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I am really reconsidering the Lamy Safari



CyberGigi

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CyberGigi

Hello to all,
I started with a Lamy Safari and tried many other models, even by Lamy itself.

After years I am seriously reconsidering the importance of this pen.

 

This article has rekindled my interest, I would like to share it with you.

https://iohacker.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-lamy-safari-fountain-pens/

 

What do you think about Safari?

Is it really a must have for any collector?

I would like to buy an Al-Star model, maybe some limited edition. Which one do you recommend?

 

Thank you!

G.

 

 

 

Edited by CyberGigi
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The Al-Stars are great. I have several. Coffee, LE Orange, XL Marron. Some LE's are hard to find.

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ErrantSmudge

The Safari is right up there with the Parker 51 and other legendary pens of all time, because it's overall design is so successful at everything it sets out to do - it's modern, colorful, inexpensive, practical, durable, functional (small details like the ink window, locking nubs on the converter, the way you can insert a cartridge merely by twisting the barrel shut, replaceable, interchangeable nibs).  It's a true workhorse of a pen that has stood the test of time.  The triangle grip is polarizing but it IS a design statement, it has a functional purpose (to make clear proper orientation of nib to paper) and those who like it appreciate it a great deal.

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, CyberGigi said:

What do you think about Safari?

Is it really a must have for any collector?

 

It depends on the motivation and goals of the specific/individual ‘collector’.

 

I bought one in early 2013, when my interest in fountain pens was rekindled after lapsing for a decade or so (but before my diving headlong into ‘the hobby’ in 2018). I don't think there's anything I really liked about it; the EF nib did not write as finely as the finest among my Rotring Initial fountain pens (all fitted with nominally M nibs, though they all write differently), the faceted gripping section is not a plus, the plastic felt cheap, and the cap seal effectiveness on my pen was/is below average as far as I'm concerned. I didn't buy another until earlier this year, and only because my wife made a remark about the 2021 Limited Edition colours we saw in a shop window. I still have my old Safari in my ‘collection’, but I never ink it up or write with it any more. I have a bunch of other Lamy models in my personal fleet of fountain pens from which to choose, so why would I bother with a Safari (other than for testing, etc. to prove a point in the context of a discussion with fellow hobbyists)?

 

To me, the Lamy Safari is like some old ‘classic’ book title that any decent (personal or public) library ought to have at least a copy, not that anyone should feel compelled to read it as to gain ‘common knowledge’.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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2 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

To me, the Lamy Safari is like some old ‘classic’ book title that any decent (personal or public) library ought to have at least a copy, not that anyone should feel compelled to read it as to gain ‘common knowledge’.


This is an interesting image, and a good one, I think.

 

In my mind, the Safari is like one of those popular pieces classical music…say something like Tchaikovsky’s 1812…it is readily recognizable by most people, fun to hear once in a while, and I can’t help but have a few in my collection, but for any of a variety of reasons, I don’t play them very often.

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inkstainedruth

When I started out, I tried someone's Safari at a pen club meeting and didn't think I could get used to the triangular section.  But then changed my mind and figured I'd try one.  I was going to get a pink one just to be silly, but didn't really care for that shade pink when I saw it up close.  

But then the Dark Lilac (LE? SE?) came out, and it was a "must have".  Since then I've added the Violet SE, and this past spring lucked into a used 2006 French Blue (I just could NOT bring myself to pay the exorbitant prices for a NOS one).  Plus I have a Ruthenium LX (which I snagged for less than the cost of new Safari, when their old US distributor had a close out sale); and two al-Stars (both LE/SE colors -- Vibrant Pink and this year's Azure).  

I find that I don't really like the "standard" Safari colors all that much, but I bought a red one for a friend who admired the Dark Lilac (and managed to get her one of those as well before they vanished off store shelves entirely); she wanted to teach penmanship to her granddaughters.  And I realized recently that all my Safaris have non-standard clips -- Dark Lilac has a black clip to go with the black nib, Violet has a matching color nib, and the French Blue has the red clip which just sets off that blue barrel and cap nicely.  (Honestly, while eminently functional, the "standard" clips just remind me too much of paperclips to be attractive.  I don't like most of the LX colors (and now that I have the Azure al-Star I think it's better looking that the color of my LX); and I'm unlikely to get a Vista because I've found that I just don't really like the look of most transparent (or even translucent) pens.  But that's okay.  I don't like some of the Safari and al-Star colors either.

