New Pen Day: Lamy Al-Star Bronze

Lamy Al-Star Bronze and Copper Orange

I just wanted to share a few shots of the 2019 Lamy Al-Star Bronze in real life. In the photo above, the Bronze is just below the 2015 Copper Orange Al-Star.

I bought my Bronze Al-Star this weekend. Our monthly pen club meetup was Sunday, at a wonderful pen and stationery store in Chicago called Atlas Stationers. Lucky timing, because Atlas’s first shipment of Bronze Al-Stars arrived a few days earlier. So of course I bought one. Also the Bronze ink. When Fate knocks on your door like that, you answer. (As long as Fate is not bearing three pastel Safaris, in which case, I would pretend I was not home.)

When it comes to the Bronze Al-Star, though, I’m a happy customer.

Most of my fellow pen clubbers also seemed to like it, but I do have one friend whose first reaction was dislike, so obviously tastes vary. It’s not an “aged” or “darkened” bronze color, I guess. But for most people I think the Bronze should be pretty noncontroversial and easy to like. The color is more subdued and business-like than we’ve gotten from the last few years of Al-Stars, too. It’s the classic “pen I can take to work” so many people seek. If the Bronze leads to eventual Brass and Copper color Al-Stars, I won’t be entirely surprised, but I also won’t be annoyed.

The Bronze actually reminds me not of an Al-Star but of the metallic colors Lamy picked for the more upscale Lx line. Here’s a photo of the Lx in Rose Gold above the Bronze Al-Star.

Lamy Al-Star Bronze and Lamy Lx Rose Gold

The Bronze fits in beautifully with Lamy’s older and most elegant Al-Stars. Here is the Bronze in the middle of the Coffee Brown and the Pearl, two of my favorite Al-Stars from years past.

Lamy Al-Star Coffee Brown, Bronze and Pearl

Add the Copper Orange, if you must, and you’ve got an autumnal bouquet.

Lamy Al-Star Bronze, Pearl, Coffee Brown and Copper Orange

But it’s almost spring. So here is the Bronze amidst a wider array of Al-Stars. From left are Dark Purple, Raspberry, Vibrant Pink, Ruby Red, Copper Orange, Bronze, Charged Green, Green and Blue Green.

Lamy Al-Star fountain pens collection

Just for fun, here is the rest of my little collection. Pacific, Ocean Blue, Ice Blue, Graphite Gray, Pearl, Coffee Brown, Black, Aluminum and a Green with a black clip.

Lamy Al-Star fountain pens collection

My conclusion? Al-Stars are good. And the Bronze is a worthy addition to the lineup.

I did try Lamy’s accompanying Bronze ink before I bought a bottle, and it looked like a nice color in the tester Lamy that Atlas Stationers had. The ink is a moderately saturated bronze or brown with an orange tint. I look forward to trying it out,.


A Peek at the Pen Cup: The “I Am So Normal” Edition

pen cup with fountain pens

Oh yeah, look at this pen cup. I only have five fountain pens going, and it’s good.

Nothing intentional: I haven’t been using the pens much lately. That’s because my recent work has been mostly on the computer, and I am not good at writing letters, so lately I’ve been cleaning out pens and putting them away.

I have to say, with five pens, I feel so normal.

The most recently inked is my Pelikan M605 White Transparent, because the temperature is nicely frosty here, and this pen feels wintery. It’s inked with Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall, an absolutely wonderful ink in my opinion. Pen and ink make a perfect pair, and I keep coming back to ths combination. This makes me wish I had something to write.

All my other pens have been inked up for a while. But I managed to put together a suitably Christmassy trio.

pelikan lamy fountain pens

Such a happy sight. Malibu Barbie Christmas.

The green pen is my Pelikan M205 Olivine, filled with Pelikan Edelstein Olivine — another great combination. I do have to clean this one out, because it’s been inked since I got it.

The pink pen is my Lamy Al-Star Vibrant Pink. It’s still loaded with a cartridge of Lamy Blue, mainly to keep cleaning out the feed after my Vibrant Pink ink disaster. But Lamy Blue is actually a very nice ink with this pen’s extra-fine nib, and I always like a blue ink, so this is a good combination, too.

The two pens that have been inked and re-inked the longest are what have turned into my core users. One is my long-serving Lamy Safari Charcoal with fine nib and black ink (currently Taccia Kuro). The other is a pen I bought this year and haven’t taken out of rotation since: a Sailor Professional Gear Earth with extra-fine nib, inked with Papier Plume Da Blue ink. I use these two all the time, the Safari because I can take it anywhere without worry, and the Sailor because its amazing extra-fine nib writes tiny scribbles with perfect smoothness.

I’ve actually been very busy, but it just doesn’t involve much writing with pens and ink. And frankly that’s been kind of … restful. Fountain pens and inks aren’t a job for me, just things that add a dash of delight and interest to the everyday. And that’s enough. So if pens and inks aren’t centered in my life, right now, that works. My pens and inks are easy-going; they will wait their turn.

