Ever since the Montblanc Heritage 1912 I acquired sparked my interest in Safety Filler’s, it was only a matter of time before I dabbled in the real thing. That’s right, yours truly has purchased my very own antique safety filler; a Montblanc 202 from the 30’s (1938 to be precise) with a quite rare Palladium nib! The pen in question is an excellent example from the good folks at the penboard.de webpage.
As always, living on the other side of the world means most pen purchases are ‘sight unseen’ so I am definitely running a risk that I may not really enjoy the pen that much. Here’s hoping it is indeed love at first sight as it was with the rather limited pictures borrowed from the penboard.de site (posted below).
Whilst I wait for the pen, maybe I can get a few more ‘converts’ on board with the safety filler sickness.
A little bit on the pen in question, it is a 202 safety filler fountain pen, a second tier ‘ladies’ pen in terms of the safety filler scale. As I understand it, Montblanc use to designate simple model numbers to their pens back in the day (rather a lot easier really than ‘Heritage Rouge et Noir Special Edition Coral Red’ as an example) with ‘1’ series being the creme de la creme Meisterstuck range, the ‘2’ series being mid range, and ‘3’ series being the budget models. The 2 at the end of the 202 indicates the nib size with the higher the number, the larger the nib size. Being a number 2 size nib, it is not really that big compared to the 9 size nibs which are gigantic. There were many variations to the model numbers over the years which I won’t get into but it seems pretty straight forward of Montblanc to name their range that way (or Simplo back in the day). How very…German of them.
Despite being a middle of the road and small model, these vintage safety pens are in demand with this one setting me back many hundred Euro. For reference, some of the more desirable and bigger safety fillers go for thousands of Euro…madness!
What really drew me to this particular example was the really interesting oblique fine palladium nib. You see, back in 1938 there were a couple of things happening in the world other than fountain pens (stay with me here), namely the start of WW2. As such, Germany needed all the gold it could find for war time manufacturing and so it was forbidden to use gold for silly things like springy fountain pen nibs. It seems this only occurred in 1938 for some reason, perhaps by luck. Whatever the case, it makes the palladium nibs on all vintage Montblanc’s more desirable than their solid gold counterparts. Points to me.
For those in the dark about safety fillers, they are a terribly impractical method of filling a fountain pen in this modern day of cartridge converters. It works something like this:
- Uncap the pen
- Ensure the nib is retracted (the knob at the back operates that mechanism)
- Use and eyedropper to drop ink into the hole at the front of the pen where the nib rests (yes, seriously)
- Turn the knob on the rear to extend the nib
- The (ink stained) nib will then appear and a cork (as in wine bottle) will seal the section against the front of the nib. Yes seriously.
And then when you have doodled enough and written ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ a few times;
- Turn the knob at the back of the pen to retract the inky nib
- Place the cap on the pen and you are done!
Yes, I know what you are thinking, but what about the now gaping hole at the front of the section?! Well never fear, because the lovely hard rubber cap not only looks pretty but acts as a seal. That means the ink is sloshing around all over the nib…I suppose priming and hard starts won’t be an issue then.
There, foolproof! What could possibly go wrong?
Seriously though, this was somewhat of an innovation in it’s day and it meant that this was a very popular pen. For me in 2016 however, the threat of leakage is too real to make this a pen that will ever leave the desk. No matter, I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on it as I play the international postage waiting game once more.
So, in conclusion, it appears I have fallen down that rather deep and hideously expensive hole of vintage Montblanc pens…lord have mercy!
Got a knack for or disturbing attraction to safety fillers? Share your thoughts and comments below. Go on then, don’t be shy!