Rouge et Noir No. 1

This Rouge et Noir (ReN) pen was made around c. 1914. We can say this because of the horizontal external threads we see on the cap top and barrel bottom. These are found on earlier models, while later models have vertical grooves on the cap crown. The ReN name was an attempt to brand the pen as an aspirational product since French culture was very much in vogue at the time. But, Germany was not too happy with France post World War I and so the model's name was changed in around 1921 - it was now marketed in Germany as “rotkappchen” or Little Red Riding Hood. However, Germany continued to produce the ReT under its original name for export to Italy till 1923. Over time the red star turned to a white one. 

 This ReN is a small pen, with a small size 1 nib that has the “Simplo” imprint on it since that was the company's name before it became "Montblanc". You can read a review on the gigantic brother of this pen - the No. 12 ReN here --> link.


The nib on my pen lays a wet fine line and has some flex. Look at that pretty heart-shaped vent hole! Old catalogues explained the benefits of the technology behind the hard rubber safety pens... "it is sealed to the utmost safety during use and non-use; the nib is always surrounded by ink, and hence immediately ready to write". Another catalogue says that "because of the hermetic seal" it is impossible for the pen to leak or dry up. Yet another catalogue from the '30s explains that "the material has been proven in the tropics for decades; it does not leak or sweat even with rough temperature fluctuations".

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.

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 - 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.

For bibliography, see Resources page -->link

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