Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

White-Dot Lifetime Flattop

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.

My Pen

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.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 116mm,
  • Uncapped length 104mm,
  • Barrel diameter 11.5mm,
  • Cap diameter 13.5mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 17g.

Author:

I'm a loser as my wife likes to tell me, I enjoy researching dead cousins and playing with fountain pens.

4 thoughts on “White-Dot Lifetime Flattop

  1. Great information read. Sounds like a very ‘fine’ pen. Fine nibs are wonderful for small writing. I worked with a nurse who had the tiniest of handwriting I’d ever seen. She swore by them. The Sheaffer is a pen I am unfamiliar with other than a standard cheap pen I have with a medium italic nib. Quite a broader than expected writing nib in nature really and very dry with cartridge delivery. Now I want to know a little more about Sheaffer after reading your post. So will hunt the internet. I love black pens that feel simple and chunky in nature too. Also, black Sheaffer ink was a fine first choice for my everyday use in patients’ files. Keep the posts coming. Very interesting and informative. All the best.

    Like

    1. Thank you for visiting. I am not a Sheaffer fan-boy but I do have 4 of their pens, all are unique. The most interesting is the pen with the snorkel filling mechanism. A snorkel, straw, or tube extends from the feed when filling the pen, thus eliminating the need to dip the nib into a bottle of ink. Definitely minimizes the mess associated with filling the pen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of the conundrums with the types of old style lever fillers is the dexterity of filling from different shaped ink pots. Worrying that the whole caboodle will end up all over the table or floor. So difficult when trying to hold steady and get at low level ink in the pots. Tipping the pot on a diagonal to get ink above the nibs. Straw type scenario sound like they knew of this problem. Thanks for sharing. 👍

        Liked by 1 person

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