I couldn’t find much info on this pen, other than what’s in Lambrou. According to FPOTW, Tropen sold 150,000 Scholar pens a year from 1945-1948, but doesn’t it doesn’t say which year the pen was launched or when Tropen stopped production.
As the name implies the pens were targeted at students but they’re still quality products. The materials are light and thin but not flimsy (the plastic feels like ABS) and the details are sharp. What I especially like is that the pen and blind cap have been turned so well that you can barely discern the seam between the blind cap and the barrel. There’re no flash lines either (unlike the Pelikan M2xx pens). And it holds a lot of ink too.
I imagine “Nichroma” was an attempt to make a plated steel nib sound snazzier (a common marketing tactic among pen manufacturers back then). The nibs write smoothly and are very stiff. The nib units unscrew as well.
I really like the German 1930′s styling, and the pen is very comfortable to hold and write with. The only complaint I have is that the nibs are reliable but a bit boring. Initially, they had ink flow problems as well – for no reason they would dry up while writing. Those problems seem to have gone away.
The pens came with tapered ends that you could switch the blind caps with, to turn the pen into a desk pen. The taper makes the pen look a bit unwieldy but it does improve the balance of the pen, making it an even nicer writer.
(On a side note, Parker adopted a similar tactic to market the Duofold during the Depression, to make it look like the buyer would be getting 2 pens for the price of 1)
I recently bought these Tropen Scholar pens in Kuala Lumpur, at KS Gill. I suspect they were were made in the last 2 decades, especially since they were sold with the circa-1989 Scholar pens (these look completely different btw), but I have no way to date them. If you’ve more info pls feel free to comment.