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How Did You First Learn About Montblanc Pens?

montblanc fountain pens sheaffer no nonsense pen cartridge pen lamy safari

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25 replies to this topic

#1 Tom Kellie

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 08:32

~ As a schoolchild in the late 1950s and 1960s, I exclusively used pencils for all homework and notes in class.

 

I preferred softer leads, as the shading appealed to me, as opposed to the harder leads used for mathematics proofs and such.

 

Growing up in a medical family, plastic promotional ballpoint pens distributed by pharmaceutical corporations were readily available.

 

As ballpoint ink wasn't erasable, and didn't shade as soft pencil lead did, it was less appealing to me.

 

The oily ink in the ballpoint pens around the house smudged without aesthetic effect, looking messy on homework assignments.

 

Finally in high school, in the late 1960s, a couple of ballpoint pens became part of my standard school equipment, but without inspiring any special loyalty, let alone passion.

 

My father gave me a Cross ballpoint pen for high school graduation, which was little used, serving more as a symbol than used as a writing tool.

 

I'd noticed other students with fountain pens, which were different than the older Parker and Sheaffer fountain pens in my father's desk.

 

Around 1970, with funds earned from working part-time as a kennel-boy in a local veterinary hospital on weekends and during vacations, I went to a local drugstore and bought my first fountain pen.

 

It was a Sheaffer Cartridge Pen, sometimes called a School Pen, in chrome and black with flat ends on the cap and barrel.

 

Not knowing anything about fountain pens, the M nib satisfied my modest requirements.

 

The ink cartridges of choice were blue-black, although I went through a phase of using peacock blue.

 

The character of the ink on paper had a crispness which I liked, but the greatest pleasure was a sense of writing as the ancients had, water-based ink on paper.

 

Fountain pens struck me at that time as being a link to more traditional, tested ways of communication.

 

The era was replete with social change and cultural upheaval, which was unsettling at times, therefore the calm stability of ink strokes was reassuring.

 

When heading off to university at age 17, I wanted to somehow upgrade to mark the transition, so I purchased another Sheaffer fountain pen.

 

A No Nonsense pen in brown, also with an M nib, it's larger size better suited my large right hand.

 

With two fountain pens, my practice was to have both inked with different cartridge colors, typically blue, blue black or peacock blue.

 

Seeing Pravda's recent images of his Tropic Brown Heritage B nib fountain pen reminded me of the brown No Nonsense pen which I'd used for several years.

 

With the completion of graduate school I drifted away from the familiar tools of a student lifestyle, including switching over to ballpoint pens.

 

With passing years, I discovered and liked felt-tip pens, and later also used gel pens. Pencils remained part of my life, but more for sketching than for writing.

 

I have no recollection of ever having read or heard of Montblanc as a brand. As far as I know, no one in my limited sphere was using Montblanc products at that time.

 

The familiar Montblanc white star was a wholly unfamiliar trademark to me for decades, without ever having knowingly encountered it in my reading or travels.

 

As I've described in detail in another FPN Montblanc Forum thread, in 1987 I was given a Meisterstück 149 M nib, 14K, with ‘Germany’ on the Clip Ring.

 

http://www.fountainp...age-estimation/

 

Although it was an exceptionally generous gift, I was unsophisticated, not recognizing the value of what I'd received.

 

It never registered in my muddled consciousness that Montblanc was an esteemed brand, such that for over two decades I was unaware that I owned a genuine Montblanc fountain pen.

 

Consequently, the 149 was stored as a friendship keepsake, but never inked or examined. Gradually it was forgotten, remaining unseen in a small white presentation box.

 

My career took me many places to far-flung university settings, eventually leading to Beijing in 1999.

 

Around 2007 I spotted an unfamiliar name in the ‘Malls at Oriental Plaza’ by Beijing's Wangfujing, a ‘pedestrians only’ shopping street.

 

It was a Lamy pocket boutique, the first of its kind in Beijing. Curious, I looked over the merchandise, settling on a bright red M nib Safari pen.

 

I'd never heard of Lamy, but had dim memories of the pleasures of writing with a fountain pen while attending college and graduate school.

 

The choice of bright red was a not-so-subtle acknowledgment of working and living in mainland China.

