The Montblanc pen, a way of being
Owning a Meisterstuck pen 149 of Montblanc is now more a statement of lifestyle or a way of being. Most people know the Montblanc pen. If they do not know any other pen, they will know this one. If they see this Montblanc pen in the hands of somebody at a meeting, they will know this person has a great ink pen and has paid good money for it. It is definitely more part of your wardrobe than it is part of your office supply…
Here you see a Montblanc pen 146 from ca. 1990 (top) and a Montblanc pen 149 from 2009 (bottom).
It is the symbol of a great ink pen and this one has had a revival in the eighties like no other pen had.
But the story of the Montblanc pen did not start in the eighties….
Two Germans, an engineer and a banker, joined hands and launched the ‘simplizissimus fullhalter’. The two men quickly sold the company to three other German gentlemen who founded the company ‘Simpl Filler Pen company’ (in German language). It was 1910 when they introduced the white top pens which became known as Montblanc and from there the famous logo evolved. Montblanc launched their first masterpiece pens (literally translated Meisterstuck) in 1924, also the year where the height of the mountain was engraved on the cap. Quite a story, because the forefather is the ‘master piece’ was named after ‘the most simple one’. In 1924 they also engrave it on the nib. They still do now. But the Montblanc pen Meisterstuck 149 we know today was actually launched in 1952 after the Meisterstuck 139 but it is a bit more streamlined. So it has a bit over 60 years of life, now.
The Montblanc great ink pen in the eighties
1980’s Montblanc pen revived the large Meisterstuck range. It went beyond being a great ink pen and became a cult status and ownership implied a certain position and rank.
The Montblanc pen 149 has an over sized body which is actually cigar shaped. A ‘great’ ink pen indeed. The nib again is quite large (the 9 in 149 stands for the size of nib being 1 the smallest) or even over sized. It is 18k hand finished but a bit more rigid than one would think of such a prototypical piece of art. But that does not change the delicious writing experience of this great ink pen. Yes, it is expensive. But it is a status symbol and those unfortunately can not be bought cheaply. It would defy the meaning.
Who owned this pen
Obviously all the right kind of people have owned this great ink pen. To start with John F. Kennedy… yes, he would be the right kind of person to own such a archetypal fountain pen.
He helped out the German chancellor Konrad Adenauer when he was in a difficult state and he offered him the use of his Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 pen.
But Nelson Mandela has had one as well. They wrote very different things although they owned at one point the same Montblanc pen. Great men write with a great ink pen. As I said, it was brought to market in 1952 and I believe both persons do personify the end of the fifties and the sixties. During his convalescence of a back surgery in 1956 John F. Kennedy famously wrote Profiles in Courage, a book about US senators who risked their careers for their personal beliefs. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957. We will off course never know it was written with the Montblanc Meisterstuck but knowing he owned one made me investigate further. Maybe the Meisterstuck was around or even used in one of the events during his presidency including the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race—by initiating Project Apollo (which would culminate in the moon landing) or somewhere during the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Kennedy also stands for his domestic program the “New Frontier” which increased federal funding for education, economic aid to rural regions, and government intervention to halt the recession. And then finally, Kennedy also promised an end to racial discrimination.
Which is leads us to Mandela who wrote very different things. He also wrote a book, his autobiography which he wrote in prison and for which he was punished by taking away all privileges for another five years. Obviously he did not write his autobiography with a this great ink pen. But maybe the new constitution once he was president or his famous three hour speech when he was standing trial or one of the Acts, like the basic Conducts of Employment Act, or the Employment Equity Act or the Land Reform Act. I only understood and started to really appreciate this pen when I came to think about what it could have witnessed.
This great ink pen is meticulously handcrafted of quality resins and trimmed with gold or platinum. The gold nib of each of the Montblanc pens is available in XF, F, M and B. An over sized (the large model) 149 pen fits nicely in the hand of a male adult, allowing for comfortable calligraphy. The cap is also made from resin with Montblanc white star inlay. The clip is gold-plated.
As said before, it is the archetypal fountain pen, often passed on to the next generation as a family heirloom.
You can find more information, reviews and the price of this great ink pen, here.