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For other uses, see Lamy (disambiguation).
C. Josef Lamy GmbH
Industry Writing instruments
Founded 1930
Founder Josef Lamy
Headquarters Heidelberg, Germany
Key people
Bernhard M. Rösner (CEO)
Revenue 53.6 million (2011)[1]
Number of employees

Lamy /ˈlmɪ/ is a producer of writing instruments in Europe. The company is German-owned and its presence is particularly strong there. Josef Lamy, who was a sales representative for The Parker Pen Company in Germany, founded the business in 1930 by purchasing the Orthos pen manufacturer. Lamy was a pioneer in the use of moulded synthetic plastics to make their product. Lamy was run by Josef Lamy's son, Manfred Lamy, until his retirement in 2006. He was succeeded by Bernhard M. Rösner.[2]

Business history[edit]

The Lamy Development Centre in Heidelberg, Germany

External references dealing with Lamy's business history commence in 1984, where Lamy's export share increased to 33 percent of turnover. In 1986, Lamy, Montblanc, and Parker held between them 70–80 percent of the West German market, and export markets then consisted of the US, Japan, and Austria. Lamy then had hoped to expand that export share to 50 percent of turnover, which stood at approximately 40 million Deutschmark (DM) for 1985.[3] Turnover for Lamy increased to 48 million DM for 1987,[4] then employing 350 people, increasing to 54 million DM in 1988 and a corresponding increase in staff to nearly 400.

In 1989, turnover increased to approximately 62 million DM, and Lamy had begun taking on employees as sleeping partners. The result was approximately one third of the then 400 workforce becoming sleeping partners. In that year, Lamy established contacts with East Germany and planned to do business there as well as in West Germany.[5] 1991 held an increase in staff and turnover again, this time to 85 million DM and five hundred staff.[6] Lamy invested in their "innovation workshop" in Heidelberg, in 1996, along with approximate expected turnover being 113 million DM.[7] 1999 showed Lamy reporting stable turnover of approximately 120 million DM, though domestic demand has fallen.[8]

Product range[edit]

Like other writing instrument companies, each Lamy product has a descriptive and artistic name that evokes an idea related to the product; "Scribble", for example, is their mechanical pencil, which can take 3.15 mm graphite refills, the relatively large diameter pencil refill is useful for sketching.[9] The company refers to their products by prefixing "Lamy" in front of the descriptive name, such as "Lamy Scribble" (to avoid repetition, here only the descriptive name is used).

Fountain pens[edit]

Lamy Z 50 nibs in front of a Lamy Nexx fountain pen

Many Lamy fountain pen models share the same type of nib. Most use Fe-Ni-Cr stainless steel alloy Z 50 nibs which can be interchanged by the user and are available in Extra Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), Broad (B) line width nibs in steel and black finish and 1.1 mm (1.1), 1.5 mm (1.5) and 1.9  mm (1.9) calligraphic stub italic nibs which are only available in steel finish.[10] Besides these nibs there is also Z 50 LH Medium nib available for left handed use. To develop the handwriting skills and improve the penmanship of schoolchildren there is a Z 50 Anfänger (A) or beginner nib that can not be damaged as easily as regular nibs when a beginner applies a lot of pressure on the nib. The steel Z 50 nibs will also fit some Lamy fountain pens that come with gold alloy nibs. These 14 carat (58⅓%), bi-coloured, gold alloy nibs are styled like the lower priced all-steel nibs and available in Extra Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), Broad (B) line width and Oblique Medium (OM) and Oblique Broad (OB). The 2000 fountain pen model uses nibs of another type which is incompatible with Lamy's other fountain pen models.

Dialog 3[edit]

The Lamy dialog 3 is Lamy's first foray into the retractable-nib fountain pen market. The pen's main competition is the Pilot Vanishing Point/Capless which is probably the most well known retractable-nib fountain pen. The pen went on sale in October 2009.


The Lamy Studio Fountain in black steel

Lamy produces a number of fountain pens, the most recent of which is the Studio, designed by Hannes Wettstein.[11] The Studio is a cartridge/converter fill pen, featuring a distinctive clip. It is available in matte black steel,[12] polished steel[13] and palladium[14] finishes. The steel Studio pens come with steel nibs and the palladium Studio comes with a gold nib. The Studio design has won the Good Design Award[15] and the iF Design award in 2005.[16]


From top to bottom: Lamy Vista, Lamy Safari, and Lamy AL-star graphite

The Safari is a noted design by Wolfgang Fabian[11][17] and Bernt Spiegel of the Entwicklungsgruppe Mannheim[18] which remains in production from 1980. Another cartridge/converter fill pen, its body is ABS plastic, with moulded triangular grip section, and comes in primary colours of red, yellow, and blue.[19] The Safari's design is visible in AL-star line, which features aluminium and other aluminium-tinted[20] plating and a clear plastic section, in the Vista line which has an entirely transparent plastic body and cap (a demonstrator pen), and in the taper-tailed Joy line for calligraphers which are often used with 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9 mm calligraphic italic nibs.


