Black Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
It seems to us, at Choosing Keeping, obvious that the fountain pen market is dominated today by German manufacturers. Aside for a general national respect and enthusiasm for industry - indeed Germany is the second largest exporter of goods after China - singularity of vision and commitment to quality have endowed German pen makers with solid, long lasting businesses. Lamy, Pelikan, Kaweco, Montblanc are all German owned and made household names, while the Parkers, Conway Stewarts and Watermans of this world have been victims of many mergers and acquisitions, and are today either dead or have one foot in the grave...
One German company which deserves particular attention for its unique point of view is Lamy GmbH. Much like Braun and Olivetti, post-war companies interested with ideas of modernity, Lamy broke with the past by creating mass-manufactured quality writing tools with a design focused approach.
The company was founded by Josef Lamy in 1930. Prior to starting his own business, Josef Lamy had in fact been working as a sales rep for Parker. This influence can be found in Lamy's early pens, which used the same filling system as Parker, and whose conservative designs were loosely based on the classic 1921 Duofold.
Where he, and his son Dr. Manfred Lamy, did innovate radically is by using moulded plastics - as opposed to hand-turned acrylics and celluloids. This functional and democratic material remains at the core of their business to this day. Indeed, from the 1960s onwards Lamy really hit its stride producing pens in complete opposition to what was being made in the industry. The most successful Lamy pens were those born from collaborations with clever designers, for whom Bauhaus values were given full importance.
Of all Lamy designs, in our opinion, the pen that most exemplifies the above story of innovation, courage to be different, and function over form - is the Lamy Safari launched in 1980.
As a pen made for high-schoolers (used by every single German 10-15 year old), it is extremely durable and well balanced for easy and comfortable writing. Now in its 4th decade, it has become a true design classic and has excellent street cred amongst creatives, for whom there is only one acceptable Bauhaus colour: Yellow.
If you must, matte black is an acceptable alternative...
Body material: high quality scratch-free ABS plastic with sturdy metal clip
Nib size: Medium*
Nib material: Stainless steel chrome-plated nib
Cap type: Click cap
Refill type: Takes Lamy cartridges or refillable converter cartridge, available here
Dimensions: open 13cm, closed 14cm
Included: one blue washable ink cartridge
Sold with a medium nib; spare nibs and different nib sizes for the Lamy Safari can be found here.
Tip: When flying - travel on a full or empty cartridge to avoid leakages.