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  • A Fleeting Ripple

special occasions: sheaffer imperial

The moon is high and bright. So bright that you can sit next to the window under a pool of moonlight. The street below is quiet although you can hear the loud music a few streets away. You wish the streetlights were a little dimmer so you could see more of the stars. There are still some visible, not many. It’s a beautiful night, you can feel the warmer days coming. The summertime would be nicer right now, if it was warm enough outside, you could’ve sat on the balcony and enjoy the moonlight on your skin.

I have been through another exam week, and this time I had a very special pen to accompany me. I took a lot of notes and had long writing sessions with a blue Sheaffer Imperial IV with a sharp gold stub nib. The nib is too thick for most of my daily writing, but this time I used that pen often and the extra character that it added to my writing made studying more fun.

Generally there aren’t many fountain pens in the thrift or antique stores, but I like taking a look at them anyway and go through all the weird stuff. Once, to my surprise, there was a box of fountain pens just sitting on one of thee tables. Actually the one that caught my attention was a blue marbled ring top pen -Swan I think. Then, I decided to look through rest of the box too, just to see if there was anything. I picked this unassuming one, since I recognised the Sheaffer white dot on the clip. It felt nice in the hand, and I decided to open the cap and see what was inside. I saw this beautiful inlaid nib, the stub-ness visible to the naked eye. I love inlaid and hooded nibs, perhaps in this age of very similar nib designs they feel more special to me. The inlaid nib was the thing that sold me on this pen. At that point I only knew Targa from the Sheaffer lineup with an inlaid nib, and I had recently an opportunity to buy one but had to pass due to shipping costs. I couldn’t believe my luck, I thought this one was an earlier model of Targa-esque pens.

Imagine me in a flea store, about to scream my head off from excitement. I completely forgot about the ringtop I was looking at in the beginning and ran to the owner to discuss the price. It didn’t take too long, I was going to buy this pen in pretty much any reasonable price.

When I came home, I sat down to inspect the pen because I had no idea how to fill it. Or what it really was. It turns out it is a Sheaffer Imperial IV in blue with a wonderful stub nib. I thought it was the Pen For Men at first, but turns out this is its smaller cousin. My version has a smooth touchdown mechanism that has been working fine since the day I first inked it. Unfortunately I have no experience with restoration and don’t know anyone who can take a look, so I pretty much left it alone except for the occasional inking.

The most exciting part for me was the nib. I don’t own many stubs as I learned that I prefer more line variation than most offer and a slightly sharper edge. I also hold my pen at an angle, so finding a sweet spot is not too easy. But with this pen it just falls into place and the pen glides like writing on glass on the page. This is the only stub I regularly use -granted, my only other stub is a Lamy 1.1. Because I’m afraid to wear the pen out too much -perhaps silly- I don’t use it too often and break it out for special occasions. This time it was a stressful exam week that I could use some moral support on.

Currently it is inked with Waterman Serenity Blue, a safe blue ink that doesn’t feather on any paper I’ve used. I was somewhat surprised about this, since it is not a particularly dry stub. It shows off the characteristics of the nib well, the deep blue shading and a tiny bit of sheen around the letters where the ink pools is visible on good paper.

The pen itself doesn’t show its age much, there are some micro scratches, but it is clearly loved and taken care of. Therefore this little worn ring at the back stood out to me. At first, I thought it was some weird scratch, then I realised it’s the place where the previous owner posted the pen. I almost never post my pens, and this pen has a particularly nice balance that I don’t want to throw off in any way. That little mark gives me so much joy.

It’s fun to think about what the previous owner(s?) used this pen for, or who they were. That little connection to the previous humans warms my heart and gives me hope about the future. This pen was loved before, and I can continue loving and taking care of it. It’s all going to be alright.

Thank you for reading!

1 Comment

Apr 19, 2022

Beauty, I love my imperial, and I’m always on the lookout for them. What a nice story. If the touchdown eventually fails, it’s a fairly friendly restoration to try. You just need to order the correct parts



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