I guess I’m using them when I can. In fact, I had to move this out of the way to take the pen cup photo.

field notes lamy safari cookbook

I was using the Safari to take notes there, because I’ve finally found the time to get into something that I’ve always wanted to do: serious bread-making. (Because people always ask: not with a bread machine, but just flour, yeast, water and salt, worked by hand and set on the counter to rise over the course of the day before being shaped by hand, and then popped onto an improvised hearth in the oven.)

So I’ve been up to my elbows in different kinds of flour, and experiments with different pre-ferments. (This cuts down on my texting a lot, too.) But I am trying to refine my technique, which means I’ve been making a lot of loaves of a basic hearth bread, tweaking a few things here or there, learning inputs and outputs, and writing them down. It’s very absorbing for me, and it’s really delicious. Also I’ve become more popular with the family. Winter’s a good time to heat up the kitchen and make food for people.

Today I’ve been hovering over my brand new sourdough starter like it’s a new baby, searching for life and activity. I should know better, though. If it’s really like a baby, that sourdough won’t start bubbling and fussing until I try to take a shower, or start a movie, or go out to dinner. And as it grows, it’s going to do the opposite of what I want. As it should! So, grow big, little sourdough, and grow free, and grow as and how you will. In the meantime, I’ll just leave this here: I’m going to go walk the dog now, then I’m going to start a movie….

Lamy Al-Star Vibrant Pink: Pen and Ink


This is hardly breaking news, but Lamy gave us another nice Al-Star for 2018, the Vibrant Pink, with matching ink.

I’m not sure this new Al-Star is any more interesting than any other, but it is pink, and that’s an excuse for photos, plus a headline that contains a poem. I’ll include a twist at the end, too. (All this, and for free, too? Such a deal.)

Well here we go: Vibrant Pink, pen and ink.

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Comparing Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue writing samples comparison

Here is a comparison of Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue, both in Lamy Al-Stars with medium nibs.

Lake Michigan Summer is greener, wetter and has more shading. Kaweco Paradise Blue is, as the name would imply, bluer. These lines were written with Lake Michigan Summer first, and Paradise Blue second.

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue writing samples comparison

On cream-colored Tomoe River paper.

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue writing samples comparison

On white Clairefontaine Triomphe paper.

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue writing samples comparison

I love both inks, frankly, and the differences are enough to justify both for myself. (I consider my excessive interest in fountain pen inks to be a little silly, so it’s lovely to be able to use the word “justify” here. Any port in the storm.)

About Lake Michigan Summer, it was one of the two inks made for the recent Chicago Pen Show. But per Instagram, Papier Plume is making another batch of Lake Michigan Summer and Ivy 108, to be released on Thursday, June 15. I have more photos of, and information about, both inks in the posts at those links. For myself, I like them both so much I have kept refilling my own pens since April.

Thanks to blog reader Nicole for the question that prompted me to compare Lake Michigan Summer to Kaweco Paradise Blue. This was also just the excuse I needed to ink up my Pacific Blue Al-Star, Lamy’s 2017 annual Al-Star. The Pacific Blue, in my opinion, may be the absolute best Lamy pen color in recent years — and I mean across the entire Lamy fountain pen line. If you’re on the fence, buy one.

Seventies Flashback: An Accidental Lamy Safari Tribute to Howard Johnson’s

Howard Johnson's Tribute Lamy Safaris and Al-Star

If you lived in America in the 1970s, and your family took road trips, you’ll see it, too. HoJo. The ubiquitous roadside motor lodge and restaurant chain, with the appalling but memorable color scheme of orange and aqua.

It was an innocent mistake. Like the start of a horror movie, when a bunch of teens are lost and tired, and the cranky one says, “Oh, let’s just stay in this abandoned house — who’s going to care?”

Uh huh. Exactly what happened here. I had three new inks to try, so I grabbed two Lamy Safaris and an Al-Star. They are favorites and good ink testing pens. And you can color-coordinate pen and ink.

I didn’t think twice. I filled KWZ Grapefruit in an Orange Safari, Robert Oster Bondi Blue in an Aquamarine Safari and KWZ Honey in a Pearl Al-Star. Three excellent inks!

Until I looked at the pens, standing there upright. “It’s coming from inside the house….”

New 2017 Lamy Al-Star Pacific


Thanks to Fontoplumo, we know the upcoming 2017 Lamy Al-Star will be this blue shade, called Pacific.

At first glimpse, I really like the color. It’s almost an Al-Star version of the no-longer-available Lamy Safari Aquamarine. Which is excellent.

