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Help Identifying This Possibly German Pen?


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#21 Lexaf

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 11:37

Well, this is a real Tropen nib that's for sure and so far as I know Tropen did not get the nibs from Degussa.

Hi penandbeyond
It would be easy to type in "DEGUSSA" at google and you will find the "half- sun" emblem which is also the nib imprint. And you know nothing more about Tropen than you found in Lambrou`s FTOTW.
Kind Regards
Thomas


Wow! We are having a real flame war here on FPN. I never thought that would be possible!
So I might as well add my part for a few cents worth.


To begin with: I share Thomas' (aka Kaweco) argument that when a nib bears the famous 'halfsun' emblem, we are looking at a Degussa nib. Period.

Secondly: The history of a lot of German fountain pen manufacturers is poorly documented and is very difficult to access. A lot of history from the privat German industrial archives vanished or was destroyed during or shortly after WWII.

Fellow FPN member 'Kaweco' has an excellent reputation as an expert on German fountain pen history. In fact there are very few people I know in this small world of FP enthusiasts that know so much about the subject as he does.

In Andreas Lambrou's excellent reference work 'Fountain Pens Of The World' is a large chapter dedicated to the Tropen brand. This is in fact practically all we know and all we can find about the history of Tropen and the fountain pens they made. There may be more information, but it is not disclosed in databases or libraries and if its there it will probably be part of private archives and thus hardly accessible.

In the article in FPOTW the author indicates the interesting fact that Tropen was first of all a plastics manufacturer that produced plastic fountain pens already in the 1920's. Remarkable, in a time that mainly hard rubber and celluloid coming up, were the standard materials to make pens from. Gustav Schroeder, later Tropen, was a plastic manufacturer, certainly not a nib maker!

In Lambrou's book there are no pictures or descriptions of pre-war Tropen pens, let alone the nibs they used, so we cannot find any reference there.

Penandbyonds example of a white Tropen Ambassdor 800 is from 1958 and the 'PERLES' mystery pen I sold to Gobblecup is from somewhere between the late '30's and the 50's so I will concentrate on what we see about the 1950's pens in FPOTW.
Just like a lot of other pen manufacturers in Germany Tropen bought their nibs from 'third parties', some of them were well known, not in the least because of their high quality products. To name just a few: Bock, Rupp and yes, also Degussa.

In and after the war the use of gold was difficult or even impossible because the authorities had restrictions on the use of gold for FP's. So the Tropen no 500 Scholar, 1958 was still equipped with a steel nib. The Example in FPOTW show a 500 Scholar, as pen no. 2 on page 233. The nib is not shown, unfortunately. Yes, I own the book…

I also own some Tropens. Just 4.

One is the same as the no. 17 pictured on page 233 in FPOTW. A new no. 500 Scholar from 1989. Mint. Strangely enough it has an Ambassador GP steel M nib. Beautiful pen, I'm very proud of it.

One is a rare red Tropen Tiros, that does not have a regular nib but a sort of experimental ballpoint construction, that worked with normal ink. Not a stylograph nib or kuli, but different. But that will be something for another posting.

My other 2 Tropens are beaten old standard no.500 Scholar's made in the 1950's. One has a generic GP steel nib, probably a replacement, and the other has: YES! A Tropen nib! With a Tropen Logo. (see pictures).





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When we go back to page 233 in FPOTW one can see only 5 pens of the 17 totally pictured that show the nib. The Photography and the printing is of excellent quality so when I take a magnifying glass to look at the details I see the nib of pen no. 7, (no.200 Splendid, 1954): a diamond with the half sun half moon logo. Degussa! Pen no. 9 (no.400 Mein Stoltz, 1964): Degussa! No 11 , a no.1200 with hooded nib. So also a hooded Brand…

Further, pen no. 13 on the page, a high end model Tropen no.3 from 1950 with a warranted 14K 585 nib with a Lion head's logo. I think that logo was used by Rupp. (Kaweco, correct me if I'm wrong). And the last visible nib on the page, pen no. 15 is the grey variety of Penandbyond's no. 800 Ambassador, with exactly the same two-tone Degussa branded nib.

What can we learn from this: Tropen indeed made (or had made) nibs with it's own logo. It is not a diamond form with a half sun in it. It is a shield form with the name TROPEN in it.
But on a lot of pens, from budget to hi end, Tropen used third party nibs, maybe mostly Degussa, but also other brands. As the pens that are shown in Lambrou's book all can be considered as mint or near mint, there is no reason to think that these pens were tampered with or had a replacement nib. I am absolutely sure that the pens as they are shown had these nibs when they left the factory.

So sometimes things are not always what they seem…. The German fountain pen industry has a very complicated but fascinating history. A lot still has to be researched. For most people this will be a trivial subject so in the big bad world practically no one is giving attention to this 'little history' But there is one thing I learned (among others) from this fascinating hobby: the fountain pen industry, the use, the makers and the users, the designers, inventors and the used materials, from, say 1875, to today reflect what happened then and happens today in this world. History at it's best!

