These were the pens we used between second and eighth grades from 1959 to 1965:
The barrels were transparent and rounded in shape like the bottom of a test tube.
I don’t remember what I used in grade nine at boarding school. Probably whatever ballpoints were sold at the school store.
Back in a public school for tenth grade, I went back to a Sheaffer cartridge pen but by this time in 1966 they had opaque barrels and I think the barrels were squared off at the end to the exact size of the cartridges so that all that was necessary to reload a cartridge was dropping the cartridge into the barrel and screwing the barrel back onto the tip:
By the end of tenth grade I had switched to the ubiquitous BIC throwaways for regular use. By grade thirteen though I decided that an illustrious scholar such as myself should be employing a refillable ballpoint pen as a distinguishing characteristic. I therefore bought a Sheaffer ballpoint pen very much like the present day Sentinels.
Sometime between 1970 and 1976 during my university years I discovered that the Sheaffer cartridge pen which I’d used in grade ten and at odd times thereafter was no longer usable since years of heavy pressure had caused the nib to spread too wide. I bought another one therefore but I just put it away for future use.
During my years of generally gainful employment, I used whatever ballpoint pens were available at no cost as office supplies. Some four years ago though I decided to bring the Sheaffer Sentinel-type ballpoint pens that I’d used in my university years out of retirement for office use (and damn the expense of the very occasional refill)!
The Sheaffer cartridge pen I’d bought in university still writes but this morning I realized that the tip is probably a Fine because its line is too thin, even scratchy, for my present preferences. I may have to “invest” in a new one with a Medium tip. Now that I’m past retirement age I’ve decided that I’m old enough to be distinguished and write with a proper “fountain” pen.
I might now have to get a good fedora and walking stick as well.