For true pen connoisseurs, there are a few models of fountain pens that truly stand out as pioneers in the business of writing instruments. The Lamy 2000 fountain pen is one of those models, and the company that created it is still known to this day as being one of the greatest manufacturers of writing instruments in the world.
So how did the Lamy pen company come about? And what led them to design their specific style of functional, ergonomic pens? In this article, we will look at the Lamy 2000 pen’s history, including how the company got its start, and why the Lamy 2000 is still considered one of the best fountain pens ever crafted.
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A Family-Owned Business
In the early twentieth century, a man named Josef C. Lamy was working as an export and branch manager for the Parker Pen Company. But Josef saw a different future for himself and wanted to start his own company building writing instruments.
His opportunity came in 1930 when Josef purchased the Orthos pen company and started his own family-run business in Heidelberg, Germany. Dubbed Orthos Fullfederhalter-Fabrik, Josef set about crafting his own pen designs based on the Bauhaus principles.
What is Bauhaus?
Bauhaus is a German word that translates to “house of building.” When you hear people refer to the design of Lamy pens, you will often hear the term Bauhaus used to describe their design. Bauhaus was a German art school that operated from 1919-to 1933.
The principles of the Bauhaus style centered on utilizing mass production and the idea of combining fine arts and crafts into a unified style. The school promoted the idea that aesthetics and function should be applied to the design of everyday items and sought to make these items available for more than just the elite classes.
Using the Bauhaus Principals in Design
Lamy used the ideas put forward in the Bauhaus school to craft the simplistic, function over fashion design of his pens. And his designs were exceptionally popular. Within the first decade of his business, the company was producing an average of 200,000 pens annually.
The first fountain pen bearing the Lamy name entered production in 1952, the same year that Lamy’s Orthos company changed its name to Lamy. Called the Lamy 27, it utilized what Lamy called the “Tinotmatik” system to deliver a smooth flow of ink every time.
Until this time, fountain pens were notorious for smearing and leaking ink onto the page. Lamy sought to overcome this fault in design, and his efforts were rewarded with the birth of the Lamy brand as a staple on the market.
Ballpoints Make the Scene
In 1964, Lamy’s company put forth a design for the Lamy Exact, which became the first ballpoint pen design in Germany to feature a stainless-steel top and large capacity refill. The design is a hit, and helped the company gain traction in the market as a main producer of ballpoint pens, both in Germany and abroad.
The Lamy 2000 Becomes an Icon
A few years later, Josef put his son, Dr. Manfred Lamy, in charge of marketing. Manfred took the principles of functional design that Josef had created as a backbone for the product line and ran with it. In 1966, he met Gerd A. Mueller, a former designer for the Braun Company, and together they formed a joint venture to revolutionize the design of the fountain pen.
That fall they launched the design of one of the most iconic fountain pens ever created, the Lamy 2000. It relied heavily on the Bauhaus principle of “form follows function,” and was a sleek, simplistic design that would become a prototype for many other manufacturers in the future.
The Lamy 2000 featured no excessive design features that did not contribute to the functionality of the instrument. It combined futuristic materials like matt-ground stainless steel and Makrolon (a polycarbonate resin) for the body of the instrument.
The Lamy 2000 featured a semi-hooded 14k gold nib that is still used in designs today. It uses a piston-filled mechanism instead of ink cartridges. The Lamy 2000 design has been expanded to include not only fountain pens, but ballpoints, rollerballs, and even mechanical pencils.
Made In Germany
By the 1970s, the Lamy Company was a brand leader and a staple on the international market for writing instruments. But Lamy had a vision that his brand would remain based in Germany for manufacturing, and this remains the case even nearly a century later. Instead of outsourcing production, Lamy’s pens were produced at a single factory located in the Heidelberg district of Wieblinger Germany.
To grow its market share, Lamy relied on promotional and advertising campaigns. The company also began its tradition of building architecturally advanced centers to promote its brand, including the brand new Lamy Writing Centre. They also created the Lamy Distributor Advisory Council to grow their notoriety and popularity on the global stage.
Josef’s son, Manfred, was officially named the sole managing director of the company in 1973. And he used his marketing background to revolutionize the way the Lamy Company promoted its product line. In 1976, with market shares increasing already, Lamy began focusing on new advertising campaigns to help bring their products to the attention of the public. This new venture won some of Germany’s highest awards.
The Lamy Safari
In 1980, Lamy participated in the Frankfurt Fair and unveiled their new design for what would become the best-selling fountain pen in the world. The Lamy Safari was targeted to a younger market audience, primarily school children. And it wasn’t a venture that Lamy entered unprepared.
The Safari design was put forth by Wolfgang Fabian, and extensive research was undertaken into the knowledge of youth psychology. With the help of the Mannheim development group, led by Professor Bernt Spiegel, Lamy invested in gaining knowledge into the factors that would help them craft a superior pen for a younger consumer.
The Lamy Safari again followed the Bauhaus principles and aimed to provide access to top-of-the-line designs to those who would use them for writing and not just as a status symbol. Crafted with a special ergonomic design that was meant for small hands to be able to hold, and a sturdy craftmanship that would hold up under frequent use, the Safari became a popular choice for students and adults alike.
Keeping Production In-House
Lamy continued their venture into building technologically advanced and architecturally interesting spaces with their new central warehouse in 1981. This trend continued, when in 1985 Lamy opened their new injection molding department.
