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Imperial I

For more general notes, see the page for the Imperial line.

Like Sheaffer, I approached the Imperials in an order different than that in which they are numbered.  I have thus previously described this pen, on the page for the Imperial II,  as “a strange anomaly, with a Stylpoint section and a filler which seems more like that in the Esterbrook Safari than a Sheaffer (although still reliant on an o-ring for its tail seal), and it’s hard to view it as associated, despite the name.”  It’s actually hard to improve upon that description.

However, having latterly got an example into my hands, I can add a few things to it.  I have seen in some sources that this pen was generally made in Australia, and my example suggests that may not always be the case.  While the barrel and cap have no hint of national origin, the point is marked “USA”.  This hints at American manufacture, and although it is not impossible that Sheaffer shipped the points to Australia for integration in antipodeal housings, Sheaffer’s plant down there was certainly capable of turning out the points seen on earlier Snorkel pens and the economics of shipping parts to and fro across the whole face of the earth doesn’t really suggest itself (the modern version of this practice relies on third world wages at the point of assembly, which was not quite the case in 1960s Australia).

I have also seen in other sources some possible confusion about the material from which the points are made.  My example is definitely steel with gold plating; there is pitting around the edge of the section’s triangular cut-away that would not occur in an all-gold point.  It’s not out of the question that some gold-pointed examples are loose in the world, but as this is a low-end model Sheaffer’s practices regarding point materials urges against it.

Production Run: 1961 – c. 1966.

Cost When New:  $4.95 (for modern value, try this calculator).

Size: 13.6 cm long capped, 14.6 cm posted, 12.1 cm uncapped.

Point: Plated steel.

Body: Polystyrene.

Filler: Touchdown, capacity approx. 0.6 ml. or cartridge, approx. 1.1ml

Sheaffer Imperial I. This pen has a foot on either side of a chronological watershed, as the clip and barrel impression read “Sheaffer’s”, while the point merely says “Sheaffer.”



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