An Interview with Poul Lund
Poul Lund is co-author, with Claus Holten, of one of the most definitive books on Montblanc vintage pens - Montblanc in Denmark 1914-1992: The Untold Story. The quality of pictures, neat presentation, and detailed history make this book one of my favourites. I highly recommend adding it to your collection -->www.montblanc-in-denmark.com
There are many design distinctions between Danish MBs and the German production. Personally, to you, what are some of the most important distinctions?
Following the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the economic depression in the early 1930s the Danish government introduced import restrictions in 1932 to further Danish employment and economy. The Danish Montblanc distributor Alfred Th. Øberg could no longer import sufficient pens from Germany to meet market demand. To make up for this Øberg was permitted by Montblanc in Hamburg to produce pens in Denmark under the Montblanc brand. The condition from Hamburg was that the pen models produced in Denmark should be different from the pens made in Germany. Other Danish pen companies like Christian Olsen (Parker) and Benzon Trading Co. (Wahl Eversharp) suffered from the same import restrictions as the Montblanc distributor and started simultaneously own production of pens and pencils but under different brand names like Penol and Big Ben.
From around 1933 until the mid-1950s more than 10 different Montblanc pen model were produced in Denmark, each model in different size and colour. Add to this more than 30 different mechanical pencils, some dedicated companions to the pens. Some of the models were produced in DK only, some other also in Germany with near identical design. Special for Demark were the pen models:
25 high top
25 short top
202, 204, 206, 212, 214, 216 series
221 button-filler high top
Button filler no 4 flat top in brown marbled celluloid
The Masterpiece 20, 25, 30, 40 taper cap produced in Denmark, were made in Germany with straight caps for the foreign market and marked MASTERPIECE. Pens in similar design were produced in Germany for the German market and marked Meisterstück. The 220/ 240-serie were special for DK but were also sold in other markets like Germany and Switzerland. Piston mechanisms for the 240 serie came from Germany. The Danish model 275 was a push button filler. In Germany the models 642 and 644 looks near identical but are pistonfillers. Danish production pens are different from the German production concerning design, celluloid and colors, imprint, section, feeds and nibs. All Danish production have slip section, whereas German Masterpiece and Meisterstück often have threaded sections. Many of the Danish pencils were made in Galalith, a material poor in quality compared to hardrubber and celluloid. The red pens were special for DK, not only Montblanc, but also Parker/Penol, Wahl Eversharp etc. made red pens for the Danish market - In Germany black pens were preferred. Burgundy and black and pearl Montblancs are mainly found in
France, striped and chevroned celluloid Montblancs in Spain.
If you were only allowed to keep three pens from your entire collection, which would they be, and why?
Right now my answer would be - ’The Simplo Pen' eyedropper no. 7 (c 1909), Rouge et Noir 5 St safety (c 1916) and Elmo 77 RHR safety (c 1925). Sometime in the future I might come up with a different answer - preferences and focus changes over time. The three pens are special to me because they were all invented by August Eberstein, the founder of Simplo Filler Pen Co. Though not appropriately recognised his inventions and pen construction had a great influence for two decades on the design of the pens of other pen companies.
'From all the beautiful Danish models, which three pens are your favorite?
My three favourite Danish production MB’s are - MB 6 bandless straight cap BHR, MB 4 streamline flat top brown marbled button-filler and MB 25 high top green marbled push-knob filler. The first one is a favourite due to the clean, simple no-nonsense elegant look, the second has an unusual and beautiful colour and a matching pencil, and the third an elegant art-deco faceted pen also with a matching pencil. The MB 25 high-top is similar in design to Matador 860/962.
No. 4 Flat top fountain pen and No. 30 1/2 pencil in brown marbled colour
No. 6 bandless in BHR
No. 25 high top fountain pen and No. 17 pencil in green marbled colour
During the time that MBs were manufactured in Denmark in the 1930-60s, there were many other prominent pen brands in the market with rather impressive designs. What made MB special or gave it an edge in the market - if at all?
After the ending of WWI little by little four pen brands became dominant in the Danish market. Parker/Penol (Chr. Olsen), Montblanc (Alfred TH. Øberg), Wahl Eversharp/Big Ben (Benzon Trading Co.) and Orion, London, Miller, Hoover (Johs. Iversen). These four pen companies became so strong, that major pen brands well represented in other countries did only succeed to get a minor market share. Pen brands almost totally absent were among other L.E. Waterman, Sheaffer, Pelikan, Soennecken, Kaweco, British, Italian and French brands. What distinguishes Montblanc pens and pencils from other brands is the excellent built quality, the great variety in filling systems and variety in forms and colours. Few other pen brands can match this. However, collectors of other brands like Waterman, Parker, Wahl Eversharp, Pelikan, Aurora, Omas would answer differently.
No. 25 short top in green marbled colour
No. 40 in coral red colour
What tips would you give collectors trying to add some Danish MBs to their collection?
First of all have patience, patience and more patience. The pen you wish for will come to you if it is written in the stars. It will come to you when you least expect it, maybe tomorrow maybe in ten years, maybe never. First and foremost Danish produced Montblanc pens can be found in Denmark. Some would think they are lying around in the streets and common to find, but actually, they are scarce and hard to find. The following tips on how to try to find Danish Montblancs are in a non-priority order as follows:
- Go to European pen shows primarily in Germany and meet other collectors, some of them will bring Danish Montblancs.
- Contact Danish collectors; there are few.
- Consult www.montblanc-in-denmark.com - occasionally pens will be offered on the site.
- Search the social internet communities like faceb…, and FPN The Fountain pen Network.
- Search eBay and other online auction sites.
An excellent and near complete collection of Danish Montblanc pens would be not too hard and affordable to establish over a few years, depending of course of the effort. Only a few models are very rare, hard to find like MB 4 brown marbled flat top, MB 25 high top, MB 25 short top platinum, MB coral 40 Danish production, taper cap.