PenHero 365: Lady Sheaffer "Flamme"
by Jim Mamoulides, February 1, 2010
Lady Sheaffer "Flamme" fountain pen with the cap posted on the barrel
Sheaffer launched the Lady Sheaffer line in 1971 as part of the new "Expressions by Sheaffer" advertising campaign. The Lady Sheaffer design echoed key design elements from the distinctive Imperial line introduced in 1961, including the overall tapered shape and bar clip with the iconic Sheaffer White Dot affixed at the top. Sheaffer used finishes and detailing that would appeal to women, with one of the most interesting elements being a raised engraved and antiqued "carved Florentine" cap band on silver glazed, golden glazed, and soft enamel finished models. Some finishes from the 1959 Lady Sheaffer line were reintroduced on these pens.
Lady Sheaffer "Flamme" fountain pen closed
All Lady Sheaffer fountain pens were cartridge / converter fill pens, and the first models were given a short conical nib similar to the one on the 1961 Imperial III. Included with each pen was a brocade-patterned gift purse. In 1973, Sheaffer changed the nib unit to a version of the Stylpoint inset nib that first appeared on the 1961 Imperial I. Based on advertisements, the Lady Sheaffer line continued with this nib unit through 1977. The line does not appear in advertisements after that, so it may have been discontinued by the 1978 model year.
The cap is nearly as long as the barrel on these pens, giving the pen an interesting middle belt line and therefore a very long section.
Lady Sheaffer "Flamme" fountain pen open
There were many documented finishes offered on the Lady Sheaffer, in prices ranging from $9.95 for the silver glazed fountain pen to $22.50 for a silver and gold Tulle pattern finish fountain pen. I have not been able to pin down the pattern name and pricing on this particular style pen. Collectors have dubbed the engraving pattern "flamme" for its deeply engraved waves of flame flowing down the cap and barrel. At least two versions of this pattern exist, including this all gold plated pen, and an all chrome plated pen with the engraved design cuts in contrasting gold plate.
This Lady Sheaffer "Flamme" is a standard size, yet lighter weight pen, weighing 0.6 ounce and being 5 3/16 inches long with the cap on and 5 1/2 inches with the cap posted on the end of the barrel. To me the pen is more comfortable posted, though I worry about scratching the finish. Although the nib is marked USA, the only marking on the cap and barrel is "SHEAFFER" at the front cap lip.
Lady Sheaffer "Flamme" fountain pen nib detail
As the converter was really stuck firmly in the long section of this pen, I elected to bottle fill it. Dunking the section in the ink bottle, doing a few squeezes on the converter, a quick wipe, and we are ready to write. The Stylpoint nib unit is fitted with a hallmarked 14 karat gold fine nib that writes very nicely, smooth and slightly wet. The very long section has a blunt end that somewhat recalls a Parker 51 in look and feel. This actually is a nice pen to write with.
Lady Sheaffer "Flamme" fountain pen open showing squeeze converter
I wasn't eager to pocket this pen for the day (I didn't want to spend the day explaining it), so I kept it at the desk and doodled with it as the urge to write came up. Although I would not personally carry a feminine pen, I find the engraving pattern very appealing and wished that Sheaffer had decided to put it on the standard Imperial pen. Parker put a lot of interesting engraved patterns on the 75, so why not Sheaffer? That would have been a really cool pen. Many of Sheaffer's more interesting engraving patterns ended up on its pens for women instead of the pens for men. Oh well. This was a fun pen to have out for a day and I hope eventually to track down the actual pattern name, model and pricing.
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