Manjari Sihare explores the history of Montblanc, the world’s best pen makers
New York: Montblanc was founded over a century ago, in 1906. When you buy an authentic Montblanc writing instrument, you are ensured of a long tradition and well-established standards of quality few other pen makers can guarantee. In recent years, as the company celebrated various major anniversaries, it released several special limited edition writing implements. The one released in 1999, commemorated the Meisterstuck, the model that made Montblanc famous over the world. In 2006, the firm’s 100th anniversary was celebrated, marking the year that three Germans, Claus Johannes Voss, Alfred Nehemias and August Eberstein united to found the ‘Simplo-Filler Pens Company’, which later gave birth to the Montblanc brand.
The name Montblanc was supposedly hit upon at a card game involving the industrialist Carl Schalk. When the question of an apt name for a new pen was raised by Claus-Johannes Voss, Schalk said, “Why not just call it Montblanc? After all, it’s also black at the bottom, white at the top and the greatest among its peers.” Each Montblanc has a cap with the white star representing the snowy peak of Montblanc – the highest mountain in Europe. The nib of each of their pens is engraved with the figures 4810, specifying the height of Montblanc in meters. Browse through this chronology of the company’s history for more information.
The firm’s platinum jubilee celebrations were marked by the release of Montblanc Mozart 75th special anniversary edition, of which the fountain and ballpoint pens are part of The Story by Saffronart”, time-limited collections of hard-to-find, beautiful and significant objects available for sale everyday. The 75th anniversary Mozart Edition pens are amongst the most coveted Montblanc products. Our collection titled Written in Time also includes other limited edition pens such as the Edgar Allan Poe Set and the Dostoyevsky.
It is important to know that Montblanc produces only two lines of pens: Meisterstuck (started in 1924) and Boheme (since the 1990s). All Montblanc models are part of one of these lines, or special limited editions. The production of specially designed pens, accompanied by eye catching packaging began soon after Parker launched its first limited editions such as Spanish Treasure 75 (1965), Queen Elizabeth (1977) and Charles and Diana (1981). In 1992 Montblanc followed suit, adopting themes such as writers, art patrons and historical events, or producing pens to commemorate important events. Dostoyevsky (1997) and Edgar Allan Poe (1998) are part of the firm’s ‘Writers Series’. Other authors honoured by Montblanc include Agatha Christie (1993), Earnest Hemingway (1992), Oscar Wilde (1994), Voltaire (1995) and Alexandre Dumas. These pens usually have silver trims, while a select few have gold trims.
My personal favorite is the Edgar Allan Poe – a crushed velvet, midnight-blue resin barrel, with a gold trim, and the white Meisterstück star. What I like most about this pen is the narrative it embodies. The pen has a raven engraved on the nib. Raven was Edgar Allan Poe’s most celebrated poem about a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover. The poem has a constant repetition of the word “Nevermore” to convey the distress of the subject. When asked whether Montblanc will make more when the edition is sold out, the company said that they can only repeat the raven’s succinct answer: “Nevermore”. Only 3,000 sets were produced making this one of the more difficult ‘Writers Series’ sets to find.