This page covers a lot of ground, although it will not cover it in any substantial depth; it exists mainly to help quiet the constant cries of “But what is this thing?” that surround Waterman.
In the 1960s, Waterman began producing school pens which it named Jif, in reference to the company’s old name. “Jiffie” appeared later, but the use of the diminutive is hard to figure out, as the pen doesn’t appear to be any smaller than the Jifs it shares most of its other characteristics with. Possibly it’s an intrusion of the English “Jiffy,” the sort of thing which persistently bunches up the knickers of l’Académie française.
The earliest Jif seems to have been based upon the C/C with a somewhat simplified body, although it also puts one in mind of the approach to school pens seen in other maker’s contemporary examples, which mainly differed from the main-stream pens by colour.
The later models, at least, are interesting mainly in providing another view of the approach to school pens, for which you might want to look at Germany’s Pelikano, Safari, and Core, the American School, and the Anglo-American Reflex. With few exceptions, the approach seems to be to thrust some known points and feeds into a somewhat youth-ified housing that is capable of withstanding some abuse (the Reflex being a notable departure on the latter point), and it seems that Waterman wasn’t willing to let France down in this. The points and feeds are essentially the same as those in company’s lower-end “adult” pens, and the bodies are quite robust.
They’re also, generally speaking, no one’s idea of beautiful, although the recent Jif 31 (and possibly late Jiffies, see pictures below) are a little more likely to pass muster with the adult market.
The majority of this page was derived from a discussion of the matter on the Fountain Pen Network; I suggest a look at that discussion, as it has rather more and frequently better pictures.
Production Run: c. 1960 – c. 1970 for the initial Jif, c. 1975 – c. 1990 for the Jif 2, c. 1990 – c. 2000 for the Jif 31, c. 1975 – 2000 for the Jiffie. All very approximate.
Cost When New: Cheap, but no one seems to know how much exactly.
Size: Varies with model; see below
Filler: Cartridge in all cases, with the late models using the international pattern, capacity approx. 0.6 ml or 1.4 ml. The earlier ones likely used the “23” pattern Waterman cartridge, with about a 1.4 ml capacity, although the first Jif may have used the C/F pattern of about 1.2 ml.
If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.