 

Using the Lamy pen was satisfying, such that several other Safari pens joined the first one, inked with converters rather than using cartridges.

 

I tried several local fountain pens, which invariably clogged up, skipped, and failed to start the ink flow every time.

 

In 2011, during a household cleaning and reorganization, I encountered the long-forgotten Montblanc 149 M nib. Removing it from the box, I wondered how it might be inked and used.

 

For the first time I took the time to look at the brand name — Montblanc — which still meant nothing whatsoever to me.

 

Looking on the Internet, I found that there was a dedicated Montblanc outlet, called a ‘boutique’, in the same mall where I found and purchased the Lamy pen.

 

Taking my gift pen downtown, I asked the boutique staff to examine it to determine if it was an authentic Montblanc pen.

 

They smilingly confirmed that it was, presenting me with two outdated bottles of ink as a gift.

 

I tried to ink it, but nothing happened, so I gave up, putting it away for one more year.

 

In 2012, I thought about the 149 again, pulled it out and asked myself why it wouldn't write.

 

A search on the Internet suggested that it might benefit from soaking the nib in lukewarm water.

 

The dried ink which had long clogged it came out with a watery burst, some time after the pen was in the water.

 

Within weeks I returned to the downtown boutique, bought more ink, made friends with staff members, and began my Montblanc journey.

 

Many pens later, I now own various Montblanc fountain pens, ballpoint pens, a rollerball, a wallet, two belts and a fine document case.

 

There are even two Montblanc umbrellas in my home office, both gifts from the Montblanc boutique.

 

I still use pencils, but now they're large charcoal pencils for sketching. I also have a half dozen gold-filled cap Parker 51s on my desk.

 

One month ago I looked in a small box which had been with me for more than thirty years, but perhaps opened no more than once or twice.

 

To my great surprise I found the two original Sheaffer fountain pens that I used as a kid.

 

Using a syringe and needle from a biology laboratory, I filled the empty cartridges with ink, after having thoroughly cleaned all parts of the two pens.

 

They both write very well. I've used them in recent weeks in classes I taught, pleased to use them towards the close of my career after they served me as a student.

 

Today jar kindly replied to my inquiry about how to remove the wedged-in cartridge in the chrome and black Cartridge Pen. It easily came out, so now I'll know how to regularly re-ink it.

 

**************************************************************************

 

Below are several images of the first fountain pens that I used, as well as the initial Montblanc 149, which started me out on my Montblanc journey.

 

I'm interested how others originally came to know Montblanc, even if it was long before they acquired their first Montblanc product.

 

Tom K.

 

 

fpn_1496046295__two_sheaffer_pens_reveal

 

Two Sheaffer Fountain Pens Revealed

 

fpn_1496046446__my_first_three_fountain_

 

My First Three Fountain Pens

 

fpn_1496046587__fountain_pen_series.jpg

 

Fountain Pen Series



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#2 Pravda

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 09:25

Tom Kellie, 

 

Thank you so much for the interesting read, always vivid with imagery and fun anecdotes :) 

 

I personally never considered how I got into Montblanc myself, I don't even know if I could truthfully answer this question.

 

I believe that I have always seen the Montblanc boutiques when traveling across the West with my parents as a kid and perceived it to be a reputable/luxurious brand. 

 

When my mother passed away I inherited quite a large number of fountain pens, among them a few 146 and 146 Solitaires. That is what got me into fountain pens, missing her and wanting to use something she used. 

 

I hadn't the faintest idea that Montblanc had limited editions. 

 

And then I came HERE.

 

Originally to see ink sample writings and/or learn more about the Parkers, Sheaffers and S.T. Dupont's I inherited that comprised the majority of my mother's collection.

 

And then it all started..

 

My first purchased Montblanc was the 100 Years Anniversary Starwalker pen. And then I developed a dislike for cartridges and loved bottle filled pens. So I bought myself a 149 (a 1st among many over the years) and a few 146s. 

 

My first limited edition pen was Catherine The Great 4810 followed by Julius II 888. That was back in 2007/8 I think. 

 

Unmarried at the time and with very few commitments, I quickly started growing my collection thereon. 

