The Power of a Pen
“The pen is mightier than the sword”.
This quote, first coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his 1839 play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy, has remained in the human psyche as proof that written words are the most powerful tools for change and creation.
Cue Montblanc – the luxury brand specializing in writing instruments, timepieces, and leather. In Vancouver, they are tucked away at 717 Burrard Street. The brand was born in 1906 by Hamburg banker, Alfred Nehemias, and a Berlin engineer, August Eberstein, who recognized the signs of the time and decided to produce pens. In 1924, the "Montblanc Meisterstück" (German for masterpiece) fountain pen was launched. Since that moment, Montblanc fountain pens have been used by politicians, royalty, artists, and philanthropists to help form incredible thoughts, make commitments for their country, or just to say hello.
As Montblanc has its roots in writing culture, it sees a particular obligation to its own cultural commitment. Many of their limited edition fountain pen collections are named after writers such as Thomas Mann, Virginia Woolf, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They also have a Great Characters series featuring great thinkers such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Alfred Hitchcock. My personal favorite is their Muses series, naming pens after beauties such as Princesse Grace de Monaco, Ingrid Bergman, and Greta Garbo.
Since 1992, The Montblanc Cultural Foundation initiates and supports worldwide projects in terms of patronage of art, contemporary arts, young theatre and classical music. The Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award is the only prize worldwide that is awarded to individuals who devote their own time and their private assets to preserving and supporting culture. They have even integrated arts and culture into their own corporation through the Montblanc Cutting Edge Art Collection.
And while Montblanc is known for luxury (in 1994 Montblanc created the most expensive fountain pen in the world, painstakingly set by hand with 4,810 diamonds), it’s also made education a priority. In 2004, Montblanc joins forces with UNICEF for the first time to launch "Sign Up for the Right to Write", a campaign to promote quality education for the world's children. During the initiative a limited edition of 4810 pens and 149 celebrity statements were sold to raise 700,000 USD. In 2009, Montblanc and UNICEF unveil the Meisterstück "Signature for Good" initiative working together to fight illiteracy around the world. The project raises $4.3 million USD.
Montblanc is invested in providing magnificent writing instruments fit for politicians, royalty, artists, and philanthropists, but are also invested in empowering voices to be heard. And in the end, that's what a beautiful pen is - a voice.