I am willing to bet that at the time of this writing, 99% of the niche sub-culture (albeit global) called Fountain Pen users and collectors have heard of, owned one (or 100) Lamy Safari fountain pen. The LAMY brand is one of the most popular in the world. Newcomers to fountain pens will be introduced to this brand within days — if not hours — from their asking the super-important question: “What is that?” while pointing to a fountain pen — or a picture of a fountain pen on Instagram.
Do You LAMY?
What makes the brand so recommendable? Their pens are not expensive, attractive assortments of colors, simple but distinctive styling, and … not expensive. Lamy Safari has become a low-barrier ticket to a world of using fountain pens in the age where even mechanical keyboards have become cool again.
But the pen we have here is not a Lamy Safari. Rather, it’s the grandfather of the Safari, back when Lamy was producing the typical German piston-filler fountain pens, which you can have in any colors … as long as, you guessed it… the color of that stray pepper flake against your white teeth after lunch.
According to the history of the Lamy brand on their website, the company started production of fountain pens in 1930 under the brand Artus. Later on, to mark a new era after World War II, the founder, Herr C. Josef Lamy, renamed the brand to Lamy. And this is most likely when this pen was produced.
If you notice in the photo above, the barrel of the pen still says “Artus” while the nib and the clip already switched to “LAMY” (see the photo on the right).
Isn’t that interesting? I imagine the young lady at the assembly line rummaging through her bins when she realized that she ran out of the Artus clip. Waving to her line supervisor, who promptly appear next to her, she tilted the empty bin to him. He probably said “höchste Zeit!” as he ran to pick up a box of shiny brand new clips that says LAMY.
This makes this pen more unique than just a standard Artus or Lamy pen because it has a case of double identity.
From Switzerland to Texas
I got this pen from a collector in Switzerland. I’d like to take the time to mention that everything from the description of the pen, shipping and tracking and packaging, has been absolutely flawless. The Swiss Post updates the status of the package regularly and on time. I would not hesitate to buy from this collector again.
A Lamy Nib That Flex
Those of us who has seen or used any Lamy Safari nibs can vouch that the nib is not flexible at all. It could write very smoothly, but it will not enable us to get line variations beyond just dumping a bit more ink on the paper thus making the writing “Bold”-ish.
How about the upper-class models? I’ve used a Lamy 2000 and get the same feeling when it comes to the nib, it’s still not a flexible one. I don’t know about the higher end models like Lamy Dialog, but I seriously doubt that those are flexible.
That leaves us with the most fascinating aspect of this pen, at least for me, the flex-nerd-guy, which is the nib. A 14K 585 Lamy nib that came with this pen is just wonderful. It’s a Western medium when writing normally, but can easily achieve 1.2mm flex given moderate pressure.
Now this is where I have to stop and ponder. If Lamy (or whoever made the nibs at that time for them) were able to create a 14K nib *this nice*, why on earth did they stop? A Lamy Dialog retails at 300 USD, you can’t tell me that there is no room for adding the option to have a flexible nib such as on this pen today.
Why do the exact same nib manufacturers lower the standard so much — by not offering flexible nibs — compared to where they were in the 1940-1950?
The Pen Itself
I really like this pen because it’s not small. I remember the first time I saw a Merlin 33 I thought, what a … tiny pen.
This Artus/Lamy is very elegant and simple, just like a German piston filler should look like. And the size (5 inches capped) and especially the girth provides a superb balance in my hand. I can write for hours with pen without feeling fatigue.
I also like the large and green ink window. You can really see the cork that acts as the packing unit for the piston.
The blind cap deserve a mention also, it’s large (harder to just fall through the cracks) and threaded smoothly.
How Does it Write?
Okay, now we get to the important part. This pen writes very similarly to Geha and Pelikan pens that I’ve used before. The nib is flexible, smooth and one size larger than Medium nibs from Japan.
Because of the size of the barrel which fit my hand perfectly, writing with this pen is so nice.
Is This Pen A Keeper?
I love this pen. Everything about it is just right. I don’t often obsess about the size and shape of a pen, but I keep coming back to those aspects for this particular pen because they are a major contributing factors to why I like this pen so much.
This pen is a must for anyone who collect Lamy pens. I don’t have a Lamy collection, so if someone who can appreciate this pen more than I do, I would consider to let it go. But for now, I am having so much fun writing with this pen. I’ll enjoy it while it lasted.
I thought last year had brought me some interesting pens, but having this pen in January, gave me hope that 2017 would be even more fun for that fountain pen collector inside of me.