Pen Profiles


Sheaffer's Rose Glow Balance

Rose Glow. Today it is perhaps the most cherished Sheaffer Balance color. Offered for just a few years near the end of  Balance's 1929-1941 production run, Rose Glow always is relatively uncommon, but it is frankly scarce as the oversized model, Premier. 

The color might have taken name from the similarly hued barberry bush. Rose Glow differed from the other striped Balance colors, offering its pearlescent fuchsia against a pearlescent gray substrate instead of against black.

Rose Glow appeared in 1936-1939 Sheaffer-USA catalogues, ultimately in four tiers or trim levels. Pens also were offered with a well known off-catalogue cap-band pattern, what collectors call the "jeweler's" cap band. Even more uncommon cap-band patterns have (rarely) been found. 

Rose Glow Balances from Sheaffer's Canadian division generally closely resembled  the pens from USA, differing mainly in clip style. Other Canadian differences turn up though, most charmingly "reverse trim",  for example chrome-plated trim paired with colors/models usually found only with gold-filled trim.

Over the years I developed a strong interest in Rose Glow and slowly assembled  a rather significant focused collection of Balances in that color, one that now might be our hobby's most comprehensive. A detailed review of the hundreds of variants of Balances is beyond the scope of this profile. But, a peek at this Rose Glow collection will also hit some of the key general espects of the Balances of the striated-plastic era (1936-1941). 

Image 2: White Dot (Lifetime) 1st Tier Rose Glows

Above:, The top-tier Lifetime Balance. Features:  "Lifetime" nib, smooth medium-girth single cap band, smooth "radius" clip, and  White Dot symbol above the clip. Three diameters and five total sizes.

The oversized pen, which Sheaffer started to call Premier in 1938, historically has been considered King of the Rose Glows, indeed King of the celluloid Balances. Most collectors have not owned one. Original price for the White Dot pens was $8.75, but $10 for the Premier. 

Slot 5 and 6 feature the "stubby" (standard-short) Balance, a very scarce model during the striped-celluloid era which was offered only for the early striped colors though used far more during earlier Balance eras. It was offered I believe only in Lifetime trim for the striped pens. My set is Canadian (note the tell of the full-ball "Sheaffer's"-marked clip). I have not yet seen a USA-made Rose Glow set this size. I believe this size was last referenced (not illustrated though) in the 1937 Sheaffer catalogue.

Balance pencils all were non White Dot. I've included the oversized and stubby above, as they match only White Dot pens. Some  pencils were paired with both White Dot and non White Dot models.

Image 3: Non White Dot Pens:  2nd, 3rd and 4th Tier

Above:  2nd, 3rd, and 4th-tier Rose Glows

Balance's 2nd-Tier
Smooth radius clip as with the 1st-tier, two-tone nib marked  "Feather Touch #5",  non White Dot cap, and cap band a bit thinner than Lifetime's.

Only two Rose Glows in the Feather Touch line were done, the standard-long (Admiral) and slender-short (Milady). Both cost $5.  Slot #2 above should hold a  standard-long pencil, which could be paired with fealther-touch Admiral, with the White Dot Statesman and with the slender White-Dot Sovereign. I accidentally sold my only pencil that size. Sigh. The short-slender radius-clip pencil in slot 4 could be paired with Milady, as shown above, or with the White-Dot Lady Sheaffer in Image 2, Slot 8.

Balance's 3rd-Tier:  Monotone Sheaffer #3 nib, a still thinner cap-band, and flat-ball "Sheaffer's" clip, that clip no longer used for higher tier Balances.. 

The  #3-line Balances was done only slender, both long and short, as Craftsman and Miss Universe, respectively. The matching pencils lacked matching cap-bands. Both pens cost $3.75

Balance's 4th tier, the Junior:  $2.75 original price. Chrome-plated trim, "Junior"-marked nib. Pencil is bandless.

Junior started during the Balance era as a non-Balance with flat ends.  It became a $2.75 Balance in 1937.   Ultimately Balance Junior was offered slender-short and slender-long, but even in the 1938 catalogue still was offered only in the short size.  I don't know that a long-Junior Rose Glow ever was made. 
By 1939 Rose Glow was on the way out, shown only as the Junior model in that year's catalogue.

Missing from my collection:  Radius-clip long pencil and 3rd-tier short pencil (gold-filled, "Sheaffer's" flat-ball clip, no cap-band).  I'm still not sure Junior-long was made. If you have any of these pens/pencils please do contact me.

Image 4: The "Jeweler's Cap-band" :  Off-Catalogue Gems.

Above: "Jeweler's" cap-band Rose Glows

The "jeweler's" cap-band was factory original, despite the name collectors have given it.  It never
appeared in the dedicated annual Sheaffer paper, though  I do have a couple general-merchandise catalogues for niche jewelers that each have a precious page showing some of these models.  It is the most common of the off-catalogue Balance cap-band patterns. A detailed review of pens with this cap-band won't fit in this Rose Glow profile. Still...

