Sheaffer Company History | Sheaffer | Sheaffer - US

Company History

Welcome!

At Sheaffer Pen & Art Supply Co. we are proud to continue the tradition of innovation and quality craftsmanship that our founder, and original creative mind, Walter A. Sheaffer, envisioned way back in 1913. Starting as a backroom business with only seven employees, we’ve grown throughout the years into a top designer and manufacturer of writing instruments and creative tools. Our American-grown company has been a world-wide lynchpin in the fine-writing industry and continues to set the bar above our competition with products that ignite curiosity and inspire creativity. Our employees come to work everyday with the same passion for excellence and drive that Walter A. Sheaffer and his family pioneered over 100 years ago.

Respect the Past

During the bank panic of 1873, Walter’s father, Jacob, had no alternative but to sell his jewelry store, and faced with virtual poverty, eleven year old Walter went to work. By 1889 Walter had earned enough cash to buy his own jewelry store in Fort Madison, Iowa. Walter moved to Iowa with his wife and two children, altered the history and economy for Fort Madison, and the fountain pen industry forever. In 1907, Walter A. Sheaffer used his jeweler expertise and aimed to create a device which would allow users to fill a pen with ink much easier, cleaner and aesthetically-pleasing. In 1912, Walter A. Sheaffer, dedicated his life savings to his idea of a pen-filling apparatus that initiates a lever system.

By the 1930’s, Sheaffer pens had solidified itself as a leader in the luxury pen market. The fountain pens were advertised as the pen that “fills instantly from any ink-well, with one touch of a finger.” Throughout the years we have maintained the desire for excellence and set forth expectations that provide our customers with a fine-writing instrument a step above the rest. Instantly, Sheaffer became a household name and must-have product in American homes.

Invent the Future

2014

  • Sheaffer Pen Company is purchased by A.T. Cross and continues to grow and adapt to the changing market while holding fast to the original principles of its founder, Walter A. Sheaffer. The White Dot continues to symbolize pioneering change and innovation, and pushing past the limits to create a timeless masterpiece.

2017

  • Sheaffer establishes ION collection. This portable, pocket-sized pen lets you write with quality craftsmanship wherever you go. With a stylish high-gloss resin and a pen cap that attaches to your key ring, the ION is a necessity for any student, nurse, doctor, or parent constantly on the move.
  • POP collection is introduced. POP allows consumers to express their mood and match their wardrobe with their pen now!

Sheaffer Pen & Art Supply Co. continues the tradition by introducing a new line of innovative, cool and colorful tools of expression for all the curious minds out there. To make things more exciting, we teamed up with creative minds and artists from around the world, and gave them complete freedom to express their creativity. We were curious to see their unique perspective because that is the essence of who we are! The artwork can be found on our current collection lines, and will be seen on our growing list of products, such as calligraphy sets and other art supplies.

Let’s write the future together!

#CuriousMinds

 



History of Sheaffer Pen & Art Supply Co.

1920

  • Sheaffer Pen Company successfully markets the famous Lifetime pen at $8.75- three times the cost of most competitive pens- proving that the consumer public welcomes the dependable, durable and quality writing instrument.

1924

  • The White Dot, symbol of Sheaffer’s Lifetime Warranty, was applied to Sheaffer pens. This simple hallmark automatically distinguishes itself as a leader and foundation amongst pen companies. The first pens introduced with the White Dot were marketed as, “Unconditionally guaranteed to work for a lifetime.”

1930

  • The popular Balance pen appears on the market, and Sheaffer is the first company to offer various colors and styles, such as the nib. The Art Deco movement continued to broaden and touch fine luxuries and writing instruments. Sheaffer faced the economic crisis head-on, and worked tirelessly to build a clear future for the company. Engineers and chemists worked together to produce the Feathertouch bi-directional nib and transparent ink reservoir.

1946

  • Walter A. Sheaffer passes away, and his son, Craig, leads the company with the same vision as his father. With the addition of a multi-million dollar power plants in Quincy, Illinois and Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Sheaffer launches its first ballpoint pen, the RAI Stratowriter. This pen was an oil based ink with a one millimeter writing ball, which was here to stay.
  • A Sheaffer pen salvaged from the USS Oklahoma, at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, was used by a Toledo, Ohio printing company to inscribe special promotional material in its WWII Victory Bond sales drive. Each bond sold in this manner was accompanied with a decorative Christmas envelops, lettered with the recovered USS Oklahoma Sheaffer pen. Each envelope read, “So there’ll always be a peaceful Christmas, My Victory Bond Gift to you.”

