant vacuum filler in Marine Green, likely manufactured between 1945 and 1949.


Thanks for reading this far, I hope that my methodology for researching vintage pens is helpful to you. Do you have any vintage pens? Have you had to research them? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi Rachel,
    I do have a couple of old Sheaffer fountain pens which had been in my grandfather’s collection. I don’t use them. They’re beautiful objects, but too difficult to use.
    I much prefer to use my Sheaffer cartridge-loading fine nib writing pen or my broad nib Sheaffer cartridge-loaded Calligraphy pen.
    Unfortunately, there are no more useful Sheaffer ink cartridges available. When I say “useful”, I’m referring to the old cylinders with the flat ends which one could simply drop into the pen’s barrel and screwed on the nib piece. Easy! Now, on the market, there are some Sheaffer ink cylinders with recessed ends that are difficult to use with the great old classic Sheaffer ink pens. They are complicated and frankly, impossible to use with the wonderful old-fashioned classic Sheaffer ink pens.
    If you’ve got any clout with Sheaffer Pens, please tell them that there are many calligraphers and other former customers who miss the old Sheaffer pens and their different colored flat-end cartridges. Flat ends on both sides work well and are the best.
    Thanks for your help.
    Sincerely,
    Katharina Harlow
    PS. The see-through ASTM D 4236 Sheaffer pens are a waste of money.

    October 9, 2022
    |Reply
    • I don’t have any experience with Sheaffer cartridge pens. Can you get a converter to work with the older pens? Also, no clout here. Just a pen enthusiast who enjoys writing her blog.

      October 10, 2022
      |Reply
  2. Michael Cole
    Michael Cole

    It’s good to read through this and find my method of googling isn’t too abnormal. The Sheaffer naming system is convoluted, but I credit them with continually improving their models, even if it confuses collectors decades later. Soon I’ll follow your process to identify and date my tiny green Tuckaway, which is away for surgery to be useable again.

    September 4, 2022
    |Reply
  3. James Patterson
    James Patterson

    I own three vintage pens that I sent to get rebuilt.

    June 20, 2022
    |Reply
    • One of my biggest pen regrets is returning a vintage pen that needed work. It was in my early days in the hobby and I had no idea how rare it was. *sigh* I’ve never seen one again.

      June 24, 2022
      |Reply

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