Nib: Fine 14k Gold
1930's Sheaffer Half-Balance/Transitional. Lifetime. Pearl & Black. Lady's Model ring-top
Radite and Balance
In 1924, Sheaffer introduced pens made from "Radite" (an early modern plastic), also known as celluloid or cellulose nitrate. Unlike hard rubber, which can only be produced in drab black or red, Radite can be made in many colorful colors in wild swirling patterns. Compared to hard rubber pens, they were stunning.
For modern collectors, one unfortunate and unanticipated flaw in Radite was that the gases that were slowly released by rubber ink sacs discolored the beautiful plastic from the inside. Most surviving examples of Sheaffer Radite pens are discolored to varying degrees as a result. Jade Green pens with no discoloration fetch significant prices at auction.
Among the many pens made with this new substance, the most significant in the Sheaffer line was the Balance, introduced in 1929. Prior pens were usually cylindrical in shape with squared off ends. The Balance was more torpedo-shaped, with rounded tapered ends and was marketed as a more ergonomic pen. Numerous variants on this shape were used and modern collecting nomenclature usually refers to them all as Balances.
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