PenHero 365: Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe Green

by Jim Mamoulides, January 18, 2010

Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe
Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe Green fountain pen open

Sheaffer introduced the new Triumph line with the same name Triumph conical nib in 1942. These pens were noticeably different than the Balance line, with flush fitting caps and barrels, but still using familiar materials and Sheaffer filling systems. Although introduced the year after the debut of the Parker 51, it is unlikely that the new pen was in response to the hooded nib 51. Sheaffer and Parker were in constant competition on all aspects of pen design since the 1920s.

Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe
Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe Green fountain pen cap and nib detail

The complexity of the conical nib design and the large feed with more ink channels was very similar thinking to Parker's hooded nib design, but with the nib on the outside, extending the taper of the section smoothly all the way to the tip of the nib. Sheaffer's design rewarded the buyer with a lot of 14 karat gold real estate, more than a traditional open nib, and yet a very strong design, able to write through carbons, and finished so that it could write two ways: normally and inverted. The feed was longer and had more ink channels than a traditional open nib, extending well into the section, and gave the pen better ink flow and was designed to work better at high altitudes. Aircraft was the ultimate high tech of the late 1930s and early 1940s, so pitching the pen as able to work while flying showed a technical edge over the competition.

Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe
Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe Green fountain pen closed showing White Dot on barrel end cap

When World War II ended, Sheaffer redesigned the Triumph line with a softer, more rounded look and introduced more models. The 1947 catalog introduced Sheaffer's first stainless steel capped model, named Sentinel DeLuxe, with the fountain pen priced at $15.00, accompanied by a matching pencil and Stratowriter ballpoint pen. This first model Sentinel DeLuxe, as shown here, had a brushed and polished stainless steel cap with a gold plated cap band and gold filled trim, and came in black, green and gray striped celluloid barrel and section. The following year's model would have a brightly polished stainless steel cap with engraved longitudinal lines, setting the look for Sentinel models through 1959.

Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe
Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe Green fountain pen barrel imprint and cap engraving detail

Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe pens offered two choices of filling systems. All colors could be had as Vacuum-Fillers, as this pen, and the Sheaffer lever-filling system was available on the black model only. I like the look and feel of stainless steel, so I tend to gravitate to Sheaffer Sentinel models if they are available. The brushed cap first model is a little harder to find than later pens, although I actually like the look of the polished cap pen a little better.

This Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe Green is a medium weight pen, weighing 0.8 ounce and being 5 1/8 inches long with the cap on and 5 7/8 inches with the cap posted on the end of the barrel.

Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe
Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe Green fountain pen Lifetime nib detail

The Sheaffer Vacuum-Fill system, when properly restored, is incredibly simple and holds a ton of ink, as the barrel itself is the ink reservoir. To fill the plunger is first pulled all the way out, then the nib section is inserted in the inkwell, and then the plunger is quickly pressed down once, creating a vacuum inside the pen, instantly sucking ink in the barrel. Wipe the nib and section carefully, as the section is grooved, and then you are set for a lot of writing. Most Sheaffer Triumph nibs are of the smooth nail variety, as is this one, a very firm fine. Sheaffer made flexible Triumph nibs, included in a range of sixteen nib types, and the flexible nibs are rare indeed. If you find one, you have a valuable pen.

I like these pens because I like the feel of Sheaffer nibs on paper. They have just enough feedback so you feel your writing strokes. I like Vacuum-Fill pens because they hold a lot of ink, so this Sheaffer Triumph Sentinel DeLuxe is the best of both. If you are interested in any Sheaffer Vacuum-Fill pen, make sure you get it properly restored to working condition. Many of these found in the wild need new gaskets to work correctly, and it's a fairly advanced restoration.

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