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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Montblanc Pens
Source: Google News
Washington, DC, Cashes In on the Legal Marijuana IndustryVICE, March 3rd
Or there's the FogPen, a vaporizer that at first glance could pass for a Montblanc pen. Outside the entrance of the expo hall, a man in an orange safety vest handed out pamphlets on responsible use of marijuana, with guidelines to help prevent users...Read more
Montblanc to craft ¥520000 pen made from 'miracle pine' in IwateThe Japan Times, February 26th
Luxury brand Montblanc will sell fountain pens made from the “miracle pine” tree that was still standing on the Iwate coast after the 2011 tsunami, for a hefty ¥520,000. A company official said 20 percent of the takings will be donated to local people...Read more
Your Word Is Your Bond? Company Creates Handwritten Notes With 3D Printers ...3DPrint.com, February 26th
What do you get when you combine software with a 3D printer and a classic Montblanc ink pen? You get Bond, a service which combines computer numerical control with ink and a mobile app that can translate your text into a “hand-written” note. And that ...Read more
Barry O'Farrell's Montblanc pen: the upper end of the rangeSydney Morning Herald, February 16th
Although it falls short of that six-figure price tag, the $1195 solitaire ball-point pen gifted to Barry O'Farrell is still regarded as a top-end product. "The Solitaire collection refers to pens which are at the upper-end of the Montblanc range...Read more
Artist Yoshi Mizutani's style paletteBoston Globe, February 11th
Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff. WHAT HE WORE: Custom charcoal cardigan sweater, pale blue dress shirt, navy pants, and tie by Alberto Mucciolo, all from Italy; cordovan lace up shoes by Aldo; and distressed black bag by Kenneth Cole. Purchased in New York ...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
It Came from Camelot: The Montblanc JFK PenForbes, December 1st
In 1963, President Kennedy famously came to the aid of German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer at the signing of the Golden Book in Cologne—when Adenauer didn't have a pen, Kennedy offered his personal Montblanc Meisterstück 149. Half a century later, ...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