Thursday, July 1, 2010

Featured Pen - Lamy 27n

[You can click on any of the photos to enlarge for more detail]

I was extremely lucky to find a wonderfully detailed history of this pen, which is presented below:
The following information is taken from myu701's Pen Review Corner and also appeared on the Fountain Pen Network

Lamy (pronounced LAH-mee, accent on 1st syllable), the internationally known German pen company based in Heidelberg, is best known for making pens that are sleek, highly functional, minimalist in design, and innovative in functionality. Several of their designs over the years have won many awards, with the Lamy 2000 being the most recognized of all. It is that pen which has defined the modern day theme and design foundation of Lamy. It also marked the changing of leadership from C. Josef Lamy to his son Manfred. In essence, Lamy has viewed this change as the birth of the modern day company, to the point where little recognition is given to their products made before that time (the Lamy 27 is mentioned but once on their website). I find this a shame, because Lamy had made some very respectable writing instruments prior to the 2000, one of which was the Lamy 27.

Company Background
In 1930, C. Joseph Lamy ceased working for the Parker Pen Company and started manufacturing his own fountain pens in Heidelberg Germany, initially under the brand name "Orthos". In 1949, production of a newly designed series called "Artus" commenced. Then in 1952, the company switched its name to "Lamy", remaining as an independent family-owned enterprise. The company proved its innovative prowess in the very first year of the Lamy brand with the completely novel LAMY 27 fountain pen series. And in 1966, upon the succession of leadership by Joseph Lamy's son Dr. Manfred Lamy, the distinctive style of Lamy Design was born with the model 2000. With an annual production of over 6 million writing instruments and a turnover exceeding ~50 million Lamy today is not only the market leader in Germany but also ranks among the German design brands whose products hold a special position worldwide. October 26, 2006 commemorated the 40th year milestone anniversary of Lamy's modern day design history. Dr. Manfred Lamy retired on November 10, his 70th birthday. Although he has a son and a daughter, neither is particularly interested in following in his footsteps. As a result, for the first time in its long history, Lamy will be led by a non-family member, Bernhard Rösner.

Lamy 27 Background

The Lamy 27 was introduced in 1952. It was an extraordinary best seller, a streamlined pen with a semi-hooded Osmium tipped nib. The 27 was produced in 12 varieties from plastic models like the 27e for 20DM (Deutschmarks) to luxury models like the 27n with a gold cap for 39DM (there were also intermediate models for 25DM and 30DM). This was not cheap for an unknown trademark at the time (source from 1955), with pricing very similar to Montblanc and Pelikan pens. The 27 was the first LAMY pen which was made under the name of the producer, whereas the previous names had been "Orthos" and post-WWII "Artus". The understated looking pen had a revolutionary and patented system of inlaid micro segments around the feed, which made the ink flow insensitive to air pressure or temperature changes (called the "Tintomatic" system, the design of which is still in use today). The Lamy 27 was likely made until the mid 1960's. When Dr. Manfred Lamy took over the firm from his father C. Josef Lamy in 1966, he made some fundamental changes in the product lines and in the overall design by hiring several key designers like Gerd Müller (designer of the 2000). It was Dr. Lamy's vision that defined what Lamy is today, so much so that little is spoken of pens made prior to that time. In fact, if you were to ask him what was the first pen the Lamy company produced, you will be told it is the model 2000. Despite this, I feel the 27 is a beautifully understated example of fine pen making and deserves some recognition.

I acquired my Lamy 27 after Lady Dandelion published her wonderful review and another friend sang this pen's praises. If you do go looking for a 27 make sure that you know which model you would like, there are many. Also, you will need to decide if you prefer the earlier model like the one I acquired or the lovely later model, with it's flat top cap and distinctive L. This little gem came from eBay, from a reputable seller. The pen was represented as mint, NOS and even came with a box and papers. Upon initial inspection, I believe that this pen was never used. There was absolutely no sign of ink anywhere on the nib or in the fill section.

Here is a photo with a Reform P120. It is obvious that the design of the 27 was very popular and many pen companies attempted to capitalize on that design.

The 27 is a piston filler and the cap is a push on style, like all the Lamy's I own. I've often wondered by Lamy did not adopt the screw on style cap, like the Reform in the above photo. This pen is wonderfully light and has a large ink capacity. Even though it is clearly marked M, I thought that it was an F when I first started to use it. Lamy's have a reputation for running broad with their nibs, I'm thinking that may not be so true of the vintage styles. So far, I like this pen very much. I think it is going to take a little more of a break in period than some of my other pens as it is going on 50 years old and has never been used (or if it was it was very gently and long ago).

7 comments: said...

It is a lovely blue 27 you've got! Happy that my review contributed to you getting one for yourself. These are very pleasant workhorse pens. :D Thanks for yet a great review!

Stephanie said...

What a detailed history! And what a pretty blue pen.

Anonymous said...

Very nice pen and thanks for the review.

Tortoise said...

I may need to start looking at some of those vintage Lamys. I love my Esterbrooks, but the highly lauded Parker 51s didn't do a thing for me.

JoniB said...

Great pen! Thanks for the history and more importantly for the pronunciation guide. I've been saying the name incorrectly, I fear.

Speedmaster said...

It's like a Teutonic P51! ;-)

marc said...

ahh, old school memories! i loved them and am still in love...

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