Leuchtturm 1917: A beacon for notebook addicts

Posted on by Mike Evans

It was Macfilos associate editor Bill Palmer wot dunnit. He mentioned the enigmatic word Leuchtturm in connection with notebooks. He knows I can’t resist a notebook, and his comment was especially apposite because I remembered seeing a Leuchtturm display in one of those wonderful old-fashioned stationery shops. The sort of place where everything is as it used to be and not everything comes in plastic display packs. I immediately recalled where I’d seen it and I lost no time in paying a second visit, this time with buying intent.

The Aladdin’s cave in question is Barbican Stationers in Goswell Road, City, just a hundred yards or so from Red Dot Cameras’ new emporium on the Islington side of the traffic lights. I’d spied the notebooks on my way from Barbican station to Red Dot; but hadn’t thought much about them until Bill did it. He told me he is a Leuchtturm addict.

Now I’d never come across Leuchtturm, which is German for lighthouse. And its a bit of a tongue twister for English palates: Just say Loich-turm and you can’t go far wrong.

 Nothing like a good system....

Nothing like a good system....

It was extremely remiss of me to overlook Leuchtturm for all these years. I’ve been happy with Moleskine and Rhodia, in particular, but I have recently become rather frustrated with Moleskine since the ink from at least one of my Parker 51s has a nasty habit of working through to the other side of the paper. This an unforgivable sin in the notebook lover’s transgressions.

I was drawn to Leuchtturm on Bill’s recommendation because, he says, the ink doesn’t seep through the paper. It’s a selling point for Leuchtturm as I found out. But I was more intrigued by the date box at the top of every page and, wonder of wonders, individually numbered pages. To add icing to the cake, there is a three-page index at the start of every book so you can list your topics against page numbers. The paper is indeed of high quality and I can confirm that so far I have has no ink osmosical problems.

As with Moleskine books, there is a set of perforated pages at the back together with a pocket to hold bills and other small items. At extra cost you can buy a stick-on pen holder that is a very welcome addition.

Most sizes of Leuchtturm notebooks come in ruled, plain, squared or dotted versions. I’m already hooked and I am only surprised it has taken me so long to find a range of notebooks that has been in production since 1917. Better late than never, of course.


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  • You can find more from Bill Palmer at Lightmancer