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Montblanc 234½ With A Palladium Obb Nib


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12 replies to this topic

#1 Malcy

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 15:31

I had been interested in acquiring a Montblanc for some time but the chance had not come up until recently. I am not really interested in the modern production as I prefer vintage in general. I happened to spot a sorry looking pen in a blurry photo on ebay and thought that it was worth a punt if the price was reasonable. Well here it is after some TLC and it has turned out to be a very interesting purchase.

Appearance and design 9/10

The MB 234½ is a classic design dating back to the 1930s. It is typically conservative in the German style being mostly black with gold trimmed metalwork and almost a flat top design.

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Construction and quality 8/10

Construction is mostly celluloid with a bakelite (I think) filler knob and gold plated brass metalwork. The piston mechanism is steel, the nib palladium and the feed ebonite. The pen is well constructed and has a certain solidity about it. It has lasted well and the plating is in good condition. The models of this pen that I have seen mostly have a short ink window, the rest of the barrel being blacked out with paint inside the barrel. This black paint is prone to wear over time but this pen has full length barrel transparency, even behind the rearmost position of the cork piston seal (which causes the wear). I am not sure how this could happen or if it has always been this way. Would I fear dropping it? Yes I would, not just because of any potential damage but because getting a similar pen to replace it would be very difficult.

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Weight and dimensions 8/10 (only because I generally favour bigger pens)

It is not a huge pen by today's standards at about 127mm capped and 148mm posted but it is comfortable to use and the section is not too thin. The full weight is 21g, so it doesn't feel flimsy in the hand. The pen is nicely balanced posted and this is the way that I have it when writing.

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Nib & performance 10/10

The nib of this pen is something special. It is a flexible palladium OBB nib and is quite amazing. I am not an expert but from the information that I can find, this nib and the general design dates the pen to around 1939 on the eve of the second world war. The nib is in generally good condition. Some of the gold plating has worn off the nib over the years but I am leaving it well alone as it would be easy to polish the remaining plating off. It writes well despite a slight bend in one of the tines and is very smooth as well as being capable of producing great line variation in the hands of an expert (not me). Why are there no modern nibs like this?

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A writing sample:

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Filling system and maintenence 10/10

The MB 234½ is a piston filler and holds a huge amount of ink for a pen of this size (and most others). The piston mechanism is a fascinating telescopic design and is responsible for the large capacity. It is made from steel and brass as far as I can see. I guess that the reason that modern Montblancs use a less sophisticated piston mechanism is mostly down to cost. The filler mechanism uses a cork seal and this was almost totally rotted away. The cork seal has been replaced by Eric Wilson (FPN member Eckiethump) who also expertly repaired a hairline crack in the barrel threads near the section where it was causing leakage and filling problems.

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Cost and value 10/10

The pen cost £30 and I have to say that it is serious value. I would not like to say what the best price that it could sell for was but I think that it would be a lot more than £30. However, it is not going anywhere soon. I have had quite a good month buying MB's in general as I bought this pen, an OB nibbed 3-42G in good condition and an extremely good condition eighties broad nibbed 149 for a total of £225. :D

Conclusion 55/60

While many pens come and go from my ownership, this is one that is here to stay on a permanent basis. It's features, uncommonness (is that a word?) and possible history along with the brilliant nib mean that it is special to own. It will continue to make a regular appearance in my rotation.
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#2 WendyNC

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 15:38

Congratulations on a lovely acquisition-and a fabulous deal to boot. Enjoy!
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#3 Blade Runner

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 15:59

Nice snag. Love that expressive OBB! :puddle: :thumbup:

#4 tonysingh

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 16:10

Thats one smokin pen i love that nib i think i may have an obsession with Oblique nibs now.

#5 Sidestreaker

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 16:34

Timeless classic... congratulation on the impressive instrument!
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#6 ArchiMark

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 16:58

Excellent review of a fine pen, Malcy.....

Good timing, as I just received my 234-1/2 a week ago....as you say, it's great little pen....mine writes very nicely too....

My pen has the one wide gold cap ring instead of the 2 small rings.....

:thumbup:

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#7 dnb

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 17:05

great find! enjoy!
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#8 Malcy

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 18:17

Thanks for the comments, I am going to enjoy it for many years. :)
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#9 Inkwisitor

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 10:12

Very succinct and helpful review of an unusual pen. The writing sample was a great illustration of the possibilities with this nib. Thanks!
"The cultured man is the man whose interior consciousness is forever obstinately writing down, in the immaterial diary of his psyche's sense of life, every chance aspect of every new day that he is lucky enough to live to behold!" - John Cowper Powys

#10 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 11:01

great nib and great pen :thumbup:
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#11 breaker

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 17:20

nice review and nice pics!
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#12 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 07:05

I like the color of your 234 1/2. Color in an MB is rare. Color in any German pen is rare until the '70's cheap pens.

Back when I was noobie...or more the noobie, I was at a live auction. I wanted the nib of a 400NN for my '90-96 400 Tortoise. The pen lot had the 400NN, and matching BP and MP and etui, and some ugly odd looking MB. I'd never seen anything like it.
Well that MB had a semi-flex nib...and all it would do was drive up the price of the 400NN. :headsmack:

The 400NN turned out to be a '56 with a friction nib, so much for plan A. The nib is a fantastic maxi-semi-flex/'flexi' OF. That is my # 2 nib and pen. I never did sell that MP and BP as planned.

That MB turned out to be a MB 234 1/2 Deluxe made from 1952-55, and mine because of the feed made in '55. A 1 1/2 tier pen made for them who did not like the 146-9, and liked the '30's models. It is a refined version of that. It has the old Meisterstuck clip and a nice wide classy cap ring.
It is a 'standard' sized pen, with brass back wighting, a tad wider than some of my other 'standard' '50's pens girth. One of my three perfect balanced pens, and had a grand KOB nib.
It is my # 1 pen. And I've grown to like it's looks much more than a 146-9.
I have a 320, and my other MB is a flat topped Virginia Woolf, so that 234 1/2 did have a lot of influence.

I'm very glad I have that pen...and I'd not take a modern 146- and 149 two to one swap. I got lucky and have for me a perfect pen, with a much better nib.

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German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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#13 Malcy

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 20:47

It is my # 1 pen. And I've grown to like it's looks much more than a 146-9.
I have a 320, and my other MB is a flat topped Virginia Woolf, so that 234 1/2 did have a lot of influence.

I'm very glad I have that pen...and I'd not take a modern 146- and 149 two to one swap. I got lucky and have for me a perfect pen, with a much better nib.


Your 234½ is very nice too. About fifteen years and a lot of history separates them. I like the clip on your pen it definitely is an up market addition. I had a modern 149 for a short period but didn't like it, none of the character of these old pens and the section was too thick to be comfortable. :)
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