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Thread: Lamy 2000 and the Origins of Lamy Design

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    Default Lamy 2000 and the Origins of Lamy Design

    Lamy 2000 and the Origins of "Lamy Design"
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.

    Introduction
    Lamy 2000 is one of the most recommended pens to new fountain pen users, in part because it is fairly common and relatively inexpensive; because it combines refined design sensibilities, an advanced piston mechanism for taking in and putting out ink, and a gold nib; and because the Lamy firm stands behind their product with an excellent guarantee. Yet, for all the praise it receives, Lamy 2000 is also a divisive pen. It is disparaged for its temperamental nib, its monochrome color scheme, and minute details of its design. This cannot and should not be ignored.

    Because the Lamy 2000 was designed in the mid-1960s, and because Lamy has cultivated an image of design-focused production, there is a certain mystique around the pen and its "Bauhaus" sensibilities. Wishing to learn more about the firm, the pen, and the design tradition from which both emerged, I read widely and put my Lamy 2000 pens to great use in drafting my notes and this article. The result of my activity is before you.


    The Lamy 2000 family, from bottom: Fountain pen, Edition 2000 Fountain Pen, 2012 Lamy 2000M fountain pen, Edition 2000 ballpoint, ballpoint, 4-in-1 ballpoint, mechanical pencil, and rollerball.

    John Siracusa wrote in an essay for Ars Technica that most geeks have a hypercritical inclination "to some degree, even if it's just nitpicking logical or scientific flaws in a favorite TV show or movie. This is actually a skill worth developing…. Maybe you're afraid you don't know enough about anything to trust the validity of your criticism. Putting aside the extremely small likelihood that this is actually true, it shouldn't stop you." The tagline for Siracusa's podcast Hypercritical is "Nothing is so perfect that it cannot be complained about." In this spirit of geek obsession, I present a hypercritical review of the Lamy 2000 line of pens, warts and all. I hope that others with more information, challenges, or corrections to the information presented here will step forward for a lively conversation.

    Part 1 describes the history of the Lamy company, the origins of its design focus, and the design ethos from which Lamy 2000 emerged. Part 2 extends the design review by describing the pen's construction materials and its weights and measurements. Part 3 describes the main component parts of the Lamy 2000 and some discussion on recurrent problems. Part 4 describes the steps necessary to completely take apart the Lamy 2000 fountain pen. Part 5 briefly describes each product in the Lamy 2000 line, from the ubiquitous standard fountain pen to the high-end limited edition models. The conclusion brings it all together.


    Part One: Lamy company history, the origins of Lamy Design, and the ethos of Lamy 2000 style
    The first member of the Lamy 2000 series, the fountain pen, was introduced in 1966, a transitional period for writing instruments in general and the Lamy firm in particular. In the mid-1960s, Lamy found itself in need of a breakout hit. Its Lamy 27 model of the mid-1950s was a success, but they sought a new product to increase sales and demonstrate to the industry that it was not a one-hit-wonder. Prior to the launch of the Lamy 2000 in 1966, Lamy was something of a forgettable pen company. Lamy's genesis is with C. Josef Lamy, a representative in Heidelberg of the Parker Pen Company. In 1930 he launched his own company to sell pens under the Orthos and Artus brands. He struggled through World War II (producing munitions and pens in the same factory), later to relaunch the company as C. Josef Lamy GmbH in 1948. Lamy’s first notable product was the Lamy 27, which was most excellently reviewed by FPN member MYU in “The Lamy 27 - Contender to the Parker 51.”

    In 1962, Dr. Manfred Lamy, son of the company's founder, joined the firm as marketing manager. From the start, he worked to address the problem that Lamy lacked a consistent or distinctive design. Dr. Lamy's project was to craft a "Lamy Design" vocabulary, which took shape in development of the Lamy 2000 project (source). To do so, Lamy contracted the pen design to a leader in the industrial design space, Gerd A. Müller of the venerable Braun design powerhouse. At the time this was a risky proposition, but with the benefit of hindsight, we know that it paid off--and how. Indeed, it worked so well that a key tenet of "Lamy Design" that stands to the present is to rely on the skills and talents of key design figures, first with Müller and the Lamy 2000 (and later the CP1, ST, and Unic), then Wolfgang Fabian and the Lamy Safari/Al-Star, and up to the present with Franco Clivo and the Pico and Dialog 3 (more on Clivo in a bit). Although market research and surveys indicated the Lamy 2000 would do well with “successful, middle aged men, who were image conscious, but tended towards understatement,” Lamy was to see overwhelmingly positive responses to and demand for the new pen. The rest is history: the 2000 has been in demand since 1966, remains in continuous production, and sits as the flagship of Lamy’s lineup (source).

    The Lamy 2000 represented more than just a successful product: it laid the foundation for Lamy's long-term success as a company. The company proudly boasts, “in 1966 the distinctive style of Lamy Design was born with the LAMY 2000” (source). Lamy does not offer an explanation or guiding statement of what Lamy Design actually *is*, but they do make the following claims on its corporate information website.

    Design, quality and ‘Made in Germany’ are the pillars of the Lamy corporate strategy. These are underpinned by the actively lived Lamy corporate culture.
    • Customer-oriented: We focus on the needs of the customer.
    • Creative: We are prepared to create change and have the courage to try something new every day.
    • Cooperative: We act cooperatively internally and externally. We see ourselves as a high-performance community – based on mutual trust and respect. (source)

    Highest quality in technology, processing and material is self-evident in Lamy products. Lamy writing instruments make a clear statement: ‘best value for money’ (source). Our products are self-contained and succinct. By tradition they embody the Bauhaus principle of functional design: ‘form follows function’. [Note: emphasis added] This approach makes Lamy products unmistakable style icons and the name Lamy a quintessential brand (source). Lamy writing instruments embody the best German design tradition and engineering art. They stand out by virtue of innovation, reliability, restraint and status which does not relate to luxury but to intelligence (source).
    Let’s unpack some of these phrases, beginning with “the tradition of the Bauhaus principle of functional design” and the “form follows function” maxim that dates to Louis Sullivan's Chicago skyscrapers. I believe that in doing so we see that Lamy makes a genuine claim to its Bauhaus pedigree.




    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.
    Last edited by brandonh; August 16th, 2012 at 07:30 PM.

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    Part One, ctd: Bauhaus, Ulm, Braun, and Lamy
    The Bauhaus Design School emerged in a broken Germany and dramatically changed world at the conclusion of World War I, an event called “a catastrophe of world history” by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius (source). In an age of mechanical reproduction, Bauhaus teachers and students sought to unite old-world craftsmanship with new technical (and technological) advances. They took inspiration from the Arts and Crafts movement's emphasis on function in use, minimalism in design, and especially craftsmanship in production. Bauhaus revolutionized design in favoring modernism, production, practicality, form, and function. Gropius's founding vision for the Bauhaus is excerpted below.

    “Bauhaus Manifesto and Program,” Walter Gropius, 1919 (source)

    Aims of the Bauhaus
    The Bauhaus strives to bring together all creative effort into one whole, to reunify all the disciplines of practical art-sculpture, painting, handicrafts, and the crafts-as inseparable components of a new architecture. The ultimate, if distant, aim of the Bauhaus is the unified work of art-the great structure-in which there is no distinction between monumental and decorative art.

    The Bauhaus wants to educate architects, painters, and sculptors of all levels, according to their capabilities, to become competent craftsmen or independent creative artists and to form a working community of leading and future artist-craftsmen. These men, of kindred spirit, will know how to design buildings harmoniously in their entirety-structure, finishing, ornamentation, and furnishing.

