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    

Montblanc Meisterstuck 75th Anniversary Le 1924 Rose Gold Legrand Fountain Pen1993 Montblanc 144 Meisterstuck 14k Boxed Rare Mint Vintage Fountain Pen OriginlMontblanc Meisterstuck 75th Anniversary Le 1924 Doue Rose Gold Fountain Pen (m)Unusual Montblanc Fountain PenLot Of 30 Vintage Fountain Pens: Montblanc Soennecken Waterman Osmia Kaweco GehaMontblanc Meisterstuck Legrand 146 Red Gold 90th Anniversary Fountain PenNew Montblanc Alexandre Dumas Writers Edition Fountain PenMontblanc Writers Limited Edition 2017 Antoine De St. Exupery Fountain Pen M NibMontblanc Fountain Pen W.shakespeare Writers Limited Edition - Nib (m) - SealedMint Montblanc Meisterstuck 164 Solitaire Gold Plated Pinstripe Ballpoint PenMontblanc Meisterstuck Gold-coated Classique Fountain PenNear Mint Montblanc Meisterstuck Classic 145 Chopin Platinum - 14 K M NibMont Blanc Meisterstuck Fountain Pen No. 149 14k Gold Nib No BoxNear Mint Montblanc Meisterstuck 144 - 14 K M Nib In Box Vintage Montblanc 342 Fountain Pen Steel "b" NibMontblanc Bohme Dou Moongarden Ballpoint Pen In Case New 14-07Montblanc Meisterstuck Fountain Pen No 149 14k Gold NibMontblanc Ballpoint Pen Classique 164 Solitaire Doue Signum Platinum Plated Cap Vintage Montblanc 242 Fountain Pen 14c 585 Gold "bb" NibMontblanc Meisterstck 114 Hommage Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - 14k Gold M NibMontblanc Fountain Pen Alexander The Great 4810 L.e. - 1998 - Nib (f)Montblanc Meisterstuck 75th Anniversary Le 1924 Rose Gold Legrand Rollerball PenMontblanc Oval Cufflinks Meisterstck Gold Plated With Onyx - New Old Stock1937 Montblanc Pix 92 D.r.p. Pix Simplo Clipless Rare Vintage Mechancl Pencil Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique Diamond No. 164 Platinum Ballpoint Pen Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Doue Ballpoint Pen 8579 M23368 Black Signum BpEuc Montblanc Meisterstuck 145r Burgundy Bordeaux Chopin Fountain Pen 14k M NibMontblanc Solitaire 925 Silver Fountain Pen Desk Stand For Legrand 146Montblanc Bangle Bracelet In Stainless Steel With Rubber Inlay - New Old StockMontblanc Meisterstuck 164v Solitaire Vermeil Barley Gold Ballpoint Pen Bp 17131Montblanc Siena Leather 2 Pen Case Germany Original Accessory Etui Boxed Lot RrrVintage Montblanc # 254 Fountain -paper Box & Papers- 14 Karat Nib Ob Tip-1950s-Montblanc Hemingway Limited Edition Fountain Pen - NewMontblanc Meisterstuck No 149 14k Gold Vintage Fountain Pen Vintage Glass Montblanc Inkwell With Brass Lid And Base Made In Germany NewLovely Vintage Montblanc Empty Fountain Pen / Ballpoint Pen Box - No PensMontblanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint Pen Black Resin Gold Plated RingsMontblanc Meisterstuck 162 Legrand Rollerball Writing Pen Black Resin Mont 11402 Rare Vintage Montblanc 254 Fountain Pen 14c 585 Gold "obb" NibMontblanc Starwalker Urban Speed Ballpoint Pen Mint From CollectionMontblanc Meisterstuck Platinum Line Classique Ballpoint Pen - BlackMontblanc Meisterstuck 149 Set 10575Montblanc Meisterstuck 164sp Sterling Silver Solitaire 925 Ballpoint Pen 11757New Authentic Accessories Montblanc Office Starwalker Metal Rubber Fountain PenMontblanc Meisterstuck Pix Black & Gold Pen Rollerball W/ink D-15 Montblanc 20k-gold Body Noblesse No.1147" Stripe Fountain Pen & Paper Germany Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique Mechanical Pencil Mint Montblanc Meisterstuck Classic 165 Pencil Black And GoldUsed Montblanc Princess Grace De Monaco Fountain Pen.Exclusive Montblanc Meisterstck Black Leather Pen Tray In Pristine ConditionVintage Montblanc Rollerball + Ballpoint & Montblanc Leather Pen Pouch -1970s-Montblanc 234 1/2 Piston Fountain Pen In Black - VintageMontblanc 144 Masterpiece Piston Fountain Pen In Black - VintageMontblanc Slimline Noblesse Fountain Pen - Fogged Steel - Steel F NibMontblanc John Lennon Commemoration Limited Edition Fountain Pen 0421/1940 M NibVery Old Fontain Pen Simplo Montblanc 18k Gold NibMontblanc Meisterstuck Germany Ballpoint Pen W/box & BookletMontblanc Money Clip In Stainless Steel - New Old StockMontblanc Noblesse Silver Stainless Steel & 14k Gold 585 Fountain Pen CartridgeMontblanc Agatha Christie Ballpoint Limited Edition