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    

Lovely Oversized Montblanc Meisterstuck No 149 Fountain Pen Black Resin & GoldMontblanc Patron Of The Art Andrew Carnegie Limited Edition Fountain PenMontblanc Patron Of Art Limited Edition Luciano Pavarotti Fountain Pen - Sealed!Vintage Montblanc Meisterstuck Fountain Pen 4810 18c 750 Nib N°149 GermanyBrand New Authentic Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Rose Gold Coated Fountain PenMontblanc 74 Meisterstuck # Fountain Pen # Piston Filler 14kt # WorkingMontblanc Meisterstuck 149 18k Gold Fine Nib Fountain Pen In Box - MintBurgundy Montblanc Legrand 146 Fountain Pen 18 K Gold Nib Nos 1940s Vintage Pen Montblanc 334 1/2 # Wartime # Fully Restored # Flexible B NibMontblanc Meisterstuck 149 Fountain Pen No Rsv Collection 55 Of 57 LotsMontblanc Meisterstuck Legrande 146 Fountain Pen No Rsv Collection 52 Of 57 LotsBrand New Authentic Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Rose-gold Plated Fountain PenBrand New Authentic Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Platinum Coated Fountain PenMontblanc Le Grand Ramses Ii Lapis Lazuli Rollerball Pen RollerMontblanc PenMontblanc Oscar Wilde Pen / Pencil Set - No Reserve Collection 40.2 Of 57 LotsMontblanc Writers Limited Edition 2013 Honore De Balzac Ballpoint Pen - Sealed!Montblanc 144 Celluloid Fountain Pen 1950s. 14c F Full Flex Nib. Rare. Montblanc 134 Celluloid Demonstrator Fountain Pen 1949-52. 14c B Full Flex NibRare Vintage 1997 Montblanc Engraved Burgundy 162 Rollerball Pen MeisterstuckVintage Montblanc Noblesse Slimline Fountain Pen - Nice Nib - C1970'sVintage Montblanc Noblesse Slimline Brushed Steel Anthracite Fountain Pen 1980sLovely Montblanc Classic Solitaire Doue Striped Pyramid Ballpoint Pen Gs1470345Montblanc Fountain Pen Semiramis 888 Limited Edition - 1996 - Nib (m) - SealedAgatha Christie Vermeil Montblanc Fountain Pen Mint ConditionMontblanc Fountain Pen Prince Regent 888 Limited Edition - 1995 - 28629 (m)Montblanc Patron Of Art Ludovico Sforza Duke Of Milan 4810 Fountain Pen/sealedVintage Montblanc Meisterstuck Edition Agatha Christie Fountain Pen 18k GoldVintage Montblanc Safety Rouge Et Noir # 1mMontblanc Agatha Christie Limited Edition Fountain Pen, Model 28606 Never InkedMontblanc Karl Der Grosse (charlemagne) Patron Of Art 4810 Fountain Pen * UsedMontblanc J.p. Morgan Patron Of Art 4810 Fountain Pen * UsedMontblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire, 925-sterling, Fountain Pen, RareMontblanc Friedrich Schiller Writer's Edition Limited EditionMontblanc Dostoevsky Ballpoint Pen 1997 Limited Edition 2790/8000 RareVintage Montblanc Fountain Pen With Holder, Ink Well With Holder, And 50ml InkMontblanc Patron Of Art Limited Edition Ludovico Sforza Fountain Pen - Sealed!1- Vintage Montblanc Nº 244 1950s Very RareMontblanc .925 Sterling Solitaire Vermeil Pinstripe Gold Rollerball Pen N° 163New Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 149 Fountain Pen 14k Nib W-germany BoxedVintage Montblanc Meisterstuck # 25Full Set Monteblanc 4810 Pen + Ink & Lead Crystal Ink Well & Stand-excellent +Montblanc Meisterstuck No. 146 And It's Pen Stand And BoxMontblanc Charles Dickens Ballpoint Pen #6357 No Rsv Collection 41 Of 57 LotsMontblanc Boheme Pen And Pencil Set W Stones On ClipMontblanc Oscar Wilde Ed Ballpoint Pen - No Reserve Collection 40.1 Of 57 LotsMontblanc Meisterstuck Legrande 146 Rollerball Pen No Rsv Collection 54 Of 57Brand New Authentic Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Platinum Plated Fountain PenMontblanc Voltaire Ltd Ed Ballpoint Pen No Reserve Collection 47 Of 57 LotsMontblanc Edgar Allan Poe Ed Ballpoint Pen - No Reserve Collection 39 Of 57 LotsMontblanc #146 Meisterstuck Pen From 70's Made In West Germany 18kt NibVintage Montblanc # 149 Meisterstuck Fountain Pen -14 Karat Nib B Tip -ca 1990s-Montblanc Meisterstuck Sterling Ballpoint Pen No Rsv Collection 43 Of 57 LotsMontblanc Alexandre Dumas Ed Ballpoint Pen - No Reserve Collection 40 Of 57 LotsBig Vintage Montblanc Meisterstück N°149 Fountain Pen 4810 18k Nib GermanyMontblanc Special Edition " J F K " John F. Kennedy Ballpoint PenMontblanc Meisterstuck 149 Fountain Pen Piston Filler Black/gold Plated 14k NibMontblanc Special Pack 31 Fountain Pen 1970 And 38 Gray Ballpoint Pen ExclusiveMont Blanc Starwalker Black Mystery Ballpoint Pen 104227Montblanc 142/144 Fountain Pen In Burgandy. Beautiful!