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SHEAFFER BALANCE COMPREHENSIVE TIMELINE... HEEEELLLP!!!!!


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#1 david i

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 09:36 PM

Hi,

Keeping in mind that I am but a Hack Amateur Newbie Sheaffer collector, I do have a fair number of the critters in my collection, and I have tossed out the occasional article about the Balance (Stylus Annual 2012 on general collecting of Balance and Spring 2012 PENnant about Canadian Balance quirks). I have handle on general eras but often draw blank on specific key dates in the Balance universe. I'm a bit better with Parker's Vacumatic. Figuring it would serve me and others well to create an easy reference for Sheaffer Balance collecting, a timeline, I'd like to take stab at that here, and invite input from one and all. We can add final appearances into the text. Let's try for details (month, date, etc) where possible.

I will post a list of events and a list of resources. As contributors help clarify dates, the core list in the original post will be updated, such that we won't have to reprint the list multiple times as this thread (I hope) evolves. Comments will be preserved and credits maintained via those comments. I have a number of dates on hand though will not put all I believe I know into the first presentation. Please peruse the list. Add to dates (and provide sources for your beliefs, whether hearsay or a specific advert). After the initial two lists (events then paper sources), I likely will add in a yearly timeline which puts the events into a straight annual context. I've tried to make the events list reflect general evolution of the series, but if it turns out the order is wrong (say, a certain clip appears before a certain color), the list can be rearranged.


EVENT LIST
--------------------


Balance Patent: 1928


First Balance Advert: 1929

First Balance Catalogue 1930

First Appearances of Early (found in the 1930 Catalogue) Colors

  • Black
  • Black and Pearl
  • Jade
  • Marine Green #1 (mottled)

Switch from Long Barrels (on standard and OS) to typical Barrel.

Switch from Long humped clip to short humped clip

Switch from pinned lever to internal lever ring Nov 1930

First Appearance of Blue (marbled) 1931

First Appearance of Two Tone Lifetime Nib Mentioned in end of 1931/start of 1932 (as per Mac's reference Dec 29 '31 vs Jan 2 1932 copyright citation )

First Appearance Gray Pearl #1 (gray with red veins) 1933 or earlier. Mentioned in the 1933 order-form supplement to the known 1930 catalogue

Switch from 5-30 nib to two tone Feather Touch #5 nib At latest October 1933, as FT #5 nib shown in desk pen catalogue. Did all pens change at same time?

Switch for 3-25 nib to #3 nib At latest October 1933, as #3 monotone nib shown in desk pen catalogue. Did all pens change at same time?


First Appearance Ebonized Pearl 1934 (mentioned as "introducing" in a Jan 1934 Brochure)

  • Brief text (no image) mention of Autograph version in 1935 catalogue
  • Survived to the 1938 catalogue

Intro of Plunger Filler (as sub-brand) January 1934 brochure

First Appearance Feather Touch # 7 nib 1934

First Appearance flat-ball clip
mid-late 1934

Intro of Plunger Filler to Balance, proper.

First Appearance Grey Pearl (mottled gray-pearl/black) (not to be confused with the earlier Gray Pearl #1 or the later Gray Pearl #2 mid- late 1934

First Appearance of red Loaner pen

First Appearance Radius Clip 1935

First Appearance Truncated Junior (non-Balance) Shown in 1935 catalogue. But known in blue (a color introduced for Balance in 1931). Earlier appearance then?

First Appearance of Balance (not truncated) Junior

First Appearance of visualated gripping section

Switch from long radius clip to short radius clip on short-slender Balance

First Appearance Striated Colors (with breakdown by color)
1936-1938
  • Rose Glow 1936
  • Golden Brown
  • Marine Green (#2) Striated 1937 (catalogue)
  • Gray Pearl #2 (not to be confused with the earlier Gray Pearl #1 or the earlier Grey Pearl) 1937
  • Carmine (red stripe) 1938
First Appearance of Crest type pens. 1937 (named "Crest" in 1938)

First Appearance of price codes on barrel 1937-8 (unproven)

First Appearance of final recognized model names (not just codes).
1938 (names of a sort appeared in the 1937 catalogue)

First Appearance mlitary-clip Balance 1941

Final Catalogue appearance Balance
1941

Late Advert Appearance for Balance (during Triumph 1942+ era)


-----------------------------------------------


Paper Resources (catalogues and key brochures)

1930 catalogue

1933 price list insert to 1930 catalogue

1933 desk pen catalogue

1934 (Jan) dealer brochure

1935 catalogue

1935 catalogue

1936 catalogue

1937 catalogue

1938 catalogue

1939 catalogue

1940 catalogue

1941 catalogue

1947 (retrospective) workbook

1948 (retrospective) workbook

----------------------------------------------------------------------



OK. Have at it. If there is no interest, we can always delete.

