Pen Profile: Sheaffer Intrigue   6 comments

Every so often, I’ll have a pen with some issue that takes me a bit to resolve. Sometimes, it’s finding a tool or a part. With some pens, it can be tricky to identify what is needed and a supplier who can provide it. Other times, it’s deciding what the best course of action is. If parts are no longer made for the pen, then figuring out what will solve the problem with the least impact to the piece is the challenge. With vintage pens, I want to try to maintain the integrity of the piece while still having something functional. I’d rather let it sit in the box than do something that damages it.

And then there are cases when it’s simply a matter of sitting down and doing the task that is obvious. Of course, most of my to-do list (pens or otherwise) fall into this category. Such was the case with my Sheaffer Intrigue.

Sheaffer Intrigue

The Intrigue was introduced in 2000, and was discontinued in 2004. It seems to blend some of the attributes of Sheaffer’s classic pens–most specifically, the overall lines of the pen, and the inlaid nib. However, they blended into that some modern finishes–mine is “silken black.”

Extended TrayOverall, this made it a nice pen, but probably not noteworthy (or, for that matter, discontinued). Sheaffer tried to blend the connivence of a cartridge-filling pen, like most modern pens, with one that filled solely from a bottle. So, they came up with a scheme that was ingenious in its design but complicated in its execution.

The back of the pen had two parts that could be turned. The one furthest down the barrel would unscrew and could be pulled back, revealing a tray. A cartridge could be placed in this tray, the whole assembly closed, and the pen would be inked. Alternately, a special convertor could be placed in the tray. This converter had a top that looked like a gear, which would engage with the back of the barrel. The quarter-inch of the back of the barrel could be pulled back and turned. Inside, the gears would engage and operate the convertor. The pen could be filled from a bottle without opening things up, just like the pens of yore.


it was the non-cartridge filling option had an issue, and it took me a while to get around to fixing the thing. Basically, my convertor was jammed in the pen, and cracked. I needed to replace the convertor. As mentioned, the pen hasn’t been made since 2004, so replacement convertors weren’t available through my usual sources.

I finally got around to calling Sheaffer, and ordering a replacement–one of the last five they had in stock. The woman said this was perhaps the most complicated pen Sheaffer made. While I can see this, Sheaffer has made a few overengineered pens over the years.

The pen writes well, though occasionally a reluctant started. I wouldn’t put it up there with some of my best-writing pens (like my Parker 51s), but it is probably above the mid-point in my collection. it is heavy for its size, and reasonably well balanced. I could see it being comfortable to write with for a while, save for a gasket around the section that hits me in a funny spot–I attribute that more to how I hold the pen than the pen itself.

One goofy thing is that this pen tends to seep ink out the nib. I can wipe it, use it, then cap it. Come back to it later, there is a small amount of ink on the top of the nib. This ink is unseen in the cap, and transferred to the barrel when the cap is posted. I learned this the hard way–when I carry this pen, I keep a paper towel in my breast pocket to distance the barrel from the cloth.
Overall, I’d say the Intrigue is a pen that is a good writer, but not so great that it stands out. It is an attractive piece that blends classic Sheaffer design with modern aesthetics. The filling mechanism is interesting, and, for collectors who like to go as retro as they can, is interesting in principle. However, the execution proves complicated, and its collection of quirks probably lead to its discontinuation. Still, I personally find it an interesting pen to carry–evident in the fact that I did take the time to get the convertor.

Posted 2011-01-16 by Mr. Guilt in Fountain Pens, Pen Profile

6 responses to “Pen Profile: Sheaffer Intrigue

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  1. first glimpse of your hand writing – I would have expected copperplate handwriting – some flourishes to show off the nib

    • Ironically, I have, at best, unimpressive handwriting for a pen lover. By virtue of a move my family made when I was learning to write, I fell through the cracks, and had to pretty much teach myself cursive.

      These days, I’ve had too many projects going on to take the time to change or significantly improve the way I write. I will say that it is better than it was, say, fifteen years ago.

  2. Pingback: Pen Monkey Likes You | Mr. Guilt's Blog

  3. Would you please have a detailed step-by-step, diagram illustration on how to refill this Intrigue pen? there are two moving parts, and I cannot get it to work
    thanks a lot

    bogdan marcovici
  4. Pingback: Filling a Sheaffer Intrigue | Mr. Guilt's Blog

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