Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Montblanc

Rhapsody in Blue — a composition I used to wake myself up for years. As if understanding how hard it is to start a day, it starts with a slow and random clarinet melodies. But then it raises to an orchestra with dynamic harmonies to absorb the spirit with no stop to our soul. And that is how life used to begin for years.

Its composer, George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937), was an American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Besides Rhapsody in Blue, his best-known works are an orchestral work An American in Paris (1928), the jazz standard I Got Rhythm (1930), and the opera Porgy and Bess (1935) which gave birth to the hit Summertime.

Montblanc has an annual tradition to launch donation pen collection for honouring world-famous classical musicians. This program supports selected cultural projects from pioneering artists the world over with a donation of 20 euros per fountain pen (and 10 euros per ballpoint or rollerball). The edition of 2019 paid the tribute to George Gershwin.

The design of Gershwin fountain pen is quite distinctive — easily recognised. The clip is in the shape of a clarinet — a tribute to the clarinet opening from Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Another tribute to Rhapsody in Blue is the ink window which features a blue colour. The cap ring is inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge to symbolise the close relationship George Gershwin had with his place of birth. The cap and barrel are made out of black resin combined with platinum-coated fittings. The length of the pen with the cap is 15.6 cm, and the total weight is 89.84 grams.

Parker Duofold

This year the world commemorate 75 years of the end of the World War II. After the surrender of the German on June, Japan decided to surrender on August, due to the continuous defeat at the Pacific theatre, the dropping of two atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but especially by the declaration of war and attacks from Russia. Like Germany, Japan chose to surrender to the US rather than being occupied by Russia. Hey, those mad Russians had even murdered their own Tsar on World War I and almost all of their own heroes just before the World War II..

Now, please forget those clumsy Russias with their bad fountain pens (at that time), and focus to the US. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur were US Generals with quite different personalities, but — being American patriots — they both used the same brand of pen for the surrender documents 75 years ago. Eisenhower had chosen Parker 51, but MacArthur preferred to use Parker Duofold. Eisenhower’s Parker 51 was used to sign the German Instrument of Surrender in Reims (07 May 1945). MacArthur used a Parker Duofold to sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri (02 September 1945). Both were two of the most popular pens of their time. But the Duofold was a design that was 20 years older than the 51.

Parker started producing Duofold in 1921. It was a large pen compared with other pens at the time. Almost all other pens at the time were black, but Duofold was available in a bright red/orange color. Even at the USS Missouri, there were multiple pens used to sign the multiple copies of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender — all were standard black pens, except that one Duofold.

The Duofold design is based on the era of Jazz and Art Deco and reflects the abundance and style of the time. It is actually a collection of writing instruments with exceptional character and outstanding design. The Duofold pen is available in 3 sizes, the large Centennial, classical International, or the smaller Demi. The one displayed here is a Parker Duofold Centennial, launched to celebrate 100 years of Parker pens, i.e. in 1988. Crafted from solid acrylic with highly distinguished, contrasting contrasting platinum details. The pen has an 18 kt gold nib in F sizes.

Some dimensions info:
Weight 28 gram
Length closed 135mm
Length barrel 127mm
Length posted 172mm
Diameter 13mm

Now I need to know — besides the usual arrow design of Parker pens — the story behind the ace of spade symbols on both the nib and the cap of this great pen.

Franz Kafka — Montblanc

Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was a Bohemian author, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work fuses elements of realism and the fantastic. It typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers. It has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle).

In 2004, Montblanc has launched a special edition for Franz Kafka. The design of the fountain pen of this series is not only reminiscent of the simple and yet artful style of its eponym, but also pays tribute to Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. In the fascinating change from square to round in the writing instrument’s form, the metamorphosis described in Kafka’s story has found its equivalent.

Top, clip and rings made of 925 sterling silver offer a thrilling contrast to the dark red translucent aura of the barrel. A further reference to The Metamorphosis is on the rhodium-plated 18-karat gold nib: a finely engraved cockroach.

Die ungeheure Welt, die ich im Kopfe habe. Aber wie mich befreien und sie befreien, ohne zu zerreißen. Und tausendmal lieber zerreißen, als in mir sie zurückhalten oder begraben. Dazu bin ich ja hier, das ist mir ganz klar

Franz Kafka 21-06-1913