1951

  • The fifty-millionth Sheaffer pen rolled off the assembly line, and was given as a gift to the senior-most employee, a woman whom had been working at Sheaffer since 1916. Sheaffer’s sales volume had increased over one hundred times what it had been in 1916 and the new $3,000,000 plant was ready to create history.

1952

  • Snorkel pen line was introduced. Named after a submarine periscope tube, the pen had a Touchdown filling mechanism with a filling tube to eliminate immersing the point and feed when filling.

1958

  • The Lady Sheaffer was born and designed specifically for a fashion accessory. The clipless model was available in various styles and colors, and could be sewn safely in it's own pouch of a woman’s purse.

1959

  • The PFM (Pen for Men) was developed and the large diameter pen was the first fountain pen to ever have an “inlaid” nib molded directly into the gripping section
  • The 1950’s brought great excitement to Sheaffer Pen Company and was the decade which hosted numerous launches of new lines including, Snorkel, Lady Sheaffer, PFM (Pen for Men). Sheaffer Pen Company continues to set the standard for fine writing craftsmanship. With distributors from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Australia, Sheaffer had spread global and remained a stakeholder in the international market.

1963

  • Sheaffer Pen Company celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The gala event was attended by a number of celebrities who respected and admired the leadership and foresight of Walter A. Sheaffer, and his son Craig.
  • The Safeguard (“Reminder” clip) is introduced during the 1960’s. This ingenious innovation made it impossible to clip the pen in a shirt or pocket when the writing tip was extended, which prevented unwanted ink stains.

1970

  • The Nostalgia line is introduced- a high-quality filigree pen, was available in sterling silver and gold models, and featured a 14K gold nib.

1976

  • The highly anticipated Targa line is produced. With limited production, this pen remains one of the most sought out pens for collectors. With a hi-tech, visually pleasing minimalist design, the Targa collection marked a dramatic shift for Sheaffer and produced over seventy finishes in all.

1985

  • Sheaffer announces the new Connaisseur line with 18k gold nibs.

1989

  • When George H, Walker Bush was inaugurated the 41st President of the United States, a friend presented him with a Sheaffer sterling silver Nostalgia fountain pen engraved with his initials: G.H.W.B.
  • Sheaffer facilities were designed with the express purpose of applying the very popular writing instrument finishes in colorful lacquer and enamel. Sheaffer “Laque” writing instruments were finished with seven individually buffed coats of lacquer and each pen was sent through a “Clean room”, which ensured the perfect finish and detail on each pen produced. Sheaffer also started to create quality leather products related to writing, and introduced a medium-priced writing instrument line.

1991

  • The Triumph conical style nib is created and the new line included ballpoint and rollerball pens.

1995

  • The reengineered Triumph Imperial is launched in 1995.
  • The Legacy line is first introduced and remained the flagship for the Sheaffer brand. A luxury, medium-sized writing instrument, elegant yet modern, this fountain pen was characterized by its 18K gold inlaid nib and its striking finishes in shimmering lacquer, 22K gold plate, palladium plate, and engraved sterling silver.

1997

  • Prelude collection is introduced. This medium-priced line offered a traditional writing style with modern functionality.

1998

  • Balance II collection is introduced. Each pen produced in either a beautiful jade green, amber glow, crimson glow and cobalt glow marbled acrylic.

2000

  • The Valor pen is also introduced and is widely-known for its inlaid nib, striking angular clip and trademark White Dot. A variety of striking finishes were available, complemented with 22K gold plate of palladium plate trim.
  • Sheaffer enters the 21st century with multiple collections in rollerball, fountain pen, and ballpoint pens including; Prelude, Intensity, Sentinel, Quattro, Award, Agio, VFM, Sagaris, Taranis, 500, 300, 200, 100. Those who value quality and craftsmanship will appreciate the creativity, industry and American spirit behind these new products.