    Principles of the Bauhuas
    • Art rises above all methods; in itself it cannot be taught, but the crafts certainly can be. Architects, painters, and sculptors are craftsmen in the true sense of the word; hence, a thorough training in the crafts, acquired in workshops and in experimental and practical sites, is required of all students as the indispensable basis for all artistic production. Our own workshops are to be gradually built up, and apprenticeship agreements with outside workshops will be concluded.
    • The school is the servant of the workshop, and will one day be absorbed in it. Therefore there will be no teachers or pupils in the Bauhaus but masters, journeymen, and apprentices.
    • The manner of teaching arises from the character of the workshop: Organic forms developed from manual skills.
    • Avoidance of all rigidity; priority of creativity; freedom of individuality, but strict study discipline.
    • Master and journeyman examinations, according to the Guild Statutes, held before the Council of Masters of the Bauhaus or before outside masters.
    • Collaboration by the students in the work of the masters. Securing of commissions, also for students.
    • Constant contact with the leaders of the crafts and industries of the country. Contact with public life, with the people, through exhibitions and other activities.
    Bauhaus design is popularly reduced to "form follows function" or "function in design." Yet these phrases do not do nearly enough to explain the impact and design philosophy of the Bauhaus. In fact, the school went through many evolutions in its brief history so it is utterly reductionistic--sloppy, lazy, wrongminded--to think of Bauhaus as a single approach, philosophy, or design ethic. Bauhaus began with an expressionist period in which Wassily Kandnsky created the "ABCs" of Bauhaus style and design: study of primary colors and the basic shapes of circle, square, and triangle. In the middle period, the emphasis shifted to function over form and the Bauhaus aesthetic focused on experiments in industrialization of designed products; this change was brought on by the need to economically sustain the school. Here, "functionality" is taken to mean both the functioning of the product itself, but also the function of its production on a large scale--the first inklings of "industrial design" later to be popularized by firms such as Braun and Lamy. Toward the end of the life of the school, the Bauhaus returned to the founding vision of Gropius by shifting from art to architecture and focused on homes and household items. A publicly-funded school, the Bauhaus felt the strain of political pressure as its budget was set by local municipalities. Bauhaus was twice forced to move. Ultimately, in 1932 the Nazi Party raided and shut down the school. (Sources: Bauhaus Archive Berlin, 1999; Bauhaus: Less is More, 2005)


    Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School, 1928; Gerd A. Müller working on the Lamy 2000 design, n.d..
    Photo credits: Associated Press, Berlin Bauhaus-Archiv; Lamy Archives


    Given the chronology of the establishment of Josef Lamy's firm in Heidelberg in 1930 and the dissolution of the politically- and creatively-restricted Bauhaus in early 1932, it is unlikely that the two intersected. In light of this, I contend that the design of the Lamy 2000—-and “Lamy Design” writ large-—is more directly linked to the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG, Ulm School of Design, or simply “Ulm”), which followed in the tradition of the Bauhaus. (In fact, a very direct link is found in the Lamy Pico and Lamy Dialog 3, designed by Ulm graduate Franco Clivo.) The first rector of HfG/Ulm was Max Bill*, a graduate of the Bauhuas, and many of the faculty and guest lecturers were former Bauhaus faculty or graduates. (*Watch fans will recognize Bill's classic wristwatch designs for Junghans.) Active from 1953-1968, Ulm emphasized artistic creation, industrial design, and “operations science.” Further, Ulm formed design partnerships in industry, most notably at Braun and Lufthansa. Following the death of Braun founder Max Braun in late 1951, his sons Artur and Erwin were particularly interested in modernizing the company's image and design (source). By 1954, Braun collaborated with Ulm faculty, students, and graduates under the leadership of the firm’s designer Dieter Rams.

    Gerd Alfred Müller, who would go on to design the Lamy 2000, was in the first class of industrial designers hired by Artur and Erwin Braun (source). Rams and Müller were close collaborators at the height of Braun design in the late-'50s to early-'60s. Rams oversaw Braun's audio development and left home products and appliances to Müller. Their design ethics informed principles of the "good design movement", principles that Müller would bring to bear a few short years later in crafting the Lamy 2000 and inaugurating “LAMY Design.” These design principles are perhaps best articulated in Dieter Rams's "Ten Principles of 'Good Design'". The principles most closely related to Lamy Design are quoted below.

    Rams's Ten Principles of "Good Design"
    • Good Design Is Innovative— The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
    • Good Design Makes a Product Useful—A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
    • Good Design Is Aesthetic—The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
    • Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail—Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer. (source)
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.

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    Part One, ctd: Müller design for Braun and Lamy
    Two design cues from Müller’s work at Braun were translated into his design on the Lamy 2000: an affinity for sleek curves and the use of metal and plastic. Two examples of Müller’s work for Braun are showcased below: the KM 3 “kitchen machine” and SM 31 “shaving machine.” Why include pictures and descriptions of razors and kitchen appliances in a review about a fountain pen? I do so because Müller's design work provides an important connection from Bauhaus (1919-1930) to Ulm (1953-1968), Ulm to Braun (mid-1950s), Braun to Müller (late 1950s), and Müller to Lamy (1966 for Lamy 2000, 1974 for Lamy CP1, and 1984 for Lamy Unic).

    Images from design website www.dasprogramm.org.
    Braun KM 3, 1957, G.A. Müller (source)


    Braun DL5, 1957 and Sixtant SM3, 1963, G.A. Müller (source)
    The curve on the back of the mixer is referenced in the body curve of the Lamy 2000 barrel. Additionally, the pen and mixer share similar internal proportions: the top third of the KM3 is in proportion to the nib and metal section of the Lamy 2000; the middle third of the mixer is in proportion to the pen’s barrel from section to body curve; and the bottom third of the mixer is in proportion to the remaining body of the pen. To again quote Rams’ Ten Principles of 'Good Design', “The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being…. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained.” The aesthetic qualities of curve and internal proportion are illustrated below.


    Design consistencies in Müller’s work for the Braun KM3 and the Lamy 2000.

    Another design cue Müller carried forward from Braun to Lamy is the similar portion of metal to plastic in the razor and the pen. The similarity is striking and the implication is clear: in each product, the “business” end is constructed of metal (shaving foil, nib and grip section) and the plastic body conceals the inner workings (electronics and power supply; ink chamber and filling mechanism). To directly quote Rams’ “good design” principles, this design choice concentrates on essential aspects that "emphasize the usefulness of [the] product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.”


    Comparing the stainless steel and plastic of the SM31 razor to the Lamy 2000. Pen and razor sizes not to scale.

    Lamy 2000 and the Museum of Modern Art
    I would be remiss if I did not address the Lamy/MoMA connection. Lamy claims that, "The Lamy 2000 is so revered that it is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art and has won countless design awards" (source). This MoMA connection has become part of the Lamy 2000 narrative. While three of Müller's pieces appear in the Museum of Modern Art's Design and Architecture collection, none are on permanent display, and none is the Lamy 2000. In fact, there is no reference to Lamy 2000 in the extensive online collection database. Only three pens appear to be in the MoMA archive only and not on display: the Aurora Hastil (the only fountain pen), the infamous Bic Cristal ballpoint pen, and a Platinum Z ballpoint and mechanical pencil set. Perhaps it is possible that Lamy 2000 appeared in a MoMA showcase of writing instruments and the story became conflated over time. I want to believe, but without further support I cannot confirm the veracity of Lamy's claim. At the time of writing, the MoMA Archive is closed to the public and inquiries for the month of August.

    Closing thoughts on Lamy Design
    MoMA display or no, it is clear that in Müller's "good design" sensibilities and Manfred Lamy's vision for the future of the firm were realized in the Lamy 2000. The success of the pen transformed Lamy from a stagnant, middling pen company to a powerhouse, design-focused firm that stays strong today. Today Lamy produces 97% of its parts and assembles all of its pens in-house at their campus in Heidelberg. Of the "big three" German firms--Lamy, Montblanc, and Pelikan--Lamy alone remains family- and German-owned. Time and profit have shown that Lamy's and Müller's collaborative experiment paid off. The firm credits Müller for "[providing] the company with the initial impetus for its new design style," an "inspiring exchange of view between independent creative spirits and in-house employees who work in the area of design" that has grown to encompass "other product designers and design studios" (source). This commitment is seen in the work of internationally-renowned designers across the range of Lamy products. Manfred Lamy's vision for Lamy Design took root in 1966 and continues to thrive to the present day.


    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.
    Last edited by brandonh; August 16th, 2012 at 07:08 PM.

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    Default Part 2: Lamy 2000 materials, measurements, and production

    Part 2: Lamy 2000 materials, measurements, and production

    Lamy 2000 materials
    The previous section gave some history of Lamy, Lamy Design, and the design history and ethos that informed the creation of the Lamy 2000. Understanding the design concept and vocabulary is only one half of understanding industrial design, however. From Bauhaus to Ulm and Braun to Lamy, the "form follows function" and "simplicity in design" values were brought to bear on the object itself, but they are just as important in the construction and production process by which the objects are created. Lamy is in the business of producing fine writing instruments, and in order to do so, they employ production techniques that maximize profit. Perhaps the most prominent firm to employ aesthetics, functionality, and production in their industrial design is Apple. (Sidebar: If you are interested in analysis of business and operations at Apple, I highly recommend Horace Dediu's blog Asymco and podcast The Critical Path. If you are interested in the design influence of Dieter Rams and Braun on Jony Ive and Apple, see here, here, here, and here).

