View Full Version : Lamy ABC Beginnerís Fountain Pen Review

December 11th, 2013, 08:17 PM
Check out the full review with all the images here: http://penpaperinkletter.com/lamy-abc-fountain-pen-review/ (http://penpaperinkletter.com/lamy-abc-fountain-pen-review/)

I also talk a good bit about this pen in my latest podcast: http://penpaperinkletter.com/ppil-podcast-episode-2-pocket-notebooks/ (http://penpaperinkletter.com/ppil-podcast-episode-2-pocket-notebooks/)

This is the Lamy ABC fountain pen with blue accents. This pen is also available with red accents. This pen comes with one blue Lamy cartridge and is fitted with the ďAĒ nib which seems to be a beginners or childrenís nib designation. The pen has a nicely finished wooden barrel with plastic section, cap and tail end. The nib is the silver steel version that is interchangeable with all the nibs in the Lamy Safari and Al-Star pens. This pen is indeed made for beginners and isnít simply a juvenile looking design. There are several subtle points of design that I think make the Lamy ABC work well for this use.


Build Quality


Potentially the most important feature for a fountain pen the you will be giving to children would be its build quality. How well is it made? Will it survive a 10 year old? And so on. From what I can tell it is quite well made. I actually physically attempted to flext the barrel to what I would think might be a normal amount for active children abusing it and it held up fine. The connection between the section and the pen body seems quite secure even though it is plastic. With no clip to hang on things I think this pen should be at least as durable as the Safari which is often praised for its build quality.


Cap & (Lack of) Clip

The Lamy ABC has a click on cap made of hard plastic. There is no clip but I think that for children that is likely an asset. There is nothing to get caught on anything and being that I think the pen could take a tumble or two the occasional drop from a pocket because there is no clip likely wonít damage the pen. Also, the cap has a recessed strip where a clip might be that is made to take a personalized name sticker provided with the pen. You write the childís name on the provided sticker and then put it in the recessed portion followed by a clear sticker that prevents the name from rubbing off. The only downside here might be that because of the tail end section being squared off the cap cannot be posted.


Tail End Section

The end of the pen opposite the nib is made of the same plastic as the cap and is squared off to prevent the pen from rolling on desk that arenít quite level. I actually love this feature. It goes beyond a small protruding bump on the barrel like the Pelikan Pelikano Junior had to make the feature part of the overall distinctive design.

The Section and Nib

The section is made of a slightly different plastic than the cap and tail end which is a bit more rubberized to assist with grip. I think it was wise to give this added grip as a slick grip and childrenís hands would likely not work well together. Just before the nib there is a slightly protruding hard plastic ring which helps to keep your fingers from sliding off the section as well. It has a slightly smaller version of the iconic Safari notched grip which I really like for beginners because it orients the pen and nib in the correct way for writing. The nib is an ďAĒ nib which is also the designation on the Pelikan Pelikano Junior which was also designed for children. I prefer this nib to the Pelikan ďAĒ but only slightly. It is obvious it is made for the best output for children with no regard for any finesse a more experienced user might have. Itís not in the slightest bit an oversight in my opinion as this is exactly what the pen is for. The fact that it has the ability to be swapped for the wide range of Lamy nibs from extra-fine to 1.9mm is a huge plus for me on a childrens pen. They can experiment with line variations without having to learn a new pen.

The Best Use Case

Just as I said with the Pelikan Pelikano Junior in my review of that pen, this was made for children. My fingers, although not overly large, are not seating in the notches of the section so I hold it with a somewhat misaligned grip. Itís not a super cheap pen so I donít see this as a best pen for beginning adults who will find the Safari or Pilot Metropolitan more fitting to their hands for the most part. For children though I absolutely love this pen. It comes in red and blue and the labels have three colors so you can actually make 6 distinct combos if you have multiple children. The light wood and bold plastic colors are easy to see even on a messy desk, childs messy floor, or at the bottom of a bag. The small notched grip will suit small hands well and the nib, though somewhat blunt, is good for basic handwriting. Its unique look will also help children feel ownership of it as opposed to giving them something that looks more adult that they may feel is more of a loan from mom or dad.


I let the cat out early so you already know I love this pen for children. Because it can swap nibs and even take a convertor for bottle inks, unlike the Pelikan Pelikano Junior, I think that this pen is an excellent choice for a child that will be able to grow into the different variations over time. The price, $23 at JetPens.com as of this post, makes me think I would wait until my child was at least old enough to not lose it easily but isnít so high that if it was lost at some point I would be devastated. The quality and design both win top marks in my opinion. If you are an adult wanting to try the pen simply because you like the style I would think you still might want to pass if you have larger hands but for those with smaller hands you can likely make it work.


As a bit of an aside, I donít have children that are school age yet and wonder if anyone has let their children take fountain pens to school? What has been the reaction, if any, from other students and teachers? Would you recommend talking to a teacher first so that there is no issue in class with your child being told they cannot use a different pen?


December 11th, 2013, 09:43 PM
Thanks for you detailed and informative review of this pen.

Even though I do not havean ABC pen I do have A-type nibs in several of my other Lamys. The A appears from experience an M nib with a bigger or more forgiving sweet spot and both feel very similar when writing to me.

The grip section looks to be a closely related to that of the Lamy Nexx/Nexx M pens. These could be considered a more sophisticated alternative & expensive choice.

I imagine the possibility of applying some wood stain to the barrel and finishing with polished super glue could result in a nice looking pen.

December 12th, 2013, 03:09 AM
Thank you for this interesting review, Heath. Fountain pens for children don't get much attention, but there are some nicely thought out products around.

At school we were issued with fountain pens - horrible ones! (This is going back a bit ...). It's nice to see that things have come on a bit.

December 23rd, 2013, 07:48 PM
What a well thought out, excellent review!

I will wait a bit to purchase one for my son. At 7, he has already thought to ask if he can "shoot ink out of Mommy's pen"; this would cause a wave of envy among his classmates and would seriously disrupt the teacher's day...