Founded in 1907
, the Sheaffer Pen company is one of the older pen companies in the United States
, and one of the classic American makes. Walter Sheaffer, the company's founder
, is credited with inventing the lever filling system
. This is what most people think of when they imagine a fountain pen
on the side of the pen that fills (or empties) the pen. The company symbol
is a white dot. This was first introduced in 1924
, to indicate pens with a lifetime warranty
. Though this warranty is no longer offered, the white dot now exists on many of their pens.
While over the years, other pen manufacturers, such as Parker, experimented a great deal with the look of the pen, evolving their filling system over the years, Sheaffer took the opposite approach, gravitating toward a few different shapes, and experimenting with a variety of filling systems. Some of the initial pens were variations of sack-and-pressure bar mechanisms. In 1949, a system known as "Touchdown" was created. A blind cap-like part would be unscrewed, allowing a tube to be extended out of the barrel. Pulling the tube in and out affected the pressure in the barrel, and the pen would fill. This idea was extended in 1952 with the Snorkel. In this pen, a small tube would extend out of the section, past the nib. The ink would then be brought in through this tube. Mechanically, this is a complicated system requiring additional care. However, it provided a great deal of insulation for the ink. This pen can generally write more words-per-fill then other pens. More recently, the Intrigue, one of their newest models, uses a unique system to insert a cartridge, while allowing the pen to be filled from the bottle from outside the pen.
Sheaffer continues to be based out of Fort Madison, Iowa. Though the company was bought in 1998 by Bic, it continues to produce fine writing instruments.