    Fiberglass-reinforced Makrolon
    The slightly rugged Makrolon polycarbonate stands out. I contend that Müller's and Lamy's choice of Makrolon for the Lamy 2000 body was a carefully considered decision, influenced by Müller's education and professional pedigree. Knowing what we do of Bauhaus, Ulm, Rams's "good design" principles, and Lamy Design, it is probable that Müller's choice was in the spirit of "technological development… offering new opportunities for innovative design" (Rams).

    Chances are you've handled Makrolon or polycarbonate even if you haven't handled a Lamy 2000. Polycarbonate is everywhere. Remember Apollo astronauts? Their helmets and visors were polycarbonate. Clear LEGO pieces? Polycarbonate. Ice hockey stand shields? Nalgene bottle? Safety "glass"? CDs, DVDs, car headlight assemblies, industrial equipment, medical devices, riot shields, fire alarm pulls, lightweight eyewear, aircraft windows and canopies, ad nauseam: all polycarbonate.

    The producer of Makrolon, Bayer, gives this description: "Makrolon® is the trade name used for the polycarbonate from Bayer MaterialScience. It is an amorphous, thermoplastic molding compound noted for its high light transmission, high heat resistance, high toughness, high creep modulus, high dimensional stability and good electrical insulation properties. Glass fiber reinforced Makrolon® has a particularly high rigidity, coupled with very good dimensional stability" (source). The first formulations of polycarbonate were developed simultaneously in 1953: Makrolon by Bayer in Germany and Lexan by GE in the United States. As the lore goes, Makrolon's patent application beat Lexan's by only one week; GE licensed rights to develop polycarbonate from Bayer.

    Rather than thinking of Makrolon as one discrete product, imagine it as a suite of very similar products. It can be extruded into rods and cylinders, extruded into sheets, or used in pellet form for injection molding. One engineering materials database lists 132 grades of Makrolon, of which 17 are glass reinforced at anywhere from 5- to 30-percent. Although it is not clear which grade is used in the production of Lamy 2000 pens, we can nevertheless observe how this polycarbonate material shapes and affects the Lamy 2000's construction and use.

    Makrolon and the Lamy 2000 in use
    First and foremost, the Makrolon Lamy 2000 is a durable pen. In my own experience, I find it to be forgiving of my rough-and-tumble pen habits. Lesser pens of mine haven't fared as well. The first day I owned a Lamy 2000, I accidentally dropped it out a (slow-)moving car's window. When I retrieved it, there was minimal damage to the top of the cap end that easily buffed out. Amazing! Although fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate sounds like tough stuff (and it is), know that polycarbonates are susceptible to dings and scratches just like any other pen material. As fun as it is to think the pen is bulletproof, be sensible and treat the Lamy 2000 as you would any other fine writing instrument. You especially can't beat chemistry. Lamy 2000 Makrolon does not play well with acetone, paint thinner, and some variants of ammonia. I know from experience (sadly) that acetone will chemically ruin the finish of a Lamy 2000. See here for a useful list of products to avoid.


    Brand new on top, one-year-old in middle, three-years-old on bottom.


    Close-up of above:matted and new, polishing in progress after a year, and polished at three-year mark.

    Müller and Lamy surely knew polycarbonate picks up scratches. Brand new Lamys 2000 come with a brushed matte finish. I suppose the thinking is a user will slowly wear away the brushed ridges through use and thus minimize the visibility of microscratches. If the pen came polished, these scratches would be visible all the sooner. And the trick works! I purchased a new Lamy 2000 fountain pen for this review and I was surprise at how fresh it looked compared to my now-shabby-in-comparison years-old pen.

    This gradual wearing away of the brushed ridges results in a patina-like polish (figuratively, not literally or chemically). It is conceivable that one could polish to gloss a new Lamy 2000 or buff to matte an older Lamy 2000 depending on the compound and tool used in the job. I have buffed out small scratches from the body by using a four-sided nail polisher (the same as can be used for nib smoothing--NOT a nail buffing stick). If you endeavor such a task, buff with the length of the pen such that you are going with the brushed finish, not across it.


    Brand new mechanical pencil next to ~25-year-old pencil. Older pencil has a high-gloss finish where the new pencil is noticeably matted.

    Lamy itself gives us a clue as to just how shiny the Makrolon can get. On brand new fountain pen and rollerball caps, the topmost portion of the cap is a stud that screws in place to hold the inner cap assembly and to secure the clip. This stud is polished to a high gloss on the top surface and is left matte on the sides.


    Polished cap-end stud and matte sides.

    At the 2012 Miami Pen Show, Bob Nurin of Lamy USA explained to me that each pen is hand polished after assembly. This ensures that the finishing on the three fitted parts--nib section, body, and piston knob--have a uniform brushed streaking. This appears to be the case with the stainless steel models, as well. As a result, it is hard to see the "seam" between the piston knob and body (the nib section and body joint is similarly concealed, but more noticeable on account of the cap clutch ring).



    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.
    Last edited by brandonh; August 16th, 2012 at 07:15 PM.

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    Part Two, ctd: Some downsides of Makrolon
    I'll leave it to you to decide if Lamy 2000 polishing through use is a good thing or a bad thing. I think we can agree that burping ink, cracked caps, and cracked front sections are decidedly *not* desirable, though, and these imperfections are a result, in part, of the use of Makrolon.

    Ink burping
    I've noticed in years of use that Lamy 2000 pens nominally retain body heat. I can't verify that, but many anecdotal comments say the pen "warms up" during use. On a hot or sunny day, I've had a Lamy 2000 burp ink from the breather hole under the nib. I have a memory of grading a set of papers on a glorious spring morning in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, a morning that was sullied by too-warm Lamy 2000 that let loose a goodly amount of ink. Darn! For that reason, I pick another pen for field work, rightly or wrongly so. Still, this is not to say that the pen heats up like an electronic device; you won't burn yourself on a Lamy 2000.




    Ink burps out of the breather hole, collects in cap, and gets on the section. Gross.

    Cap cracking
    There is anecdotal evidence that the Makrolon in original Lamy 2000s can develop cracks, especially on the thinner cap. This is in part because of the thing retainer ring on the inside of the cap that receives the cap clutch ring ("nubs" or "ears" in popular parlance); when subjected to pressure and stress, the ring may cause cracks in the thin portion of the Makrolon.

    Section stress cracks
    Another area where stress cracks can form in older models is just "below" the threading on the Makrolon ring of the nib section. Fortunately Lamy is not one to rest on tradition and laurels alone. The photo below illustrates a subtle but significant design update in the Lamy 2000 front section. In new and old Lamy 2000 models, the male end of the section joint sits at the tip of the pen barrel and is bored out to receive the ink feed when the pen is assembled. In the previous design, the barrel mated with the female portion of the joint threads on the inside of the nib section; these threads were machined from Makrolon.



    In the current design of the Lamy 2000, updated in 2009, the female section joint threads are now made of metal. As a result, the Makrolon ring is simply decorative. Not only does this relieve a great amount of stress on the section, it prevents the potential for ink leakage from the section. One easy way to tell if your pen benefits from the redesign is to look at the breather hole. If your breather hole is set into shiny metal, you have the new design. If you have a breather hole that is set into black plastic, you have an older model. Should your pen develop a crack as mine did, it is a simple fix through Lamy customer support that is covered under the pen's warranty.


    Stainless steel
    The Lamy 2000 line features brushed stainless steel as peanut butter to Makrolon's chocolate. It is found in two places: the clip and the front section. Both of these elements have undergone subtle but important changes over the years.

    According to Lamy, the 2000 fountain pen was the first to feature a solid stainless steel clip: there "was no precedent for this procedure, which would create an even surface of both stainless steel and plastic. In this way we created products whose almost unique character was due to the high degree of manual craftsmanship required." (Source). I assume the “manual craftsmanship” refers to loading the small spring in the clip housing and fitting the clip onto the cap.


    Lamy 2000 clips, unmounted. Note the differences at the clip end and clip base.

    The spring-loaded clips of the Lamy 2000 line appear to be identical, but there are slight variations. The fountain pen and rollerball share the same clip; the mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, and 4-in-1 pen share a shorter, slightly more tapered clip. In the present iteration, all clips are of a solid construction. Early versions have a half ball-bearing at the end of the clip. (Based on my examples, there are variances in the size of the ball.) Clips of today have the “LAMY” brand name inscribed on the side of the clip at the place it meets the barrel. Fun fact: this is the only branding visible on the regular line of Lamy 2000 pens. (Early versions had the pen name and country of origin heat stamped on the black Makrolon.)

