Sunday, October 13, 2013

Balance in Transition

I needed another Sheaffer Balance like I needed a hole in the head, as my grandfather used to say.
However, as Shakespeare wrote in King Lear, "Reason not the need."  When this Balance in a color of marble I did not own showed up, I nabbed it.  But I also got a bit of a mystery along with it.

This is a color of marble called "ebonized pearl," introduced in 1934, which is black with the appearance of chips of mother of pearl floating in it.  Unlike other Balances of celluloid marble, it has a plain black tip and top.  As far as I can tell, all of the "ebonized pearl" Balances have the same black ends.  That's a mystery for another day.

It is marble, and it has the "lifetime warranty" center band of 1934-35, so it should also have a flattened ball clip, but it does not.  Mysteriously, it has a "rigid radius" clip usually only found on the striated celluloid pencils from 1936 to 1940.  It is 4 & 3/4 " and uses 1.1 mm lead.  It has the imprint that includes Sheaffer's patent number.  It has the longer clip, like my "rose glow" striated Balance, which also has 1.1 mm lead and the patent number imprint.

I'm going to call the "ebonized pearl" pencil with the later clip a Balance in transition.  You can imagine that when they changed to the new clip, they may have had some marble cases left to put them on.

More transitions were slated for the Sheaffer Balance.  Below are two more striated Balances, but on these the rigid radius clip is shorter, and there is no patent number on the imprint, but instead the 350 cost number. They use thinner 0.9 mm lead, which according to Wikipedia was introduced in 1938.  It's possible the shorter clips were introduced along with the thinner lead. Perhaps they changed the imprint at the same time to show the retail price.  New clip, new imprint, and new lead size--it was like a new Balance.

And that's the long and the short of it!

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