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 MeisterstÜck 146 Fountain Pen 1950’s Montblanc 146l Oversized F-b Grade Ger 1949 Export VersionMontblanc Starwalker Extreme Screenwriter Black Resin & Ruthenium Rollerball PenMontblanc Le Grand 162 Black Precious Resin & Gold Rollerball Pen. Nr Mint.Montblanc Great Characters Special Edition J.f. Kennedy Ball Point Pen Montblanc 149 Vintage Fountain Pen 18kt Gold C 1975 Physician Estate Rare Find!Rare Montblanc Masterpiece (meisterstuck) 744, Germany From 1950's Montblanc Meisterstuck 149, West Germany – Fountain Pen From 1980’s/1990’sMontblanc Solitaire Doue Black & White Ballpoint Pen. Box & Papers. Mint. Rare.Rare Montblanc Masterpiece (meisterstuck) 642n, Germany From 1950s ***beautiful Vintage Sterling Silver Fountain Pen Marked Mont Blanc**Mint+ Montblanc Meisterstuck 145 Chopin Fountain Pen, 14k Gold Nib -personalizedMontblanc No 264 Black & Gold Fountain Pen. 14c F Flex Nib. Rare. 1950's.Rare Montblanc 246 Black Celluloid Fountain Pen From Late 1940’s - Piston FillerMontblanc MeisterstÜck Solitaire 925 Silver & Gold Ballpoint Pen 164 ClassiqueMontblanc 144 Black Resin & Gold Fountain Pen. 18k M Nib. Boxed. Discontinued.Montblanc 147 Traveller Burgundy & Gold Fountain Pen & Leather Travel Case. New.Montblanc No 256 Black Resin & Gold Fountain Pen. 14c Ob M Nib. 1950's. Vintage.Montblanc Fountain Pen 146 Legrand Solitaire Silver Doue Barley 18k Gold F NibVintage '50s Montblanc Masterpiece 142 Green Striated Fountain Pen Ef Flex NibRare Montblanc 216 “coral Red” Celluloid Fountain Pen From 1950s – Oversized PenMontblanc Masterpiece 146 Legrand Black And Gold Fountain Pen Fine (f) 14k Gold!Montblanc Boheme Retractable Black Noir Stone Fountain Pen Sticker On *m* 14k!Montblanc 144 Solitaire Doue Fountain Pen - Sterling Silver Cap.Authentic Montblanc Meisterstuck Black Leather Case For 2 PensVintage Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique (pix) Fountain Pen - Convertor FillMontblanc Masterpiece N° 20 -pkf-coral Red Celluloid-nib F-1940 C.-m. In DenmarkMontblanc Marcel Proust Limited Edition Fountain Pen 15312/21000 No ReserveFantastic Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 W. Germany 14 K Nib Montblanc Meisterstuck Legrand 161 Ballpoint Pen Gold And Black Mint Never Used! Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Fountain Pen 18c 750 Ob NibMontblanc 322k Green Marbled M-b Grade Ger 1935Montblanc Ballpoint Pen 161 Legrand Black Resin And Platinum In Box Montblanc Meisterstuck 164 Black Ball PenMontblanc Vintage Fountain Pen 146 Legrand With 18k Yellow Gold F Nib In BoxMontblanc 256 M Grade Oversized Ger 1957Montblanc 246 Ob-obb Grade Oversized Den 1941Lovely Vintage Mammoth Sized Montblanc Meisterstuck No149 Fountain Pen BoxedMontblanc Solitaire Doue Sterling Silver & Black Precious Resin Ballpoint Pen. Montblanc Boheme Bleu Rollerball Pen Sapphire & Platinum $550 Retail!Montblanc 146 Unicef Legrand 2013 Edition Platinum Fountain Pen-sticker On Mint!Nr Mint - Montblanc Meisterstuck 164r - Ballpoint Pen - SuperbMontblanc Pen Lot Of 2 Fountain Pen Meisterstuck No. 146 4810 W/ Box Mont BlancNear Mint - Montblanc Meisterstuck 144 Classique - Fountain Pen - No UseMontblanc Diva Line “princesse Grace De Monaco”, Fountain Pen - FantasticBeautiful Montblanc Starwalker Set In Big Montblanc Leather Pouch,fp,rb,bp,mp!!Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Tribute To Montblanc Fountain Pen 18k Gold(m)!!Montblanc Masterpiece Legrand 146 Solitaire Doué Fountain Pen Piston FillerVintage W Germany Montblanc149 Meisterstuck Jumbo Over Size Fountain Pen Fp 80'sMontblanc 149 Ebonite Feeder Gold Plated 14k Two Tone Nib Trim Box & GuaranteeLot Of 28 Vintage Fountain Pens: Montblanc Pelikan Matador Faber-castell ReformBordeaux Montblanc 344 Fountain Pen 14c 585 Gold "m" Nib In Zipper CaseUsed Montblanc Wooden Lacquer 149 Fountain Pen Display Case Box - 9 CompartmentsMontblanc Boheme 925 Sterling Silver Bleu (blue) Ballpoint PenMontblanc Special Ed. Princesse Grace De Monaco Ivory Coloured Ball Point Pen Vintage "montblanc Classic" Fountain Pen-black Cartridge Filler-made In GermanyMontblanc 324 Black & Pearl Bb-bbb Grade Ger 1935Montblanc Meisterstuck Legrand 146 Fountain Pen Piston Filler Gold PlatedMontblanc 164 Solitaire Stainless Steel & Hematite Ballpoint Pen. Boxed. Pair! Montblanc Carbon Steel Ballpoint & Pencil #5834, #5835, New In Box Nr!