    Other differences over time include a newer, slightly curved inside clip base to better fit against the retaining clip and slot on the pen barrel, as opposed to the flat clip base of yore. Recent pen clips are imprinted "GERMANY 1" or "GERMANY 2"; these numbers do not have any significance other than to indicate the cavity die (see Fountain Pen Network for more). Oddball clips have surfaced with just "Germany" or "W. Germany." I have one of the latter on a two-year-old pen, well after reunification!


    The standard Lamy 2000s are brushed, whereas the special edition fountain pens and ballpoint pens are polished or matte.


    No clip imprint on early models. LAMY imprint on the current lineup current. No imprint on special edition Lamys 2000.

    Stainless steel section
    The stainless steel section is the other conspicuous stainless steel element. It serves two purposes. First, it is the target grip area and suggests the nib end as the business end. Second, it houses the partially-covered nib, breather hole, and ink feed.


    Stainless steel nib section units, illustrating breather holes: standard edition, standard revised edition, and 2012 stainless steel edition.


    The only nonfunctional ornamentation on a Lamy 2000: the stainless steel disc at the bottom of the piston knob.


    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.
    Last edited by brandonh; August 16th, 2012 at 07:17 PM.

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    Part 2, ctd: Weight and measure
    Here's a rundown of weight and measure. Length taken by digital caliper accurate to 0.00mm / 0.000in. Weight taken by digital kitchen food scale to whole gram and 0.0oz. Consider all measurements amateur, although these seem consistent with other measurements recorded in various reviews. Neither lamy.com nor lamyusa.com list weight and measure on the Lamy 2000 product pages.

    Lamy 2000 standard edition fountain pen, purchased new July 2012
    • Length capped: 138.5mm / 5.45in
    • Length uncapped: 123.9mm / 4.875in
    • Length posted: 153.45mm / 6.04in
    • Total pen weight: 25g / 0.9oz
    • Body weight: 17g / 0.6oz
    • Cap weight: 9g / 0.3oz


    Lamy Edition 2000 (millennium stainless steel)
    • Length capped: 138.5mm / 5.45in
    • Length uncapped: 123.9mm / 4.875in
    • Length posted: I don't post this pen!
    • Total pen weight: 43g / 1.5oz
    • Body weight: 26g / 0.9oz (same as standard edition whole pen weight)
    • Cap weight: 18g / 0.6oz (same as standard edition uncapped body weight)


    Lamy 2000 stainless steel edition (2012), purchased new July 2012
    • Length capped: 138.5mm / 5.45in
    • Length uncapped: 123.9mm / 4.875in
    • Length posted: I don't post this pen!
    • Total pen weight: 54g / 1.9oz (more than double whole standard edition pen weight)
    • Body weight: 34g / 1.2oz
    • Cap weight: 20g / 0.7oz (almost the same as the standard edition whole pen weight)


    And because numbers alone don't say much, here is the Lamy 2000 next to a few of my favorite Lamy pens…


    Lamy 2000 size comparison, capped. L to R: Lamy 2000, Lamy Studio, Lamy Safari, and Lamy Al-Star.


    Lamy 2000 size comparison, uncapped.


    Lamy 2000 size comparison, posted.

    …and other comparable pens.


    Lamy 2000 size comparison, capped. L to R: Montblanc 146, Pelikan M605, Lamy 2000, Parker "51" Aero, Aurora 88 Archivi Storici 022.


    Lamy 2000 size comparison, uncapped.


    Lamy 2000 size comparison, posted.

    Lamy 2000 in production
    I did some back of the envelope mathematics to come to a circumspect estimate of the time it takes to produce a Lamy 2000, from raw material to store-ready final product: ~6m 11s. This takes great liberties, of course: not every Lamy pen is as complicated to produce as the Lamy 2000, a single employee does not participate in every step of the production and assembly process, and we do not know the labor conditions of the factory or the work habits of the shift crews.

    • Lamy states that 100% of their pens are produced in Germany and 97% of their components are produced in-house in Heidleberg. This includes production of all nibs, injection molded plastic components, barrels, and clips. (source)
    • Lamy states that 370 people are employed by the firm and 2/3 work in production, or ~247 employees work in production (source). If we assume that Lamy runs three eight-hour shifts a day, 365 days a year, that averages to 82.3 employees per shift.
    • Lamy produces ~7m writing instruments annually (source), or ~19,178.08 pens a day, or ~6,392.694 pens per shift.
    • 6,392.69 pens per shift, made by 82.3 employees per shift, comes out to ~77.675 pens produced per person per shift. In an eight-hour (480 minute) shift, that means each pen takes roughly six minutes eleven seconds to produce.


    ~7,000,000 pens per yr ÷ 365 days a year = 19,178.08 pens per day
    19,178.08 pens per day ÷ 3 shifts = 6,392.694 pens per shift
    370 employees * 2/3 in production = 247 in production, ÷ 3 shifts = ~82.3 employees per shift
    6,392.694 pens per shift ÷ 480 minutes per shift ÷ 82.3 employees per shift = 00:06:11 per pen per employee per shift.

    Here's a simplified version of what's involved in the production of the Lamy 2000 in those six minutes:

    • "Raw" Makrolon is machined into component parts: piston knob, pen barrel, section ring, cap, and cap top stud.
    • Inner cap components are produced and fitted together.
    • Stainless steel clip is cast; spring is loaded into clip housing, inner cap components are inserted in cap, and cap stud is screwed in place for final cap assembly.
    • 14k gold nib is pressed and formed, tipped, nib slit is cut, ink feed is injection molded, nib is fitted on feed, and o-ring seal is placed on feed.
    • Stainless steel front section is machined. Nib assembly is fitted into front section. Cap clutch ring is fitted in place, and front section is screwed to pen body.
    • Piston mechanism components are produced and fitted together. Piston head and chamber walls are lubricated. Piston is fitted in to pen body.
    • Pen receives hand-polished brushed Makrolon treatment.
    • Pen goes through quality control to be inked, nib is tested and smoothed, ink is emptied.
    • Pen is loaded into a plastic sleeve pouch and placed in presentation box, presentation box is placed in an outer cardboard sleeve and labeled with production sticker, and the final pen is conveyed to warehouse for distribution.


    Given the amount of complexity and hand-finishing required in the product of the Lamy 2000, it is a wonder that there are not more quality control issues. Here's a video that shows the production process of an Aurora. Not the same as our Lamy 2000, but too good to pass up...




    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.

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    Part 3. Putting it all together: Lamy 2000 components
    This portion of the article describes the major internal and external Lamy components that deliver and protect the writing experience: the front section, which houses the nib, ink feed, and ink breather hole; the piston filling system; and the ink window.

    Front section
    The front section comprises the outer housing grip section, the breather hole, the nib, the ink feed, an o-ring, and a metal cap clutch ring. This is where the action occurs: ink is drawn in through the breather hole on the underside of the section. It passes through the feed past a small "neck" and into the piston chamber. Emptying the pen reverses the process. The front section is also the place where trouble is most likely to occur in a Lamy 2000 fountain pen. Fortunately, Müller and Lamy designed the 2000 so that all of the major components can easily be disassembled. In recent years the firm has strengthened the areas most susceptible to problems: leaks around the breather hole (which is now all metal) and leaks around the section/body joint (which now has metal threads).

    The front section has undergone modest but important improvements in its lifetime, as befitting a pen and a firm dedicated to functionality. KMPN, an occasional FPN poster, has a very nice pen blog and has devoted a few posts to historical details on the Lamy 2000. It is an invaluable resource. In particular, I would draw your attention to this entry, which compares, among other things, slight differences in the Lamy 2000 front section across time. Another good resource is here (although it is written in Japanese, the pictures are instructive). FPN member hari317 recently compared a 1966-era Lamy 2000 to a newer Lamy 2000.


    Early models have a slightly elongated breather hole cover and the nib size indicator stamped on the Makrolon ring.

    The current and previous generations of the front section are pictured below. The most significant changes in this iteration are (1) the introduction of an all-metal breather hole and (2 )the transition from Makrolon to metal female threading in the section joint. The previous breather hole was made of plastic. It fitted in to the metal section with one-way tabs. On the rare occasion of a flaw in part or assembly, or due to damage, ink could leak out of the seam where the plastic meets metal.