Most -- perhaps all--  of the typical White Dot models were offered with this cap band.  A number of non-White Dot variants were done, some of which actually blend features found with regular-issue 2nd and 3rd tier pens.  Two different cap-band girths were offered. Most pens have  the wider band.  The thinner version (see slot 9/10)  usually is found with slender low-tier pens, those with #3 or with Junior nibs. 

In addition to what is shown above, I suspect the thin-version of the cap-band can be found also with gold-filled rather than the illustrated chrome trim, perhaps both in slender-short and slender-long versions. Just as I don't know that long-Junior regular models were done, I'm not sure long-slender-chrome Jeweler's band pens were done.  Any stubby (standard-short) Rose Glow is frankly rare (I've yet to see one made in USA), but it nonetheless remains possible a stubby Jeweler's cap-band Rose Glow was done. I am missing the known slender-long White Dot pen (Sovereign Deluxe). Please contact me if you have any of the pens/pencils  mentioned but not illustrated above. I'd like to photograph or buy them.

Image 5: Canadian-specific Rose Glows and a fish-scale cap-band pen

Above: Canadian Reverse Trim pens and a USA-issue "fishscale" capband

Canadian Balances featured older-style clips (full-ball and flat-ball, both marked "Sheaffer's") even on high-line pens that had the smooth radius clip in the USA during the mid-late 1930s. Barrel and nib imprints of course indicated Canadian origin. The 1st-Tier "stubby" White-Dot Rose Glow set shown in Image 2 is Canadian. A full discussion of Canadian Balances  is beyond the scope of this essay.

Canada did more often feature "reverse" trim, gray pens with gold-filled instead of chrome-plated trim and non-Junior models in other colors with chrome-plated trim instead of gold-filled.   I own two Rose Glow pens and one pencil from Canada with reverse trim. The standard-long pen at left, what would be an Admiral in the USA, is an impressive thing.   The slender-short set in middle is more-or-less equivalent to a Miss Universe set from the USA (3-25 nib, the niche equivalent to the USA-made #3 nib). Both pens have the full-ball clip, which went out of production in the USA in 1934.

Fish scale: To the right of the Canadian reverse-trim pens is a USA-production fish-scale cap-band pen,  featuring a  special cap-band pattern  far more rare than the "jeweler's" band.   I've seen two Rose Glows with this cap-band, both  slender-long. I'm grateful to own one of them. With White Dot and Lifetime nib, this likely served a similar niche to the Sovereign Deluxe Jeweler's-band pen. However, no paper ever has been found describing this cap-band.

Right: Closeup of the fishscale cap-band Rose Glow Balance.

Since this scarce pattern was used with Balances of all sizes, it is possible that other Rose Glow models with this cap-band could turn up. An oversized Rose Glow with fish-scale cap band would be... something.

Left: Triple Deco cap-band

Another rare Balance cap-band (more rare than fish-scale, dwarfing the rarity of the "jeweler's" cap band) is the triple cap-band.

In a tragedy for humanity, I did not have the winning bid a few months ago for the ebay auction for the pencil it left, and it went to a  pencil collector. I've not seen another triple cap-band Rose Glow, but since that cap-band was used for pens of most/all sizes, again it is possible that Rose Glow pens could turn up.  In twenty years hunting I've seen only one oversized triple cap-band Balance, the Golden Brown example in my collection.   If you find a Rose Glow pen with this cap-band, contact me ASAP

The Rose Glow Premier  is considered King of the Rose Glows,  indeed  King of the celluloid Balances. During twenty years collecting I'd  seen or heard of just three or four examples of that oversized pen with the upgraded wide "jeweler's" cap-band. I managed to buy one just this month, a pen we perhaps can consider Emperor of the Rose Glows.

It is shown above in Image 4 with its plunger-fill barrel. I paired a lever-fill barrel with the cap for this dedicated shot. You can see the short essay about this lucky find HERE. 

I've been collecting pens, including Balance, for about 20 years (as of 2018). My Rose Glow Balance collection hovers at 29 different pens and pencils, perhaps the world's most comprehensive collection. 
It should be 30, but I think I accidentally sold a pencil I didn't have in spare.

Though I already had a couple Rose Glows in my collection back in 2001,  my serious pursuit was  kindled that year by my encounter with an admittedly quite trashed Premier (oversized pen)  in an antiques shop in upstate NY, followed by a discussion a few minutes later with a more seasoned collector about that pen's rarity and cachet.   You can see the story of that encounter HERE

There is charm and power in pursuing a focused sub-collection of pens. I would be happy to hear about Rose Glow variants not shown above, either for my database, to photograph or to purchase.

-David R. Isaacson
Sept 29, 2018