Recent News: Montblanc Pens

Source: Google News

The best holiday gifts CEO Roundtable ever received
Miami Herald, November 22nd

My boss gave me a blue Mont Blanc Pen 20 years ago and I still carry it in my pocket today. It's a reminder of one of my early career mentors and the importance of mentoring. I've lost the pen twice, including once when it was left behind in a rented...Read more

A Fine Modern Pen You Open With A Dial, Not A Click
Co.Design, November 18th

It's a cute idea for the pen, but for the mechanical pencil, the rotating knob is a smart design choice, presumably giving more exact lead control than you'd get in a spring-loaded clicker. Available in anodized white, black, and silver, Neri is...Read more

Bond Black pens bespoke notes in seconds using mobile app
Luxury Daily, November 16th

The app allows users to try out different Montblanc pens and ink colors, as well as learn about the products that the brand offers. Highlighted writing instruments such as the Montblanc Screenwriter will bring the brand into the digital world and will...Read more

Montblanc explores time
BusinessWorld Online Edition, November 1st

Meanwhile, the brand has also been known to bank on the prominence of individuals for its marketing, as seen in its Writers Edition pens, where pens are made according to design cues inspired by a writer's work (such as an art deco-themed pen to evoke...Read more

The Montblanc M With Marc Newson Heralds a New Generation Of Pens
Quill & Pad, September 1st

At first glance, there's no doubt that this is a Montblanc pen, thanks in part to its glossy black body and crowning snowcap, but the similarity ends where the transcendence begins, thanks to Newson's signature biomorphic style. “Like Montblanc, I seek...Read more

Pen pal: a collaboration between Marc Newson and Montblanc has all the write moves, August 17th

For the first time in over a century, Montblanc has handed over the design of one of its product to an external collaborator. Designed by Marc Newson, the latest Montblanc M pen is both a celebration of the German company's heritage. 'Our passion for...Read more

Marc Newson teams up with Montblanc to launch pen range
Dezeen, August 13th

Industrial designer Marc Newson has created a set of pens for German brand Montblanc, which feature a magnetic closure system and nibs plated with rare metals. Unveiled today, the Montblanc M pen has a polished black resin case shaped using a ...Read more

Meet the $935 Pen That Turns a Scribble Into a Status Symbol
Adweek, 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