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.
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Burglars strike at home in Saffron Walden as occupants sleepHerts and Essex Observer, July 27th
Burglars broke into a house in Fair Leas, Saffron Walden, while the occupants were asleep. They stole a Montblanc pen, similar to the ones pictured, and cut the power lead to a 40-inch Samsung television before taking the television and remote control...Read more
A life saved by a bond, and fashionCharlotte Observer, July 24th
Former educator Larry Lane displays is Mont Blanc pen that he used while instructing band, during a reunion with LeMond Hart at LeMond Modeling Vintage Men's Boutique on Monday, June 1, 2015. Hart held a reunion with is old middle and high school ...Read more
Montblanc targets Korea's young, tech-savvy customersAsiaOne, July 23rd
The new lineup includes not only Montblanc's iconic fountain pens and watches, but also leather goods and even women's accessories. Women's categories are a never-been-touched-before market for Montblanc, which claims to be one of the top 20 ...Read more
The Wonderful Story of the Left Side of My DeskHuffington Post (satire), July 20th
The following illustrates the story of merely five items from the left side of my desk. BRAD PITT'S PEN. 2015-07-18-1437246030-7412004-0716151710b.jpg. This is a $500 gold-plated MontBlanc pen. I have no business owning this item but it rocks. To give ...Read more
Mike Giannattasio of Montblanc North America: Finding Tranquility in an Urban ...New York Times, July 11th
The fountain pen, blotter and inkwell are part of a limited edition; only 4,810 were made. That number represents the tallest Mont Blanc peak, in meters. I use the set when I write my signature. Our company logo, a star with six rounded edges, hangs on...Read more
Montblanc Unveils Bohème Moongarden Watches with Unusual New ComplexityForbes, July 9th
Such is the case with the newest Montblanc Bohème Moongarden watches that are all about blending elegance and function, knowledge and beauty. The exclusive small complication inside the Boheme Moongarden watches was developed totally in house ...Read more
Meet the $935 Pen That Turns a Scribble Into a Status SymbolAdweek, June 23rd
Hamburg, Germany-based Montblanc has been making its top-of-the-line Meisterstück (in German, "masterpiece") since 1924. On Wall Street, it's known as the "Power Pen" because it's in every fat cat's vest pocket. And while the pen's price has changed a ...Read more
Replace or find my $500 Montblanc pen, lawyer tells county; he left it at ...ABA Journal, February 3rd
Lawyer John Kerwin says the security office at the Douglas County Courthouse returned his keys, but not the Montblanc Meisterstück ballpoint pen, the Omaha World-Herald reports. Kerwin says the pricey pen was a gift from his uncle before his death...Read more