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”)

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]

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    

Vintage Montblanc Meisterstuck Sterling Silver 925 Fountain Pen Montblanc Meisterstück Masterpiece 149 Celluloid 50er Nib Ob Original Box GuaranMontblanc Meisterstück Masterpiece 146 Celluloid 50er Nib M Very Good Rare Montblanc Masterpiece N° 25-pkf-coral Red Celluloid-nib Ef-1938 C.Montblanc 142 Masterpiece Celluloid Fountain Pen 1950s. 14c M Flex Nib. MintMontblanc Meisterstuck Legrand 146 Solitaire Doué Fountain Pen Piston Filler Montblanc Meisterstuck Burgundy Ball Point Pen & Fountain Pen SetMontblanc Meisterstück Masterpiece 114 Mozart Duoe Sterlingsilver Cap Montblanc Meisterstück Masterpiece 144 Celluloid 50er Nib M Green Striped Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Sterling Silver Barley Le Grand 146Montblanc 334 1/2 Celluloid Fountain Pen 1940s. 14c 4 M Flex Nib. MintVintage Restored 1940s Large Danish Montblanc No. 226 O/s Fountain Pen Writers Limited Edition 888 Series Imperial Dragon Solid Gold 750 TrimFantastic Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 18 K NibMontblanc Meisterstuck 149 Fountain PenVintage Restored 1970s Classic Montblanc MeisterstÜck 146 Fountain PenMontblanc Meisterstuck 149 Fountain Pen Vintage Germany 18k Gold NibMontblanc Meisterstuck Legrand 146 P Fountain Pen Piston Filler Platinum PlatedLovely Montblanc Le Grand Rollerball Pen Black With Platinum Trim - Mbnd4lkn2Mint Montblanc Limited Edition Thomas Mann Ballpoint Pen In BoxMontblanc Marc Newson M Collection Project Black Ballpoint Pen Mb113620Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Sterling Silver .925 Fountain Pen 18k Nib "m"Vintage Antique Pen Astoria No. 0 Octagonal # 18 K Overlay # Safety Pen # Restor- Vintage Montblanc 242 Fountain Pen Semi Flex 14c 585 Gold "o" Nib -Lovely Montblanc Black Leather Pouch Designed To House Two Fountain PensMontblanc Meisterstück Masterpiece Pen Holder 149 Stand Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Montblanc Meisterstück Fountain Pen No 146. Meisterstuck Used Good ConditionMontblanc Vintage Mb 252 Fountain Pen Piston Filler Black/gold Coated TrimGenuine Montblanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint Pen - Black With Gold TrimMontblanc 344, Fountain Pen, Black, RareMontblanc Classic 164 Ball Point Pen Black & Gold 2 Refills Box &papers Germany Montblanc Meisterstuck No. 149 Fountain Pen - 14c Gold NibMont Blanc - Meisterstuck No 149 Black Thick 14k Fountain Pen With Nib NrMontblanc Meisterstuck Classique Ballpoint Pen 164 Black With Gold Trim1993 Montblanc Noblesse Oblige 14k Classic Pen Black Nos Rare Original Mint Nos1998 Montblanc Noblesse Oblige Ball Point Pen Black & Gold Box &papers Germany Vintage "montblanc No. 31" Fountain Pen-hooded Wing Nib-made In Germany 1960sVintage Rare Montblanc Meisterstuck No.149 14c Fountain Pen Nib 4810 585Montblanc Meisterstuck 146 Fountain PenMontblanc Mesterstuck 149, C1980s, Excellent ConditionNew Black Montblanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint Pen Mont BlancMontblanc 146 Pen 18kt M Nib From Late 70's ~ 80's Very Clean Montblanc Boheme Blue Black Resin & Platinum Roller-ball Pen Clip SignedMontblanc Airbus A380 Limited Edition Skeleton Solid 18k White Gold Fountain PenMontblanc Meisterstuck 146 Legrand Fountain "f" Nib" Pen New Gray Silver Rubber Checkered Montblanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint Pen Mont BlancMontblanc Fountain Pen Hommage Mozart Solitaire Doue Vermeil & Bordeaux Nr Mint New White Montblanc Boheme Rollerball Pen Mont Blanc-- Montblanc Special Edition "montblanc For Bmw" Blue Ink --Montblanc Meistertuck Fountain Pen Stainless Steel 23146Montblanc Meisterstuck Legrand 161 Ballpoint Pen Black/gold Plated TrimsMontblanc Fountain Pen Generation Dark Green/gold Plated Trim 14 K NibVintage Montblanc Meisterstuck 144 Black Fountain Pen Genuine Montblanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint Pen - Maroon With Gold TrimMontblanc Limited Edition Charles Dickens Fountain Pen W/ Original Box & PapersMontblanc Oversize 149 Meisterstuck Diplomat Fountain Pen-vintage Fill Unit-exMontblanc Meisterstück Masterpiece Boheme Black Noir M Nib Withgold Retractable1950's Celluloid Montblanc 146 Medium Flex Nib- Vintage Montblanc 344 G Fountain Pen 14c 585 Gold "f" Nib -