Pensbury Manor

Fine Vintage Writing Instruments and Accessories

Equi-Poised Pens


Probably no other model of Wahl-Eversharp pen is shrouded in more mystery, debate , and discussion about its origins and evolution than the Equi-Poised pen.  As many as 5 different pen shapes and sizes are, by various accounts, linked to this series.  Part of the controversy begins with the name itself.  Sheaffer had just come out with its “Balance “  pen with the White Dot Lifetime Guarantee, when in 1928, Wahl introduced its apparent competitive product answer: The tapered to a point at each end Equi-poised pen and even went so far as to give the definition as “equally balanced”.  Speculation backed by anecdotal information from the Eversharp (Parker) surviving legal counsel that such copy-catting was viewed soy dimly by Sheaffer that legal action was supposedly threatened.  So Wahl made what looks like  at least one vain attempt to modify the pointed end to its pen by blunting that part, which was apparently not sufficient adjustment from Sheaffer’s point of view. Then came what many people debate to this day as the “Transitional Equipoised” with what are not much more than conical ended attachments to the ends of what looks a lot like a Gold Seal Flat Top cap and barrel.  In 1930 the pen we most often identify easily as the Equi-poised (the one with the rhomboid cap band) was introduced.  Following the introduction with the new top of the line offering, The Doric” pen in 1931, the Equi-poised continued in production for another year before that name was applied to a thinner slightly lower-in-the-line pen from which time forward the name began to slip out of the Wahl-Eversharp line up all together by about 1935-6.

   Equi-Poised  pens shown in the 1932 Eversharp  catalog


The 5 possible stages of Equipoised Pens:

The first item is what has been characterizee as Equi-Poised type 1. The type 1 has pointy ends ever so much like the Sheaffer balance, as shown in the first picture below from the 1929 Wahl Catalog:

The Type 2 Equi-Poised is like the one shown above but with blunted ends:

Next Comes the Type 3 which has the ends "cobbled" onto what looks like a Gold Seal flat top soldier clip barrel and cap.

This pen is the most controversial Equi-Poised designation because of the unverified nature of the Equi-poised story. But it so dramatic that it is difficult to not include it and since the cap band has a carryover from the Flat Top Wahl-Eversharp pens and which became the standard cap band on the later Equipoised pens log after the Flat Top pens were discontinued, it seems proper to place this pen in the Equi-poised lineage.

Next comes what we here refer to as type 4. This is the one people have seen described in the literature as the Gold Seal Personal Point. It is in the Catalog in 1932 described just that way.


However here is a picture of a Wahl-Eversharp Ad from 1930 that clearly states that this otherwise simply called “Gold Seal” pen is actually called an Equi-Poised Pen:


The subsequent pages in the catalog show the same pen dressed down (without the rhomboid cap ring), and in an obviously more slender diameter, but with the same overall design clearly called the Equi-Poised. 

The last type is the last type of Equipoised pen.

We have for now a gap in names that I can point to in the company literature between Equi-poised #1, and Equi-Poised #4 because we do not presently have any company literature that lebels these pens “Equi-poised”.  Coincidentally, these Equi-Poised pens spanned a time frame from the beginning of the Gold Seal “Flat Top era (1929) to well into the Doric Period Era (at least to 1934).

There also seem to have been some inconsistency in the spelling of the word Equi-Poised as used by the company. Some of the spelling variations are seen in repair literature and either came from the Middleton pen Company (the official factory repair folks) or in the Wahl Eversharp dealer newsletter. Those references, my have taken liberties with the Equi-Poised name. As of now the only name that is in catalog's is "Equi-Poised". I have not checked all the ads yet either (there are over 200, and then there are the French ads... 

Here’s a pretty one in Tunis Pearl