I’ve been reviewing full-sized and oversized pens for the most part, but I decided to break it up with this sweet pocket pen.
The Balance Junior was one of Sheaffer’s lower-tiered, non-white dot pens, but it’s largely made from the same materials as the larger Balance pens–14k nibs, the same celluloid, and so on. This one doesn’t have gold-plated trim, but otherwise there isn’t much difference between this and a white dot Balance, except the size. Sheaffer made Balances from 1929 until the early 1940’s; Sheaffer didn’t introduce the Marine Green striated celluloid until 1937, so this pen is at least that old (more Sheaffer balance information can be found on Richard Binder’s Website.)
Unlike larger Balances, the Junior can be found with the Junior nib–a beautiful, semi-flex nib. Typically, vintage 14k nibs from Sheaffer are extremely rigid; the Junior was available with these rigid nibs too, but the Junior nib is anything but. Perhaps it’s not as flexible as a full-flex vintage nib, but I doubt that any modern flex nib can outperform this nib and feed.
I don’t really write with flex pens but this one is very enjoyable. It takes zero effort to flex, snaps back quickly, and the feed keeps up well. It’s perfect for adding a little bit of a flair to writing, but I wouldn’t push it too hard.
That said, a nib this flexible isn’t really all that great for everyday writing unless using a light touch. The pen is very tiny, too, so I don’t like it for long writing sessions. Someone with a smaller hand and delicate touch could make it work.
The street price for this pen is $50-$100, depending on the material, filling system, nib, and condition of the pen, so someone in the market for a self-filling, high-quality pocket pen could do a heck of a lot worse. However, pens that fill with sacs–like lever fillers–are more sensitive to jostling, temperature, and pressure changes so it should still be carried in a secure way, not rattling around in a purse or jeans pocket.
- Stunning materials.
- Basically affordable and still around.
- Pocket-sized, self-filling pen with an ink window (technically a “visulated” section, but functionally similar).
- Wonderful nibs.
- Holds more ink than a typical cartridge only pocket pen.
- Vintage Americana.
- It is small. That might be a pro, depending on the writer.
- The youngest of these pens have been around since World War II, so they’ll come with vintage pen “quirks”.
- Lever fillers suck to clean and pens that fill with sacs are more likely to burp/splatter/do weird stuff in response to vigorous movement, temperature changes, or air pressure changes.
- Screw cap.
- 1.25 turns to remove.
- 14K Sheaffer Junior; EF/F Semi-Flex.
- They were also made with rigid two-tone 14k Lifetime nibs and Sheaffer #3 nibs, almost always in fine or sometimes medium.
- Filling System:
- Lever filler with visulated section.
- Ink Capacity: 0.8mL.
- Vacuum fillers were an option on later pens. These are harder to restore than lever fillers and have a higher price tag.
- Capped: 123mm.
- Uncapped: 117mm.
- Posted: 143mm.
- Total: 11g.
- Cap: 4g.
- Pen: 7g.
- Section diameter: