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.
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. Turnover for Lamy increased to 48 million DM for 1987, 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. 1991 held an increase in staff and turnover again, this time to 85 million DM and five hundred staff. Lamy invested in their “innovation workshop” in Heidelberg, in 1996, along with approximate expected turnover being 113 million DM. 1999 showed Lamy reporting stable turnover of approximately 120 million DM, though domestic demand has fallen.
Each Lamy product has a name that evokes an idea related to it; “Scribble”, for example, is their mechanical pencil. 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).
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. 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. 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. The pen features a non round grip section optimized to be held with a ‘tripod pen grip’.
The Safari is a noted design by Wolfgang Fabian and Bernt Spiegel of the Entwicklungsgruppe Mannheim 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’.
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 polycarbonate 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. 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.