Another thing you can learn, reading the postings and articles on this great FPN board that it is a great thing that members are willing and able to share and evaluate their expertise on the subject. I think it is essential all board members show respect for that.

Enjoy!

Lexaf

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#22 Gobblecup

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:38

Thanks Lex for that very in depth post on Tropen and its nibs! As you say, there is so much to learn, and even more that we don't know, about pen history, especially German pen history.

The idea of a pen manufacturer using third party nibs shouldn't surprise anyone, considering even today almost all major pen manufacturers use third party nibs. The modern brands that have have a fully "in house" pen can be counted on a hand. And as you explained, for many companies in the hayday of FPs, it was much the same, albeit with simply more nib manufacturer's than we see today. For example most nibs today are made from Bock, while in the 50s you listed at least 3 major manufacturers, in Germany alone.

As you said, we all should be happy that we have so many interesting minds, ready to share informative history, here on the FPN. And I think these minor disagreements just go to show what a passion many of us have for our pens, and their histories. And that passion is what makes places like the FPN worthwhile to begin with, as long as we can remain civil (which I think is done pretty well).

In your last picture, what is the nib on the red pen (Second down)? Very cool little collection! :thumbup:
Gobblecup ~


#23 penandbeyond

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 20:54

Well, this is a real Tropen nib that's for sure and so far as I know Tropen did not get the nibs from Degussa.

Hi penandbeyond
It would be easy to type in "DEGUSSA" at google and you will find the "half- sun" emblem which is also the nib imprint. And you know nothing more about Tropen than you found in Lambrou`s FTOTW.
Kind Regards
Thomas


Well, you shouldn't be so determined. We all try to learn and gain knowledge about fountain pens which is not easy because of the large number of brands, etc.

Passion and patience with collecting fountain pens and with your fellow collectors would be nice.

#24 Lexaf

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 21:25

Passion and patience with collecting fountain pens and with your fellow collectors would be nice.


So in the end, we all agree!

Cheers!

#25 Lexaf

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 22:05

In your last picture, what is the nib on the red pen (Second down)? Very cool little collection! :thumbup:


The '' nib' on the Tropen Tiros.
This is a very special device, I think. Probably from the early 1950's. The 'nib' is a screwed in device, about the same way the stylographic device of the famous Rotring 'Tintenkuli' was mounted. The difference is that here we do not see a metal tube with a wire to transport the ink, like it is done in a stylograph, but actually a real ball point. But without the tube connected to it that contains the condensed, thick ink that is so typical for the 'Biro' ballpoints that came in use in that same period. In this Tropen system the ball point device is using normal fountain pen ink, the pen (barrel) itself is a standard piston filler, just like the other Tropens and many other German pens from that time, the best known example of course being the Pelikans.
Also another German quality brand from that time: Luxor, made pens with a similar ball point like device. Elsewhere on this board you can maybe still find an older posting about the UHU 'Tinten Schreiber' (translate: Ink Writer) , that also had such a system. All together this ball point like systems did not prove to be such a succes, the ball points as we know them now won the battle and the 'Tinten Schreibers' made by UHU, Luxor, Tropen and also some minor German brands died a silent and inglorious death, leaving us, fountain pen collectors, behind with some orphaned and rare oddballs of the German fountain pen industry.

As I already wrote in my earlier posting I will write a more in depth article about these oddballs, as soon as I gathered and researched enough information about these very special and rare pens.

For this moment you have to do it with this short explanation.....

If any one can help with more detailed information about manufacturers or technical data about these 'pre- ball points' I'd really appreciate to be informed!

Lexaf

#26 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 22:50

For a bit in the early '50's Tropen made more pens than any one in Germany combined, perhaps only Wearever made more. They were exported mostly.

I have not got a Tropen; even though I live in Germany and looked for them off and on, on German Ebay. I even looked on English E-bay for them.

When they did show up every once in a while, I was chasing something else, or had a deflated wallet.

But like a Matador; I seldom see one. Could well be I don't look hard enough. The prices of Matador's are enough to make my wallet whine.

I have to admit I've not looked for one in a while, been chasing Osmia's.

It is quite possible Tropen were making more pens than they could nib in factory.

Degussa is a good nib.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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#27 Gobblecup

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 23:30

I was looking at some 1940s/1950s Waterman lever fillers, I noticed a resemblance in the clip, to this Waterman on the bay. Perhaps this was just a common style, or maybe it's a hint in the right direction? I am very much a novice with almost all vintage pens, but I quickly noticed the similar clips when I came across the Waterman.

Please let me know if I am going down the wrong track here. :thumbup:
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#28 Gobblecup

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 00:33

Here is another slightly similar clip on another Waterman? :hmm1:
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#29 Lexaf

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 14:30

Here is another slightly similar clip on another Waterman? :hmm1:


I agree that clip looks a bit like it, ok.
You refer to the UK made Waterman's from the late 40's, like the W2, W3, W5 and the 500 series. Also the famous 100 year pen has that kind of clip. (see Lambrou, FPOTW page 45).
But the celluloid is not very like Waterman. As far as I know (correct me when I'm wrong) Waterman did not use this kind of marbled celluloid for pens in this era. Also the pointy blind cap at the back of the Perles is very UN-Waterman.
Further, the lever filling system in the Perles is different. Waterman lever fillers have a hinged pressure plate inside, the Perles has a simple J spring.
I doubt if there is any relation with a Waterman design or production, leaving the similar clip as just coincidental.