I do like that the nibs are interchangeable and it's very easy to do so (I didn't like the EF nib on a tester pen at someone's table at the Ohio Pen Show a few years ago, but the F nibs are good enough for me (yeah, if you're used to Japanese EFs, even a European F will likely make you nuts).  And now that I'm used to the section I don't have a problem with them.  

What amuses me the most though, is that they were designed, IIRC, in the 1980s -- but would have made *fabulous* props for the old 1960s TV series The Prisoner (I'm betting people familiar with the show are now considering what it would have been like to see that week's "New Number 2" using one... B)).

For a "student grade" pen, Safaris and their cousins write well (okay, the EF not so much, IME...:() and seem pretty robust.  They're a good size and weight for people who object to skinny pens, but aren't heavy or overbalanced either, even when posted -- and while not priced like a cheap Chinese pen or even a Parker Vector (and I do love me my Vectors for the colorful little workhorse THEY are) they're not horribly expensive either.  So yeah, at this point I'm a fan.  And if Lamy comes out with some color in the future that I think is a "must have" the way the Dark Lilac was,  I'd likely consider getting another Safari or al-Star depending on what nib widths are available (I was fortunate enough to get the Vibrant Pink al-Star on clearance at Vanness Pens, so I was able to have a better choice of nibs than I might have otherwise).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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NumberSix

If you like the look, as I do, but want an improved writing experience, I recommend the Lamy LX. It costs a little bit more than an Al-Star, but it has a different flavor of nib. Not gold, but different than all the other interchangeable Lamy steel nibs. 

 

I have owned at least a dozen SafariVista/Al-Star models, and none of them have been as pleasant to use as the four LX models I have owned (and I have one on the way). 

 

Makes me wonder now, though, if the LX nib can fit on a Safari/AL-Star? No LX comes in black, but the nib is black. Might be fun to try it on a charcoal black Safari. . .

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sansenri

Not a must have. I own quite a number of pens, but no Safari.

I don't deny it's innovative, durable and mostly performs well (I have tried one and admit it's quite good, in fact I have a Lamy nib in a Wing Sung 3008).

It's just so ugly (at least in my opinion) that I feel no desire whatsoever to own one...

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inkstainedruth

Ugly is in the eye of the beholder.  While it's certainly not to the caliber of my prettiest pen (a Morrison BHR ringtop with a sterling silver filigree overlay) or classiest looking pen (one of my 51 Aerometrics), it's still way better looking than some pens I've seen (the Montegrappa "Pirates of the Caribbean" or "Chaos" pens, as well as some of their other, um, "offerings", come to mind -- can't remember what another one was called but the video advertising it was sort of mind-boggling: it was something like "Angels and Demons" or "Heaven and Hell or some such).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Mongoosey

I love the Lamy Safari's... But I grew out of them.

 

They taught me how to hold a pen and write with good posture, which made a huge difference for me.

 

But they had trouble using Kiwa-Guro, which I didn't like.  Often, the ink's surface tension would be too much, and prevent flow.  But i just switched to Noodler's Black to remedy that.

 

But the one thing that made me stop using the Safari was its small ink supply.  I now much prefer Piston fillers, Vac fillers, Eyedroppers, or any pen with a large ink supply.

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bogiesan

The Lamy Safari is not necessary to have in the least.But it is a classic design and inexpensive. It has withstood the test of the marketplace. You must be comfortable using the grip that Lamy presents in this and the AlStar platform.

I ride a recumbent, I play go, I use Macintosh so of course I use a fountain pen.

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austollie

I think that whether or not the Safari is a "must have" depends on what you're looking for in a fountain pen.  I doubt that most people who collect MB149s, to pick but one example, would consider the Safari a "must have".

 

For me the Safari is absolutely a "must have".  There are several reasons for that.  The primary focus of my collection is student pens, particularly student pens from the 1970s and 1980s, the era that I was in school in Germany, when writing with a fountain pen was compulsory.  Up until the release of the Safari, in Germany at least, Pelikan dominated the market with its Pelikano line.  Other German manufacturers of student pens (e.g. GeHA and also MB with its Carrera range) broadly followed the same design language.   

