A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Monday, December 26, 2011

An unexpected Christmas pen!

In the spring of 2010, just as my pen addiction was kicking in, I was showing my wife's Uncle Bryan (whom I see only once every year or two) the extent of my collection. If I recall correctly, at the time I owned only two fountain pens: a charcoal gray Lamy Safari and a Pelikan P55 Future. Might have been a Lamy AL-Star in there, but I can't remember.

He was interested because he is an artist (pretty darn good, too), and he tried sketching with one or two of my pens.

Anyway, this year we got a Christmas package from Uncle Bryan, which included a cigar-shaped object wrapped in brown paper with a note to me that read, "I bought this pen about 30 years ago. Enjoy." Perhaps, I thought, it's a pen he experimented with in his art way back when he bought it.

So, I opened it, and . . . it's a Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 149. Whoa.

It's a little worse for wear -- there are stains on the star at the end of the cap, and there is a dimple in the resin of the cap. There's some brown residue at the base of the nib. But it otherwise looks like it just needs a little cleaning and buffing.

There is an "M" engraved in the star in the nib, which I presume means it's a medium. To my untrained eye and hand, the nib seems to be either a stub or cursive italic, with a slight right-foot oblique (or merely mis-aligned tines):

I'll be shipping this pen off to a restorer pronto, but I couldn't resist taking the nib for a spin first, so I dipped it in Noodler's Red-Black, and later filled it with Noodler's Purple Martin, and here's what I got on some Clairefontaine Triomphe:

Whatever it is, it's very broad and gushes like a fire hose. I did get some line variation, but maybe that's just misalignment of the tines. I took it to work today, and the first time I unscrewed the cap and gripped the pen to write with it, my fingers were covered, but the ink did not resemble Purple Martin. Instead, it was the color of the brown residue at the base of the nib.

I suppose I should get it restored to ship-shape condition and try it again before I decide whether I want a nibmeister to put a new grind on it it. Might make a good signature pen once the nib is adjusted. (I know, using it for signatures seems like a waste, but medium is about as wide as I go with everyday writers, and this writes much larger than a medium.)

While I'm eager to get it in shape, I hate parting with it so soon after receiving it. Perhaps there are a few more dips in store before I ship it off.

Thanks, Uncle Bryan!

UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Speedmaster!



  1. Wow, you so lucky! that's like finding treasure. bet getting it is really cool too.

  2. Congratulations! And how cool is it that it's a family pen? May you use it in good health!

  3. The "star" on the end of the cap represents the snow covered peak of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. 4810 on the nib is Mont Blanc's height. The circle, star, and M under 4810 is Montblanc's (the company) logo. For most manufacturers the nib width is stamp below the 585 on gold nibs. I do not see a width stamped on your nib. Medium is the most common sold though. I have heard that Montblanc's nibs run wide. For restoration I recommend Ron Zorn of Main Street Pens. I am just trying to be helpful.

  4. Thanks for the tips, Sidney. Maybe this is a broad nib after all.

  5. What a wonderful gift and even more meaningful that it came from and originally belonged to your uncle. Perhaps you'll be able to pass it on to one of your children or grandchildren one day. Enjoy it in good health.

  6. Some years ago, I received a Meisterstuck for a Xmas present. They are amazing- the only problem I have is that when I use it, my word count per page drops to about seven, and I need something larger than A4 to write on . . .. does anyone make paper and envelopes in A1? have fun!

  7. In light of my own observations and the comments from Sidney and reallyaccessiblememory.com, I have to ask . . . is it fountain pen sacrilege to grind this nib down to something I'd be more likely to use?

  8. That's a very nice looking pen. Congrats on getting it! Too bad I don't have any relatives like that.

  9. Go for the nib regrind! The pen isn't in mint condition, and its not some pristine work of art, in any case. It's a wonderful tool, and there's nothing wrong with customizing a tool to increase its usefulness. What a great Christmas gift!

  10. No, it isn't sacreligous to have a nib reground to your preference. If this is a factory vintage OBB nib it may be of value to someone else. Otherwise, go ahead with it. When you send it off think about ink flow as well. That can be adjusted as well at the same time. Go ahead, have the 149 tweaked and adjusted to your hand. You'll find out why Montblanc pens are more than eye candy.