Designer: Wolfgang Fabian
Yesterday I had a very important family initiation. My grandpa (who is to be found perpetually sketching faces, faces, faces throughout any occasion!) formally introduced me to his “Pen Guy”.
He has a pen guy!
So, I am over in Ireland visiting all of my amazing grandparents and during an Avoca lunch (an Irish institution) I mentioned that I’m getting really interested in fountain pens. Practically before I’d finished my sentence Grandpa had produced one from deep in his pockets and was telling me to ‘keep it, keep it, I won’t take it back! I’ve got another one upstairs..’ before quickly changing the cartridge to a pale brown ink as that is his personal favourite to draw with.
Agh! Grandparents are too kind! He then immediately drove me to see his pen guy to try out some other nibs and see which ones I liked best.
The pen he gave me was a ‘LAMY safari yellow fountain pen’. LAMY sets itself apart from some of its competitors like Parker, Sheaffer or MontBlanc through its understated style. The German company keeps modern and restrained designers at the artistic helm. Most notably Gerd A. Müller and Naoto Fukasawa.
The ABS plastic barrel is not to be sniffed at as fountain pen enthusiasts will know. The lightweight feel of a well made plastic pen can far out-write a heavier model (e.g brass) as your hand will tire and cramp after manoeuvring a heavier barrel for a while.
I have been guilty of looking down my nose at plastic. As a consumer I have grown up associating it with ‘throw away’ items, but the fountain pen is a product that really benefits from the use of this diverse material. Lesson learned. This is reverse snobbery (permanently guilty) but a fine, gold inlayed, pen with a lacquered barrel and complicated surface pattern will not necessarily be the best pen.
The exchangeable nib is polished stainless steel and, quite rightly for a pen like this, eschews any of the engraved flourishes of a more fancy fountain pen nib. To complement my LAMY I chose an extra fine nib for drawing and a nib with a hint of a calligraphic slant to it for writing. The gateway nib.
Guys, I have a pen guy.