The 27 was somewhat of a grand opening for Lamy as a pen-maker. They had been active previously, but the product was generally under a another name than “Lamy,” while the 27 was Lamy’s own. This in itself is not particularly notable, however much we might wish a company well; what was notable was the quality of pen which this “new” maker sprung upon the world.
The most obvious aspect of the 27 is of course the styling, which seems to have set the tone for Lamy’s pens henceforth, as it is aggressively modern for its time. Neither Pelikan or Montblanc would offer anything nearly so up-to-date for at least a couple of years, and they were possibly even inspired by this upstart.
However, the real point of interest in the Lamy 27 lies inside, because it’s the feed that makes it a superior pen rather than the fact that it looks a lot like a Parker “51“. The “21 compensation chambers” of the feed are very similar in function to the Parker’s collector, and there are a couple of extra complications to enhance its resistance to changes of pressure and air temperature. The 27 has the advantage of being a piston-filler, which means a complete absence of breather tube (which is a serious problem in the pressure-resistance department) which burdened both filling modes of the Parker. Lamy called its piece of engineering the Tintomatic system, and it was such a success that, apart from the earliest production, it’s hard to tell the difference between the feed of a 27 and the feed of a Lamy 2000 when they’re out of the pen, and most of Lamy’s other feeds have their roots in this object.
There were changes in the details of the 27 over the course of its production. For at least the first two years, filling required removal of a blind cap to reveal the slender knob which worked the piston. This was replaced with a false blind cap driving the piston directly, the more common arrangement in higher-end German pens of the time. Around 1962, the profile of the pen became more squared, with the derby decorated by a big black L in a white circle– Lamy rebranding itself. At the same time, the hitherto screw-on plastic caps became clutched slip-ons, as the metal caps had been from the beginning. Finally, a late development sees the shape of the cut-out around the point change, along with the profile of the plastic cap’s band; the whole thing looked very similar to the Montblanc 32.
The blind caps of the 27 frequently have an indication on them of the sub-model. This takes the form of a letter following the model number, although which letter varies with time of production: b or e for plastic capped models, m or n for metal caps. These letters were replaced with a two digit code about the same time as the squaring off, with 30, 31, and 32 indicating plastic, a brushed metal (I’m having trouble tracking down aluminum or steel, as both were used earlier), or a gold-filled cap respectively. There were also, mid-run, variants with a gold-filled or solid-gold cladding.
The Lamy 27 seems to come mainly with very firm points, also in keeping with its sense of modernity. The ones I’ve tried are actually much firmer than the Lamy 2000– at least ones made this century. This may reflect the transition of fountain pens from a working tool, in competition with ballpoints in an environment given to multi-layer forms, into the more notionally luxurious item it is today.
|I was helped immensely in composing this profile by this review and this FPN article. The latter also offers an illustrated chart showing all the (known) variations of the model.|
Production Run: 1952 – c. 1968 (it’s unclear whether it survived the introduction of the 2000, but I’ve found suggestions of it running this late)
Cost When New: Ads from the beginning of the pen’s run show four prices depending on trim level; DM19.50, 25.-, 29.50, and 39.- (respectively about, $4.65, 5.95, 7.00 and 9.30: for modern values, try this calculator). This seems an amazing bargain; however, I have been told without any details that the Deutschmark was artificially undervalued for a long time after the war, so export prices, would have been slightly higher.
Size: Older round-ended type– 13.5cm long capped, 15.4cm posted, 12.5 cm uncapped.
Point: 14K gold.
Body: Acrylic… probably. I will accept correction from those who aren’t making assumptions based of mere surface observation.
Filler: Piston, approx. capacity 1.5 ml.
If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.