Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pen Review: Sheaffer No Nonsense

This sure takes me back. I am in grave danger of saying something like, "Yes, those were the days..."

I had a pen just exactly like this in high school. That was more than few years ago now.

(as always, all images are clickable)

I thought myself the ultimate in fashionable as a sophomore with this fountain pen - a translucent one, mind you, and in red. See-through! Look! You can see the cartridge! How cool is that?

A few weeks ago, I posted about another style of Sheaffer school pen. That plastic-bodied, metal-capped model was succeeded by the No Nonsense pens, which were wildly popular for years both as fountain pens and as ballpoints and felt tips. I had several of them. Because they were so popular, there are still a lot of them around, and they're fairly easily obtainable. I picked this one up for a very reasonable price.

The nibs of both the "school pen" and the No Nonsense echo past Sheaffer style

At the same time, I got what's a fair rarity. In fact, until the last couple of years I never knew they existed. They're practically made of unobtainium now - or are at least relatively priced as if they are, often costing more than the pens. That is (drumroll, please...)

The converter.

The converter consists of a relatively small rubber sac inside a metal tube, with a squeeze bar. As you can see, one end is perfed to take the metal feed end of the nib.

Of course, the first thing I did for these shots is throw a cartridge in the pen; I'll have to wait to play with the converter later. I'll report back if I get a chance.

The No Nonsense also featured front and center in a number of calligraphy sets marketed by Sheaffer; one of the most common sets consisted of a pen body (usually black) and three Italic nibs, F-M-B, along with a small handbook, some practice paper, and several cartridges of differing ink colors (black, blue, red and green as I recall). Although I have one of these around the house, I really wanted a pen that was just like my high school one, down to the nib.

No Nonsense pens are all over the Bay and various seller sites. I do recommend them if you are looking for a basic, reliable pen. Note they take Sheaffer's proprietary cartridges, still available; workarounds for "use your own ink" include the converter if you can find one, as well as flushing out a cartridge and refilling with the ink of your choice.

Interestingly enough, I recall a much broader line than this pen actually delivers, although I'm certain what I had was an M nib. The pen is quickly responsive; the nib is pretty much a nail, and a tad bit scratchy (keeping in mind it's new old stock and not worn in at all). The line is quite uniform. This would have been an excellent pen for note-taking, and that's exactly what I used it for.

 All in all, a good, reliable basic user's pen.

Did I mention it's translucent? And red? That is so cool...

Here's a quick comparison shot of writing with the No Nonsense M and the school pen F.


  1. Great pens. On my list is the green see-through ball point. I have posted some of the see-through school Sheaffers over at my blog. Growing up in the 60s I must of had a hundred of them. That clear red one you have is outstanding.

    1. Thanks, George! There's a lot to be said for reliable, inexpensive pens such as these. I can't say I've ever seen a see-through green one before though!

  2. LOVE these pens. Very nostalgic (for writers of a certain age -- ahem), and incredibly GREAT writers for the price -- although I have noticed lately that they are becoming a little more pricey in places like eBay. Does this reflect their increasing scarcity, I wonder, or just money grubbing on the part of some sellers?

    1. I had noticed the price creep a bit, though it didn't hit the conscious level until you mentioned it. Could be a money grab, but there is also a finite number of them available (though granted, it's a *large* finite number!) and I wonder if, over time, they've become a little harder to come by in good shape. They pretty much were a throwaway pen in the day, readily available at any grocery or drugstore, and though pretty sturdy weren't really intended to be a treasured item.

  3. The see through pen is a cool idea. Like it.School Pens are interesting in their own way,I guess :-)) Thanks for cool Blog.Sean