 

I added the 75th Anniversary Skeleton in rose gold (which I still think is the penultimate Montblanc) and the Skeleton 333, Ghengis Khan, Musee de Louvre etc. 

 

I took a break from fountain pens for a few years, but thanks to you guys seemingly I am back :) 



#3 dubhe

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 10:57

I remember using fountain pens at school, Sheaffers and Parker Vectors in different colours. By the time I was at university I was using roller balls, and had a thing for Cross. In 2008 I was on a course and noticed many of the other students had Montblanc's as a status symbol, I thought they looked nice, but noticed they were all the same plain black and gold style.

When I passed a different career course in 2009 and was flying out to a new job from Heathrow I noticed the Montblanc shop and decided to have a look. To my excitement the pens came in all different colours and styles that I had until then not appreciated. I bought myself a Boheme to celebrate passing my course.

I then found fpn, and eventually traded the Boheme for a Blue Starwalker with another member. I disliked the Starwalker though, so sold it and bought a mono-tone 146, and then another, and then a 149, and then a Schiller, and then...

I now have around 15 Montblancs and a few Pelikans. I love finding them in unusual places as I travel around the world, and always try to buy them at less than their eBay resale value. The chase of a good deal is as much part of the hobby as owning the pens. I like buying dirty dried up pens and cleaning them myself, I especially enjoy disassembly of the No12/14 as it is so simple.

I use all of my pens, some daily like my 1912 RB, 146 and M800, and others in rotation.

I really need to implement a budget, as currently I find it very hard to turn down a good deal, even if I was not looking for a particular pen. But, I have sold a few pens to help balance things out.

Working away from home as much as I do, it is great to have a hobby that can be transported anywhere. Montblanc as a global brand means I am never too far from someone selling, be it an airport departure lounge or a local pawn shop.

Finally, this forum is a great place to be, the people make it what it is, and pen enthusiasts seem to be a helpful, friendly and trustworthy bunch.

#4 Jeffrey Garrett

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 11:41

As a very young man... former 'Primary School Ink Monitor'! I regularly went home with ink-stained hands, trousers and shirts.    I could barely lift the quart bottle of blue ink!  The chromium spout, held in by a cork, had a will of its own!

 

The only fountain pen I can recall from that time, was used by the Headmaster.  I distinctly recall that pen as it was easier to look at the pen, rather than look the Headmaster in the eye, when getting a telling off!  It was a Parker 51... Burgundy.

 

Most teaching staff used dipping pens... as I recall.  The year was approx 1959.  During my school years, I remember using many different pens.  At that time I could purchase a new 'Roll-Tip' for two shillings!  They were not a bad pen, actually.  There was always the playground trade for a fountain pen that had been retrieved from a grandparent's drawer!

 

As years passed by ... many of them, I recall knowing of Montblanc Fountain pens being a prestigious make. Well out of my reach, at the time.  I had never seen one in the flesh.

 

Skip forward another couple of decades and I remember attending a hospital appointment, to see a consultant.  During the consultation,  a MB149 was used to make notes.  I distinctly remember the white emblem on the cap, he was a poster!  I thought for a moment, when he asked me to sign the completed form, I was going to get to 'borrow' the 149!....  No such luck.  He handed me a Bic!!    

 

Many years later, I never forgot that event.  The first fountain pen I purchased to start my collection, was a Montblanc 146 .... I then, fell down the rabbit hole!


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#5 Cyrille

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 13:02

Hello,

 

At high school I used cheap Waterman or Parker fountain pens. At university it was more a mix between chip fountain pens and ballpoint. When I started to work I decide to buy a Montblanc ballpoint for my daily use, it was a Meisterstück classique with a zip pen pouch. I lost it when someone stole my bag in the train. I decided to buy Montblanc for the brand because I knew it from notoriety and found their products nice.

 

I waited more or less one year before to buy again Montblanc pens after the steal. My wife gifted me the Meisterstück ballpoint we stole me in Legrand model. At the same time I decided to treat me by buying the 149 to use it at home for eveything I have to write. I found the pleasure of fountain pen again with this famous Montblanc pen. At the same time I bought pen pouch for them.

