Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Lamy Look

Thought it might be a good time to update my impressions of the Lamy Safari I bought and began using in early December of last year. I wrote a post about it at the time, sandwiching descriptions of the Safari in between some paragraphs about the pen store Kingdom Note, two J. Herbin inks, and some notebooks. To do the pen justice I should add some pluses to my earlier comments. The Lamy Safari is wildly popular and been written about in more than a few places. Now I better understand its popularity.

I learned from Ed Svoboda on The Fountain Pen Forum that it was in 1966 that Lamy shifted its design to a more modern, or modernistic look. The first of their pens to have the new look was the Lamy 2000 released that year. Lamy came out with the Safari in 1980 aimed at ten to fifteen year-olds, with the catch phrase, ‘individuality goes to school.’ Industrial designer Wolfgang Fabian got most things right with his design of the Safari, embodying bright color, strength, robustness, reliability and adventure. Comfort and function are key qualities as well. Like the Pelikano Junior (another design for students) the Safari has a durable feel, without a tidbit of fragility. The steel nib is obviously the same, and the ABS plastic body is good protection for those times when it accidentally falls to the floor.

With my stubborn attraction to more traditional fountain pen designs, I was late coming to the Lamy Safari. I wrongly imagined that its avant garde look was a flashy cover up for a poor or mediocre nib and writing quality. In that I was badly mistaken. When I first brought the pen home and sat down to run it through some lines and squiggles, I was bothered a little by the hard steel nib (M), and griped a little over the absence of flex, but looking back on my experience with other pens, I hoped that this pen, too would soften and develop at least a smidgen of flex over time. I have used the Safari for two months now—not exclusively or daily, but with regularity, and my hope has been realized; the nib has softened, and I can now sense a degree of flex.

I use a Waterman converter in my Safari, and that with the M nib gives me an excellent flow of ink. The line is very smooth. My feeling is, the wetness of the steel nib is just what I like and I’ve yet to see anything like smears or blobs on a variety of paper types. Initially, I had less success with the better grades of paper, and felt most comfortable writing on cheap white copy paper. That too has improved over time, and the pen is now writing beautifully in my favorite Life Noble Note. I tried it on another high quality Japanese paper made from sugarcane pulp, and the result is outstanding. My only regret is that the paper is lined, unlike my Life notebooks.

There is one part of the Safari I am not crazy about, and that’s the oversized pocket clip. It looks a little like a giant paper clip, and is extremely stiff (durable is probably the word Fabian would use). I do like a pocket clip, but most often rely on a pen case instead of my pocket. Despite this complaint about the paper clip-pocket clip, it’s hardly enough to stop me from giving the Lamy Safari a high rating.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America