 

When Lamy released the Safari in 1980, whilst it carried forward the cylindrical design language already common by then (e.g. Pelikano Models 5 and 6), having transitioned from cigar shapes for student pens (early 1960s, e.g. Pelikano Model 1) through to tapered shapes (e.g. Pelikano Models 2 to 4 in the 1970s), it did so in a striking way.  The Bauhaus style (notwithstanding that Bauhaus is a 1920s and 1930s movement) of the Safari looked fresh and modern by comparison.  In my view, some 40 years later, it still does not look dated.

 

I have many Lamy Safaris in my collection.  The early special edition colours didn't do much for me, but some of the more recent examples have really floated my boat, including dark lilac, mango and petrol.  In particular, I am over the moon that Lamy, for this year, reproduced the original colours of Savannah Green and Terracotta Red.  This has allowed me to obtain the pens that I remember from my school days.  What I also like about the Safari is that it is affordable (i.e. I can collect several of these without feeling that I need to explain the expenditure to my significant other) and that the special editions do not attract a price premium (unlike the Lamy 2000 special editions, where the premium pricing has been hotly debated in this forum).

 

I am not such a fan of the Al Star.  The reason being that the pen is more prone to dinging. I am pretty careful with my pens, but the two Al Stars that I have used as daily writers have both accumulated several small scratches and dings.  

 

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peroride
7 hours ago, CyberGigi said:

What do you think about Safari?

The Safari name makes me flummoxed and actually is distracting for me. Maybe travelling to the African savannas was a thing in the 80s?🤔 Hard to argue though with Lamy pen naming: 2000, cp1, Aion, Studio, Dialog, it's all over the place.

 

I have a quite a few that grew like weeds: Safari, ALs, LXs.🌴

 

I like weeds: strong, enduring and consistent. A Vista proved it's metal over a long period of commuter EDC jostled in cargo pants, dropped with nary a scratch.

 

I like to post so in a way the plain plastic Safari is a bit better here than the metal ones, though the pen is so long posted that I tend to go unposted. 

 

I agree with the article about the winning combination that few FP consistently share:

  • reliable writer OOB (at least in my experience with the EF, F, M range)
  • nib variety and across pen models like Studio 
  • affordable
  • good balance
  • snap cap
  • posts
  • secure clip
  • ink window with decent easy fill volume converters
  • comfortable section form (triangles are fine)

I'm currently in love with the latest TWSBI Swipe but the weeds of the Lamy Safari will always have a place my inky heart

 

 

 

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Is a Safari a ‘must-have’ for everyone?

No - many people won’t like its appearance, others will dislike its grip, others will dislike its size. Others prefer piston/sac pens over c/c pens. Others want flex nibs, and no Safari has a flex nib.

 

I always disliked their appearance, so I didn’t buy one. Even though almost every mention of the pens that I had seen on here was one that strongly recommended them.
Then I saw the Vista, found it to be far less ugly, and bought that instead.

 

I liked my Vista so much that I have since bought three Safaris - the ‘Umbra’, and the ‘Dark Lilac’ and ‘Petrol’ LE versions. All of those have black clips and nibs. I don’t personally like the look of Safaris with bright nibs & clips.

With one exception - I would really, really like one of the 2011 ‘Aquamarine’ LE versions, but they are ridiculously expensive now.

 

The strengths of the Safari (& Vista, Al-star, and LX) are:

they are robust and reliable pens;
they are relatively inexpensive;
they are available in many colours, and almost everywhere;

their cartridges, though proprietary, hold a large amount of ink;

their converters fit very securely and hold a decent amount of ink;

their nibs are user-swappable, come in a wide variety of widths, and are relatively cheap.


They are the first fountain pen that I would recommend to a university student (the second is the Parker Vector in Stainless Steel).

 

If one buys a Safari, it is unlikely to break, and one can buy nibs for it in EF, F, M, LH, B, and in 1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 1.9mm italic grinds. LAMY sells silver-coloured steel nibs, black-coloured steel nibs, silver-coloured gold nibs, and black-coloured gold nibs that can be put on to a Safari.
The main ‘limitation’ (apart from the lack of flex nibs) is that I don’t think that LAMY offers any oblique-cut nibs that will fit on a Safari.

