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C. Josef Lamy GmbH
Lamy Logo.svg
Founded: 1930
Founder: Josef Lamy
Headquarters: Heidelberg, Germany
Key People: Bernhard M. Rösner (CEO)
Products: Writing instruments, ink

Lamy 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.[1]

Business history[edit]

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.[2] Turnover for Lamy increased to 48 million DM for 1987,[3] 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.[4] 1991 held an increase in staff and turnover again, this time to 85 million DM and five hundred staff.[5] Lamy invested in their "innovation workshop" in Heidelberg, in 1996, along with approximate expected turnover being 113 million DM.[6] 1999 showed Lamy reporting stable turnover of approximately 120 million DM, though domestic demand has fallen.[7]

Discontinued product ranges[edit]

Lamy exact (1964-)[edit]

The Lamy exact was first released in 1964 and was Germany’s first ballpoint pen with a large capacity refill.[8] The exact range consisted of different ballpoint pens, available at different price points and with different designs. The exact pens contained mainly black silver-coloured parts.

Lamy design 20 (1970s)[edit]

The design 20 series was marketed as the "young program". It was more affordable than other series available in the 1970s, like the Lamy 200 series, and included a fountain pen, a ballpoint pen and a felt tip pen. [9]

Lamy Lady (from 1994)[edit]

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.[10]

Lamy Persona (1990s)[edit]

The Lamy persona fountain pen was designed by Mario Bellini, and Italian architect. At the time it was Lamy’s most expensive fountain pen. The pen was made using Titanium, Carbon Makrolon and Platinum providing four different options. Key features of the Persona included a concealed spring loaded pocket clip, an anti roll pin on the pocket clip and a 14 carat gold nib.[11]

Lamy Spirit (1994 - 2010s)[edit]

The Spirit was designed by Wolfgang Fabian and introduced in 1994, has its grip and clip made up (by simple rolling and folding) from a single stamping of stainless steel sheet. The result is a minimalist design with a 6mm diameter. Into this superstructure is inserted either ballpoint or 0.5mm pencil mechanism. The ballpoint uses the smaller M21 refill found in Lamy's multi-way ballpoints. [12]

Current product range[edit]

Each Lamy product has a name that evokes an idea related to it; "Scribble", for example, is their mechanical pencil.[13] 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 2000 piston filler made of polycarbonate and stainless steel, designed in 1966 and still in production

Many Lamy fountain pen models share the same type of nib. Most use Fe-Ni-Cr stainless steel alloy Z50 nibs which can be interchanged by the user. These nibs are available in XF-B, plus 1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 1.9mm.[14] The 2000 fountain pen model uses a different style of nib which is incompatible with Lamy's other fountain pen models.


Lamy's abc beginner's fountain pen was designed by Bernt Spiegel and Entwicklungsgruppe Mannheim to be used by children while learning to write. The body is made from maple wood and includes a name sticker in the cap of the fountain pen to assist in identifying each student's pen.[15] The pen features a non round grip section optimized to be held with a 'tripod pen grip'.

Al Star[edit]

The Lamy Al Star is the aluminum version of the Safari. Instead of the solid color matched grip section like the Safari, the Al Star has a grey translucent grip section, allowing you to see the ink in the feed. The barrel and cap of the Al Star is slightly larger over the Safari. The Al Star isn't much heavier than the Safari though, as it is not solid aluminum, it has a thin aluminum sleeve over a plastic core, and because of this, is susceptible to dents. Like the Safari, the Al Star receives a new limited edition color every year, usually with a matching bottle of ink.


The Joy is a calligraphy version of the Safari. The Joy has a longer desk pen style barrel, with the triangle grip like the Safari/Al Star pens. The Joy comes only with the italic nibs, in 1.1, 1.5, or 1.9 sizes. There is also an aluminum version, but the barrel is still plastic, just with an aluminum cap. The Joy is a cartridge/converter pen.


The Lamy Lx is similar to the Lamy Al Star. Made of Aluminum, it is a higher end Al-Star with "precious metal" components. Available in only 4 colors, it comes in a aluminum transport tube, and has a unique black steel nib with a gold accent line.


The Lamy Nexx is a student pen. It has a bright plastic cap, with a triangular aluminum body. Like the ABC, and Safari, it has a tripod grip section. It can use the T10 cartridges or the Z28 Converter, and uses Lamy's standard Z50 steel nibs.


The Safari is a noted design by Wolfgang Fabian[16][17] and Bernt Spiegel of the Entwicklungsgruppe Mannheim[18] which remains in production from 1980. The Safari and the derived AL-star and Vista lines are intended for students/young writers and feature a non round grip section optimized to be held with a 'tripod pen grip'. The Safari receives a new limited edition color every year, usually with a matching bottle of ink.


Lamy produces a number of fountain pens, the most recent of which is the Studio, designed by Hannes Wettstein.[16] The Studio is a cartridge/converter fill pen, featuring a distinctive clip. It is available in matte black steel,[19] polished steel[20] and palladium[21] 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[22] and the iF Design award in 2005.[23]


Lamy's flagship fountain pen is the 2000. Designed by Gerd Alfred Müller 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. In addition to normal production mechanical pencil, ballpoint and four-color ballpoint versions, several special editions were produced, including one 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.[24]


The Pico is a pocket telescoping ballpoint pen designed by Franco Clivio.[16] 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.[25] Lamy also produces a leather carrying case uniquely for this pen. The pen has also won a red dot award for product design[26]


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.[27][10]

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


Lamy produces ink in bottles and proprietary cartridges. Lamy provides a wide range of colours in what it designates as T10 cartridges, T51 30mL bottles, or T52 50mL bottles, with black, blue, blue-black, red, green, turquoise and violet.[30]

Notes and references[edit]

  2. 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
  3. Results for 1987 for Josef Lamy GmbH., Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23 May 1988
  4. C. Joseph Lamy GMBH announces 15% increase in turnover in 1989 and plans further investment, Textline Multiple Source Collection (1980–1994), 18 April 1990
  5. C Josef Lamy raised 1991 turnover by 15%., Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19 May 1992
  6. Lamy invests in innovation centre, turnover growth forecast, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24 October 1996
  7. Lamy records international growth, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16 June 2001
  8. Lamy History, .
  9. The Lamy exact – older than the Lamy 2000, .
  10. 10.0 10.1 Lamy pens, Rick Conner, 2005, date accessed 24 April 2006
  11. Lamy Persona Fountain Pen, .
  12. Archived version of, .
  13. 185 (3,15) LAMY scribble
  14. Lamy nibs comparison: EF vs 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm italics
  15. Lamy – LAMY abc, .
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Lamy – Product Designers, .
  17. Lamy – LAMY Safari (Manufacturers site), .
  18. Lamy – Design History, .
  19. 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
  20. 065 LAMY studio Stahl, date accessed 24 April 2006
  21. 068 LAMY studio Palladium, date accessed 24 April 2006
  22. Good Design Award winners, 2005, Chicago Athenaeum, date accessed 4 May 2006
  23. iF Design List of winners, date accessed 5 May 2006
  24. [1], date accessed 24 April 2006}}
  25. 287 LAMY pico pearlchrom, date accessed 24 April 2006
  26. Lamy pico ballpoint pen – red dot online, accessed 4 May 2006.
  27. 330 LAMY swift Palladium, 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