Rotkäppchen No. 1

This pen is from the personal collection of Marcwithac - a generous contributor on FPN and vintage pen collector with exceptional taste!

"Rotkäppchen" literally translates to "Red Riding Hood", and the story behind this unusual brand name is rather interesting!

 

It all began with the first line of pens developed by Simplo Filler Pen Co. in 1908 branded "Rouge et Noir" (ReN). This was before the line of pens branded "Montblanc" was released by the company in 1914. The company chose the French-sounding name of ReN to make it an aspirational product to its European clients. I am assuming that French culture was perceived as sophisticated and elite. But, once World War I started, Germany's hostility towards France did not allow the sale of products affiliated with the country. So, the Rouge et Noir was rebranded to Rotkäppchen or 'Red Riding Hood' for a brief period of time! The ReN was still sold under its original name, but only in Italy and other markets till 1923. Over time the red star turned to a white one. 

I estimate this particular Rotkappchen No. 1 pen to have been produced in c. 1915 because it has the Montblanc star on its cap top which was only introduced in 1914, and we know that this pen brand was made after WWI started in 1914.

I believe this Rotkäppchen is an exceptionally rare pen, probably amongst the rarest MB models one might find. I haven't even seen pictures of it in popular MB-related books. 

The safety filler is an interesting mechanism and was quite innovative for its time. Turning the knob at the bottom of the barrel forces the inner shaft holding the feed and nib to extend and expose the nib from the section of the barrel. See pic of a No. 2 safety filler for demonstration - top image is before extending the nib (it will be hidden in the barrel in this position), and the bottom image shows the nib extended.

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The Rotkäppchen No. 1 is a safety filler. These pens have a pin inside the cap which ensures that if the user forgets to screw back the nib into the barrel before capping the pen then it will push the nib in first - preventing any damage that might otherwise have been caused to it by being pushed against the inner top of the cap. This function is explained in an old 1930s catalogue - see pic.

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