Regards

David
David R. Isaacson MD. Website: VACUMANIA.com for quality old pens with full warranty.
Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#2 david i

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 09:51 PM

Per Roger:


http://fountainpenbo...ver-pin-go-away

Switch from lever pin to lever ring took place Nov 1930

Per ROger OK, Tom Franz was the archivist well known to those that know Sheaffer. Tom past on a couple - three years ago. I would say he emailed me around 9 years ago. I do not have a copy of that email though the exact date I published years ago - sometime in November, '30 I think.


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Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#3 david i

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:17 PM

Also, please do add Events that I missed.

regards

d
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#4 PatM

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:37 PM

Marine Green (striated) - 1937 catalog.

Pat

#5 david i

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:44 PM

Marine Green (striated) - 1937 catalog.

Pat


Edited in, thanks

d
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#6 jonro

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:12 PM

I'd like to know the last year Balances were manufactured, as opposed to the last catalog date. Also, how about adding the first appearance of the Vac-Fil Balance?


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#7 Teej47

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:48 PM

While I have no input of value, I'm extremely interested in the results.

Tim
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#8 MacKozinsky

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 08:59 PM

EVENTS:
Introduction of Visulated (ink-view) section (books say 1936, first advert I saw presenting it: Esquire, 1937, Ad: The World's Lowest Cost Pen)

also:
1. Great idea David :P, hope more people will participate.
2. Are you sure about a date here: First Appearance mlitary-clip Balance 1934 ???
3. As for the introduction of the Feathertouch two-tone nib in general: There is this Saturday Evening Post ad with half-a-page FT nib drawing I believe this is the Google Books reference do the Ad from the Library of Congress Catalogue of Printed Entries for 1932. The nib in the ad is two-tone.

All the best,
Mac


The fundamental substance is air. The soul is air; fire is rarefied air; when condensed, air becomes first water, then if further condensed, earth, and finally stone...


#9 david i

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 09:05 PM

EVENTS:
Introduction of Visulated (ink-view) section (books say 1936, first advert I saw presenting it: Esquire, 1937, Ad: The World's Lowest Cost Pen)

also:
1. Great idea David :P, hope more people will participate.
2. Are you sure about a date here: First Appearance mlitary-clip Balance 1934 ???
3. As for the introduction of the Feathertouch two-tone nib in general: There is this Saturday Evening Post ad with half-a-page FT nib drawing I believe this is the Google Books reference do the Ad from the Library of Congress Catalogue of Printed Entries for 1932. The nib in the ad is two-tone.

All the best,
Mac





Hi Mac,

Military Clip is 1941, TBOMK. The "34" was typo. Thanks for catching :)

We'd been wrestling with the FT nib. Think my casual view had moved as far back as late 1933, but I have not hunted adverts. And, that leaves open with #3 nib replaced 3-25 nib, which I see regularly in gray-with-red-veins (think I see 5-30 too) raising question of when red/gray first appeared. While it is documented in 1934 with implication it predates 1934, a 1932 appearance of that color would be... interesting.

I'll look over your stuff and update the timeline a bit later.

Keep the info coming.

best regards

david
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Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#10 david i

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 09:08 PM

Ah, I looked at the 1932 reference, and it raises a good issue.

That reference mentions feather touch (implicitly (?) 2-tone) nib indeed in 1932, but in context of Lifetime nib. 2-tone nibs marked "Lifetime" are "feather touch" though not marked with that word, as opposed to non-Lifetime feather touch nibs (2 tone) which are marked "Feather touch".

That reference suggests the Lifetime 2-tone (implicitly feather touch) poked up in 1932, but doesn't address specifically (but does not exclude either) the non-Lifetime nibs which are marked "Feathertouch", which I've generally viewed as appearing later. Might make sense. The fancy tech/style first appears in high line nibs, a bit later in lower line nib.

