Sheaffer Partners With Prancing Horse To Create The Scuderia Ferrari Writing Collection
The Sheaffer pen company celebrated 100 years in business a few years ago. And it is still creating memorable writing instruments showing up in the pockets and purses of people all over the world today.
Founded in Iowa by jeweler Walter A. Sheaffer, from just a handful of employees in a backroom of Sheaffer’s jewelry store in downtown Fort Madison the company grew to worldwide recognition.
Mr. Sheaffer’s claim to fame was his lever-filling fountain pen that filled “instantly from any inkwell, with one touch of a finger. Cleans automatically when filling,” according to an early advertisement.
The lever-filled fountain pen remained a staple of the company throughout the 1940s. It was augmented by a variety of ink-filling systems, including the Touchdown pneumatic filling system and the Snorkel, a then-newfangled design that included an extendable tube underneath the nib to avoid the sometimes-messy necessity of dipping the nib into ink when filling it.
The company’s products were often recognizable by the “White Dot symbol of manufacturing excellence,” which is still evident among its present-day collections.
Over the years Sheaffer has produced a number of well-respected pen collections, including the Legacy, Valor, Prelude, and VFM lines.
In 2013, a Centennial Limited Edition fountain pen was introduced in honor of the company’s anniversary. The numbered collection includes forty-five 18-karat gold fountain pens and 516 sterling silver examples.
Each version has an 18-karat inlaid nib, and the gold version features a 2 mm diamond in place of the famed white dot on the clip.
Back to broader appeal via Italy
Sheaffer has been on a somewhat circuitous root to its present-day success.
The Fort Madison manufactory, which at its peak employed 1,000 people, was officially closed in 2008 – though its U.S. manufacturing facilities had been shut down much earlier – and the company was acquired in 2013 by the Rhode Island-based A. T. Cross company, which purchased it from BIC.
Also in 2013, Sheaffer launched the Ferrari collection of writing instruments as an official licensed product in a wise move to broaden its appeal.
This year, the Scuderia Ferrari Collection by Sheaffer includes Taranis-style pens in the automotive legend’s famed rosso corsa (racing red) color with chrome-plate trim and the Ferrari prancing horse logo on the clip.
The Taranis collection, first introduced several years ago, was designed by U.S. architect Charles Debbas. It was named after the Celtic god of thunder for its sleek style and dynamic appearance, according to a company spokesperson.
The new Ferrari-inspired collection comprises a fountain pen, a rollerball pen, and ballpoint; a luxury gift box cradles them.
And while these production-style pens are a long way from their handmade and highly collectible Iowan forbears, the name Sheaffer still holds sway among those of us who know and love great pens.
For more information, please visit www.sheaffer.com/ferrari.
Editions: fountain pen, rollerball, and ballpoint
Cap and barrel: rosso corsa (racing red) resin with chrome trim
Nib: stainless steel
Price: $140 (fountain pen)