I found this photo on Fontoplumo’s Twitter, which gives me the chance to say that Fontoplumo is another very nice store, from the Netherlands, from whom I’ve purchased before and will again. I’ve actually bought some of my Al-Stars and Safaris from Fontoplumo, because they have excellent prices and the European stores usually get the annual Safaris and Al-Stars first.


Photo from Fontoplumo Twitter, here

A Review of the Lamy Lx in Rose Gold

Lamy Lx Rose Gold fountain pen

Lamy Lx Rose Gold with medium nib. Clearly under the influence of too much Thanksgiving pie, as well as the word “sale.” I succumbed to Black Friday frenzy and ended up with a Lamy Lx in Rose Gold with a medium nib. And now it’s here.

I think the Lx is a very nice-looking pen in rose gold. The Lx nib writes noticeably more smoothly than the normal Safari nib. But I don’t like the Lx so-called case. And I think the Lx price is easier to justify if you’re buying it as a gift, or you are a new user, or you have a serious yen for one of the colors.

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A Peek at the Pen Cup: This Week the Pen Cup Runneth Over

pen cup

It is pure chaos right now at Fountain Pen Follies. That cup is so full of pens I was sure I couldn’t fit even one more.

But I needed to, because, unable to bear the suspense any longer, I opened the world’s best ink bottle and filled a Pelikan with Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue.

So imagine one more Pelikan, jammed into the last empty spot, right in front.

pens in pen cup

This pen cup is now filled wall-to-wall.

What’s taking up all the room? There’s a rollerball. Also the Parker 51 and the charcoal Lamy Safari that are my everyday pens. Every other pen in there is for an ink review or other ink post that I’m working on. Except the pen that’s in there for a pen review I’m working on.

A bunch of Pelikans. A bunch of Lamy Safaris and a Vista. An Edison. Two Montblancs. A Platinum. All fantastic. Except, this is so overstuffed. I need to go on a pen diet. Or start cranking out content faster.

Or I suppose I could just move the rollerball….

Lamy Lx: You’ve Got My Attention

Lamy Lx

This photo showed up today on the internet. I believe the original source is probably the Instagram and blog of a store in Belgium called Penworld. I don’t know if this photo will stay up much longer, but for now, here it is.

Oooh, ahhh. Or yuck, as the case may be.  People definitely have varying opinions, and I’ve been enjoying hearing them. And I am sort of going back and forth, myself.

On that blog link, Penworld reports that the Lx line will be out in September. The Lx is like a nicer Al-Star, that keeps the anodized finish, the shape and the section, but upscales the pen. The Lx has an aluminum case, and its clip will be plated with palladium or ruthenium. The steel nib also has a fancier finish.

Another store, Appelboom, said on Instagram that the Lx price might be about 50 euros in Europe.

So far, everyone I know who doesn’t like the Al-Star and Safari still doesn’t like the Lx.  Essentially, it seems like just a more expensive version of the pen they already dislike. So it’s not converting anyone, at least not yet.

On the other hand, I love the Safari, and at first I thought I’d end up with two of the Lx pens, the gold and the pink. Those are the the pretty colors, maybe the feminine colors. And they are the two colors that don’t look exactly like Al-Stars I already have.

But now that I look more at the pink, it’s raising some questions. I do hope it’s not the same color as the old Raspberry Al-Star. And the gold one — it does look different than the Copper Orange Al-Star from 2015; I really hope it is.

Well, we’ll have to see when they come out.

I do like the idea of the Lx. I love the Safari, but the Al-Star has never excited me. If the Lx is more attractive, and more sophisticated, I think that would be great. I’d be more likely to pick up that kind of Lx at a store, and I’d be more likely to buy it as a gift for an adult.

I will point out one excellent negative comment, from the “not-a-fan” side. My friend Dan was saying the Lx colors look like iPhone colors. Which is pretty funny. Because, now that he mentions it ….

But what if the Lx colors are older Lamy Al-Star colors? Then maybe Apple was inspired by Lamy, right? All our minds would be blown.

Anyway, no matter what the Lx turns out to be, we all know one thing it’s not. Green. So, yay.

Pen of the Day: Lamy Al-Star Ocean Blue

Lamy Al-Star Ocean Blue fountain pen

Lamy Al-Star Ocean Blue with extra-fine nib. Blue is my favorite color for fountain pens and ink. That’s not really a secret. Also not a secret is my love for Lamy pens. But I far prefer the ABS plastic Safari to the sleeker, more sophisticated aluminum Al-Star.

Except … sometimes. And this gorgeous deep blue Al-Star is one of the exceptions. I think the deep blue tone and the reflectivity of the aluminum makes the Ocean Blue Al-Star a stunner.

Lamy Al-Star Ocean Blue fountain pen

I am using it to review the ink, KWZ Azure #1. That’s because Lamy’s extra-fine nib is very different from the broad nib Aurora Optima that I’m also using with Azure #1.  Here is Azure #1 in an extra-fine.

KWZ Azure #1 ink writing sample