The Lamy 2000.

Lamy's flagship fountain pen is the 2000.[21] Designed by Gerd Alfred Müller[11] and released in 1966, it remains in production today. The 2000 was innovative in its day for its use of a special fiberglass resin produced by Bayer, Makrolon, for the body of the pen. It is the only Lamy fountain pen that is a piston fill pen, so thus only takes bottled ink.[22] It has a non-flexible 14 carat (58⅓% gold content) gold alloy nib, though it is plated with platinum, which achieves a uniform colour scheme to the pen.[23] The pen's design demonstrates the Bauhaus influence on Lamy pens, and that of "form follows function".[24] The classic design continues to be popular more than forty years after being introduced. Notable author Neil Gaiman wrote his book American Gods with his Lamy 2000, which he refers to as his "novel writing pen".[25] In addition to normal production mechanical pencil, ballpoint and four-color ballpoint versions, a commemorative fountain pen version was produced for the new millennium called the Edition 2000, which features an inverse design of the original: a stainless steel body with Makrolon ring and polished clip.[23]


Lamy's abc beginner's fountain pen was designed by Bernt Speigel to be used by children while learning to write. The body is made from maple wood and includes a name sticker in the cap to assist in identifying each student's pen.[26] The Lamy abc is fitted with an extra sturdy and forgiving Anfänger (A) nib.


Lamy produce ballpoint pens in different form-factors, including as pocket telescoping pens, triangular and titanium.

The pico is a pocket telescoping ballpoint pen designed by Franco Clivio.[11] It comes in chrome, red, blue, and black finishes. Like some other Lamy pens, the pico features a small protrusion to stop the pen from rolling .[27] Lamy also produces a leather carrying case uniquely for this pen. The pen has also won a red dot award for product design[28]

Several noted designers have produced pen designs for Lamy, such as Richard Sapper, designer of the ThinkPad, who designed the dialog1,[11] a triangular ballpoint, coated in titanium.[29]

Some fountain pen designs are also available in ballpoint form, such as the Studio, Safari, and 2000, which is available in a Makrolon ballpoint design that remains faithful to the fountain pen design, but also comes in special African blackwood[30] and taxus[31] editions. The 2000 also comes in a four colour variant.[32]


Other designs such as the Safari and Studio come in rollerball form too, though certain designs such as the Swift are uniquely rollerball pens. The distinguishing design feature of the Swift is the retractable clip. When the point is extended, the Swift's clip retracts to be flush with the body of the pen, which helps the pen sit in the hand more comfortably, and also serves as a preventative reminder not to reinsert the pen into one's pocket with the point extended, which may cause staining.[33][34] Lamy is also one of the few pen manufacturers to produce a cartridge rollerball, the Balloon. It takes the ink cartridges for the fountain pens, but has a rollerball mechanism, and has an elastic clip.[citation needed] This is one of Lamy's newest products.

Multisystem pens[edit]

Lamy produces a number of multisystem pens, which combine a ballpoint and another feature within the one pen, such as the Pickup, which integrates a ballpoint and a highlighter into one body. The highlighter is released from the body of the pen by depressing a button on the body of the pen, and can be reinserted into the body of the pen.[35] A reinvented version with aluminium body, and spring action clip has been released as the Pickup Pro in 2006.[36] The Pickup was also designed by Wolfgang Fabian, and has won the red dot award for product design.[37]

Mechanical pencils[edit]

Lamy produces a wide range of mechanical pencils. Some of the other Lamy designs exist in mechanical pencil form, such as the 2000 and the Safari. The Scribble, also designed by Hannes Wettstein,[11] is a large-bodied pencil with triangular shapings on the body to help the grip. It comes in 0.7 and 3.15 mm lead variants. To make the pencil more comfortable when sketching, the clip on the pencil is removable. The 0.7 mm pencil comes with an integrated eraser and needle which is used if the pencil becomes clogged with broken fine pieces of graphite.[38]


A blue Lamy T 10 proprietary ink cartridge containing 1.15 ml ink for fountain pens

Lamy produces ink in bottles and proprietary cartridges. Lamy provide the widest range of colours in what it designates as T 10 cartridges, with black, blue, blue-black, red, green, turquoise, and violet.[39] Lamy ink bottles are provided in two forms, the slender 30 ml T 51 bottles providing ink in blue, black, red, and turquoise,[40] while the 50 ml T 52 bottles are larger, and have a greater colour selection providing ink in blue, black, red, green, turquoise, and blue-black. The T 52 bottles also provide a roll of blotter tape used to clean the pen after filling, or to blot writing.[41] Both bottles are specially shaped with a wide neck and a basin to collect ink to aid filling when close to empty.

