I acquired this Sheaffer Balance Petite several weeks ago. The combination of the humpbacked ball clip and the marine green celluloid dates this pen to 1930.
This pen was the result of a happy accident of bad eBay auction photos and poor reading comprehension on my part. Somehow I neglected the part of the listing where it said that the pen measured 4 1/16″ long. Or maybe I did see that part, but the fact that a 4-inch-long pen is really, really tiny escaped my comprehension. Anyway, the auction didn’t have many nibbles so I threw some dollars at it and won it for $28.
But imagine my surprise when I opened the package and found this little cutie!
I mean, just look at it.
Adorable! (From L to R: Lamy Vista, Sheaffer Balance Sovereign, Sheaffer Balance Petite, Pilot Elite, Pilot Metropolitan)
It makes my Pilot Elite pocket pen look big and that’s saying something.
The Lifetime nib is almost comically oversized compared to the rest of the pen. The visible part of it measures 3/4″ long.
The feed is of a style I’ve never seen before. It’s completely smooth and gives the pen an Art Deco look that’s pretty cool.
Overall, the pen is in good shape. It has very little wear, the trim is perfect, and the sac has been replaced recently. There’s some discoloration of the celluloid, but that’s very common in pens of this era. Thankfully, the discoloration doesn’t look as bad in the marine green pattern as it does in the lighter shaded jade celluloid. The imprint is clear and has an old-school patent number, another point for dating this pen to 1930.
For the curious, the patent covers the design of the rounded-end Sheaffer Balance.
The nib on this pen puts down the finest line of any pen I own. I’d call it an extra fine. It’s even finer than my Pilot Metro F.
In practical use, this elderly pen is quite cantankerous. It’s quick to leak ink if it’s not capped with the nib pointed up, or if it’s flicked or jostled too much. The extra fine point of the nib doesn’t lend itself to smooth writing, and the pen itself is so small that it’s not suitable for lengthy writing sessions even in my hands. Still, it’s an interesting pen with unique features that I’m happy to have in my collection.