Since I began this blog over three years ago, the banner photo has featured my black Sheaffer 300 fountain pen, poised on a Ryman’s A5 notebook on a park bench. Yet until now, this pen had not enjoyed a post of its own.
I recall that I bought the pen at the John Lewis department store in Brent Cross and that the price then was about £45.00. Not super cheap but not expensive either.
This is a lacquered metal pen, heavy and robust, in a glossy black finish. The cap fits flush with the barrel. The cap features a sprung pocket clip with the Sheaffer white dot. The broad shiny chrome cap band bears the name, Sheaffer.
The cap pulls off silently but makes a click as it goes back on and needs only a modicum of effort. It also posts very securely, designed to click onto a ridge on the barrel finial.
The grip section is black plastic, tapering but free of any facets telling you where to put your fingers. There is a slight step down from the barrel to the section (enabling the cap to fit flush as mentioned) but this does not feel rough or uncomfortable.
The steel nib has some attractive scroll work and states Sheaffers, with an M for medium. The tines are nicely aligned and there is just a minimal gap visible between them, which is to say that the nib is tuned just as I like. It writes smoothly with a good flow, on the fine side of medium. If you need a fine/extra fine line occasionally, you can turn it over to write with the other side of the nib. It is a firm nib, which I find more practical as a left hander.
Filling is by Sheaffer Skrip cartridges or else a Sheaffer converter.
Weights and measures.
The pen has a generous girth, for those who like larger pens. However, uncapped it measures only 120mm. The cap can be posted, which brings the length up to 155mm, but it then becomes back heavy, unless (like me) you hold it fairly high. Closed, the pen measures 141mm.
If used unposted the pen weighs around 19g, which is quite substantial. However, the cap alone weighs in at 23g making a total of 42g if you wish to write with the cap posted.
Later, I was persuaded to buy a Sheaffer 300 ball pen when half price, but at 49g this is even heavier than the fountain pen.
Likes and Dislikes.
On the plus side, the pen feels solid, well made and indestructible. It has a good sizeable girth, (broader than the Sheaffer Sagaris) and the nib on mine writes very nicely. The pen seems built to last, of sober design and good value for money. Other colours or a chrome cap version are available.
On the negative side, the section can feel a little plasticky, in comparison to the glossy lacquered metal finish of the cap and barrel. Also I would have preferred the barrel to be another 10mm longer so that I could use it more comfortably unposted. But this is just my preference and others who grip their pens lower may find the length no problem. Also, the threads to unscrew the barrel seem to go on forever.
Posting the cap does make for a very heavy unit and the pen can feel unbalanced unless you then grip quite far back from the nib.
The nib cannot easily be removed. I did once try to pull it out of the section but it would not budge and I did not want to use any greater force, for fear of damaging the plastic feed. Having used Pelikans with their easily unscrewable nib units, I am rather disappointed when other pens do not have this feature.
All things considered, this is a decent pen for the money. Pricewise it could be a rival to the Cross Bailey, but now Cross and Sheaffer are both under the same umbrella. For a steel nibbed, lacquered metal pen there is a lot to commend it. Mine has been rather neglected in recent years but I am glad to still have it, to enjoy from time to time and to use for my stock of Sheaffer Skrip cartridges.