With the scaling back of the pen hoard, some sixteen 27 pens have been re-homed. In their wake, 3 new pens have found their way into the the collection.
One of these pens, made in 1951, is the Montblanc 342g. The pen is also referred to as the 3-42g. (In fact, on the piston knob on my pen the imprint is listed with this dash.) The 342 is a “popular price pen for those who want a genuine but inexpensive Montblanc.” (Source: Montblanc 1950 leaflet.) Today these pens can be found for $80-$200 or more.
Reason this pen was brought into the fountain pen herd: It’s a basic black piston-filling pen with a vintage nib. The Ragtime Black has its flair and poise yet the steel nib is quite uninspiring to use over long writing sessions. Vintage nibs… ah, vintage nibs! They are sweet to use.
I wanted to try a vintage Montblanc and the 342g seemed like a good entry level pen. The 1951 model was chosen because of the simple outline of Montblanc’s star imprinted on top of the cap. Additionally, the blue ink window gives the pen a bit of dignified color.
Later models have the white MB star instead of the outline. A 342 with a manifold nib has a blue cap with white star. Some 342s have steel nibs. There is even a glass nibbed 342. The 342 is an acrylic pen. Other variations of the 342 include body color: black, burgundy, blue, grey, green. Ink windows may be blue, amber or clear depending on the variation. (Source: FountainPen. de)
The surprise of the pen was its nib. While expecting the nib to to be flexible and smooth, I did not expect the nib to have a bit of an upturned nose. I noticed the KF imprint on the piston knob and soon discovered the KF stood for “Kugel Fine” nib. Kugel nibs were/are ball-point nibs with some flexibility. Both Montblanc and Pelikan had KF nibs (or larger) at one time in their histories.
Along with its wonderful ink capacity, the 342g is small and lightweight. Slightly smaller in length and width than a vintage Pelikan 400, the 342 fits my small hand perfectly. Capped the pen is 4 7/8″ long. Uncapped the length from nib to barrel end is 4 1/2″ long. Posted (for you nutty posters) the pen is 5 5/8″ long. Prior to inking the capped pen weighed 14gr—with ink 16gr.
Upon first inking, the pen would not write! Nib to paper left not a trace of ink. Before contacting my trusted pen dealer who sent me the pen, I decided to soak the nib overnight. I knew the pen had been dormant for at least a year, if not longer. A pal of mine says that ebonite feeds—when the pen has been sitting unused—sometimes need an overnight soaking before they are ready to hold ink. Sure enough, the pen has been writing beautifully since that initial soaking. (The nib was soaked in Rapido-Eze for an hour, then I inked it and laid the pen on its side overnight. There is no science to that formula; merely what I did.) (Update: my trusted pen dealer says that dipping the pen in ink should have been enough to saturate the feed. He suggested perhaps there was an air pocket that needed to work its way out. So there you go.)
In one form or another, Montblanc has been making pen for over 100 years.
More photos can be found in the slideshow below.
A Small Reading List on the Montblanc 342g
My original review of the MB 342g is on FPN.
- Conner, Rick, Montblanc 342
- Lady Dandelion, Montblanc 344 – vintage is the way to go, Apr 23, 2010
- Montblanc Collectors site (Fountain Pen.de) has great information on the various 342 models:
Discussion about Kugel nibs:
- Lion and Pen, The First Ball-Pointed Pen, June 26, 2007
- Richard Binder’s Pen Glossary, “ball point”
- Fountain Pen Network, MB 149 Kugel BBB Nib on Ebay, Dec 28, 2009. Read through thread for information about kugel nibs.
- Fountain Pen Network, Montblanc 3-42G with KOB Nib, Jan 25, 2010
- Fountain Pen Network, MB Nib Catalogue, Dec 17, 2009
General Montblanc Resources:
- Fountain Pen Network’s Montblanc forum has a wealth of information. See the pinned topic, “Montblanc Reference Websites “
- Griffiths, Jim, Montblanc Model Overview
- Rosler, Jens The Montblanc Diary & Collector’s Guide, Hardcover 1998
- Rosler, Jens and Wallrafen, Stefan, Collectible Stars, Hardcover 2001
- Barbara and Tom Westerlich’s webite has a few Montblanc downloads.