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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Montblanc Pens
Source: Google News
Indulge: Pens, furniture, hybridsForbes India, March 25th
In 1963, President Kennedy famously came to the aid of German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer at the signing of the Golden Book in Cologne—when Adenauer didn't have a pen, Kennedy offered his personal Montblanc Meisterstück 149. Half a century later, ...Read more
Quick Hits: Our take on the week's top storiesNJBIZ, March 22nd
Christie offered to help with the town's slow permitting process — in what The Star-Ledger described as “a moment that seemed torn from the 'Mean' Joe Greene Coke commercial of the 1970s” — letting the 12-year-old borrow his Montblanc pen to write...Read more
Christie's 'randomly' chosen Boy Scout at town hall wasn't left entirely to chanceNJ.com, March 22nd
Christie quickly said he was happy to offer help to Seemar, even handing over his costly Montblanc fountain pen for the Scout to write down his contact information, pledging that his office would be in touch within 24 hours. Those who make presidential ...Read more
Ruth: Toledo campaign sets low standardTampabay.com, March 19th
It is true that the state of Florida once filed a lien against the business seeking $37,250 in delinquent taxes, interests and penalties from 2006 to 2010, or at about the same time Maniscalco was working at the Montblanc pen store at International Plaza...Read more
At Christie's 131st town hall, a Boy Scout tells a Sandy horror storyNJ.com, March 17th
And then, in a moment that seemed torn from the Mean Joe Greene Coke commercial of the 1970s, Christie offered the boy his Montblanc pen, although first making him promise to give it back, and asked him to write down his address and phone number, ...Read more
Here's why Montblanc customers battle poor service and a shortage of accessoriesEconomic Times, March 11th
Nikhil Ranjan, MD, William Penn, multibrand retailers of high-end writing instruments, including Montblanc, says,"If a customer who's bought a Montblanc pen from us comes back expecting a refill or repair and we have to turn him away due to a lack of ...Read more
Montblanc to craft ¥520000 pen made from 'miracle pine' in IwateThe Japan Times, February 26th
Luxury brand Montblanc will sell fountain pens made from the “miracle pine” tree that was still standing on the Iwate coast after the 2011 tsunami, for a hefty ¥520,000. A company official said 20 percent of the takings will be donated to local people...Read more
Your Word Is Your Bond? Company Creates Handwritten Notes With 3D Printers ...3DPrint.com, February 26th
What do you get when you combine software with a 3D printer and a classic Montblanc ink pen? You get Bond, a service which combines computer numerical control with ink and a mobile app that can translate your text into a “hand-written” note. And that ...Read more