The Sheaffer advertising gallery

Here is a collection of Sheaffer's magazine advertisements from the period 1919 to 1949, from the archives of Art Today. Silly captions courtesy of the author. Click on the thumbnails to load a full-page image.

You can tell that this early black chased hard rubber model with modern-looking spring clip is a real he-man's pen...there are lots of cigarette butts in the monkey ashtray, and there's a dead lion on the floor.

[National Geographic, Jan-Apr 1919]


"Alaska--the land of do things" was briefly considered for a license plate motto, but rejected when it was pointed out that "do things" was Inuit for "elk droppings".

[National Geographic, May-Aug 1919]


"Dearest Roderick: Shipboard life is awful. The old geezers try to bowl you over with their shuffleboard playing, the second-class passengers hang around on deck and hit on you, and the satellite TV is down. And will this damned tub never stop rolling? At least the seagulls, those winged rats, are nowhere to be seen."

[National Geographic, May-Aug 1919]


"Everything in camp smells like camel dung, including my pipe tobacco. Rum go, that, eh wot? Still, doesn't taste too bad for all that. Plus, I've almost got the bloody natives trained to make a decent cup of chai. Even found a couple of likely charlies to help me dig up some woggish artifacts to send home. Signed, Major Bloodnok"

[National Geographic, October 1919]


"Come on, dear, just sign us in as 'Mr. and Mrs. John Smith'. Why would anyone ever suspect?"

[National Geographic, July 1920]


"Well, here I am in line at the Motor Vehicle Administration to get my driver's license renewed. I know I'll only have less than five minutes to wait, so I'll have to write quickly. Good thing I have my Sheaffer BCHR with the fashionable ring top!"

[National Geographic, July 1920]


Boy meets Girl. Girl feigns polite indifference. Boy tries to show off erudition, re-enacting famous story of invention of Waterman fountain pen, using Girl as blotter. Girl has to buy new crinolines.

[National Geographic, July 1920]


"Really, Olive, you say I've been using the wrong end of this new Sheaffer Life Time? I knew there was some reason for it skipping. You know I'm no good with this modern office automation equipment. Maybe I ought to take a class. Still, I did pay $8.75 for this pen, and it has a white dot to prove it. It should impress the chaps down at the club."

[National Geographic, February 1921]


"I'm so happy the Old Man got off some bucks and let us run color ads...after all, we have these great colors to show off in our new Balance series, like jade green and black-and-pearl. About the babe in the tutu -- is she single?"

[National Geographic, May 1930]


"Buzzword audit, let's see: Dry-Proof Evermoist Point - check, Visulated Section - check, Feather-Touch point - check, Air-Sealed Pocket - hey, what's that? Hmm, wonder if we can get Amos and Andy on this radio?"

[National Geographic, November 1936]


"Look, I'm not saying that it's the wrong color to set off our extensive line of Lifetime pens, Fineline pencils, and desk sets. I'm just saying that the motto 'The Fuschia of Fine Pens' is probably laying it on a bit thick."

[National Geographic, November 1939]


Hang on a minute...I wrote a really clever caption for this one, tee-hee, you'll love it...I know it's around here somewhere...

[National Geographic, November 1940]


"I know they call it the 'lifelong weapon of personal achievement', but that doesn't mean you can mount a scope on it."

[National Geographic, September 1941]


"I know there's pen rationing on, but these are so small that I oughta be allowed to buy two of them."

[National Geographic, March 1943]


"Dear John: I'm sorry I can't wait any longer so I've married your best friend Boris, who is 4-F as you know. Still, thanks for the Sheaffer set; I'll keep the Triumph point Lifetime pen for myself and give the pencil to Boris (he makes lots of mistakes). We'll call it a wedding gift since I know that you can't take time off from the war to check our registry down at Macy's."

[National Geographic, November 1943]


"This is Upton Close reporting for the Sheaffer World Parade. FLASH -- Berlin -- Der Fuehrer injured by the blast from a shattering Precious Resin Montblanc. More after this word from Sheaffer..."

[National Geographic, September 1944]


"No, don't ya get it, the point is supposed to be small, that's the joke...aw, nerts, call the artist."

[Life, November 1944]


"Okay, we made the point bigger this time, now are you happy? Sheesh."

[National Geographic, November 1944]


"Whaddya mean, 'quantities for civillians are very limited'? Dammit, the war's over, I want a pen. I oughta go buy a Parker 51."

[National Geographic, September 1945]


"They call it a 'ballpoint' pen, invented by some Hungarian guy. They'll probably never catch on, but it won't hurt to put one in the lineup just in case."

[Life, September 1949]


This file last posted on:
2005-Jan-20 17:50:23 CST
MCMVIII, the red network
Contact: