In 1934 Sheaffer introduced their Vacuum-Fil filling system under the sub-brand VACUUM-FIL. The filler did not come to Sheaffer Balance pens until 1935. I've often wondered if the objective was to work out the kinks of production and also gauge interest prior to risking the company reputation. Later, Sheaffer renamed the VACUUM-FIL company to WASP for Walter A. Sheaffer Pen company.
Sheaffer Balance pens were available in marine green celluloid from 1930 to 1935. However, they were only lever fillers. Marine green vacuum-filling pens were available only from VACUUM-FIL. I love these pens and also vacuum-filler from WASP. I keep almost every VACUUM-FIL and WASP pen I find. I would keep this pen, too, if I didn't already have one exactly like it. It is gorgeous.
The transparent celluloid has darkened a bit. Yet its transparency remains clear enough to easily see the inner workings and the ink level. The plating on the trim is in very good condition.
The nib is not hallmarked (e.g. 14 kt) but stamped "VACUUM FIL MADE IN U.S.A." Pen collector lore says the nibs of VACUUM-FIL and WASP pens are 12 karat. They are almost always of thin sheet gold which makes them bouncy and expressive. This nib is not exception. It should not be considered flexible or semi-flexible but it provides lovely line variation under normal writing pressure. It is so much fun.
The filler rods on these early pens were made of celluloid covered carbon steel. Quite often moisture seeps under the celluloid and the steel oxidizes so badly the cover blisters or splits. Other times, the ends of the celluloid are adequately sealed and remain perfectly intact. This rod has been replaced with a custom made, black oxide coated, stainless steel unit that will last an age. Likewise, the seals of the filler have been replaced with hardy, modern materials. The filler restoration is guaranteed for at least a year provided that inks like Noodler's are strictly avoided.
Length Capped - 129 mm (5.1”) Uncapped - 120 mm (4.7”) Posted - 155 mm (6.1”). Diameter Cap - 13.3 mm (0.52”) Barrel - 11.4 mm (0.45”)