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At the time this pen was in vogue, it was a technical innovation: the pen that wouldn’t leak in your pocket. Twenty years after its introduction, it was dwarfed by the Duofold and Lifetime pens from Parker and Sheaffer. This beauty in chased hard rubber was abandoned by a fellow collector because of white streaks caused by a little accident with the Amodex. A little Kiwi liquid shoe polish made it look like new.
I’m up to two of these, and chances are, I’ll have more before I quit collecting. The first I received as a gift from my grandmother, who was given the pen as a graduation gift in 1929. It needed a little restoration, but thanks to John Mottishaw, the cracked nib is repaired and it writes perfectly. The day after Christmas 2000, I found its sweet oversized companion, shown here, at an Ohio antique mall. Sturdy, smooth-writing nibs and sensible good looks make these pens a truly lifetime acquisition.
As far as I was concerned, the "Balance" aspect of this model was just another marketing ploy—until I wrote with one and felt the light perfection of its strokes on paper, perfectly, well, yes, balanced. Those with the gold monotone nibs are just as nice as the flattops, and of course the two-toned "Feathertouch" nibs are even a step up from that. The Balance is the best-writing, most reasonably priced vintage fountain pen out there, bar none, whether it has the white dot or not. Right now, just this little abalone model and the long-but-not-oversized Jade Green Radite pen are in my collection. More will follow—seniors and "regular sized" will come, in the marbled and striated varieties.
This was a sad-sack pen when it left a San Diego antique shop in the Gaslamp district and headed into my collection. Another brilliant job by John Mottishaw, who retipped this common Sheaffer’s circa-early-twenties #2 nib to be an uncommonly flexible writer that is picky about my left-handed stroke but plays like a Stradivarius when it gets going. Compact yet elegant, this pen ranks among my favorites.