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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Montblanc Rolls out Pens and Leather Covers for Galaxy Note 4Geeky Gadgets (blog), October 24th
Montblanc and Samsung have teamed up to make a high-end line of accessories for the Galaxy Note 4 that includes a couple pens and leather covers for the smartphone. There are two pens that are able to write on the screen of the smartphone and on plain ...Read more
Montblanc Just Made the Finest Smartphone Stylus EverEsquire (blog), September 18th
President Kennedy loved Montblanc pens. So did Cold War power broker Michail Gorbatsjov, not to mention Jackson Pollock, and downright hero, Anne Frank. Superior functionality and beautiful form turned these German pens into a worldwide status symbol ...Read more
Montblanc And Samsung Introduce 'Smart' Pens And Accessories For Galaxy ...Forbes, September 11th
Montblanc has been undergoing some changes of late, which have now become visible in the product lines. Most of these changes can be chalked up to the arrival of new CEO Jérôme Lambert just about a year ago. I am well acquainted with Lambert as he ...Read more
Samsung And Montblanc Make Premium S Pen For Galaxy Note 4Ubergizmo, September 3rd
Ever since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note lineup the S Pen has remained an integral part of the phablet. This company stuck to it at a time when almost everyone believed that styluses were long gone. The performance of Samsung's Galaxy Note ...Read more
Montblanc's Extreme Screen Writer For Use With The Note 4 Is A High End Pen ...Android Headlines - Android News, September 3rd
With Samsung's Galaxy Note series devices, the main draw has almost always been the bigger screen and the capable use of the S-Pen that came with it. It's called the Note for that one simple reason, because you can use the S-Pen for all manner of tasks ...Read more
Samsung partners with Montblanc on a chic Galaxy Note 4 stylusEngadget, September 3rd
At IFA 2014 Unpacked, Samsung has announced that it's partnering with venerable pen maker Montblanc on two custom styluses for its new Galaxy Note 4. The "Pix" and the "e-StarWalker" are done in the pen maker's classic, chunky style for any Note ...Read more
Samsung gets Montblanc to make fancy Note 4 stylusesThe Verge, September 3rd
Montblanc's Pix and e-StarWalker look like high-end pens, but under the cap, they're designed for use with the Galaxy Note 4 or a tablet, with swappable nubs that mimic different pen nibs. Montblanc has also designed two leather cases, in case you'd...Read more
Montblanc Celebrates 90th Anniversary Of The MeisterstückForbes, April 14th
Montblanc's CEO Jerome Lambert relayed a famous story that signifies the Meisterstück's place in history. In 1963, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who was to sign the Golden Book of the city of Cologne, had no pen. President John F. Kennedy, also at ...Read more