Founded in 1908 in Hamburg as the Simplo Filler Pen Co., Montblanc (Mont Blanc is a common misspelling) began its history as a manufacturer of fountain pens with built-in ink wells. Taking its name from Europe's highest mountain, Montblanc first placed a white tip on the caps of its pens in 1910; this all-white tip would evolve in 1913 into a rounded star to represent an overhead view of the snow-capped peak.

Like most pen companies in the first half of the 20th century, Montblanc started out making eyedropper pens, in which ink was dropped into the pen’s well. Leak-proof safety pens quickly followed, with barrels and caps made of hard rubber and gold nibs (tips) imported from the United States.

By the 1920s, Montblanc was producing its own nibs and putting them into pens with names like Rouge et Noir (its first safety pen in 1909), Simplo, and Diplomat. Particularly prized by collectors is the Montblanc no. 4, a lever-filler with silver filigree in the shape of a spider web; the Montblanc no. 0, a stunning sterling silver and white-incised-enamel safety pen; and the Montblanc no. 2, whose repoussé (hammered from the reverse side) gold-filled barrel and cap is evocative of Art Nouveau.

But the biggest brand of the 1920s for Montblanc—indeed, it remains the company’s most enduring brand to this day—was the Meisterstück, or Masterpiece. In particular, the Meisterstück 149 from 1924 had narrow bands of sterling silver on its wide, gold-filled cap. Its heft in the hand made it a pleasure to hold, if not always to write with—for some, the weight is a problem. Other writers have complained that the pen’s cap never stays on when it’s in use and, worst of all, that the pens have a tendency to leak. Still, for collectors, a vintage, pre-1962 Meisterstück 149 is most desirable. Nibs on pens made from 1926 are engraved with the number 4810, a reference to the height of Mont Blanc (4,810 meters).

The vintage Montblanc safety pens from the 1930s are also collectible, whether they have twist-button fillers or piston fillers. In the 1930s, the sealed ink chambers inside Montblanc pens continued to give users problems, but that has not stopped contemporary collectors from seeking them out. One of the most rare pens from that decade is the 1936 Montblanc no. 128PL, a platinum-lined pen with a twist filler mechanism. Few of these pens made it to the United States, which makes them real finds in the U.S. today.

During the war, Montblanc’s German factory was destroyed, and in the years immediately after the war, Allied forces administered the firm. With the local economy decimated, Montblanc began producing pens for export, including the Montblanc no. 244, a striped piston filler that was not designated a Meisterstück but is collectible nonetheless.

By the 1950s, Montblanc was back, aided in large part by the launch in 1955 of the "60 Line," which was the first major new line of pens for the company since Meisterstück. Another popular and reliable vintage pen from this decade and into the early 1960s was the Montblanc no. 342 (an economy version called the MonteRosa 042 was also produced). Smaller than most Montblancs, it was popular for daily use, and its piston filler worked flawlessly. Perhaps most collectible is the Montblanc no. 444. This rare, piston-filling ballpoint had a brushed stainless steel cap and gold-filled details...

One of the most famous moments for Montblanc pens occurred in 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was visiting Germany. At one stop, he and German chancellor Konrad Adenauer were signing a guest book. Kennedy signed his name but Adenauer apparently did not have a pen with him, at which point Kennedy offered the chancellor the use of his—a Montblanc Meisterstück 149.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Parker51.com

Parker51.com

Ernesto Soler's extensive homage to one of the most popular pens ever produced, the Parker "51," introduced in 1941… [read review or visit site]

