Lamy Pens was founded in Heidelberg, Germany in 1930 by Josef Lamy. Lamy, who previously worked as a sales representative for Parker Pen, embarked on a business model that has made Lamy Pens a world leader in pen manufacturing.
How did he do it?
Lamy decided that providing a pen with superior and lasting functionality was of the utmost importance. His pens are not showy. They are not the jewelry or display pieces that one might expect when purchasing other luxury pen brands. However, Lamy takes great pride in producing high-quality pens at affordable prices that are elegant and practical at the same time.
Lamy began producing pens from synthetic plastics even though most pens in the early 1900s were wood or metal. These pens were lightweight, durable, and accessible to the masses.
Fifty years later, in the 1980s, Lamy Pens introduced their Safari line. Since many European countries use fountain pens to teach students to write, these pens fill a unique need for high-quality pens that can stand up to the daily use and abuse of school children.
What makes the Lamy Safari unique?
Lamy makes multiple types of fountain pens, rollerball pens, ballpoint pens, and even mechanical pencils. Each line is unique and distinctive. The Safari line has a few distinguishing characteristics that make it a universally good fit for beginners and experts alike and one of the top-selling pens worldwide.
One defining characteristic of the Safari collection is its ergonomic triangular grip. If you ever had a three-sided pencil grip in elementary school, you can imagine what Lamy has created in providing grooves near the tip of these pens for proper finger placement. These soft touch grooves offer comfort and stability for your fingers, allowing you to write effortlessly.
While these finger grooves are present on all the Safari writing implements, they are most pronounced on the fountain pens. Because nib angle and placement are so crucial to writing with a fountain pen, this grip makes Safari pens an ideal tool for those just learning to hold and write with a fountain pen. Many seasoned writers also find the grip surprisingly comfortable.
Since its inception in the 1930s, Lamy has clung to inexpensive yet durable materials for its pen shafts. Any material that can't handle a few bumps and dings doesn't make the cut. For Safari pens, this means using ABS plastic. You are probably familiar with this material as it is the same plastic used in many computer keyboards and in the popular LEGO building blocks, which are nearly indestructible. If you have even stepped on one, you know how hard they are. This plastic is highly impact resistant and rarely chips or breaks.
The AL-Star and Lx pens feature anodized aluminum shafts. Although aluminum is a soft, lightweight metal, it is still very durable when anodized. This process hardens the outer layer, giving it a beautiful finish that will not rub or chip away with use.
Every Lamy Safari pen has a metal clip that allows users to secure them inside a pen case, onto a shirt pocket, or the cover of a notebook. This simple, sleek metal clip is once again useful and stylish at the same time. The clip's color varies with the color of the pen and may be a contrasting or coordinating color.
As rollerball and fountain pens both have caps to prevent the pen from drying out when not in use, their clips are on the cap. Ballpoint and mechanical pencils, however, are retractable. In these cases, the clip is on the shaft itself.
Near the tip of each Lamy fountain pen is a viewing window, giving you a peek inside at the ink level. No more taking your pen apart to figure out how much ink is left. Lamy gives you an easy way to know when it is time for a refill.
Are Lamy Safari pens collectible?
Over the past decade, Lamy has produced several special edition pens that are unique. These pens feature the same nibs, shafts, and other quality Lamy parts. However, they come in rare colors.
In 2020, Lamy introduced their Safari Candy pens in mango, violet, and aquamarine. While some pen enthusiasts complained that these colors were too similar to previously-released pens, a discerning eye can clearly see the difference in a side-by-side comparison. Lamy also produced mango-colored ink in bottles and cartridges to match the mango pen.
The special edition Safari pens for 2021 include Terra Red and Savannah Green colors. These two colors are rich and deep. They are great on their own but also look stunning side-by-side. In the AL-Star collection, Lamy added Azure and Cosmic. These lighter colors may appeal to your softer side. Azure's steely blue and Cosmic's rose gold appearance are something you must see for yourself to appreciate.
In the early 1900s, Josef Lamy set out to make quality pens for children and workers in all classes of society. What he started nearly 90 years ago has grown into one of the best-selling fine writing instrument brands. Because Safari pens are both inexpensive and sturdy, they are a great place to start exploring fountain pens, calligraphy, or pen collecting. You can customize your pen with various nibs (including a left-handed one), choose your own ink, and see where your imagination takes you.