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Maker: Sheaffer.

The Tuckaway is a very odd little object.  It was introduced in 1940 as an apparent alternative to the ringtop pens which had all but vanished from most major makers’ catalogues; a short-bodied pen that stowed easily in vest pocket or purse.  The name itself is descriptive of the act of putting it away after writing.

The first Tuckaway appeared as a single model, with a lever filler and metal body.  It was not quite the same shape as the Balances it lived with, having a tail which was stepped and threaded to hold the cap while in use.  This original form had no clip nor ring, and was indeed meant to be tucked away in the bottom of a pocket.

When the Triumph line appeared in 1942, the Tuckaway was somewhat subsumed within it.  The body shape became much more like the full-size pens, and it developed several variants, some open- and some Triumph-pointed.  These sometimes shared their name with the full-size pens of similar trim level, so one would see a Tuckaway Sovereign to match the regular-sized Sovereign, but there were frequently Tuckaway-only models like the Lady Sheaffer from 1945 through ’48, and occasional re-appearances of “Tuckaway” as the entirety of the name.  The prices also matched the full-sized pens’ prices; I leave it for the reader to decide if that’s a bit of a rip-off, or a way of saving someone from buying a pen smaller than they really need just to save a little money.

They really aren’t anything alike

About 1945, the pens gained a small spring-loaded proto-clip which is technically known as a clasp.  These are regularly mistaken for military clips, although the two are entirely different.  The point of the clasp is to keep the pen from rattling around the bottom of the pocket, or more importantly from shooting out of the pocket when one bends to tie a loose shoe-lace.

The Tuckaways continued to appear in the line-up when Sheaffer made the change to Touchdown fillers, but were wrapped up shortly thereafter.  In the 1951 catalogue, there is a single model shown, in Sentinel trim and still of the old pre-Thin Model dimensions; one suspects a running down of parts stock.

Production Run: 1940 – 1951.

Cost When New: Depends on trim level.  The initial metal-bodied item cost $12.00 and the TD models cost $10.00 to $20.00; the Sentinel Tuckaway in the 1951 catalogue, for $15.00 (for modern value, try this calculator).

Size: Vacuum filler- 11.5 cm long capped, 13.3 cm posted, 9.6 cm uncapped. Touchdown- 11.9 cm long capped, 13.6 cm long posted, 10.0 cm long unposted.

Point: 14k gold open or triumph with platinum mask.

Body: Celluloid until 1947, then Forticel.

Filler: Vacuum, capacity approx. 1.0 ml;  Touchdown, capacity approx. 0.6 ml;  lever, capacity currently not known to me.

Sheaffer Tuckaway vacuum-filler whose identification is problematic.

With the cap on, the tinyness of the pen becomes obvious.  The price code on this one indicates it went for $8.75; this means it should be a Lady Sheaffer of 1947 or ’48, but then it should also have a white dot on the cap.

A Touchdown Tuckaway, which is also slightly difficult to hang a name on. All the attributes are in place for it to be a Valiant Tuckaway, but the 1949 catalogue doesn’t admit such a thing exists.



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