The Sheaffer Balance Jr.

Nib: 14k Feather Touch #5

In my last post, I wrote about how I restored this little guy. If you’re interested in reading, please click here.

This Sheaffer Balance jr. is from about 1934. Its slender size and shape make it a nice pocket pen, and great for small hands. As you may have been able to tell by the name, this pen feels balanced. While I was researching the history of this pen, I read that the bottom of the cap below the band can develop hairline cracks from posting. I have written with this pen posted, but after reading that I’ve stopped posting. For me, the Balance is long enough to write comfortably unposted.

How I hold this pen. Unposted it’s still long to hold comfortably, even though I grip at the cap threads.

This particular Balance has a dark green celluloid body that catches the light very nicely. The nib is a 14k Feather Touch. The tines are platinum plated and springy. I’ve found that this nib feels best when using a light hand. The feed is ebonite, and flows so well. Before this pen I had a loose Feather Touch nib that I tried to put into several different modern pens, but I never got a good fit so the nib never wrote well. Now that I’ve written with a proper Feather, I enjoy it very much.

More of that sweet nib action.

The above photo is a writing sample on Apica CD paper. The ink is Organics Studio Barkley’s Blue Teal, which is safe for vintage pens. This ink flows very nicely, the only time this pen has dried up was when it ran out of ink. Like most vintage pens, the Balance is a lever filler. When you lift up the lever on the outside of the pen, a pressure bar inside compresses the latex sac and ink is drawn into the pen. These pens aren’t meant to be taken apart all the time, so it’s best to find an ink that works well and to stick with it.

The Balance writes well on all three papers that I tested it on. On smooth paper like Tomoe River, the nib glides like a feather in the air (I’ll show myself out). On the Midori and Apica, there was a bit more feedback, but not so much that writing was unpleasant. When overwriting and holding the pen vertically, the Balance is smoothest for me. Underwriting feels scratchier, and ink flow is the same as when I overwrite.

The Sheaffer engraving, as well as some hand-carved initials. The Balance models all have the patent number 78,795.

Since restoring this pen, I’ve filled it twice. Because the latex sac is small to fit in this short pen, the ink capacity is low. You also can’t know how well you filled the pen until you run out of ink. The Sheaffer Balance jr. works very well for lefty overwriters like me, as well as anyone who holds their pen at a higher angle. I found this pen on eBay for under 40 U.S. dollars unrestored, but Balances that are in better condition and restored will sell for a higher price.

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