Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The pen is a lovely Statesman Snorkel, which was obtained on my behalf by my friend and fellow blogger over at Bleubug who has knowledge of the Snorkel.
History from Penpedia:
The Statesman is the lifetime warranted equivalent of the Special. Like the Special, it uses a PdAg nib, which has been upgraded to a Triumph model instead of the cheaper open nibs. It also has a wider 3/8" GF cap band with parallel lines running around the top and bottom circumference of the band. These pens were just over twice the price of the Specials at $15.50. And as is customary with the white dot models, we see a smooth GF clip with no imprint.
The Sheaffer Snorkel is hailed as one of the most complex filling mechanisms used in fountain pens. Sheaffer created the Snorkel by modifying the Sheaffer Touchdown TM line and released the new pen in 1952. Strong marketing backed the pen, which was featured as cleaner than competing nibs, because the nib did not have to be submerged and wiped off when filling. This habit was becoming cumbersome in lieu of emerging ball point pens, making the Snorkel very appealing versus competitors.
Despite their complex mechanism, the Snorkel pens can be some of the most reliable and consistent performing of vintage fountain pens. The pen line survived several years before being retired in 1959, however the snorkel filler lived on until 1963 in the Sheaffer Pen For Men Line.
In addition to the brief history of this pen above, there is a wonderful detailed history of the Sheaffer Pen Company by Rick Conner here at Penspotters and even more information on the Snorkel line.
I’m trying a little bit of a different format for my reviews, please let me know if you like or dislike it.
The Statesman is a solidly built but light pen and is a pleasure to hold in your hand.
Appearance & Design, 9 out of 10 - Burgundy, with a good deep imprint and still retaining most of the chalk marked price of $15.50
Construction & Quality, 9 of out 10 - This is a sturdy well built pen typical of the Sheaffer pens of its day
Weight & Dimensions, 9 of out 10 - Slender and lightweight this pen measures 5 ½ inches capped, 5 inches unposted and 6 ½ inches posted. It weighs in at 16 gms
Nib & Performance, 9 of out 10 - P4 Fine PdAg Triump nib, Wet and smooth, but well controlled
Filling System & Maintenance, 9 of out 10 - Snorkel filler, the mechanism on this pen is a little stiff but it performs admirably, afterall it is at least 50 years old (it’s also a lot of fun to fill)
Cost & Value, 10 of out 10 – this pen was very inexpensive compared to many of the other pens that I own and about the same as an inexpensive modern pen
Conclusion Final score: 9.17
Paper is Rhodia Bloc No 16 - click on image to enlarge:
Many of you requested that I provide more detail on the mechanism of this pen, please see my followup post here: Sheaffer Statesman - Followup.
Posted by Julie B at 9:17 AM