No. 146 G

If I had to give everything away and could keep only one pen in my entire collection, then this black 146G would be that one pen! What a wonderfully expressive OB nib it has! 

The celluloid 146 was made between 1949-59. The longer-than-typical ink window and ski slope feed on my pen indicate that it is one of the earliest productions. Old catalogues position the 146 as the "pen for men in responsible positions".

The celluloid 146 also came in two mesmerising colours - green striated and grey striated. At the time, coloured pens sold for the same price as black, but today there is a serious premium on the green and grey!

There is some disagreement as to what the 'G' in the model signifies. Some believe it means 'glatte' or glossy finish, based on its use in older 129 models that had a chased or guilloched variant available too. But, this theory does not make sense for the celluloid 146 because there was only a glossy finish available. Some believe it means 'goldfeder' for gold nibs in post-war pens (because they used steel during the wartime instead). 

Changing ink window over time, 1930s (left) to modern (right)

Beautiful samples of the green striated and variations of the black 146G

Pens and pictures belong to Michael R. (flickr)

Production of the 146 was suspended during the 1960s for one decade. When production resumed in the 1970s, the celluloid was sadly switched for resin! The 146 design changed slowly over time...

To begin with, the ink window shrunk and changed in material. The drawings here show the transition in ink windows from a 1950s celluloid 146 (left) with the medium window like mine, to the celluloid short window, then to the resin of the 1970s and 1980s, and finally the modern 146 (right).

Another key difference between the celluloid 146 and its modern counterpart is the cap top star. The old 146 had a celluloid star (right in pic) which ages into a beautiful ivory colour in comparison to the stark white modern MB star (left in pic).

The nibs on the 146 have changed over time too. Earlier nibs were two-toned 14c and known to have flex (left in pic). Then, in the 1970s-80s, the resin body sported a soft monotone nib (middle in pic) . Finally, the modern 146 presents a rigid two-tone nib (right in pic).

Also, the 146 has grown longer over time. From left to right in the picture, we have the 1949 model, a late 1970s model, and a modern 147. The 147 is a cartridge filler, and it needed to make space for the two cartridges it houses. Hence, it needed to be longer than the standard 146. But, since the 147 was essentially designed as a 146 with a cartridge system - a "traveller" version of the 146 - MB required both pens to have identical dimensions. This led them to increase the size of the 146 to match the 147.

Changing ink window over time, 1930s (left) to modern (right)

Finally, the celluloid 146 was first fitted with the innovative telescopic piston which promised double the capacity of ink because of its two-stage system that collapses into itself (as shown in the picture). Only the top tier 13x, 14x, and 24x pens had the telescopic mechanism. But the complexity of this mechanism proved unfeasible for continued production. Hence, in the 1960s, the 146 pistons took the design of the more reliable modern fillers.

The 146 has endured the test of time because it is still one of the most popular Montblanc pens available and it has remained largely unchanged in design.

The workings of a telescopic piston on a modified No. 232

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