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Sheaffer Fountain Pens
The Sheaffer Pen company was founded in 1912 by Walter Sheaffer, a jeweler in Fort Madison, Iowa. Sheaffer started the company in the back of his jewelry store in order to perfect his invention, the lever-fill pen. Sheaffer was able to produce and sell his first level-fill pens in 1913. As the company grew, Sheaffer offered further innovations to its customers, including the Vacuum plunger-filler, pneumatic Touchdown Filling, and the Snorkel Filling System, an improvement on the Touchdown that kept the nib out of the ink.
Sheaffer fountain pens are easily recognizable by their distinctive white dot. Sheaffer first mass produced plastic pens in 1924, including the Sheaffer Jade Senior fountain pen. The white dot was placed in the center of the top of the Jade Senior cap and was meant to signify that the pen had a lifetime guarantee. Modern Sheaffer pens display the white dot either on or just above the clip. The white dot has become a mark of Sheaffer distinction, but not an indicator of lifetime guarantee.
Certain models of vintage Sheaffer fountain pens are popular with collectors, including the Sheaffer Balance introduced in 1929, the Sheaffer Snorkel from the '50s, the Pen for Men from the late '50s, and the Sheaffer Targa first produced in the '70s.
The location of the Sheaffer white dot has changed depending on the manufacturing requirements of each model. Collectors can often use the location of the white dot to identify the model and era of manufacture of vintage Sheaffer fountain pens
In 1945, U.S. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes used a Sheaffer pen to sign the documents that founded the United Nations
Sheaffer produced several series of limited-edition Legacy fountain pens starting in 1995. A limited-edition Jim Gaston Legacy 2 fountain pen in cobalt blue limited to 100 pieces in 2003 sells for $500-$600