#30 Gobblecup

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 14:39

Thanks for clarifying the finer points of my suggestion. It would then seem unlikely this pen had anything to do with Waterman. I don't think I have seen any marbled celluloid like the Perles in Waterman's pens either.
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#31 Gobblecup

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 17:34

Here is a bunch of pictures of the Perles for reference:


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:notworthy1:
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#32 Lexaf

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 21:57

Here is a bunch of pictures of the Perles for reference:

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:notworthy1:


Please tell me what the other pens are?
Lexaf

Edited by Lexaf, 22 April 2011 - 21:57.


#33 Gobblecup

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 08:49

Lex,

From left to right the pen in the picture are: Perles - Parker Sonnet - Namiki Vanishing Point - Visconti Opera. :thumbup:

Gobblecup -
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#34 Lexaf

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 12:53

Lex,

From left to right the pen in the picture are: Perles - Parker Sonnet - Namiki Vanishing Point - Visconti Opera. :thumbup:

Gobblecup -


That sure are some fine pens. You chose a wonderful company for the Perles.:thumbup:

#35 Gobblecup

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 13:35

Lex,

From left to right the pen in the picture are: Perles - Parker Sonnet - Namiki Vanishing Point - Visconti Opera. :thumbup:

Gobblecup -


That sure are some fine pens. You chose a wonderful company for the Perles.:thumbup:


Thanks! And to think, they are all jealous of Perles' Degussa! :roflmho:
Gobblecup ~


#36 Gobblecup

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 22:59

MODS... Could this please be moved to the Pen History forum instead, I just realized this may not be the appropriate area.

Thanks!
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#37 ticoun

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 20:07


the heat pressing is exactly what was used to make chased hard rubber. it works even better than with celluloid, as hard rubber is already soft, so it takes less heat to make the imprint.

No. The old chasing is a scratching method with industrial diamonds.
Kind Regards
Thomas


modern chasing is indeed made with diamond cutting tools or lasers, but in the 20's, they didn't have synthetic diamnds, and real ones were too costly, so the used some heated metal rollers with the patterns embossed on their surface.

here's what Richard Binder says about chasing on his site.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, chasing was applied by rolling a heated die against the cylindrical surface of the pen or pen cap. The effect of this method is to create v-shaped grooves with slightly raised edges where the displaced material flowed outward. Some modern makers of BCHR pens use a laser to machine the grooves, and the result is square grooves with a rough-surfaced flat bottom, while others use a cutting tool that makes a V-shaped groove but does not raise material above the surface.


Edited by ticoun, 26 April 2011 - 20:14.

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#38 Kaweco

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 20:25


the heat pressing is exactly what was used to make chased hard rubber. it works even better than with celluloid, as hard rubber is already soft, so it takes less heat to make the imprint.

No. The old chasing is a scratching method with industrial diamonds.
Kind Regards
Thomas


modern chasing is indeed made with diamond cutting tools or lasers, but in the 20's, they didn't have synthetic diamnds, and real ones were too costly, so the used some heated metal rollers with the patterns embossed on their surface.

here's what Richard Binder says about chasing on his site.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, chasing was applied by rolling a heated die against the cylindrical surface of the pen or pen cap. The effect of this method is to create v-shaped grooves with slightly raised edges where the displaced material flowed outward. Some modern makers of BCHR pens use a laser to machine the grooves, and the result is square grooves with a rough-surfaced flat bottom, while others use a cutting tool that makes a V-shaped groove but does not raise material above the surface.

http://i844.photobucket.com/albums/ab1/Thomasnr/flAlt12.jpg
http://i844.photobuc...uilochier22.jpg
http://i844.photobuc...r/Werkstatt.jpg

#39 deansellers

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 22:59

I just received in the mail this NOS Tropen:tropen FP.jpg
And, hey! It has a nib that says Senator! So now I'm real curious and start googling like crazy (I don't own the famous pen guide) and have come to the realization that the Senator Regent looks exactly like my Tropen. The only difference being the name on the clip and the script on the side of the cap. They both even come with a long tapered blind cap to turn them into desk set pens. So it would seem that German pen makers traded parts all over the place. Perhaps there are Senator Regents out there sporting Tropen nibs?

#40 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 23:59

Dirty industrial diamonds were common even before Howard R. Hughes, Sr., who patented the two-cone roller bit, which allowed rotary drilling for and founded the Hughes Tool Company in 1909.

There has always been major market for industrial diamonds.

Well lately there have been less and will soon die, in everyone can make diamonds along with Rubies, Sapphires and Emerald in one's back yard for a couple of hundred dollars in a electrical oven.
How big do you want your blue Hope diamond?

By the way the blue diamonds in old India the diamond mining center of the world then, were the least worth, so the few big blue diamonds that the Kings of Europe were so happy to have, were the worst of the Indian diamonds.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 







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