The bottled T 52 blue-black used to be an iron gall based ink until it was discontinued in 2012. It was a modern formulation that is safe for use in fountain pens. Like the other available T 52 bottled colours T 52 blue-black nowadays is a dye-based fountain pen ink.

Earlier designs[edit]

Earlier Lamy designs includes the Lady and the Persona; "vintage" designs are varied but have numerical suffixes instead of descriptive names. The Lady was a design intended to appeal to women; the Lady is manufactured out of painted, hardened, porcelain and does not feature a clip as it was thought that women do not normally make use of the clip—a small protrusion prevents the pen from rolling on a flat surface. The Lady was designed by Wolfgang Fabian and Sharon Jodjaja was responsible for the barrel designs.[34] The Persona was designed by Mario Bellini. It features concentric ribs on the grip and parallel ribs down the barrel, a retractable clip that retracts flush with the cap, and a small protrusion again to stop the pen from rolling.[34]


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ C. Josef Lamy GmbH: Erfolgreiches Jahresendgeschäft im Einzelhandel (German)
  2. ^
  3. ^ C Lamy of West Germany, which manufactures ball-point and fountain pens, has reported a turnover for 1985 of DM 44m (DM 40m)., Textline Multiple Source Collection (1980–1994), 1986
  4. ^ Results for 1987 for Josef Lamy GmbH., Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23 May 1988
  5. ^ C. Joseph Lamy GMBH announces 15% increase in turnover in 1989 and plans further investment, Textline Multiple Source Collection (1980–1994), 18 April 1990
  6. ^ C Josef Lamy raised 1991 turnover by 15%., Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19 May 1992
  7. ^ Lamy invests in innovation centre, turnover growth forecast, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24 October 1996
  8. ^ Lamy records international growth, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16 June 2001
  9. ^ 185 (3,15) LAMY scribble
  10. ^ Lamy nibs comparison: EF vs 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm italics
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Lamy – Product Designers". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  12. ^ Lamy Lime is the new fountain pen available in all good pen shops. writesystem=1&program=0&targetgroup=1&language=2&prodgroup=1&highprice=0&lowprice=0&newest=0&ref=self&produktid=397&detailmode=detail 067 LAMY studio black, date accessed 24 April 2006
  13. ^ 065 LAMY studio Stahl, date accessed 24 April 2006
  14. ^ 068 LAMY studio Palladium, date accessed 24 April 2006
  15. ^ Good Design Award winners, 2005, Chicago Athenaeum, date accessed 4 May 2006
  16. ^ iF Design List of winners, date accessed 5 May 2006
  17. ^ "Lamy – LAMY Safari (Manufacturers site)". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  18. ^ "Lamy – Design History". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  19. ^ 018 LAMY safari, date accessed 24 April 2006
  20. ^ 025 LAMY AL-star, date accessed 24 April 2006
  21. ^ "LAMY 2000 – More than 30 years of classic modernity". Retrieved 2009-02-01. [dead link]
  22. ^ "001 LAMY 2000". Retrieved 24 April 2006. 
  23. ^ a b Rick Conner (2005). "Lamy 2000 at Penspotters". Retrieved 24 April 2006. 
  24. ^ "Lamy-Design since 1966". Retrieved 24 April 2006. 
  25. ^ "Neil Gaiman's Journal". 2004-04-01. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  26. ^ "Lamy – LAMY abc". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  27. ^ 287 LAMY pico pearlchrom, date accessed 24 April 2006
  28. ^ Lamy pico ballpoint pen – red dot online, accessed 4 May 2006.
  29. ^ LAMY dialog 1, date accessed 24 April 2006
  30. ^ 203 LAMY 2000 blackwood, date accessed 24 April 2006
  31. ^ 203 LAMY 2000 taxus, date accessed 24 April 2006
  32. ^ 401 LAMY 2000, date accessed 24 April 2006
  33. ^ 330 LAMY swift Palladium, date accessed 24 April 2006
  34. ^ a b c Lamy pens, Rick Conner, 2005, date accessed 24 April 2006
  35. ^ 629 LAMY pickup, date accessed 24 April 2006
  36. ^ 649 LAMY pickup pro, date accessed 24 April 2006
  37. ^ Lamy pickup – red dot online, date accessed May 4, 2006
  38. ^ 186 (0,7) LAMY scribble black, date accessed 24 April 2006
  39. ^ LAMY T 10, date accessed 24 April 2006
  40. ^ LAMY T 51, date accessed 24 April 2006
  41. ^ LAMY T 52, date accessed 24 April 2006

External links[edit]