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C. Josef Lamy GmbH
Industry Writing instruments
Founded 1930; 87 years ago (1930)
Founder Josef Lamy
Headquarters Heidelberg, Germany
Key people
Bernhard M. Rösner (CEO)
Revenue 90 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees

Lamy /ˈlɑːmi, ˈlæ-/ is a producer of writing instruments in Europe. The company is German-owned. 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

In 1984, newspapers reported that Lamy's export share increased to 33 percent of turnover. In 1986, Lamy, Montblanc, and Parker held among them 70–80 percent of the West German market. Export markets then consisted of the US, Japan, and Austria. Lamy 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. Lamy had begun taking on employees as sleeping partners. Approximately one third of the then 400-person workforce became 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]

Each Lamy product has a name that evokes an idea related to it; "Scribble", for example, is their mechanical pencil.[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 feed and nib. Most use Fe-Ni-Cr stainless steel alloy Z 50 nibs which can be interchanged by the user.[10] The feeds are made of ABS plastic and after injection molding are chemically etched with polyethylene glycol (PEG). The etching process causes micro surface scratches by removing styrene from the feed surface and ink channels. This roughening optimizes ink flow characteristics over the feed surface.[11] The 2000 fountain pen model uses nibs of another type which is incompatible with Lamy's other fountain pen models.


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.[12] The pen features a non round grip section optimized to be held with a 'tripod pen grip'.


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

The Safari is a noted design by Wolfgang Fabian[13][14] and Bernt Spiegel of the Entwicklungsgruppe Mannheim[15] which remains in production from 1980. The Safari and the derived AL-star and Vista lines are all cartridge/converter filled and are intended for students/young writers. Like the "abc" they all feature a non-rounded grip section optimized to be held with a 'tripod pen grip'.


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.[13] The Studio is a cartridge/converter fill pen, featuring a distinctive clip. It is available in matte black steel,[16] polished steel[17] and palladium[18] 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[19] and the iF Design award in 2005.[20]


The Lamy 2000.

Lamy's flagship fountain pen is the 2000.[21] Designed by Gerd Alfred Müller[13] 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 contemporary Lamy fountain pen that has a semi hooded nib and is a piston fill pen offering 1.35 ml ink capacity, so thus only takes bottled ink.[22] 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]


The pico is a pocket telescoping ballpoint pen designed by Franco Clivio.[13] 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.[24] Lamy also produces a leather carrying case uniquely for this pen. The pen has also won a red dot award for product design[25]


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.[26][27]

Multisystem pens[edit]

Lamy produces 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.[28] The Pickup was also designed by Wolfgang Fabian, and has won the red dot award for product design.[29]

Mechanical pencils[edit]

Lamy produces 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,[13] is a large-bodied pencil with triangular shapings on the body to help the grip.


Top to bottom: blue Lamy T 10 proprietary ink cartridge and Z 27 and Z 28 ink converters

Lamy produces fountain pen ink in bottles and proprietary unk 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.[30] The T 10 cartridge has approximately 1.15 ml ink capacity

For using bottled fountain pen ink Lamy offers several proprietary piston operated converters. The ABC, AL-star, Joy, Nexx, Nexx M, Safari and Vista fountain pens can be fitted with the proprietary Z 24 or Z 28 converter that has approximately 0.7 ml ink capacity. The converters for the school/young writing line of fountain pens feature two protrusions that form fit into two arresting recesses in the grip sections of these pens. The Accent, Aion, CP 1, Dialog 3, Linea, Logo, ST and Studio fountain pens can be fitted with the proprietary Z 27 converter for the premium line of fountain pens that has approximately 0.7 ml ink capacity.

Ink Erasers[edit]

Lamy also makes double-ended pens that allow you to edit what you have written in ink before. One end is a white nib with a fluid that makes ink 'disappear', the other end has a nib that writes in blue ink which is not affected by the ink eraser so that you can write on top of what you just erased. However, after you have done this you can not rub it out again.

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.[27]



  1. ^ Stark in die Zukunft: Lamy weiterhin auf Erfolgskurs (in German)
  2. ^ "Bernhard M. Rösner übernimmt Lamy Geschäftsführung". Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  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". Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  11. ^ Feeds made of Plastic …and not hard rubber
  12. ^ "Lamy – LAMY abc". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  13. ^ a b c d e "Lamy – Product Designers". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  14. ^ "Lamy – LAMY Safari (Manufacturers site)". Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  15. ^ "Lamy – Design History". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  16. ^ 067 LAMY studio black, date accessed 24 April 2006
  17. ^ 065 LAMY studio Stahl, date accessed 24 April 2006
  18. ^ 068 LAMY studio Palladium, date accessed 24 April 2006
  19. ^ Good Design Award winners, 2005, Chicago Athenaeum Archived 2007-09-20 at the Wayback Machine., date accessed 4 May 2006
  20. ^ iF Design List of winners, date accessed 5 May 2006
  21. ^ "LAMY 2000 – More than 30 years of classic modernity". Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  22. ^ "001 LAMY 2000". Retrieved 24 April 2006. 
  23. ^ Rick Conner (2005). "Lamy 2000 at Penspotters". Retrieved 24 April 2006. 
  24. ^ 287 LAMY pico pearlchrom, date accessed 24 April 2006
  25. ^ Lamy pico ballpoint pen – red dot online, accessed 4 May 2006.
  26. ^ 330 LAMY swift Palladium, date accessed 24 April 2006
  27. ^ a b Lamy pens, Rick Conner, 2005, date accessed 24 April 2006
  28. ^ 629 LAMY pickup, date accessed 24 April 2006
  29. ^ Lamy pickup – red dot online, date accessed May 4, 2006
  30. ^ LAMY T10, date accessed 24 April 2006

External links[edit]