Just in case you don’t know, welp I have a thing for black pens and a thing for flattop pens. Cigar or torpedo shape pens just don’t do it for me. Sheaffer introduced Lifetime pens in 1920. A couple years later came flattop pens but only in jade green. Eventually, black! Now they have my attention.
In 1924, Sheaffer introduced a flattop pen made of celluloid but the only color is Jade Green. They called this celluloid Jadite (makes sense). About the same time, they added the signature white dot to the center of Lifetime pen caps. By 1925, Sheaffer expanded the use of celluloid to include Jet Black, Coral Red, and Cherry Red and rebranded the Jadite to Radite.
The imprint on the clip changed in 1922 to compliment the company logo and it was mounted slightly lower on the cap. The clip is straight, ending in a round ball. Another clip design mounted even lower on the cap and with a slight bend or hump was introduced in late 1928. The ball at the end of the clip is flattened. This design did not replace the prior straight clip, both designs coexisted.
In 1926, Sheaffer began imprinting serial numbers on the dorsal and ventral sides of their nibs. This was to stop dealers (Katz Drug) from selling their pens below the retail price.
Early Flattops have a barrel imprint that includes patent dates. The patent date format went through a couple changes (this format is the latter). After 1927, the text style changed slightly and the patent dates were removed.
This original Lifetime pen sported a solid spear feed. The feed changed to a comb style sometime prior to 1926. In 1938, Sheaffer changed the feeds on the flattops giving them a more refined comb shape.
Is a black Lifetime Radite Flattop lever filled, manufactured in 1926 or 1927. It has a couple minor tooth marks, scratches, and the cap doesn’t screw on as tightly as I’d prefer but otherwise, it is nice for a 95-year-old pen. The section is ebonite, there was some discoloration attributable to sun/water damage. The discoloration was minor and removed quickly with a Sunshine cloth.
Time to inked it up and gave it a go.
- Capped length 116mm,
- Uncapped length 104mm,
- Barrel diameter 11.5mm,
- Cap diameter 13.5mm,
- Pen weighs in at 17g.