Food few thought :)

regards

d
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Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#11 MacKozinsky

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 10:08 PM

OK. You are right: FT imprint and FT principle nibs are two different things. The Saturday Evening Post is depicting LifeTime FT with no FeatherTouch imprint.

There is this History of W.A. Sheaffer Company from the beginning of 1950s, posted here by PeteWK of Fountain Pen Community Board according to which: FT two-way nib - 1931, Vacuum-Fill - 1934. Not sure whether they are patent or market launch dates. As for the Vac-Fill, according to
Jim Mamoulides, it was first use in WASP pen, then, in 1935: in Balance line. 1934 dealer brochure seems to prove the first claim to be correct.

Edited by MacKozinsky, 23 June 2012 - 10:08 PM.

The fundamental substance is air. The soul is air; fire is rarefied air; when condensed, air becomes first water, then if further condensed, earth, and finally stone...


#12 david i

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:17 PM

A few more dates added. Keep the info coming.

regards

david
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Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#13 MacKozinsky

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:10 PM

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It's part of the Sheaffer's History published by the company in 1991. Might be useful as a reference. Some of the when-was-the-colour-introduced info is already included. I'll inspect later if there is any "new" info not present in the time-line post.

Regards,
Maciek

The fundamental substance is air. The soul is air; fire is rarefied air; when condensed, air becomes first water, then if further condensed, earth, and finally stone...


#14 MCameron

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:26 PM

Hi,

Keeping in mind that I am but a Hack Amateur Newbie Sheaffer collector, I do have a fair number of the critters in my collection, and I have tossed out the occasional article about the Balance (Stylus Annual 2012 on general collecting of Balance and Spring 2012 PENnant about Canadian Balance quirks). I have handle on general eras but often draw blank on specific key dates in the Balance universe. I'm a bit better with Parker's Vacumatic. Figuring it would serve me and others well to create an easy reference for Sheaffer Balance collecting, a timeline, I'd like to take stab at that here, and invite input from one and all. We can add final appearances into the text. Let's try for details (month, date, etc) where possible.

I will post a list of events and a list of resources. As contributors help clarify dates, the core list in the original post will be updated, such that we won't have to reprint the list multiple times as this thread (I hope) evolves. Comments will be preserved and credits maintained via those comments. I have a number of dates on hand though will not put all I believe I know into the first presentation. Please peruse the list. Add to dates (and provide sources for your beliefs, whether hearsay or a specific advert). After the initial two lists (events then paper sources), I likely will add in a yearly timeline which puts the events into a straight annual context. I've tried to make the events list reflect general evolution of the series, but if it turns out the order is wrong (say, a certain clip appears before a certain color), the list can be rearranged.


EVENT LIST
--------------------


Balance Patent: 1928


First Balance Advert: 1929

First Balance Catalogue 1930

First Appearances of Early (found in the 1930 Catalogue) Colors

  • Black
  • Black and Pearl
  • Jade
  • Marine Green #1 (mottled)

Switch from Long Barrels (on standard and OS) to typical Barrel.

Switch from Long humped clip to short humped clip

Switch from pinned lever to internal lever ring Nov 1930

First Appearance of Blue (marbled) 1931

First Appearance of Two Tone Lifetime Nib Mentioned in end of 1931/start of 1932 (as per Mac's reference Dec 29 '31 vs Jan 2 1932 copyright citation )

First Appearance Gray Pearl #1 (gray with red veins) 1933 or earlier. Mentioned in the 1933 order-form supplement to the known 1930 catalogue

Switch from 5-30 nib to two tone Feather Touch #5 nib At latest October 1933, as FT #5 nib shown in desk pen catalogue. Did all pens change at same time?

Switch for 3-25 nib to #3 nib At latest October 1933, as #3 monotone nib shown in desk pen catalogue. Did all pens change at same time?


First Appearance Ebonized Pearl 1934 (mentioned as "introducing" in a Jan 1934 Brochure)

  • Brief text (no image) mention of Autograph version in 1935 catalogue
  • Survived to the 1938 catalogue

Intro of Plunger Filler (as sub-brand) January 1934 brochure

First Appearance Feather Touch # 7 nib 1934

First Appearance flat-ball clip
mid-late 1934

Intro of Plunger Filler to Balance, proper.

First Appearance Grey Pearl (mottled gray-pearl/black) (not to be confused with the earlier Gray Pearl #1 or the later Gray Pearl #2 mid- late 1934

First Appearance of red Loaner pen

First Appearance Radius Clip 1935

First Appearance Truncated Junior (non-Balance) Shown in 1935 catalogue. But known in blue (a color introduced for Balance in 1931). Earlier appearance then?

First Appearance of Balance (not truncated) Junior

First Appearance of visualated gripping section

Switch from long radius clip to short radius clip on short-slender Balance

First Appearance Striated Colors (with breakdown by color)
1936-1938
  • Rose Glow 1936
  • Golden Brown
  • Marine Green (#2) Striated 1937 (catalogue)
  • Gray Pearl #2 (not to be confused with the earlier Gray Pearl #1 or the earlier Grey Pearl) 1937
  • Carmine (red stripe) 1938
First Appearance of Crest type pens. 1937 (named "Crest" in 1938)

First Appearance of price codes on barrel 1937-8 (unproven)

First Appearance of final recognized model names (not just codes).
1938 (names of a sort appeared in the 1937 catalogue)

First Appearance mlitary-clip Balance 1941

Final Catalogue appearance Balance
1941

Late Advert Appearance for Balance (during Triumph 1942+ era)


-----------------------------------------------


Paper Resources (catalogues and key brochures)

1930 catalogue

1933 price list insert to 1930 catalogue

1933 desk pen catalogue

1934 (Jan) dealer brochure

1935 catalogue

1935 catalogue

1936 catalogue

1937 catalogue

1938 catalogue

1939 catalogue

1940 catalogue

1941 catalogue

1947 (retrospective) workbook

1948 (retrospective) workbook

----------------------------------------------------------------------



OK. Have at it. If there is no interest, we can always delete.

Regards

David


David:

What a great idea...crowd sourcing the data. Hope to see this technique applied to many other topics.

Mike

#15 Alex

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:44 AM

Very nice history. I have 3 additional Sheaffer history questions.
First from what i have seen in the catalogs the feather touch (labeled as such) #7 was for the over size balance. And the 5 was for the standard. I would swear I have seen oversize (non-white dot) with #5's is that true?
Second I can find no catalog reference to a Feather touch #8 in a non-white dot oversize balance. I know these exist because I have one. I also have a #7 that someone has squished into a standard size balance and I do mean squished as it is cracked. BOTH are in grey pearl and black balances if that helps date it. Any info as to when they switched? The 8 is bigger than the 7 by the way. Also at some point it appears that they no longer made an oversize non-white do is that true?
Lastly in rummaging thru the catalogs I was wondering is anyone has made a secret decoder for it as there are minimal descriptions and the catalog number which I am sure were very descriptive to the dealers at the time are jiberish. But you can figure some of the codes but when you are trying to say something does or doesnt exist the codes dont help.

I have had many arguments about whether a non-white dot oversize had a 7 or 8 feather touch in it and having seen one with a 5 (which had an oversize section with a very small hole for the smaller feed) it becomes very confusing. Any info would be great.

thanks
Alex

#16 Alex

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:12 AM

just going thru my notes and wanted to add my 2c worth. Golden brown came out with the rose glow in the womens line in 1936 right? And the radius clip appears in 1935 however only on the Ladys it appeared on the oversize as well in 1936 but all lower models still had the old clip right?
But that is based on what I think I can decode from the cryptic catalog numbers
thanks
Alex

#17 david i

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:01 AM

Very nice history. I have 3 additional Sheaffer history questions.
First from what i have seen in the catalogs the feather touch (labeled as such) #7 was for the over size balance. And the 5 was for the standard. I would swear I have seen oversize (non-white dot) with #5's is that true?
Second I can find no catalog reference to a Feather touch #8 in a non-white dot oversize balance. I know these exist because I have one. I also have a #7 that someone has squished into a standard size balance and I do mean squished as it is cracked. BOTH are in grey pearl and black balances if that helps date it. Any info as to when they switched? The 8 is bigger than the 7 by the way. Also at some point it appears that they no longer made an oversize non-white do is that true?
Lastly in rummaging thru the catalogs I was wondering is anyone has made a secret decoder for it as there are minimal descriptions and the catalog number which I am sure were very descriptive to the dealers at the time are jiberish. But you can figure some of the codes but when you are trying to say something does or doesnt exist the codes dont help.