Few months later I had the opportunity to buy the mechanical pencil during a liquidation.

 

In the beginning of 2015 when the JFK collection has been released I bought the special edition of ballpoint and my wife bought the fountain pen and the rollerball at the same time. I found the limited edition so nice but I hadn't the money to buy them. Few month later I bought the document marker.

 

After that I didn't check more what Montblanc has released until the end of 2016 when my father gave me some money after the death of my grandparents. I decided to use the money to buy things I can give all my life and I can remember them each time I use them. So I decided to buy the Leonardo fountain pen in the 3000 edition and the JFK rollerball in 1917 edition. And it was the real beginning of my Montblanc pen collection.

 

As the interest rate are really small currently I decided to use a part of my money to buy the Steinway 888 I wanted since the first time I saw it in photo, it was in February 2017. Few weeks after I bought the ballpoint and the fountain pen of the 1917 edition of JFK and ordered the Miles Davis fountain pen in 1926 edition that took few month to receive it, at the end of April 2017. And few days ago I finally bought the Unicef skeleton.

 

Now I will wait a little bit before buying new pens in my collection because my wallet is a little bit empty :) Next one in my list should be the limited edition of Saint-Exupery and I will sit the Beatles out as I don't like the design of them, except if in real I found them really different.

 

In my dream wish list I would never have I think is the Leonardo 73 skeleton that I find so beautiful but really too much expensive for my budget, except if I won at lottery.



#6 Ghost Plane

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 19:17

My dad always used MB ink but favored his Sheaffer desk set for their F nibs. I used those and family Watermans until a Visconti Pericle was my gateway drug to B nibs. Once you've turned to the broad side, MBs are inevitable.

#7 MHBru

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 19:28

I actually do remember how this happened..... I was in my 20s and working in my first professional (real) job. I noticed that the guys who were more established in their careers always carried an MB... at the time to me it announced the arrival to adulthood and I figured it was time to have one. I remember paying about $125 for the ball point at a local office supply store and now.... nearly 40 years and many pens later... I still pick it up almost daily.

#8 NinthSphere

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 23:02

When I was in early elementary school, my mother used to bring home promotional notepads for various presciption meds from the hospital where she worked & I would write or draw on them. One of the pads had a picture of the nib & section of what was probably a 149 oriented to appear to be writing out the prescription name along the bottom. Thus, I was introduced not only to Montblanc via the nib markings, but fountain pens in general when I asked what that pointy thing was supposed to be.



#9 Orpilorp

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 02:02

The first time I recall seeing a MB was at work where one of the attorneys always had a MB ballpoint sticking out of his shirt pocket, but he never used it. He apparently had it for the purpose of conspicuous consumption.

Then there was another guy, a Tom Wolfe sort of dandy, who always used a MB ballpoint with bright green ink. His last name was Ireland (truly).

I've never written with a MB, and I'm sure they're very nice pens in all respects, but I can't justify spending so much money on them. Too frugal I suppose.

#10 BrandonA

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 13:49

I started using fountain pens when I was 11 or 12.  Like a lot of kids of my age, this involved using the cheap Parker pens bought from the local WH Smiths.

 

Whenever we went shopping I'd drag my parents around WH Smiths looking at the more expensive pens. 

 

I remember going to Harrods once and looking around their pens.  This was when I first saw and fell in love with Montblanc.

 

When I finished University my parents offered to buy me one.  I opted for a watch (another brand) as I knew I'd never want another Parker if I had a Montblanc and at the time I could not afford more Montblanc pens.

 

When eBay started becoming popular (late 1990s / early 2000s) I was able to buy my first MB pens from it for relatively cheap prices. This is where the addiction started.

 

In 2013 I bought my first WE pen (from a boutique) and from then on I've never looked at another brand.


My Collection: Montblanc Writers Edition: Hemingway, Christie, Wilde, Voltaire, Dumas, Dostoevsky, Poe, Proust, Schiller, Dickens, Fitzgerald (set), Verne, Kafka, Cervantes, Woolf, Faulkner, Shaw, Mann, Twain, Collodi, Swift, Balzac, Defoe, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Saint-Exupery, Homer & Kipling. Montblanc Einstein (3,000) FP. Montblanc Heritage 1912 Resin FP. Montblanc Starwalker Resin: FP/BP/MP. Montblanc Traveller FP.