    The second major revision, the new metal threading in the section, alleviates tension when screwing the section and barrel back together. In the older section, the receiving (female) threads were Makrolon. Tension here over time could cause cracking, as described above. The new section has a Makrolon ring that is purely cosmetic.

    New metal threading.





    The nib
    The Lamy 2000 fountain pen is fitted with a semi-hooded, platinum finished 14 kt gold nib. The following sizes are available to the US market: extra fine (EF)*, fine (F), medium (M), and broad (B)(source); the international market has the same sizes and adds extra broad (BB), oblique medium (OM), oblique broad (OB), and oblique extra broad (OBB)(source). (*Call me old-fashioned, but I like that Lamy uses EF, not XF, to denote extra fine nibs.) Lamy is among a minority of fountain pen brands in that it produces nibs in-house. The pictures below show how the nib is fitted on to the ink feed. You will notice that the size of the nib is significantly smaller compared to traditional nib systems.


    Hooded and semi-hooded fountain pens: Pilot VP, Lamy 2000, Parker "51" aero, and vintage Aurora 88

    This nib design goes back to the Lamy 27 of the 1950s. In fact, the late Lamy 27s and early Lamy 2000s shared the same nib and feed assembly. Early nibs had a slightly elongated breather hole. Until recently, 2000 nibs did not have a size stamp on the nib (in early 2000s, the size was heat stamped on the Makrolon portion of the section). 18 kt gold nibs on earlier versions of the Lamy 2000 are not uncommon.

    Can we please, pretty-please put to bed the idea that Lamy 2000 nibs are flexible? They are soft, they are springy, and they exhibit some line variation with pressure, but they are not flexible nibs. Just because the tines spread apart with pressure does not mean they were designed to do so. Look at the Lamy website. Do you see anything there that boasts of the Lamy 2000 having a flexible nib? I don't. And until Lamy says they sell flex nibs in the Lamy 2000, you aren't allowed to either. I will feel no pity for you if you spring the tines of the nib. Humbug.




    Nib, feed, and ink collector on Lamy 2000, Lamy Safari, and Pelikan M215.

    Writing size
    In my experience, the gold nib of Lamy 2000 pens runs wider than the stainless steel nib of the Lamy Safari and Al-Star. I've never been able to tell the difference between a Lamy 2000 Extra Fine and Fine nib, and that tends to be the case with Safari as well. Frequent chatter on Lamy 2000 nibs decry wide writing nibs, scratchy nibs, poor flow, or too much flow.

    Wide writing nibs: I have a hunch that some of the chatter about wide writing nibs can be traced to the fact that the Lamy 2000 is often recommended to beginning fountain pen enthusiasts who do not have much experience with different brands and nib varieties. On the face of it, European pens tend to run a little wide and Asian pens tend to run a little narrow. I suspect that users coming from the world of rollerballs, ballpoints, and mechanical pencils have a different expectation of what fine means. Getting a fountain pen to write as narrow as common gel pens often requires a nib customization.

    The only trouble with making the argument that "German nibs run wide" is that it's not true! Lamy itself was once capable of producing not only a wonderfully smooth extra fine nib, but a gold one, to boot! I purchased a NOS Lamy 81 that came with an EF nib sticker on the pen barrel. It writes magnificently. I do not understand why Lamy can't make consistent extra fine nibs across its range of pens. I really am baffled.


    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.
    Last edited by brandonh; August 16th, 2012 at 07:20 PM.

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    Part 3, ctd: Other nib foibles
    As to the other troubles of flow, scratchiness, and whatnot, there is, again, no very good excuse. If you are in the business of making fine writing instruments, your customer expects a pen that is fine. These troubles are not endemic to Lamy. These troubles affect all the major brands, and it's just not possible to produce perfect pens all the time.

    What should you do if you get a dud?

    If you simply can't be fussed, return the pen to the merchant. If they refuse, take it up with your bank or credit card.

    If you want the pen to work, but lack the motivation or skills to tinker with it yourself, take advantage of Lamy's warranty. Look up the contact information of your nearest Lamy service center.

    Lamy USA c/o Filofax, Inc.
    372 Danbury Road
    Suite 171
    Wilton, CT 06897
    1-800-345-6798, ext. 0
    lamy@filofaxinc.com

    Canada c/o LSF Trading Ltd.
    300 Trowers Rd., Unit #2
    Woodbridge, ON
    L4L 5Z9
    (905)264-2034
    lsftrading@bellnet.ca

    Europe
    C. Josef Lamy GmbH
    Repair-Center
    D-69111 Heidelberg
    e-mail contact: http://www.lamy.com/content/services...index_eng.html

    Australia
    China
    Japan
    Mexico
    Taiwan
    Thailand

    If you want the pen to work and you don't mind doing a bit of work yourself, the best place to start is with a flush of water. Just water. No dishwashing soap, no ammonia, no solutions, just water. You don't want to break down the grease on the piston knob. I purchased a new Lamy 2000 size Fine for this review. I inked it up and was disappointed that it had poor flow and a scratchy nib. I stuck with it, and by the time I'd finished my first piston of ink, it was performing like a champ. Those first few pages were a real test, though. Some letters would be very fat and others very thin. If you can't stick it out like I did, flush with water.

    If water doesn't fix your trouble, examine the nib. Somehow it became popular to think writing a few figure-eights and circles would help smooth a nib. If you have a scratchy nib, you probably have a misaligned nib. No amount of doodling on a bag is going to to set it right.

    Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company has a wonderful article on his five steps for tuning a nib (link). The first half of the article is a description of steel nibs, but for our purposes you want to pay attention about halfway down. A summary of his process is below:

    1. Look at the tines from the front. Is one tine higher than the other? Are the tines touching or is there a gap?
    2. Look at the tines from the top to examine the nib slit.
    3. Look the nib from the side to see the gap between nib and feed.
    4. Look at the back of the nib to see how the nib is set on the feed.
    5. Ink it up and write with it!


    Richard Binder's website RichardsPens.com has a treasure trove of information on nibs and performance. His three part series on nibs should be required reading -- Part I: The Basics, Part II: Beyond the Basics with Specialty Nibs, and Part III: Flex vs Italic. Also noteworthy are articles on tuning and hitting the sweet spot.

    As a last resort, you can send your Lamy 2000 to a repair technician or nibmeister.

    A last word on nibs
    All of the above makes it seem like every Lamy 2000 nib is going to be shoddy straight out of the box. That's rubbish. Are there occasional quality control issues? Yes. Do people make legitimate complaints about wide-writing pens? Yes. Should someone have to put up with a misaligned or improperly finished nib? Absolutely not. You're much, much more likely to find that your Lamy 2000 is an out and out great writer. After all, it's good enough for Neil Gaiman, who says:

    "My favourite novel-writing pen is probably the Lamy 2000." (Source)

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reprodced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.

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    Part 3, ctd: The piston filling system


    Remarkably, I have little to say about the piston filling system. It's a very simple and mostly foolproof setup in the Lamy 2000. A gasket forms a seal around the inner chamber of the pen body. When the piston knob is activated, a piston rod pushes the gasket up toward the section of the pen, expelling air. Dip the nib in your ink jar, tighten down the piston knob, and let physics do the rest (a vacuum is created that draws ink to the chamber). One nice feature of the Lamy 2000 implementation is the ability of the end user to remove the piston for servicing without the use of tools. More on that in Part 4.

    Video on how to fill a Lamy 2000


    Here's a picture of two recent piston filling mechanisms, with the newest iteration on top. The piston rod on the newest model feels slightly less sturdy than the older clear piston rod, but this is a minor complaint. They both work quite well.



    There are only two real problems that could occur with the Lamy 2000 piston. First, the piston could be stiff. This is simple: wash the pen well with water, unscrew the nib section or unscrew the piston mechanism (instructions below) to expose the gasket, and grease the gasket with a small amount of pure silicone grease. The second problem is a faulty seal, and for this you will need to send the pen to Lamy for a new gasket. It's a straightforward operation to change it out.

    Some people complain that the piston knob feels loose when it is turned. That's the way it's designed. There's nothing we can do about it. If the piston knob is loose when it is tightened down for normal writing, that's an entirely different matter in need of Lamy repair attention.


    Lamy 2000 ink window compared to other piston-filled pens. From top: Aurora 88 Archivi Storici 022, Aurora Optima, Montblanc 146, Pelikan M605, Lamy 2000.


