Lisa and I first saw the Sheaffer Intensity earlier this year in Baltimore. We were drawn by the unique treatment of striped barrels in a world of otherwise marbled celluloid or demonstrator type fountain pens and we found it refreshing. The shape and size were also interesting as they were neither oversize (all too often the norm nowadays) nor small. This was both a pen for a larger hand as well for as a smaller one.
My first problem with the pen was a serious one. Which one do I pick for myself? I loved the striped designs, but am a big fan of all metal or overlay pens. There are also two designs in carbon fiber and a solid black as well. I opted for the metal chased pattern over the striped. At least for now. I may have to reserve full judgement on this pen until after I have acquired another one. Frankly, I could see someone collecting all the striped patterns as they are indeed quite lovely. Lisa opted for the unusually colored Cornflower model with the Fine nib. I grabbed the Medium.
These pens remind me a great deal of perhaps the only good pen Levenger ever made. The Newton. I
have had one in copper that got appropriated and I’ve never seen it since. At least I’m glad it went to a good (section of my) home. Both pens are slender with slightly larger caps that taper the length of the pen. They both post securely and far enough down the barrel that falling off is not a problem. For those taking note length is 5-5/8″ capped, and 6-1/4″ posted. The point of balance on the pen is right about where the cap meets the barrel, or about the bottom of the cap when posted. This places the balance for me somewhere in the middle of the pen when I am using it. Not too heavy because it is a more slender pen, so it makes it a nice feel in the hand. An interesting note about the inner cap, the entire inside of the cap functions as the inner cap, internal threads and all, with a spot towards the top of the cap to secure the tip of the nib when capped. Nice engineering.
Perhaps one factor that affects the balance of this pen is the length of the section. Yes, it is a metal section and I know a lot of people don’t like an all metal section. Frankly, I don’t mind. It reminds me of all metal Wahl pens from the 20’s and thirties. There’s something beautiful about it. This section ends up being maybe 1/16″ shy of a full inch in legth, so I end up holding the pen just above the section threads. This then has the effect of completely removing the section argument as I am now gripping the chased patterning on the barrel. Even if you do tend to grip a pen further down, the diameter of the section and the threads isn’t something that makes it uncomfortable. Some pens can be downright sharp in that area, I don’t find this one to be so.
The pen is like most of the other pens in today’s Sheaffer lineup and comes with a piston convertor as well as two cartridges. I don’t mind the piston convertors and they of course work well. The nibs are also standard Sheaffer fare and are pretty stiff, but well writing. I find the nib to be a touch plain, with no decoration, but then again, most of the decoration on today’s nibs is either overdone or looks like an after thought. I do find it interesting the nib is asymmetrical in design with a large S in Sheaffer and nothing to balance it on the other side. Oh well, a small quirk. I think Sheaffer’S might have looked a bit better. The feed is the same multi-fissured plastic feed used on the 300, so performance is equal in that regard.
The clip design is nice and long so will be secure in any pocket, it appears to be more of a washer style clip and not a spring clip as used in the 300 or even a Legacy. It is firm, but flexible near the end to allow for gripping on a shirt pocket. I’m a bigger fan of the spring clip, but this doesn’t appear like it will ever present a problem. The white dot of course accentuates the top of the clip, clearly identifying this as a Sheaffer product. No longer a lifetime warranty, but Sheaffer does give the Intensity a longer 3 year warranty on this pen, as opposed to the one year on some other lines.
All in all a nice pen, attractive, feels good in the hand, neither too big nor too small and a good writer. And below $100, you’re not going to break the bank getting one. The real question then becomes, which one?
Brian & Lisa