PenHero 365: Sheaffer Lifetime 2000

by Jim Mamoulides, January 6, 2010

Sheaffer Lifetime
Sheaffer Lifetime 2000 fountain pen cap and nib detail

I am like a magpie when it comes to Sheaffer pens with 14 karat gold trim. Anytime I see one, I will want to pick it up and look it over. If the price is right, I'll buy it, even if I already have one, or several sitting at home. I just like them.

Sheaffer Lifetime
Sheaffer Lifetime 2000 fountain pen cap and nib detail

Most of these pens have names, such as Autograph or Signature. The great Sheaffer Autograph pens of the 1930s through the 1950s all had very wide 14 karat gold cap bands for very impressive engravings of the owner's signature. Autograph pens also had 14 karat gold clips, adding to the impressiveness. The Signature model, with a much narrower 14 karat gold cap band and only a gold plated clip, began sale in the 1950s with the Thin Model Touchdown and continued with the Snorkel pens.

Sheaffer Lifetime
Sheaffer Lifetime 2000 fountain pen closed

Probably the most overlooked of these 14 karat gold trim pens is the Sheaffer Lifetime 2000. Sheaffer introduced the Lifetime pens in 1963 to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, and the pens were essentially renamed cartridge only Imperials with simple numeric model names which also happened to designate the price, thus the Lifetime 2000 was a $20.00 pen. Lifetime pens were strictly cartridge pens, and the Sheaffer 1963 catalog specifically states that the Touchdown versions were not Lifetime models. My guess is that Sheaffer figured that a cartridge only system would not come back for repairs very often, so it was a safe bet.

Sheaffer Lifetime
Sheaffer Lifetime 2000 fountain pen nib detail

Only Lifetime pens carried the White Dot on the top of the clip accompanied by the word Lifetime stamped on the face of the clip and on the nib. For pens that were supposed to last a Lifetime, Sheaffer only offered them for a couple of years. This was the last hurrah for the company before it was sold to Textron in 1966.

Sheaffer Lifetime
Sheaffer Lifetime 2000 fountain pen open and inked

This particular Sheaffer Lifetime is a 2000 model, which sports a 14 karat gold cap band. It's basically the same as the previous year's Imperial IV with an upgraded cap band and made as a cartridge only pen.

The Sheaffer Lifetime 2000 is a slender and very lightweight pen, weighing 0.5 ounce and being 5 1/4 inches long with the cap on and 5 5/8 inches with the cap posted on the end of the barrel. The 14 karat gold Inlaid nib has an elongated look on the section, as opposed to the broader looking PFM and Legacy nibs. It's about as easy to fill as can be, just drop the cartridge in the barrel, screw the nib section back on the barrel, and start writing.

Sheaffer Lifetime
Sheaffer Lifetime 2000 fountain pen open

This pen is a great example of what I like about Sheaffer nibs. It lays down a smooth, even fine line, and yet while writing, I feel every stroke on the paper. Positive feedback. Some pens lay on ink and glide on paper leaving a numb glassy smooth feel. This pen certainly writes smoothly, but you know you are writing. When I travel, I always keep a cartridge pen in my bag, so I know I'll always have a quick backup pen if I need it. Because the Sheaffer Lifetime 2000 is slender, it fits easily into pen loops in my briefcase, making it a perfect travel companion.

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