Birthday Offers now on - Automatically applied at checkout

Sheaffer History & New Ownership

Sheaffer History & New Ownership

Ross Adams |

Sheaffer was established in 1913, a year after Walter Sheaffer started to make pens in the back room of his jewellery shop in Fort Madison, Iowa.

In 1930s, they were making and selling their own fountain pen filled with a lever and was advertised as one which ‘filled instantly from any inkwell, with one touch of a finger. Cleans automatically when filling’

In 1949, Sheaffer adopted their own ‘Touchdown’ pneumatic filling mechanism on higher end pens and they also then developed the ‘Snorkel’ filler, which also used a small extending tube negating the need to submerge the nib in the inkwell to fill, meaning a yet cleaner fill up.

In 1959, the trademark inlaid nib was incorporated which stayed a mainstay of Sheaffer’s top end pens to the current time.

1959 was also the point that nearly all Sheaffer fountain pens had moved to the more modern cartridge/converter filling system, seen as a cleaner and more efficient way to top up with ink.

In the 1970s, another legendary model of Sheaffer was introduced, the Targa which many pen fans will remember along with the No Nonsense model.

All models still have the trademark white dot, which interestingly was originally a sign of quality control. Walter Sheaffer would inspect each pen and dab a small dot of white paint on it to show it had been checked and pass with assessment.

In 1997, Sheaffer was sold to the large French pen (and razor/lighter) company BIC. Unfortunately, the original factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, USA was closed in 2004 with most manufacturing being moved to China and administration being moved to Eastern Europe.

In 2014, after 17 tears of ownership, Sheaffer was once more up for sale and was then taken over by another stalwart of American pens, A.T Cross Pen Company. They ran Sheaffer alongside Cross with a focus on the lower priced pens and introduced a couple of new modern designs, the Ion and Pop.

In 2022, after a period of stock difficulties for Sheaffer and Cross, the ownership of Sheaffer was taken over by an Indian pen shop and distributor, William Penn who have streamlined the range and are relaunching some new finishes in the best selling models for 2023.