Rare Montblanc Architect's pen in original case, c.1925
Estimate: US$2,000 - US$3,000
Price realised: US$6,000
A rare and historically significant Montblanc architect's piston-filling fountain pen, black hard rubber with steel blades and brass wheel, in original airtight black hard rubber case with screw-cap, patented Jan. 8th, 1924. The pen bears the Montblanc star imprint and the legend: SIMPLO / ORIGINAL MONTBLANC / D.R.P 381782 383712 D.R.P. / PATD 1480303 U.S.A. 195394 BRIT. / FRANCE 563434 SPAIN 9767 ITALY / MADE IN GERMANY. The steel mount for the drawing blades is engraved with the Montblanc star. The case is in the form of a Montblanc pen with a Montblanc emblem on the barrel and white captop star. Pen measures 151mm, case measures 169mm. The case is in fine to very fine condition, imprint 85%, a few light scuffs, black hard rubber unevenly oxidized. The pen is very fine, with black hard rubber handle quite glossy and imprint very crisp, turning knob lightly oxidized, some rust specks to blades. An outstanding example of one of the rarest and most sought-after Montblanc artifacts. The piston-filler design was created by Montblanc's mechanically inclined managing director, Ernst Rösler. As an engineer he was familiar with the difficulty of inking lines with a traditional ruling pen, which required the blades to be inked frequently and necessitated constant clean-ups. According to The Pennant magazine, "Herr Rösler turned his considerable engineering talents to applying the fountain or reservoir principles to a blade style ruling pen." The pen draws ink through a hollow needle. Moving the piston causes ink to flow, filling the space between the two blades. The brass wheel adjusts the space between the blades determining the thickness of the lines. Unlike standard fountain pens, this instrument works with India ink, making it ideally suited for drafting. While there were at least two other similar devices created by other inventors, Mr. Rösler's design improved upon them in several important ways. Most notably, the piston filling mechanism was entirely internal to the pen, with no threaded shaft extending above the barrel, as was the case with rival models. It is highly probable that Mr. Rösler's experiments with piston filling systems led to the development of Montblanc's first piston-filler fountain pen, released a decade later in 1934, adding another layer of interest to this remarkable instrument. -Wallrafen, Stefan & Jens Rösler. Collectible Stars I: Montblanc 1908-1947 . [Cologne: 2014], p. 135: "In 1924 Ernst Rösler... applied for a patent of the 'Architect's pen.' It actually was a drawing pen with an added piston filling system.... The product was not advertised, it was a pure contract manufacturing for special MONTBLANC customers.... Today the 'Architect's pen' is one of the most desirable MONTBLANC products of this period. The value is 4000 to 7000 € depending on model and condition." -Gorstein, Fred & Michael Fultz. "Montblanc's Wonderful Architect's Pen." The Pennant , Vol. XIV, No. 3. Winter 2000, pp. 2-4. "The Montblanc Architect's or Fountain Ruling Pen is avidly sought by both fountain pen and drafting instrument collectors... The last reported sale at public auction... was at the Chicago Pen Auction in 1998. There a pen and companion case in generally excellent condition was sold for $2,400 plus buyer's premium, More recent private sales suggest that prices are rising."
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