Thursday, July 25, 2013

Unhinged, But Not Unbalanced

Of all the pencil brands and models I have collected so far, one has become my favorite.  I don't think it is because it comes from right here in Iowa, although that's great, of course.  I think it's the design, the actual shape, and the way it looks and feels as a writing instrument that makes the Sheaffer Balance rise to the top of my list.  The Balance came in four or five sizes, and many wonderful celluloid patterns and colors.

The large Balance is 5 & 5/8 inches.  The warm browns and golds in this striated celluloid go well with the gold-colored metal.  The clip has no marking on this style from the second half of the 1930s, when only striated celluloid was being used, not marbled.  The only imprint is the tiny one on the back of the pencil, highlighted in white for the photo below.  The original price was $5.00, and it uses 0.9 mm lead.

Another example of the golden brown striated celluloid of the same time period is the model below with a wide jeweler's band for engraving one's name or initials.  It is 5 & 1/4 inches and uses 0.9 mm lead.

Medium size Balances were also available in 4 & 3/4 inches.  Below is one in the color of striated celluloid called "rose glow."  It uses the older 1.1 mm lead.

 The one below is the same size, but it has a smaller clip and uses 0.9 mm lead.  It is red and black.

The 4 & 3/4 inch Balance above is from the specific time period of 1934-35.  Its grey marble has veins of red, and the clip is marked Sheaffer's.  It uses 1.1 mm lead.  

Sheaffer also made a 4 & 1/4 inch Balance, which you would have to call a ladies' pencil, or a pocket pencil.

The black and green marble pencil above is the earliest of them all, made from 1929 to 1933.  Those from that time period had a ball clip with the Sheaffer name on it, and were fitted with 1.1 mm lead.

Below are all the Balances together; because each one has a gold band in the middle, they accompanied Balance pens carrying Sheaffer's lifetime warranty, and were slightly more deluxe.  All are still working perfectly after 75+ years.

Mechanical pencil mania may make me slightly unhinged, but no one could say I am "un-Balanced."

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