I have had many arguments about whether a non-white dot oversize had a 7 or 8 feather touch in it and having seen one with a 5 (which had an oversize section with a very small hole for the smaller feed) it becomes very confusing. Any info would be great.

thanks
Alex


Hi Alex,

I'm drowning... in midst of an apartment move in NYC (no joke when having to package 5000 pens and related material). Will touch base more in coming week, but briefly will note that most Standard girth non-Lifetime (non White Dot) pens have a #5 FT nib.

However, 1934-5 or so an upline Standard girth non Lifetime pen was offered with #7 FT nib. Uncommon now.

And, non-Lifetime OS pens are noted as well, also packing #7 FT nib, referenced (possibly not illustrated) in a 1934 dealer brochure, not a regular catalogue. The Standard #7 was also mentioned in a 1935 catalogue. I'm not certain the OS non-WD with #7 FT nib was mentioned in that second paper.

OS pens in my experience do not turn up with FT #5 nibs. However... They do turn up with "5-30" nib, the 2nd tier nib (behind lifetime) prior to the introduction of the feather touch nibs (perhaps in 1933), a logical nib for a non-Lifetime OS pen at that point. The small nib is found in an extra thick gripping section. The nib there is no accident.

The #8 FT nib is far more rare than the #7. I've seen no paper for it. It has turned up for me in an off-catalogue (still White Dot) double-cap-band OS Balance and in a non-WD black OS Balance.

The usual speculations can apply... later version than the #7, parallel nib to #7 priced between the FT #7 OS non-White Dot and the Lifetime nib OS White Dot, Special Market, etc.

Amazingly enough, teeny tiny Fountain Pen Board yields the #1 Google hit for Feather Touch #7 nib. Please do explore some of our prior chat at the link to follow. WIth luck I can touch base in more detail in coming days or week

Sheaffer Balance Non White Dot OS and Feathertouch #7 nib


regards

david
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Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#18 rpk1204

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:28 AM

Unbelievable the breadth and depth of all this knowledge. If I even live another 20 years I'll still be 20 years behind all this info! Thanks all for sharing... Now where do I store all this? :(

Randy

#19 JonSzanto

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:42 AM

Now where do I store all this?

All you need is the link, and the faith that David will keep his hosting and domain fees paid up!

Cheers,
Jon




#20 Jos

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:59 PM

Hi,

Keeping in mind that I am but a Hack Amateur Newbie Sheaffer collector, I do have a fair number of the critters in my collection, and I have tossed out the occasional article about the Balance (Stylus Annual 2012 on general collecting of Balance and Spring 2012 PENnant about Canadian Balance quirks). I have handle on general eras but often draw blank on specific key dates in the Balance universe. I'm a bit better with Parker's Vacumatic. Figuring it would serve me and others well to create an easy reference for Sheaffer Balance collecting, a timeline, I'd like to take stab at that here, and invite input from one and all. We can add final appearances into the text. Let's try for details (month, date, etc) where possible.

I will post a list of events and a list of resources. As contributors help clarify dates, the core list in the original post will be updated, such that we won't have to reprint the list multiple times as this thread (I hope) evolves. Comments will be preserved and credits maintained via those comments. I have a number of dates on hand though will not put all I believe I know into the first presentation. Please peruse the list. Add to dates (and provide sources for your beliefs, whether hearsay or a specific advert). After the initial two lists (events then paper sources), I likely will add in a yearly timeline which puts the events into a straight annual context. I've tried to make the events list reflect general evolution of the series, but if it turns out the order is wrong (say, a certain clip appears before a certain color), the list can be rearranged.


EVENT LIST
--------------------

...

First Appearance of Two Tone Lifetime Nib Mentioned in end of 1931/start of 1932 (as per Mac's reference Dec 29 '31 vs Jan 2 1932 copyright citation )

 

Was just checking some older Sheaffer advertisments from The Saturday Evening Post and found that the first ad showing the two-tone nib appeared in TSEP issue October 10, 1931.






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