C Joseph Lamy started making fountain Pens in 1930 under the Orthos and Artus brands after working as an export clerk for the Parker Pen Company. It wasn’t until 1948 that the company became known as Lamy, only a few years before the iconic Tintomatic piston filling Lamy 27 was introduced; which, with its’ distinctive, Parker 51 style became a best seller. It was produced in a variety of styles from the cheaper all plastic models to the more expensive ones with rolled gold caps and like many pens of the day appeared to take its styling cues from the Parker 51 with the semi hooded nib. It was the first of their pens to compete in the price territory of Pelican and Mont Blanc, previously they had produced cheaper lower grade pens. Although its’ style wasn’t unusual, the Tintomatic feed system was quite unique in that it made the ink flow insensitive to temperature changes, still a problem with Fountain Pens of the day and it could also cope with changes in air pressure which was becoming ever more important with the increase in air travel. Other practical benefits being easily changed nibs; reduced drying of the ink in the nib because of the semi hooded design, solid build quality and enhanced ink storage capacity. The Lamy 27 continued in production until 1964 when the revolutionary Lamy 2000 Pen was introduced, the first product of the new design era. This was the brainchild of Dr Manfred Lamy, who, having just taken over leadership of the company from his father, selected Gerd Muller, one of the leading advocates of the Bauhaus movement to spearhead their new styles. Dr Manfred had a clear vision for the company and the start of a new design era, the introduction of the Lamy 2000 Pen being its’ first statement of intention. The inherent quality of its design and build quality was proven by its incredible staying power, being manufactured for over 40 years.
Nowhere can the values of the brand of a company be more clearly stated than in its’ own buildings architecture. The black glass cube at the Lamy Development Centre is a fine example of this and demonstrates the close relationship with fine art that the Company has developed over the years.
The new Fountain Pen, the Lamy 2000, was quickly followed by a ball point and mechanical pencil to build on its’ success. A number of other pens followed such as the 81 and 99, but the most well- known was the Lamy Safari Pen brought out in 1980 and aimed firmly at the younger market. Again, the Lamy Safari is a revolutionary design and a supremely practical pen, quite outside the square. They have brilliant nibs, comfortable shaped gripping sections and clips of real strength. The nib is ideal for developing writing, smooth but not too slippery, with just sufficient grip to enable proper letter and word formation. It is excellent value and could be argued that it is the cheapest pen on the market that is actually good. More recently another important model has been introduced, the Limy Studio, this is a high quality pen. I recently bought one and am mightily impressed. The Lamy Studio is quite a heavy Fountain Pen at over 30gms but beautifully balanced and the same stainless steel nib as in the Safari is a joy to use. Quite long as well, 165mm posted, 140mm capped. The pen, fitted with a converter, also has a very stylish, strong and practical clip. Mine is fitted with a broad nib, for which I have a preference and it puts down a good line, a little wet as would be expected. This stainless steel nib is superbly smooth but with good feedback and doesn’t skip or miss. I think that the Lamy Studio Fountain Pen is my favourite pen at the moment. However, I’ve read a lot of good reports about the Lamy 2000, so maybe that’s next. For more reviews visit: http://www.penclassics.com.