#11 Wolverine1

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 14:28

I grew up in India, and in a rather backward part of India, at that. Both my parents had studied in the USA and the UK, earned their PhD's and had returned. They were big fans of Parker pens. I was not allowed to even touch their pens, and I was given a el-cheapo Indian made fountain pen , that didnt work to well, leaked, and generally was a pain on the you know what. I always loved the feel of writing with my Dad's Parker Vacumatic Maxima and my mother's Parker 51s.

 

Then I arrived at the Univ of Michigan as a freshman. Almost no one here in the 1990s seemed to use a fountain pen, I found that strange, and was surprised that the University Bookstore had nothing but pencils and ballpoints and gelpens for sale. So, like everyone else I just started using pencils.

Then, as a sophomore, I had to see a History Professor during his Office hours. I noticed him  writing with a Parker 51 pen. I didnt say anything about his pens, but by the time the semester had ended, II had gotten to know him well. And when I asked him about pens, he guided me towards a modern Parker Duofold Centennial, which is a great pen. He also gave me Fountain Pen Hospital's catalogue.

 

When I graduated, with guidance from Ed from FPH, bought my first MBpen, it was a MB 149. I really like its size, but, it skipped all the time. So, by this time, I had gotten on to Pentrace ( it was the early 2000s), and so I sold the pen. And read and waited some more.

But over the years, I bought a few MB 149s, and now I have 9 of them!!!!!



#12 Rowbo

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 16:07

http://www.fountainp...t/#entry2104304

 

My knowledge, and collection of MBs, have grown somewhat since that day.


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#13 Ghost Plane

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 21:15

As has mine. They're addictive.  :wallbash:



#14 Tom Kellie

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 07:43

Then, as a sophomore, I had to see a History Professor during his Office hours. I noticed him  writing with a Parker 51 pen. I didnt say anything about his pens, but by the time the semester had ended, II had gotten to know him well. And when I asked him about pens, he guided me towards a modern Parker Duofold Centennial, which is a great pen. He also gave me Fountain Pen Hospital's catalogue.

 

 

~ Wolverine1:

 

What a great professor!

 

It's encouraging to read about his low-key kindness to you.

 

Similarly in my time with students the fountain pens are visible.

 

From time to time interested students inquire about them.

 

Thank you for posting this.

 

Tom K.



#15 Reed_thoughts

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 15:32

I have always known of Montblanc, and pens in general... Although not much about Montblanc Pens.

When i was little my father always carried a Caran d'Ache ecridor ball point with him and he would always fancy and ponder about a fountain pen and kept on saying we would "ruin it for him as fountain pens are delicate instruments" (He would say it in a joking tone... i never felt bothered by it).

 

With the years he kept on with his pen.. always the same.. it was sort of his trademark. And through the years he would keep on talking about fountain pens.

I had only seen FPs on Tom and Jerry cartoons when jerry emptied it on tom's face...

Still, nothing trickled my fancy yet.

I began writing at the age of 10, always with a mechanical pencil. Always the same one, i liked the idea of having your trademark instrument.

 

When i was 17 my father gifted my mother a ball point, a Greta Garbo. At the time my mother was head of a foundation that helps children with Cancer. He told her she shouldnt be signing with a Bic. As head/president/director of the foundation she had to convey certain image for donors.

Thats when i first was introduced to Montblanc Pens.

I was not however swayed by it... after all the ballpoint internals are a mere few $ on office depot... so you are paying for the design, nothing more. (i still believe this).

 

Through college i went and still i kept on using my mechanical pencil (yes, always the same.. and i still have it).

On my senior year a friend started using fountain pens and i would sometimes use it. He had a few Twsbis, and i found it outrageous that he would pay over $50 for a pen! (lol).

 

Upon graduation my uncle/godfather gifted me his fountain pen, the 149 he bought in the 70s. Thats when i stopped using my mechanical pencil to write and started using fountain pens.

 

...

Then i came into the forums... and i guess the rest is history?

