The Sheaffer Whateveritscalled

My attempt to learn to write better without the benefit of flex is quite successful. I – my own most acerbic critic – am quite pleased with how things have gone. I enjoy the application of greater precision in writing than was my wont. It’s really most satisfying to develop a not at all objectionable hand without flourishes.

It took longer than I expected, mostly because I had to find a pen I could work with well. I explored the extremes, from a tiny Tuckaway to a Sheaffer Lifetime Oversize, but in the end I settled on this pen:


I don’t even know what to call it, though I suspect it has some mundane title like Sheaffer Cartridge Pen. It’s a mixture of the expensive and the cheap. It has a white dot, which suggests quality – or used to, but the clip that white dot is on has lost most of its gold plating.


The nib, too, is gold, and it’s very good. Smooth, but not in that greasy way many modern pens are, with their great globs of tipping material. This nib doesn’t have feedback, exactly, but it gives a feeling of precision. I knew that I was getting somewhere when this pen began to fall to my hand like one of my old Swans, and I started to look forward to the prospect of writing with it.

2 thoughts on “The Sheaffer Whateveritscalled

  1. Hi Deb,

    It’s an Sheaffer Imperial IV, These were made over several decades in four models. The touchdown Imperial IV, the lifetime Imperial IV, a cartridge pen made from about 1963-1964 which should have Lifetime on the nib and clip, the Imperial IV cartridge pen made from about 1964-1976 and the later Triumph Imperial IV introduced in 1995-1998.

    Your pen is a cartridge pen which rules out the touchdown pen, it doesn’t appear to have lifetime on it and the Triumph Imperial nib is subtly different in shape at the barrel end, so it isn’t one of those. By process of deduction that probably makes it a Sheaffer Imperial IV (cartridge) made from 1964-1976.

    They are great pens which is why the design lasted so long and come in a wide variety of nibs including semi flex and stub, though most are stiff very smooth medium and fine widths.

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