Montblanc Streifenkunst - the Art of Striping...

a story for Pen Plus from 1997

Montblanc “Streifenkunst”  - The Art of “Striping.... “

A tiny black and brown fountain pen with some little golden trims. Its a Masterpiece Montblanc, made from 1935 onward.  124 S is imprinted at the barrel end. Lets translate these sucession of numbers and letters. First number signifies the class of pens. a 3XX would be a pen from third series, student quality. A 2xx would be a second class pen, a good quality pen with already better technique. Such a pen does also feature a better nib and an advanced filling system. Our pen however has a 1xx imprinted, which shows its a Meisterstück, a Masterpiece. This highest class of pens was first launched in 1924. Filling system once again is even better, and the nib is a twotone design and clip and trims state a certain luxury. 
Second digit defines the filling system. A 104 would be a safety filler. A 134 a pistonfiller. 
Our pen, model 124, features a push knob filling system. It has a  rubber bladder as ink reservoir. Technically similar to a Parker Dufold buttonfiller, but the Masterpiece features a blind cap fixed to the barrel. This “push knob” is being screwed out then pushed. A pressure bar inside is bent and the bladder compressed. When released, the bladder fills like an eyedropper. 
( I like the idea of defining pen sac filled pens as eyedropper filled pens with the bladder inserted into the barrel.... ) 
From the same period, say 1934 to 1939, you can find models 104, 124 and 134 - they all show the same design, but the 3 different filling systems. 
The last digit of the model no. defines nib size and correspondingly pen size as well. 122 is the smallest nib / pen size of this line, 129 is the biggest. There are 122, 124, 126, 128 and 129 pens. Earlier safety filler pens were named just by the nib size, ranging from 00 to 12 - from the size of a barley corn to the size of a teaspoon. 124 S is imprinted onto the pen out of the collection of Jo Thüring. (n.B. ist not there any more, sold long time ago)  
The letter S would normally signify a barley pattern guillochee. This one here now shows a most unusual wavy pattern. This most probably is a  unique pen. (Christof prooved it wrong now, in 2011 - there is a second one - and curious enough, both pens appeared in Switzerland) There are 2 other letters appearing on this model line - E - defines the most famous and most sought after ROSE PATTERN ebonite pen. (E = Extra = extra) 
See one here 
PL would be the Platinum Lined celluloid pen. 124PL
Yes, the letter G  - a 124 G would be a smooth surface (G = Glatt = smooth) ebonite pen. 
And the letter K  - but here the letter refers to size - its a shorter version (K = Kurz = short) 
But this letter is positioned in front of the digits - the pen is a K 124 
And there is the letter P - a black and pearl (P = Perl = pearl ) 
And there are L12X pens - (L = Luxus = Luxurious)
This one here is a regular 124 S with chased barley pattern. 
K124 Black and pearl
About this rare wavy pattern - we have asked several Montblanc gurus - they all had never seen or heard of such a pattern. 
The pen´s owner himself was most surprised to hear that the pen is that rare and promoted it to a better position in his cabinets full of Waterman pens. 
I wrote the story for Pen Plus in 1997 - this translation has been overhauled in 2011 with more pictures and more informations added. 
Tom Westerich