Several months ago when we first became Sheaffer dealers we were forced with a very difficult decision to make. With a limited budget we had to choose which model lines to carry, and since we would be buying within each line every different finish in every different nib size, we couldn’t pick them all. Sadly, the Sheaffer 100 didn’t make the initial cut.We grabbed the two lines that caught our eye first, the 300 and the Intensity, then filled in the rest of the order with the Prelude and the VFM pens. Did I want more lines? Yes. Could I afford them? Well no. In fact as I was putting the Sheaffer line on the website, I looked at the Sheaffer 100, and thought, “nice price point, but it’s really only a so-so looker”, so I passed. A month or so later, a friend asked if I could get one for her. I ordered it, made the transaction and everyone was happy. I still didn’t think I wanted to physically stock them. Too many other pens at that level, or so I thought. Another month went by and another friend asked if I could get one for him. I said sure, ordered the pen and delivered it to him. A couple of days later I received this email:
I’m liking that Shaeffer 100 more and more each day. I don’t know what it is about that pen but I just love holding it and writing. For an inexpensive pen it really feels well built and screams quality.
Ok, maybe there’s something to this! After all it is a Sheaffer, and Lisa and I have been pleased with the Intensity and I’ve really enjoyed using my 300. We decided to give it a try. Why not, so we created our Sheaffer Package Giveaway Contest around this pen. Since we were finally going to order them, I decided to grab one for myself and test it out. I originally opted for the matte grey, but when I saw the brushed chrome, I realized how great it would look next to my other two chrome Sheaffer pens, so that was it.
The pen is your typical cartridge convertor pen. With a street price of $40 it is nice it comes with both convertor and two cartridges, one each in black and blue. It comes in the same nice box almost all the rest of the Sheaffer pens come in, from the 300 to the Intensity to the Prelude. Not to small, and not too big. Which is great, because while I’m not the type to throw out a box, I want them to take up as minimal space as possible.
Nibs come in your choice of Fine or Medium. Not much in the way of options, but what do you expect? This is a consumer grade pen, designed for the masses. The nib, however, is the exact same nib and feed as on the more expensive 300. I immediately knew I was going to like this pen. The nib is steel of course, and not too flashy. Just enough of a flourish at the end of the nib, the Sheaffer name boldly across the nib and the size designation clearly marked under the Sheaffer name. My nib size of choice, as always, was a Medium. I find this a pleasing choice for my writing style and is also a nice happy medium for our friends and customers to try when using our pens. I’m not really a Fine or Extra Fine nib kind of guy and find the Medium nibs are always a bit smoother by nature. More on writing qualities later!
My test pen like I mentioned is the brushed chrome model. Let’s get this out in the open. This pen has a metal section. If you’re of the sort that dislikes a metal section pen, this may not be the pen for you. I’m really not all too crazy about them myself, but I hold the pen further back, and the roughness of the brushed chrome, combined with the subtle ridge the cap connects to gives me a good solid grip. While we’re on the topic of the cap, it is a friction fit model, and really grips quite tight. In fact about three quarters of the way down you can feel the friction kicking in and a nice “snap” as you push it on. You know it’s on and it’s not going anywhere. During posting, you can push it securely on to the barrel and not worry about it scratching or falling off. You do have to make sure you push it on good enough though, as I found if I just slip it on, it will spin and not catch securely. Perhaps this was laziness on my part to just drop the cap on the barrel, and after, all, I know of no pen that securely posts in such a lackadaisical manner. Chalk it up to user error, or maybe just me thinking I need to be too careful.
The clip is classic Sheaffer with a short vent hole down the middle and the white dot adorning the top of the clip. It is a tight clip, and it took me a bit to get used to pulling on the clip before putting it in my pocket. Once I got over that, I never had a problem. Many modern clips are significantly tighter than their vintage counterparts, of which I am more accustomed to. perhaps this is why so many vintage pens have broken clips. Consider this evolution in clip design. Whatever you call it, this pen is going to sit securely in your pocket with no worry of coming out if you find yourself sprinting in a parking lot trying to avoid the rain, chasing after the mailman, or running a stray dog from your yard. Unless your shirt comes off, this pen isn’t.
The pen is considerably more slender than it’s big brother 300, but reminds me more of a vintage Snorkel than anything else, if not a hair larger in girth. It tapers nicely at the cap and barrel ends, and has nice metal tassies adorning the ends. Length is about the same as a Snorkel, almost 5-1/2″ long capped, and 5-3/4″ long posted. Barrel length is 4-3/4″ long, so for me, a little awkward to use without the cap being posted.
How does it write? Well, for a $40 pen, you’d hope the thing just gave you any ink to the paper, but this pen performs flawlessly. After almost three weeks as my primary (and sometimes only) pen, it never missed a beat. I used the supplied converter and Aurora black ink as my test sample. It wrote on anything and everything, including the hideously awful staples paper supplied to me at work. The Medium nib lays down a nice semi-wet line, just the way I like it. Not too broad, not too dry, but perfect. Don’t get your hopes up, there is no line variation, but for a pen in this price range, you’d be foolish to expect it of anyone.
My only beef? If I had to pick one thing I don’t like about the pen, it’s the way the clip is affixed to the cap. It seems there could have been a more aesthetically pleasing way to do it, but it works, and that’s really all that matters. If it were the $300 Legacy, I’d have a problem with it, but for this price point, it’s just fine.
All in all, the Sheaffer 100 is a solid dependable pen that is indeed as my friend indicated, well built and screams quality. A perfect pen for a student, a new fountain pen user, or even an advanced collector myself. It’s a nice to have a dependable pen I don’t have to worry about at the ready in my case, willing to do its due diligence when needed.