LAMY Safari / AL-star fountain pen.
In Lamy’s own words :
“LAMY safari – individuality goes to school
The new LAMY safari is a school fountain pen like no other. It is in a class of its own. At the beginning of the 1980s this is the message which quickly spreads in the new, young Lamy target group: the ten to fifteen-year-olds.
Their wish to have their own “writing tool” specially designed for them is ideally embodied in the LAMY safari. It is made of colourful, extremely resistant ABS plastic and with its unusual shape unmistakably signals robustness and reliability. And perhaps a touch of adventure, too.
The LAMY safari becomes a real international success when further writing systems and product colours are added and its avant-garde shape also finds high acceptance among adults.
Design: Entwicklungsgruppe Mannheim, Prof. Bernt Spiegel.”
Designed by Wolfgang Fabian, the AL-star was introduced in 1997. It is very similar in appearance to the classic Safari. With a smooth Aluminum surface, it is somewhat larger in diameter and weightier. While it feels more substantial and more serious in the hand, it is not nearly as robust as the Safari and shows marks of normal use quite easily.
Both pens are excellent writers – I regularly use them for sketching as well. For those new to fountain pens, I’d suggest getting the M nib – it is more forgiving than the F. For curious kids of all ages, get the Vista – the completely transparent version of the Safari, with inner workings on display.
I’ve had the black Safari for 8 years now, and have personally kept untold numbers of disposable pens from being consigned to landfills. Besides, Lamy inks are wonderful, and the bottle beautifully designed. It feels good to put pen to paper – it’s also a more direct way to put your thoughts down. Without the clunky word-processing and typing/computing interface in the way, one can actually write better, think better. It might take a little getting used to, but the cost of entry is quite low. Try it – and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
For more on pens, inks, notebooks and related matters, please visit these posts : tools of the trade.
I’ve just been informed by Lamy that the ‘black’ Safari, listed as Charcoal on Lamy’s site, is actually Umbra [dark brown] – as is borne out by these pictures below.