Penhero.com

Penhero.com

Jim Mamoulides' vintage and modern pen-cyclopedia. Start at the main gallery, featuring detailed articles (with pho… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vtg Montblanc Safety # 6 Obb Fountain Pen Bhr 1920's Dusseldorf 14k Nib $9.95 NrBrand New Montblanc Cufflinks Elegance Collection Gold Plated With Onyx BarVintage Montblanc MeisterstVintage Montblanc Meisterstuck No.149 Fountain Pen. 14 K Two Toned Nib.Montblanc Woven Leather & Steel Bracelet / Bangle / Armband - New & Authentic!!Montblanc Writers Limited Edition Edgar Allan Poe Year 1998 NMontblanc Contemporary Black Pvd & Stainless Steel Cufflinks - New & Authentic!!Montblanc Fountain Pen Vintage MeisterstVintage 1970's Mont Blanc #146 Meisterstuck Pen & Case Black W/ 14k Gold DetailsMontblanc Writers Limited Edition F. S. Fitzgerald Year 2002 NMontblanc 262, Excellent,branding,14c 585 Gold Multipurpose Nib Rare Vintage PenMontblanc Patron Of Art Limited Edition Queen Elizabeth I NMontblanc Writers Limited Edition G. B. Shaw Year 2008 NVintage Montblanc # 144 Fountain Pen Meisterstuck - 14c Nib B Tip -1950s-Montblanc Masterpiece Meisterstuck 144 Classique Fountain Pen Montblanc Writers Limited Edition Daniel Defoe Set (fp + Bp +mp) Year 2014 M NibMontblanc Writers Limited Edition William Faulkner Year 2007 NRare Vintage 1996 Montblanc Writers Edition Dumas Father Fountain Pen Medium NibMontblanc Meisterstuck No.149 Masterpiece, 14k Nib Size: B, Fountain PenVintage 1980's Montblanc Meisterstuck 163 Rollerball Pen. Fully ServicedAntique Safety Filler Pen-red/black Hard Rubber-gold Nib F-1922/25 C.Authentic Montblanc 146 Czar Nikolai Malachite Gold Vermeil 925 Sterling Silver Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Silver Barley Doue Classique Rollerball PenRare Vintage 1997 Montblanc Writers Edition Dostoevsky Fountain Pen Medium NibFabulous Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 90Excellent Vintage 1980's Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Fountain Pen, Fully ServicedMontblanc Masterpiece Meisterstuck 147 Traveller Legrand Fountain Montblanc Rubber Collection Rectangle Stainless Steel Cufflinks - New!!Mont Blanc Starwalker Carbon Ball Point Platinum Plated Pen 109363Montblanc Boheme Retractable Fountain Pen-rare: Plain Platinum Clip M NibAuthen Montblanc Alexandre Dumas Limited Edition Father's Signature Fountain Pen1972 Montblanc 2209 Stunning Oblique 14k Ultra Rare Original Mint Vintage Pen Authentic Rare Montblanc 142 Green Striped Striated Fountain Collectors Pen 1950Montblanc Rare Vintage Fountain Pen 224 Black/gold Plated Cap Matte FinishedMontblanc Meisterstuck 114 P "mozart" Fountain Pen Black/platinum Plated TrimsMontblanc Excellent Noblesse "oblige" Fountain Pen Black Gold Trim 585 Germany Elysee ÉlysAuthentic Montblanc Voltaire Limited Edition 925 Sterling Silver Ballpoint PenMontblanc MeisterstMontblanc Sculptural Collection Rectangle Stainless Steel Cufflinks - New!!Rare Vintage 2002 Montblanc Writers Edition Fitzgerald Fountain Pen Fine NibMontblanc Meisterstuck 4810 Fountain Pen Black With 14k GoldVintage Montblanc # 042 Monte Rosa Fountain Pen -black - Boxed - Ef Tip -1950s-Montblanc Model 149 Pen Mint Circa 1986Rare Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Vermeil Sterling Silver925 Ballpoint PenAuthentic Montblanc 146 Fountain Pen 4810 No ReserveMontblanc Vintage Meisterstuck 146 Fountain PenAuthenti Rare Montblanc 246 G Gray Striped Striated Fountain Collectors Pen 1950Mont Blanc Writers Series Alexandre Dumas Set Sealed, NewMontblanc Legrand Platinum/black Resin Rollerball PenMontblanc Meisterstuck 114 "mozart" Fountain Pen Black/gold Plated TrimsNos Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Mens Classique Gold Rollerball Pen 163 Mint In BoxMontblanc 4810 Pen With CaseMontblanc Fountain Pen 420 Piston Filler Black Gold Plated TrimsMontblanc Franz Kafka Limited Edition Fountain Pen AmazingAuthentic Montblanc Ramses Ii 146 Legrand Vermeil Lapis Rollerball PenAuthentic Montblanc Ramses Ii 146 Legrand Vermeil Lapis Fountain PenMontblanc Meisterstuck Pix Platinum Line 165 Mechanical Pencil 0.7mm!!Montblanc Presentation 146 Fountain Pen - Very Unusual1952 Montblanc 264 Flexible Fine Nib 585 14c Gold Vintage Fountain Pen Germany

Recent News: Montblanc Pens

Source: Google News

Paean to penmanship
THE BUSINESS TIMES (subscription), August 21st

IN A nod to the brand's origins, Montblanc has launched a watch collection paying homage to the Montblanc Meisterstuck - the first time Montblanc has linked its watch directly to its pen collection. The Montblanc Meisterstuck is the iconic writing...Read more

Five Tips To Drive E-Commerce in China
AdAge.com, August 19th

One of Ad Age's Women to Watch China 2014, Ms. Au-Yeung is responsible for growing online sales for Swiss-based Richemont's luxury brands including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc. Richemont also owns luxury fashion...Read more

Inside the Mind of the Entrepreneur
Inc.com, August 18th

When that potential partner was slow to sign a contract, Zietz filled out the forms for him and FedExed them with a new Montblanc pen, kicking off a lucrative relationship. "Total cost to acquire," says Zietz, "about $200." Gallup describes...Read more

The modern gentleman, Mark Chao
The Malay Mail Online, August 16th

Of course, we had to ask Chao, who was in Singapore for the 90th anniversary of Meisterstuck for Montblanc, what embodied the “Montblanc gentleman”. “I guess that would be me!” Chao laughed. “There's a certain elegance to the pen and the pen's owner...Read more

New Tactics in the Fight Against Stolen Luggage
Wall Street Journal, August 13th

The latest tools: high-definition security cameras and national meetings to compare notes on thieves. Then there are the carefully placed Montblanc pens. TSA has been sending "bait bags" through for screening with valuables such as iPads, watches and ...Read more

Montblanc: Excellence that endures
The Star Online, August 5th

There is a new collection of writing instruments for the anniversary, which ranges from the 149 Fountain Pen, to Classique and LeGrand, as well as Rollerball and Ballpoint. A special line of leather goods and men's jewellery mark the occasion too. They...Read more

Montblanc Celebrates the Spirit of Meisterstück Exhibition in Singapore
SENATUS, August 1st

In celebration of 90 years of its iconic Meisterstück fountain pen, a symbol of unmatched craftsmanship, Montblanc presents an elaborate and interactive exhibition to showcase the brand's expertise and exquisite artistry at the Civic Plaza of Ngee Ann...Read more

Montblanc fountain pen celebrates 90 years
The Australian, July 31st

NINETY years ago, Montblanc developed the Meisterstück pen at a factory in Hamburg, Germany. In 1924, the new non-leaking fountain pen (whose name means “Masterpiece” in English) was a game-changer in the market. “It actually revolutionised a lot of ...Read more