I admire Sheaffers for their creativity and innovation. Not so much their technical innovation; the Touchdown and Vac Fill don’t strike me as especially elegant or efficient. It’s more their aesthetic innovation that appeals to me, that and their quality. The Balance, the Triumph nib and the inlaid nib – these things show the creativity of the Sheaffer company in its heyday.
This is a Sheaffer Imperial IV. There are so many similar pens in the Sheaffer output from the 60s to the 90s that it is quite difficult to work out which is which. This pen has one version of the inlaid nib and I find it very elegant and beautiful, particularly in a pen that was not very expensive. Not everyone likes the inlaid nib. I’m not quite sure what it is that they dislike about it but I suppose all innovations will seem strange to some.
The Imperial IV doesn’t make a high price. I don’t remember what I paid for this one but it wasn’t much. It remains with me because of the quality of the nib. It’s the only medium that I have – I usually use only fine or extra-fine. This nib is such a pleasure to use that I forgive it the broader line.
I believe that the Imperial IV was made from 1964 to 1976, a good run which accounts for the fact that they are still common. My pen remains in good condition despite its age. The only flaw is in the loss of plating on the clip. The plating on the broad cap band remains perfectly good. The plastic – whatever it is – shows little sign of the passage of the years. The gold nib has had no accidents and it remains in great shape. Though this pen was intended for use with Sheaffer cartridges it accepts short international ones without difficulty.
These pens and others which resemble it closely, with either gold or steel nibs, can be picked up for a song. Not really a collector’s pen, it’s a bargain for those who want an inexpensive high-quality everyday writer.