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300

Maker: Sheaffer.

When the Javelin was withdrawn from service, its place was taken by two pens.  The one I’m not examining here, the 100, was slightly smaller and less expensive, and could be said to have been the replacement as the entry level fountain pen.  The 300 is more in line with the size of the Javelin, and might well be thought of as aiming at a part of the market which associates the notion of “fountain pen” with those of “large” and “impressive”, but lacks either the cash or the will to spend it on a more up-scale pen; it’s more expensive than either the 100 or the Javelin, but it’s still (in fountain pen terms) not expensive.  This is a pen which an unkind person might describe as targeting the vain tightwad.

This seems a rather damning statement, and I should hate to leave that sort of impression about the 300.  It is a fine evolution of the Javelin; like that pen, this one somewhat evokes the spirit of the No Nonsense, but in an even more polished manner.  While it loses the squared-off cap-end that calls to mind the more expensive Legacy (and both its progenitors), there is apparently a bit more thought given to the interaction of the cap and the body.  When in place, the cap butts against a trim ring on the barrel in such a way that the damage at the joint I outline in my look at the older model is highly unlikely.  When the pen in is use, the cap snaps onto the tail rather than just friction-fitting, which is another head of potential barrel wear addressed.  The point and feed are by now such well-tried objects in Sheaffer’s experience that, apart from the odd little lapse in the quality control department, complaint is almost impossible to generate in that directions.  The 300 also addresses one on my own accusations of cheapness against Sheaffer in my look at the Javelin, as it was packaged with two cartridges and a converter.

There is, however, one small complaint, which is rather common across many modern pens.  In giving a sense of a more expensive, rather grander pen, the 300 finds itself somewhat larded up.  It’s slightly heavier that the Javelin, which was already quite heavy enough.  With the cap posted on its clever, barrel-preserving mounting, it is distinctly top-heavy; most of the cap’s weight is in the top, and stuck on the end of the barrel it gets quite a bit of leverage.  Leaving the cap aside leaves one with a surprisingly small pen; a lot of the length of this thing is in the cap, along with the weight.  In an overall way, though, I recommend both the pen and posting, as the excess weight is not entirely unmanageable.

I have a couple of concerns about long-term durablility with this pen, both of which will need some years to prove out and both of which lie inside the cap.  One is the nature of the “clicker” which holds the cap on.  It is smoother than the notoriously wear-prone item that lurks up inside the cap of the Parker Frontier, and should thus last longer, but it is something made of deformable plastic and thus given to abrasion and potentially done in by age-brittling.  The other source of concern is the spring mechanism for the clip, which is visible at the upper end of the cap’s interior.  This seems an invitation to corrosion, since even if it doesn’t get splashed with ink it is in a naturally high-humidity environment.  It’s not a huge concern, but as someone who views a good pen as something that survives at least a half-century before materials problems become importunate, it’s something I notice.

Word comes of Sheaffer having a couple of new ranges of pens in the works for release in early 2013, from which I assume the impending conclusion of this series; at least one of those new lines will occupy the same price territory.  However, in late 2012, a sub-set of the 300 branded for Ferarri cross-merchandising appeared.  This development, since it’s not being offered as a limited edition, suggests that the 300 is not in imminent danger.  I’m offering 2012 as the end of the line for the moment, but the internet is easily edited and I will change as developments warrant.  Update: it’s still there in the on-line catalogues; the 300 persists, despite being at pretty much the same price point and trim level as the Sagaris.

Production Run: c. 2009- present.

Cost When New: MSRP appears to be $75.00 for 2013.

Size: 14.1 cm long capped, 15.5 cm posted, 12.2 cm uncapped.

Point: Steel.

Body: Brass, with various finishes..

FillerCartridge, capacity approx. 1.1 ml

Sheaffer 300 in what the box describes as “chased chrome”; the lines are in evenly spaced groups of four, and there’s a blank space on the cap for engraving, which makes for an extremely traditional exterior.

The cap is entirely flush with the barrel when in place, which I think makes for an extremely handsome pen.

 

 

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