This advancement helped Lamy grow their operations by allowing the company to manufacture its own tools, including refills and ink cartridges, in-house. It was just another step in Josef Lamy’s vision to keep all production in his home country of Germany.
With the introduction of Lamy’s flagship product, the Lamy 2000, being introduced two decades prior, 1986 marked twenty years of the Lamy Company producing top-quality writing instruments for the masses. To mark the occasion, the entrance to the building in Heidelberg was redesigned as a way to cement the principles of the Lamy aesthetic.
The celebrations couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment, as the founder and pioneer of the company, Josef C. Lamy, passed away that same summer at the age of 87. The revolutionizing of marketing and architecture in cooperation with the founding principles of the company continued through the next decade.
By revamping their product packaging, advertising, and in-store presentations, and including an-ultra modern building design in all their locations, the ideals of the company’s founder would continue to be held up as a goal and standard of every venture undertaken in his absence. The company continued to develop its in-house production goals in 1989, by beginning production of its own line of inks.
30 Years of Lamy Success
1996 saw the thirtieth anniversary of the Lamy design, and the brand new Lamy Galleria is opened to commemorate the event. The Galleria took the ideals of the Lamy design and magnified them by including innovative eco-friendly technologies that would become the standard for all Lamy facilities moving forward.
Next door to the new Galleria was the Innovation Workshop, where the company started crafting its new ideas for design and manufacturing. Both buildings were designed to be modern, technologically advanced, and green-friendly spaces. With solar panels, natural lighting, and even a water basin to collect rainwater, the Lamy Company became synonymous with ecologically friendly practices throughout Germany and the world.
The next years saw the Lamy company put forth numerous product designs, including the Lamy Spirit and the Lamy Pico, which both won the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Lamy Noto won the same award when it was unveiled in 2010. The Lamy Dialogue 3 won several awards when it entered production, including both IF and Red Dot Product Awards.
The Lamy Scribble
The Lamy Scribble was unveiled in the year 2000 and was one of the most popular writing instruments on the market almost immediately. Designed by Hannes Wettstein, it featured a bulbous design that was ergonomically designed for easy holding, it became one of the top choices for those involved in creative ventures like architecture and design.
The Scribble is available in both a ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil version, making it perfectly suited to creators.
The Lamy Scala Causes a Stir
In 2012, Lamy put forth a design for the Lamy Scala, which was the first pen in the product line to feature a painted finish and high-gloss chrome-plated details. It was almost a scandal, as some thought the details detracted from the Lamy design principles put forth by Josef Lamy so many years ago. Despite featuring fancy chrome details, the highly functional design won over critics in the end.
- With cartridge filling system with ink cartridge LAMY T 10 blue (can be modified for use with converter Z 26).
- Steel nib, polished.
- Available nib grades: extra fine (EF) / fine (F) / medium (M) / broad (B).
- Designer: Sieger Design
The Lamy 2000 Gets an Upgrade
In 2013, the iconic Lamy 2000 got a redesign with a new line crafted from high-quality metal and stainless steel. The product design tested Lamy’s production capabilities but was rewarded with the “German Standards Brand Award” for fountain pens and was added to the famous compendium “Brands of the Century.” This cemented Lamy’s position as a pioneer and global force in the world.
- 2000 Black Extra Fine Point Fountain Pen
- Refer the use and care tips on the image section
Half a Century of Success
To mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Lamy Company, the brand opened its flagship store in its home location of Heidelberg, Germany. Using their brand-new slogan of “Not just a pen,” Lamy continued to grow its global brand as a writing instrument designed for those who would use it.
With the premiere of the Lamy Specs magazine in 2018, Lamy combined the digital and print worlds as a way to further grow interest in its brand. Utilizing an augmented reality application, 3D animations, and video clips that give the public the chance to become a part of the Lamy story, the magazine was a success.
The End of an Era
This year also saw a drastic restructuring of leadership within the company. With Dr. Manfred Lamy retiring back in 2006, the family-run tradition that was the Lamy Company came to a sort of end. But that wouldn’t change the culture of the company, and the three long-standing employees who took over operations in 2018 committed to continuing the Lamy family’s goal of keeping production in Germany.
The same building that originally housed the company remains today its sole manufacturing site, with around four hundred employees. A greater percentage of those employees own a large part of the stake in the company itself.
Manfred Lamy passed away in 2021, at the age of 84. In February of 2022, Steffen Rubke became the new CEO and Peter Utsch became the COO/CFO. The company continues to be a giant in the market for high-class, functional writing instruments of all kinds.
Over the years the Lamy Company has put forth designs that have won over 100 awards. Their products are distributed in more than 80 countries, at over 200 storefronts worldwide. With over 200 models, 26 collections, and over 8 million products produced per year, the Lamy Company has secured itself as a long-standing brand in the world of writing instruments.
And they owe it all to Josef C. Lamy, who nearly a century ago put forth the idea that a fountain pen could be more than a status symbol for the rich and famous. The Lamy 2000 pen’s history is the history of the company itself.
Putting high-quality, functional designs into the hands of those who create and maintain knowledge was the foundation of Josef’s business. And the world is better for it.
Featured Image Source: Lamy Company – https://www.lamy.com/en/lamy-2000/