My first MB purchase was a 145 platinum, and since i have moved into the 146s. The... conglomerate of pens (I refuse to call it a collection as per definition it does not apply) has grown to 11 Montblancs, and it will likely not grow any more in 2017.

 

 

 

The first time I recall seeing a MB was at work where one of the attorneys always had a MB ballpoint sticking out of his shirt pocket, but he never used it. He apparently had it for the purpose of conspicuous consumption.

Then there was another guy, a Tom Wolfe sort of dandy, who always used a MB ballpoint with bright green ink. His last name was Ireland (truly).

I've never written with a MB, and I'm sure they're very nice pens in all respects, but I can't justify spending so much money on them. Too frugal I suppose.

 

I used to think of this when looking at Montblanc prices in the boutiques. I have since learned of authorized sellers that sell original, new pens with warranty for amazing prices (LCDC, Appelboom, pen time/chatterly luxuries). 

My last purchase was a 146 yellow gold (standard) for $420 shipped at Appelboom. At such price the pen becomes amazingly worth it. To think i paid upwards of 700 for a Caran d'Ache, or almost 600 for a GVFC classic... and specially when compared to Visconti's and Pelikan's prices.

 

again, at around 400s for MB 146 pens i believe to be the perfect price for it.



#16 Tom Kellie

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 05:44

~ Interesting how few dedicated Montblanc users and collectors were originally attracted to the brand as a result of Montblanc advertising.

 

Word of mouth in one form or another seems to have been most effective.

 

Tom K.



#17 estie1948

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 08:53

I have used MontBlanc ink with great satisfaction many times in my professional career. I have never owned a MontBlack pen of any sort. I can't afford one. It is merely a matter of simple economics. They may be the best pens in the world for all I know and I don't dislike them; I just can't afford one. 

 

To answer the question. When I was in my teens, I made it a habit to read two magazines: Esquire and Playboy. I read Esquire to learn what was in style and such. I read Playboy, well, maybe "read" isn't the correct word, for an entirely different reason. It was in Esquire that I saw an advertisement for MontBlanc pens. That is where I first learned of the brand.

 

-David (Estie).


Edited by estie1948, 02 June 2017 - 08:54.

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A backward poet writes inverse. -Anon.

#18 Tom Kellie

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:06

 I read Playboy, well, maybe "read" isn't the correct word, for an entirely different reason. It was in Esquire that I saw an advertisement for MontBlanc pens. That is where I first learned of the brand.

 

~ estie1948:

 

Who knew?

 

It seems that we once shared ‘reading’ tastes for similar reasons.

 

It's interesting to me to know that Montblanc advertised in Esquire.

 

Thank you for telling this.

 

Tom K.



#19 Barry Gabay

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 12:57

Interesting question, Tom. Thank you for starting it. Everyone's stories are so revealing. As a college dropout in 1974, working in a factory in Hamburg, W. Germany, I walked to and from work each day. Around the corner from the apartment I shared with three other young folks also working at the factory (2 Brits & a Swiss), there was a stationary-art supply-architect & engineering shop. Really quite an interesting place. Most afternoons while walking home from work, I would stop in the shop and drool over the fountain pens. At the time, I had my first No Nonsense, a couple of silver metal slip cap Sheaffers, and an Esterbrook lever-filler with me. I bought my first Pelikano at the shop, but really liked the Montblancs. Of course, those were in a completely different league, and I didn't even consider buying one. The 149 sold for around $130 US in those days. I held them, dip tested them, but didn't tease myself with thoughts of buying one. Later, leaving Germany when I moved back to the US, I saw the 149 in the Frankfurt airport's duty free shop at a little over $100 US. Still too expensive for me. Five years later, as a gift the year before we were married, my girlfriend gave me a 149. A year later, on our honeymoon, I bought her one a 149 at Art Brown in NYC. The rest has been an adventure in obsessive pleasure!


Edited by Barry Gabay, 02 June 2017 - 12:58.


#20 meiers

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 01:43

This is such an enjoyable thread. I love your narratives.
My first Montblanc was gifted to me by my wife: a 144R that I still treasure almost thirty years later.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: montblanc, fountain pens, sheaffer, no nonsense pen, cartridge pen, lamy, safari



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