No. L 40 Push knob Filler
This pen is from the personal collection of Joudenali. Watch out for reviews of truly rare pens from his treasure chest!
This particular pen is very rare and does not feature in any catalogues or books!
In 1924, Montblanc introduced the "Meisterstück" series which was intended to be the company's top-of-the-line offering. The initial models were safety fillers and lever fillers, and then in the early 1930s the push-knob filler variant was introduced. These pens were numbered based on their price. So, the No. 35 meant that it cost 35 Reichsmark (RM) which was the currency in Germany at the time. Similarly, the No. 40 cost RM 40. The nibs of the No. 20, 25, 35, and 45 were inscribed with the number inside the outline of the MB (just like you see in the picture here). But, what if over time the price of the No. 35 needed to increase? Well, logically, one would expect the smaller pen to sell at a higher price, which means the model name would need to change to reflect the price. This is precisely what is suspected of the pen here - it has a 35 nib, is of the 35 pen size, but has the imprint of 'L 40' on the barrel. It is believed that the increase in price might have been for sale in the Swiss market. This was done with other models too that were sold in France, Switzerland and Austria. For example, the pen model No. 27.5 was originally a No. 25 and the No. 32.5 was originally a No. 30.
The body and cap of these Mesisterstück pens are believed to be made of celluloid, but one particular advertisement from the late 1920s showing this series of pens in its lever variant asserts that "In keeping with our tradition of quality, we do not make pens made from cheap celluloid material that is flammable; our material is absolutely breakage and fireproof". Now, I don't know if this means that the material itself is not celluloid (maybe casein) or if the advertisement simply implied that the quality of celluloid used by Montblanc was superior.
This pen has the classic teardrop clip that was made for only a few years in the early 1930s, but it does not have the "Montblanc" inscription that common teardrop clips of the time had. This might be because the French market did not appreciate imprints on the pens. This is also why the barrel of this pen does not have the typical imprint that the Meisterstück series had.
Notice that this pen has "Chef D'œuvre" and not "Meisterstück" imprinted on its cap. This means it was made for export to the French market. Similarly, pens from this series that were made for Italy were imprinted with "Capolavoro", and those made for the English speaking market said "Masterpiece". They all mean the same thing.
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