Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Tropen Mechanical Pencil

The Magnificent Seven - Part 4

Tropen Mechanical Pencil

by Pencil Paul

Despite the ravages and destruction of war, the German pen industry of the early 1950's still boasted many many pen makers both large and small, and among them was a company called 'Tropen'. They produced an huge selection of items from fountain pens and stylographs, to the humble mechanical pencil. The post 1930s offerings all seem to share a common Art Deco design theme, which is what attracted me initially to this company. I have a couple of the 1.2mm lead pencils, they are loaded by unscrewing the barrel halves and filling the bottom half with short leads, advancing the lead is achieved by rotating the nose. Finish is a plain colour usually gloss black with gold plated/washed trim, the nose being brass. Top of the line fountain pens had GF trim, plus excellent solid gold nibs. The grey pencil shown is inscribed 'Made in Germany' suggesting that it is of pre-war manufacture. As with most things German and mechanical they have an innate sense of quality about them and work simply and flawlessly, that aspect along with the sharp deco looks offer a very affordable and usable collectable. A large number of vintage Tropen items are still available on certain websites today. The Tropen company along with many other German manufacturers disappeared in the mid 1950s victims of changing times and taste, and the rise of that ultra modern invention the ballpoint pen.

tropen mechanical pencil
Tropen Mechanical Pencil


2nd_astronaut said...

Thanks, I never heard from Tropen. The indication "Made in Germany" is no clear sign for pre-war production... AFAIK the differenciation "Made in West-Germany" was mainly used starting from the 60ies or even 70ies.

Pencil Paul said...

Hi 2nd astronaut, I am happy you are paying attention! Yes these vintage Tropen pencils and the pens were very well made and are readily available on that website we shall not mention! Thanks for your observation on the differentiation 'Made in West-Germany' strangely enough the Black pencil is marked 'Made in West Germany' Cheers

Cedar Boy said...

The design on the gold ring looks uncannily close to a swastika - any ideas on the history of it?

Pencil Paul said...

Hello Cedar Boy, I think its more likely based on a repeating Greek key symbol as this was often used in Art Deco designs. Cheers