    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.

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    Part 3, ctd: The ink window
    The ink window on the Lamy 2000 fountain pen is vexing: it looks really cool integrated into the body, but it performs so poorly. The window itself is approximately 1/8" in width, clear but divided by four small strips of black Makrolon, and located just "below" the screw-in nib section. When the pen is capped, the ink window is not visible. It is only present on the standard edition Lamy 2000 fountain pen; it is not featured on the Lamy Edition 2000 or the 2012 stainless steel fountain pens. It is perhaps the least functional element on the Lamy 2000.

    Ink window construction
    A notable feature of the ink window construction is that there is no visible seam or joining; if you run your finger across the length of the pen or around the circumference of the ink window, you will feel only a smooth, continuous surface. I have spent a length of time pondering the construction of the window and scouring for clues, but I have not been able to glean any useful insights on how the ink window joins the body. As we know, the body is made of fiberglass-reinforced Makrolon. One engineering materials database lists 132 variants of Makrolon, of which 17 are glass filled at 5 to 30 percent. These are all described as "opaque", "intense black", or "natural (opaque)," so I am confident that at least the ink window is not fiberglass-reinforced Makrolon. There are many formulations of Makrolon that are clear, for use in glasses, goggles, riot shields, automobile headlights, and so on. I am confident that the ink window is Makrolon. Observe the finish on the body in the following illustration to see the brushed effect: it that starts above the ink window and continues over and past it.


    An empty Lamy 2000. Note consistent streaking on the body over the black Makrolon and ink window.

    Some reviewers and users have remarked that ink appears to be in a separate chamber, as seen below. This is an optical distortion of the ink window material. As the ink level lowers, droplets of ink stick to the wall and appear much "closer" than when the pen is fully inked. Further, in removing the front section and inspecting the barrel of the pen, no separate chamber is seen. Finally, if one extends the piston gasket into the viewing area, it too appears much closer to the wall.


    A full ink window. Note the optical distortion that appears to be an ink chamber.


    Comparison of a full (top) and empty ink window.


    Piston gasket in the ink window.


    A look into the barrel—no ink chamber—myth debunked—sorry conspiracy theorists!


    Ink windows of the Lamy 2000 and Lamy 81.

    Ink window in use
    Love it or hate it, this is the ink window we're stuck with, so we might as well get used to it. How does one actually use the ink window? Uncap the pen and hold in front of a light, nib up. If you can see a well illuminated semi-transparent ring at the ink window, your ink level is low. If you can see a dark blob in the middle of the window, you should be fine for many more pages. If you wish to know how much ink you have, rotate the pen so it is horizontal and the ink will level off.




    The ink window on the Lamy 2000M and Lamy Edition 2000 is just as useful as the ink window on the FPN Stipula Etruria, zing.


    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Brandon Hollingshead, August 2012, for The Fountain Pen Network and is reproduced here with permission of the author. This license extends to all text, images, and videos associated with this work.
    Last edited by brandonh; August 16th, 2012 at 07:23 PM.

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    Part 4. Tearing it all down: Lamy 2000 disassembly


    One of the things that is so nice about the Lamy 2000 is its ability to be completely field stripped without the use of tools (unless you want to take apart the cap, in which case you'll need to make use of a slender dowel). Let's jump right in to written and visual instructions for complete disassembly.

    Video: Field strip a Lamy 2000


    Steps to disassemble the cap


    1. For the love of Gerd do not attempt to use pliers to unscrew the cap. Doing so will leave wonderful marks on the top of the cap but it will do nothing to loosen the cap stud. The stud screws into a small brass sleeve. You need a probing tool to put pressure on the brass sleeve so that it does not rotate when you unscrew the cap stud. I use a blunted bamboo skewer, but any small rod will do (chopstick, knitting needle, computer spudger). You may need some force to get the stud to unscrew the first time. If it feels like you are unscrewing forever but nothing is happening, chances are the brass sleeve is playing games with you.

    Fair warning: Once the stud is unscrewed, the brass sleeve may pop right out (yay gravity!), so you may wish to do this over a surface where it won't roll away under the very heavy media cabinet (he said knowingly).

    2. Slide the clip out of the notch, being careful not to loose the small spring. The spring is fitted in securely, but you don't want to risk losing it.

    3. Use the probe to push the grey cap housing and brass cap stay unit out. If you push straight down, the grey piece may come out without the brass piece. Instead, push down and slightly inward. Don't use much force though; the grey piece is made of very soft plastic and you don't want to damage it.

    4. There is a final piece, the inner ring where the cap clutch ring fits in (aka, the fearsome "nubs" or "ears" at the section/body joint). I don't see any good reason to want to take that out, and as we saw in the previous part, this is a place of weakness where cracks may form in older pens. Leave well enough alone.

    Steps to disassemble the front section
    1. Hold the pen horizontally with the nib pointing leftward. Grip the metal section securely, and unscrew the barrel by rotating the body down with a firm grip. Before you unscrew the section completely, make sure you are working in a clean, well lighted place, because there are two very important, very small, and very easy to lose pieces that may up and walk out on you if you are careless: a small black o-ring that sits at the end of the ink feed and the silver cap clutch ring. I keep a small glass dish handy so I always have a place to put them. If you lose the o-ring, your nib unit will not sit firm in the section and you will likely gush ink everywhere. If you lose the cap clutch ring, you will not be able to cap your pen.

    2. Gently push the nib out of the section housing from the nib end. I like to apply pressure from the underside, not on the tines or tipping. The nib/feed unit should come right out, so don't force it if it doesn't.

    3. The nib slides off the feed, but may need some cajoling. I usually use my fingernail to get some purchase.

    Section reassembly
    1.The ink feed is very easy to damage if you don't insert it back in the section housing just so. Fortunately, Lamy made it easy on you. There is a small ridge on the inner wall of the section housing and a small valley on the underside of the feed. The nib-end of the section housing will only accept the nib unit in one way. If you line them up correctly, the feed should slide right in. If it doesn't, you don't have the section and the feed lined up. IF YOU FEEL ANY RESISTANCE, DO NOT FORCE THE FEED IN. Doing so may crimp the ink collector fins, crush the feed, and/or damage the nib.

    2. Return the small black o-ring to the end of the ink feed, and slide it down as far as it will go (or don't: when you screw the section and body together the o-ring will move on down). This o-ring creates the seal between the breather tube and the piston chamber, so it is a very important o-ring indeed.

    3. Make sure the cap clutch ring lines up with the two slots on either side of the section. I find it is easiest to do this with the nib tip down (let gravity help you). There's no significance to the gap in the clutch ring; you don't have to line it up a particular way. Just make sure the tabs rest in the slots.

    4. As you screw the section and body together, you want to make sure the connection is snug but not too tight. If you over-tighten, you run the risk of straining the Makrolon threading in older pens or damaging the ink collector fins and feed.

    Steps to disassemble the piston
    This is probably the coolest part of the Lamy 2000, but also the most cringe-worthy if you've never done it before: the piston screws right out without use of any special tools (well, one's fingers are quite special thankyouverymuch but that's beside the point). Here's how to do it.



    1. Loosely unscrew the piston knob as if you were inking the pen. You'll feel it when the piston gasket gets to the end of the barrel.

    2. Take a deep breath.

    3. Keep unscrewing in the same direction. You may hear some clicking. After a few turns, the piston knob will come free.

    4. There is a dark grey (newer model) or clear (older model) piece that will come out with the piston knob. Put that back in the body and twist it to reengage the threads just slightly so that you can get purchase on the piston rod to pull it and the rest of the piston assembly straight out.

    Congratulations! You've taken apart a Lamy 2000 fountain pen.


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    Part 5: The other members of the family
    Lamy 2000 is much more than just a Makrolon fountain pen, of course. In this section, I open the discussion to the other members of the family: the ballpoint pen, 4-in-1 ballpoint pen, rollerball pen, mechanical pencil, and other fountain pens.


    Lamy 2000 collection

    Lamy 2000 fountain pen
    What? The last few thousands words aren't enough? You expect me to say more about the fountain pen? Okay! I will tell you three more things:

    1. Neil Gaiman uses a Lamy 2000 and I quite like his stuff:
    "I'm writing my novel with two different fountain pens (a Lamy 2000, and a regular Lamy) filled with two different coloured inks (a greenish one and a reddish one), and I'm alternating pens each day, which means I can see at a glance how much writing I've actually done that day, or that week. More than five pages in the same colour of ink must have been a good day. The Lamy 2000 days are my favourites because the regular lamy, although a good pen for signing in, is less happy writing a novel, and handwriting like mine needs all the help it can get." (Source)


    2. I'm birthday buddies with Dr. Manfred Lamy.

    3. Lamy 2000 is the model I've used for all of my professional writing: my masters thesis, my publications, and my speeches. I have also used a Lamy 2000 to write a monstrous fountain pen review of a Lamy 2000.


    Ballpoint
    If this section is underwhelming, it is because I do not find much noteworthy, good or bad, about the Lamy 2000 ballpoint. It is a fine pen, but doesn't spin my bow tie; I much prefer the 4-in-1 ballpoint to the standard ballpoint.



    It is fitted with Lamy's proprietary M16 refill, which comes in black, blue, and green colors and fine, medium, and bold sizes. Lamy claims between 45000 and 8000 meters of writing, depending on tip size. The medium runs a bit fine; I prefer the bold. The black is a bit washed out, but because it is the standard color and I have not run any mine dry, I haven't yet switched to blue or green. (I do like the 4-in-1 blue and green colors and they are the same formulation as the M16 refills). The refill isn't the smoothest I've used, but it doesn't glop or behave poorly. Some of the older, eBay pens skip on first stroke, but the new ballpoint refills start right up.

    The ballpoint has seen the most variation over the years, beginning with Lamy 2000's first special edition, the "30 Jahre Lamy Design" in 1996. From the Lamy corporate history webpage: "In Heidelberg, Lamy celebrates “30 years of Lamy Design” in the new, light-flooded Lamy Galleria, a spacious glass building which links the likewise newly built, futuristic Development Centre with the injection moulding shop. The numerous guests are delighted with an anniversary edition model of the LAMY 2000, a ball pen made of luxurious grenadilla wood" (source). This design was limited to 10,000 pieces. Other special editions include the yew wood "Taxus" ballpoint, blackwood ballpoint (also sold as a "desk set"), millennium stainless steel (limited to 10,000), ceramicon ballpoint with platinum trim (7,500), titanium ballpoint, and now the new 2012 Lamy 2000M ballpoint. Pen blog kmpn.blogspot.com has a nice shot of the Lamy 2000 family, including the ballpoints and a comparison of the Lamy Edition 2000 and the new Lamy 2000M ballpoint pens. For what it's worth, my favorite ballpoint pen is blackwood. I'm least interested in the ballpoint lineup, so I've been slow to complete that part of my Lamy 2000 collection (I'm missing the 30-year pen, titanium, Taxus, and new 2012M).

    Here's a summary of the weights and measure for the ballpoint pens I own. Weight includes refill; length is of pen with tip retracted.
    • Lamy 2000 ballpoint: 135.85mm // 12mm at widest diameter // 19 g / 0.6 oz
    • 2000 Edition ballpoint: 135.85 mm // 12mm at widest diamter // 35 g / 1.2 oz
    • Blackwood ballpoint: 135.85mm // 12.35mm at widest diameter // 36 g / 1.3 oz
    • Ceramicon ballpoint: 136.5mm // 12.25mm at widest diameter // 51 g / 1.8 oz

    Additional reading
    Recording Thoughts Pen Review: Lamy 2000 Ballpoint, October 2005


    4-in-1 ballpoint


    I find the 4-in-1 to be more useful than the standard issue ballpoint pen. Although the M21 ink refills are much smaller capacity than the M16 ballpoint refills, I love having the flexibility of color choices. My system for work is to color code items by priority or follow-up, so I frequently use this pen in meetings. The color refills are placed in a spring-loaded carriage; a small weight in the carriage is used to select the color that will be activated. A small ring at the push button indicates the color, save for black, which is indicated by the clip. If you value flexibility, go for the 4-in-1. If you value capacity, go with the standard ballpoint.

    • 139.85mm // 12.5mm at widest diameter // 22 g / 0.8 oz.








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    Part 5, ctd: Rollerball
    The Lamy 2000 rollerball is the newest member of the standard production family. The legend goes that Dr. Manfred Lamy long held a set of plans to produce a 2000 rollerball in his desk drawer. Not one to leave a project unfinished, the plans surfaced at his retirement in the mid-2000s, and the pen has been in production since. The form factor is the same as the Lamy 2000 fountain pen. Capped, the pens are indistinguishable save for a small recessed dot on the cap top of the rollerball. It includes the same cap clutch ring "ears" on the body, which some find to be a nuisance.


    Fountain pen cap left, rollerball cap right.

    Loading the rollerball refill references the fountain pen, as well: the piston knob on the fountain pen is replaced by a refill cap for the rollerball version; you unscrew in the same place on both pens. The stainless steel grip section shares the same Makrolon grip ring and the length of the stainless steel is the same on both fountain and rollerball.

    The rollerball uses Lamy's proprietary M63 refill that is found in other capped rollerballs, such as the Safari and Al-Star. Unfortunately, this refill is one of my least favorite; prone to drying out and hard starting, I can't get along well with it. It is possible to use Pilot, Montblanc, and Schmidt refills with small "hacks", though.

    The first special edition rollerball was introduced in the 20120 Lamy 2000M series. See here for photos of the new version.

    • 138.7mm capped, 121.83 uncapped // 25 g / 0.9 oz with refill


    Mechanical pencil

    The Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil and Lamy Scribble 3.15mm lead holder, a close cousin.

    I think the Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil is the best member of the Lamy 2000 family, second only to the fountain pens. It comes in 0.5 and 0.7 lead sizes. My first mechanical pencil was a vintage eBay rescue job, and I like the fact that it has been going strong since before German reunification (the pencil is stamped W. Germany). Earlier in this review, reference was made to Lamy creating 97% of its parts in-house. I believe the pencil clutch mechanism is one of the few rare components outsourced to another firm: in this case, Schmidt. My knowledge of mechanical pencil inner workings are deficient, so I would draw your attention to this review by FPN member Dillo and this review from the excellent pencil blog "Dave's Mechanical Pencils." The eraser is woefully inadequate, a common complaint on most mechanical pencils.

    Additional reading
    Lamy 2000 Mechanical Pencil, The Fountain Pen Network, Dillo, March 2009
    Lamy 2000 Mechanical Pencil Review, Dave's Mechanical Pencils, October 2006


    Mechanical pencil push cap old (left) and new (right, with laser engraving).


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    Part 5, ctd: Lamy Edition 2000


    The Lamy Edition 2000 fountain pen was, until recently, the only "special edition" of the Lamy 2000 fountain pen. (The only other special edition prior to the Edition 2000 was the Lamy 2000 "30 years" ballpoint pen, issued in 1996.) The Edition 2000 was sold in a fountain pen version limited to 5,000 pieces and a ball-point version limited to 10,000 pieces. The pen came in a special presentation box (well, special by Lamy standards, anyway) with a small celebratory booklet and a certificate of authenticity. The pens themselves are not numbered, but the certificates of authenticity are stamped with the production number and signed by Dr. Manfred Lamy.

    From the booklet:
    The LAMY 2000 writing instruments range first saw the light of day in 1966, and has been sold unchanged since then. For the Year 2000, a special edition of the fountain pen and ballpoint pend models has been commissioned, with numbers limited worldwide to 5000/10000.

    Unlike the standard writing instruments, the surfaces of these two writing instruments are made of stainless steel, and are completed by a butler finish. Every single one of these writing instruments can be identified by the following laser engraving: "LAMY 2000 EDITION".
    The Edition 2000 is generally called an inversion of the standard Lamy 2000, but the details show it is not exactly a direct translation--it's not as simple as saying what's Makrolon on the standard is stainless steel on Edition 2000 or vice-versa. In comparing the two, you will see that the Edition 2000 shares the same front section as the standard edition pen. Nib up, the ink window is *below* the section seam on the regular pen. The black Makrolon ring is *above* the section seam on the 2000 and 2000 Edition, so it isn't a true inverse at all. The butler finish of the Lamy 2000 references the brushed finish of the standard polycarbonate version. The pen barrel and piston knob are not of solid stainless steel construction, but in fact are sleeves that cover what I assume is a Makrolon internal chamber. If they were solid stainless steel, I imagine the pen would be unwieldy.