For students, another positive is that very few people are likely to steal a ‘mere’ Safari, and if you lose it, you aren’t out that much money when you replace it.

 

My most important piece of advice for the OP (and anybody else considering the purchase of one) is the same piece of advice for every other pen. It is: attempt to try out any Safari/Vista/Al-star/LX before you buy it - you may find that you don’t like the grip section, or the pen’s weight/balance in your hand.

 

If you like how one feels in your hand, and you like how they look, I strongly recommend them. They’re robust and they’re reliable. Brilliant.

Edited by Mercian
FFEs

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

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There are times when I start writing a letter that I cannot find my 'hand.' I struggle with the words and can't seem to settle into my writing style. At these times I'll switch to a Safari and my hand settles down.

 

I do prefer writing with a Lamy Joy when home. I like the balance it's long tail section affords. My last one was a Chinese clone that seems to be built equally well.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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Versofolio

My Lamy 'Safaris' have taught me so much as an entry level pen, and well beyond!

I will have genuine respect for mine, always.

I took my exploration of various, (mostly modern) Lamys a bit further and soon found I had a little collection growing...(as I grew I suppose)

I 'tapped out' after many happy years with several, 'Safaris, 'Studios', a Lamy 2000 and a 'Persona', which was a 1990's model, and learned much about nibs, and what I prefer, from Lamy's, 'compatibility' system.

If you are similar to myself, you will grow in confidence and experience as you go along and at the early stages I thoroughly recommend just soaking up every pen, nib, ink and paper experience that you can! That's really where the magic begins!

Bo Bo Olsen reminds us constantly of the '4' vital ingredients of this 'alchemy'!

I went to visit a renowned, local, guitar-maker(Luthier) once as a young man. I intended to order a unique, bespoke, acoustic guitar. He was very kind and eventually suggested me that he would be very happy to make me a guitar if I was absolutely certain I wasn't a Drummer or Flutist?

I was neither! Nor was I a good guitarist as it turns out!😆

He saved me thousand of precious dollars! 

However I did buy a lovely F series, Washburn and still enjoy it to this day.

vf

 

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Astronymus

The Safari is a workhorse. I've used them since the mid 80's in school. My first one was in use for more than 25 years. At work and on vacation I still use the Safari. (Sometimes a Kaweco sport.) Robust, resilient pen and not whatsoever expensive. So you would not cry for days if it fell into a machine or the forklift drives over it.

 

At home I use the AL-Star. You should try it. It's definitely an upgrade and also comes in nice colors. I collect AL-Stars because I like those anodized colors.

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23 hours ago, ErrantSmudge said:

The Safari is right up there with the Parker 51 and other legendary pens of all time, because it's overall design is so successful at everything it sets out to do - it's modern, colorful, inexpensive, practical, durable, functional (small details like the ink window, locking nubs on the converter, the way you can insert a cartridge merely by twisting the barrel shut, replaceable, interchangeable nibs).  It's a true workhorse of a pen that has stood the test of time.

 

I agree 100% with Smudge.

 

I am a user rather than a collector and have about a dozen safaris and AL-stars -- all different colours, so I can remember which ink is in which pen. I have no complaints about them at all. They are not in the same class as the Lamy 2000 or the 20th century Parkers that I also use, but I honestly dont think there is a better pen for the price today. I dont hold a pen so tight that the triangular shape bothers me. In fact, my thumb rests on the barrel and I find the pen totally comfortable.

 

David

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A Smug Dill
47 minutes ago, david-p said:

They are not in the same class as the Lamy 2000 or the 20th century Parkers that I also use, but I honestly dont think there is a better pen for the price today.

 

As a consumer and fountain pen user, I'd take the HongDian 517D or Platinum Prefounte over the Lamy Safari any day, even if their asking prices were the same as that of the Lamy Safari instead of lower, given that being iconic means nothing in actually putting pen to paper.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Apart from the fact that I find the design of the safari more attractive than those two pens, I can go down the road and select one, whereas I would have to buy one of those pens by mail order.

 

For me, as a non-consumer, the safari (with a small s) is a really cool pen and it does what I expect of it!

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