Because of my dual love for ballpoints and mechanical pencils, I have, from time to time, dipped my toes into American brands like Parker, Sheaffer, Cross, Scripto etc. They have a distinct charm and for me, they reflect a side of the American creative spirit and industrial capabilities that made it a powerhouse for most of the 20th century. Here are a couple of examples that cross over into my fascination with clear / skeleton / demonstrator designs.
Sheaffer’s Viewpoint series are translucent versions of their earlier affordable line of No-Nonsense capped pens. Revivng such retro designs, I believe, was inspired by a similar move by Parker’s Big Red tribute to their Duofold classics.
The Viewpoint pens take classic Sheaffer K refills or can be adapted to a wide variety of alternatives using spacers, etc.
The interesting thing is discovering that a Viewpoint pencil was also made. This clear pencil has white internals and the appearance of its capped brethren but is actually a top button design.
Taking it apart reveals a metal clutch and black hex block that locks into the corresponding socket in the front of the shaft, pretty similar idea to many Japanese brass constructs.
Initially the button action was sticky: the white flange near the end of the reserve tube had a diameter that gave almost no allowance to the shaft.
When I pushed the button, the flange would squeegee air out the tiny gap and the spring would struggle to lift the button as it tried to suck air back in. I didn’t hesitate to sand down the flange and now it’s working perfectly. I also replaced the hard and brittle eraser with a slice of a Tombow Monograph eraser refill.
I did feel that perhaps the clear Viewpoint pencil was better matched with an equally clear Sheaffer. So I dug out a demonstrator of the School 122 model - another low cost cap action design that was targeted at students.
Although the brightly colored parts stand out compared to the clean white of the Viewpoint, I think they go great together.
And while we are on the topic, here are two more: my prized Sheaffer Reminder Clip demonstrator and what I believe is an Argentinian custom made clear body for the Parker 51 Write Fine pencil.