    The Lamy Edition 2000 body and cap are exactly the same lengths as their standard edition counterparts. As befitting a stainless steel pen, the Lamy Edition 2000 is heavier than the Makrolon version:

    Lamy 2000 standard edition fountain pen, purchased new July 2012
    • Total pen weight: 25g / 0.9oz
    • Body weight: 17g / 0.6oz
    • Cap weight: 9g / 0.3oz


    Lamy Edition 2000 (millennium stainless steel)
    • Total pen weight: 43g / 1.5oz
    • Body weight: 26g / 0.9oz (same as standard edition whole pen weight)
    • Cap weight: 18g / 0.6oz (same as standard edition uncapped body weight)



    Other details include the engraving on the cap, opposite of the clip.


    Autopsy shot: Same nib, ink collector, feed, and piston mechanisms as the standard edition.


    Detail of the stainless steel sleeve on piston knob and body.


    Special presentation box. Lamy has repurposed this box design for several other pens, including the Ceramicon ballpoint and the new 2000M fountain pen. The Lamy Edition 2000 had an outer cardboard sleeve, which my specimen is missing.


    I was quite fortunate to receive my first Lamy Edition 2000 as a gift from a collector who was wishing to divest himself of his collection. His only request was that I use and enjoy the pens he gave me. I'm pleased to say that I have had his Lamy Edition 2000 in regular rotation now for just shy of three years, and its finish has held up fairly well. When I took ownership of the pen, it looked like it had maybe been inked once, but effectively it was a "new" pen. The stainless steel has picked up a few scratches along the way, but it is robust. I do not post the Lamy Edition 2000, but then again, I do not post many of pens (the only exceptions are my "51", Esterbrooks, and vintage Aurora 88). I don't have a set rotation for my pens, but when I rotate back to Lamy 2000, I alternate between the standard and millennium. When I go from the Makrolon to the steel, I think, "Man, this is a heavy pen!" but when I go from the steel to the Makrolon, I think, "Man, this is a light pen!" I've done extensive writing the the Lamy Edition 2000 and never felt strain or fatigue on account of the weight of the pen.


    Comparing the finish: Three-years-used Lamy Edition 2000 vs NIB Lamy Edition 2000

    I can't tell you if this pen is a good value. That's for you to decide. I can easily see people decrying the cost because it has the same nib, feed, and piston as the original, but I think that's a silly argument. They work well in the original, so why fiddle with a good thing for the LE? Three have surfaced recently in the usual channels (eBay international, FPN Marketplace, Regina Martini) in the low-to-high $300s, down from as high as $400. One seller at a pen show was asking in the $400-500 range. What other German piston filled pen with a 5,000 run edition is going for around $350?







    Additional reading
    Butler Finish Lamy 2000 mini review for the Lamy edition 2000, The Fountain Pen Network, lecorbusier, October 2009
    Penspotters: Lamy 2000, Rick Conner, March 2005


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    Part 5, ctd: Stainless Steel Lamy 2000M


    The new stainless steel Lamy 2000 is slowly making its way to market at the time of this writing. It has not been released through official US channels; I purchased mine from a respected collector and dealer of new and vintage pens in Germany. I've had it for only two weeks, so I feel least confident in remarking on the long-term quality of the pen. However, in the time I've had it, it has proven to be just as capable as the other standard and Edition 2000 fountain pens.

    In handling the pen, the most obvious feature is its weight. It is quite substantial at nearly twice the weight of the regular edition and far heavier than even the Edition 2000. The second most obvious feature is its sleek, monochrome styling. Eschewing the Makrolon ring of the Edition 2000, the section of the 2000M is in stainless steel. The butler finish of the new version extends from piston knob to terminus at section. On close inspection, the 2000M has a more satin finish than the Edition 2000; however, in writing this review I often grabbed the Edition 2000 thinking it was the 2000M and vice versa. Capped, the difference is not very noticeable at arm's length.


    Comparing the finish: Lamy Edition 2000 on top, Lamy 2000M on bottom


    Comparing the engravings: Lamy 2000M on top, Lamy Edition 2000 on bottom.


    Comparing the placement of the cap clutch ring.

    Like the Edition 2000, the stainless steel portion of the pen is a sleeve that fits over the pen body and piston knob. The only major redesign of the pen is the new front section. Previous sections have been a combination of Makrolon and steel; this is all stainless steel, which lends to some more weight on the nib end. The new section and old sections are not interchangeable; in the new version the cap clutch ring is set into the body of the pen, whereas the old design has it set in to the section. This slight difference means the sections are not interchangeable. The cap of the 2000M is heavier than the cap of the Edition 2000 by a good measure. Both pens feature a mirrored, spring loaded clip. The nib, feed, ink collector, and piston mechanism of the 2000M are borrowed from the standard edition fountain pen; there is no difference. Despite the additional section weight, the pen is well balanced.


    Lamy 2000 nib sections.


    Lamy 2000M stainless steel sleeve detail. Note the recessed cap clutch ring in the body of the pen.


    Lamy 2000M autopsy shot.

    Value/bang for buck
    As with the Lamy Edition 2000, it is hard for me to know what constitutes a good value for you. Only you can determine how much you are willing to spend for a pen. I can say that I do not regret this purchase in the least. It is a handsome artifact with even more simplified aesthetics, more so than the Edition 2000. Weight is noticeable; I think an ideal pen for me would be the looks of the 2000M and the weight of the Edition 2000. I paid €190. I admit the $375 MSRP is hard to swallow, but the street price of $300 seems fair for a pen of this exceptional fit and finish, especially considering the closest size in the Pelikan Souverän series, the M600/M605, retails for $395 MSRP/$326 street.

    Further reading
    Stainless Steel Lamy 2000 (video review), Brian Goulet of Ink Nouveau, August 1, 2012
    Photo comparison of the Edition 2000 and Lamy 2000M, The Fountain Pen Network, bphollin, August 1, 2012
    Lamy 2000 M with Stainless Steel Finish (2012), kmpn.blogspot.com, August 1, 2012




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    Conclusion
    If it hasn't become clear to you over the course of reading this article, I am awfully fond of the Lamy 2000. Even with recent price increases, the standard edition fountain pen remains a strong value in a world of many choices. It has a world-class design pedigree in Gerd A. Müller, who's innovative work with Dieter Rams at Braun inspired a resurgence in the "good design" movement, a movement that is still alive and well today. The Bauhaus aesthetics of "simplicity in design" and "form follows function" are evident in the visual design of the Lamy 2000. These aesthetics also inform the simplicity and functionality of the pen's internal mechanical components, which have remained fundamentally the same (save a few modest iterative tweaks). Although the Lamy 2000 is not without its faults, Lamy takes pride in it and offers outstanding customer support across the globe. After all, the Lamy 2000 is the pen that launched "Lamy Design" and formed the company as we know it today.

    Acknowledgements
    Outside of my own experience with these pens, I collected information from articles on The Fountain Pen Network and the web; except for a brief conversation with Bob Nurin of Lamy USA, I was not in direct contact with anyone at Lamy. I am most grateful to FPN users hari317, malcy, MYU, and sunnerd for use of their images and text originally presented elsewhere on FPN. MYU, haywoody, and KarlBarndt are longtime Lamy aficionados, and their contributions to FPN over the years are most illuminating. Finally, I have to thank the enablers in this thread who put me on to the Lamy 2000 in the first place.

    Further reading on Fountain Pen Network

    External Links
    Dave's Mechanical Pencils:

    kmpn.blogspot.com:


    lamy.com and lamyusa.com

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    Wow really i love this post.Thanks for share

    Pencil Case

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    I would correct this sentence:

    This is in part because of the thing retainer ring.

    I believe it should read: This is in part because of the "thin" retainer ring.

    What an absolutely amazing post. The only thing I dont like? Im ordering a Lamy 2000 FP, Rollerball, and Mechanical Pencil.
    Last edited by PeppWaves03; September 1st, 2012 at 09:25 PM.

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    I finally got myself a Lamy 2000 today after having it on the top of my wish-list since I read this article - the article is that good! I got a chance during a trip to Vienna to try it in a shop, I tried both F and EF nibs, and finally decided on a EF after much back and forth. It has instantly entered the favourite top 3 of my collection (together with my Pelikan M400 White Tortoise and my vintage Parker 51 Aerometric).

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 and the Origins of Lamy Design

    I had a Lamy 2000 for a while, an extra fine. The pen was virtually perfect. It wrote smoothly, and there were no ink flow problems. The design is pleasingly modern. The feel was pretty good, as long as I avoided the three bumps that serve as a clutch. So, why get rid of such a nice pen? Someone made a trade offer of a Parker 51 demi set with gold filled caps. The Lamy was nice enough that I might someday get another, if a good factory italic nib came with it.

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