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Grad Wings - Is Coro the Manufacturer For This Pattern?


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#1 Tim B

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 06:59 PM

I’ve wanted to restart this topic for some time now and am finally getting the higher priority (non-hobby) items out of the way so I can sit down and devote some thoughts to it again.  I see a similar type discussion going on currently surrounding the Bell style wings, so hopefully we can have a similar discussion here.

I do hope we can actually discuss the potential manufacturer's here, as I think we could possibly ID the maker if we really put our collective heads together in the best interests of the forum and collecting in general.  I also understand that without company archives or contract information from government establishments like The Institute of Heraldry (TioH), we may never know the real facts on approved designs or hallmarking, when used.  I do think we can certainly apply some thoughts to the issue until something more concrete comes to light. Thank you.

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Edited by rustywings, 02 March 2014 - 07:40 PM.


#2 Tim B

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:02 PM

First, the wing style we are discussing here is specific to one pattern.  They have a certain number and pattern to the notches in the wing’s shoulders.

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#3 Tim B

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:03 PM

The other trait I notice, at least on the early solid back wings, is the double Sterling stamp.

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#4 Tim B

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:05 PM

There are more than one style of wings that are solid in nature, have similar but not identical notches and are considered as “grad” wings.  However, we are really discussing wings with the traits shown above ONLY. The wing shoulders on this unknown maker are pretty specific and common to all sets. The farthest left notch (red arrow) is set lower than the rest and in later examples, appears to be right at the edge (perhaps a worn die) but, it’s still there.  The "tell" that I look for, is the two narrow feathers (red circle).

 

Other makers, like Levelle, are close but these two feathers are different.

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#5 Tim B

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:08 PM

Other wings that are similar but not the same:

 

Here's a wing that is often referred to as typical Levelle (navigator in this case).  Note the wing, indentation around the sterling mark, and the differences between their notches and feathering compared to the one being discussed.  Levelle sets only have three notches on the left, not four.

 

I really wish to leave these Levelle and other solid wings (like AE & Co., Jostens, Meyer, etc.) out of the discussion, as the wing shoulders are of a different pattern entirely from the wing up for discussion and IMO, from a different manufacturer.

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#6 Tim B

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:10 PM

In my opinion, whoever the manufacturer actually is, they continued to produce wings through WW2 and beyond and I’ll show why I think that.  I also believe these could be the guys that produced the Aerial Gunner wings without the target, but more examples need to be shown to confirm that thought and I would prefer to save that aspect for later discussion.

 

On the wings in question; another member (tomcatter) once commented that the maker might in fact be Cohn & Rosenberger, later known simply as Coro, Inc.  After doing some more research, I think that might be worth looking into and will eventually lead my part of the discussion in that direction.  Another point tomcatter brought up, was a different pattern wing produced later (1950’s?) that carried the 12 C manufacturer code assigned to Coro when three-digit codes became the standard.  This indicates to me that several manufacturers had more than one pattern for their wings over time.

 

First though, I think we have to agree that the pattern of wings being discussed here are actually the product of one company/manufacturer and show, what I think, is a progression in the wings die characteristics over a period of time.

 

So, as not to dominate the discussion, would anybody like to share some initial thoughts on these wings?



#7 rustywings

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:16 AM

Tim,

 

Here's a few images for your consideration.  Do these pieces fit into the puzzle?

 

The top badge is like your example.  The badge on the bottom has the identical front and appears to be the same pattern, but the reverse is very different.  Different pin...different findings...thinner and lighter...and a single strike "STERLING" mark.  It appears this pattern may have been produced by more than one company.

 

 

 

 

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#8 rustywings

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:19 AM

Close-up of shoulder and shield patterns.

 

 

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#9 rustywings

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:21 AM

However, very different backings? 

 

 

 

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#10 rustywings

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:26 AM

This beefy trio of Service, Glider and Liaison Pilot badges appear to be the same pattern as your examples. 

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#11 rustywings

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:32 AM

These badges are very heavy, but are not completely solid across the back.  The raised "STERLING" marks appear to be the same font and size, but there's no evidence of a double-tap strike.  Are they from the same corral?

 

 

 

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#12 tomcatter

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 10:17 AM

Hi Guys,

this is an interesting discussion.

Post-WWII Basic Pilot wings by Coro have a very similar pattern (not perfectly identical, but very similar) and a very similar back, with same "sterling" marking and flat surface.

Maybe the unmarked wings are made with an earlier die, with similar features but not identical (of course I may be wrong, this is just a supposition).

Unfortunately I haven't sterling Coro wings photos to post for comparison (maybe someone can do that?).



#13 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:54 AM

Hi guys and thaks for contributing to the topic!

 

Rusty,

 

Very nice examples and I do believe they are in fact from the same manufacturer. The differences here, IMHO, are related to saving on raw material and thus saving money especially as the war started and materials got scarce.

 

I'll post a few examples that I've seen and you see the basic front design remaining the same but, in a sort of progression, the badges go from solid, to semi-hollow to more hollowed out and in some cases, hollowback altogether.

 

I once heard someone reason that companies offered different levels of quality on the wings but, I don't necessarily agree with that point, certainly not when we are talking items made out of sterling or non-precious metals.  In my experience, you went to the PX/BX/NEX and bought what was available off the shelf.  If you wanted something made custom, you had to special order it or go to some outside source like Jostons jewlers and have something made up in (i/e: 10K/14K/etc. gold).  Most service personnel didn't do that and what we commonly see are stock issue items, even in the case of the engraved examples shown here.

 

Tim



#14 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:08 PM

Takes time to resize photos sometimes, so if you see the delay...

 

Rusty,

 

I am looking at certain wings and figured the ones easiest to discuss are the ones that had the shortest lifespan but your pilots are great examples as well.

 

Here's a few aircrew and you can see they have the same attributes:

 

A solid version, with pinback.  Circa pre/early war IMO:

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Edited by Tim B, 03 March 2014 - 12:10 PM.


#15 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:17 PM

Here, we see an example that is hollowed out on the reverse and utilizing clutch backs. I do not have a photo of an example where one is somewhat hollow and still using the pin back but, believe they exist and would have preceeded this version.

 

Note the same front details.  The strike does not appear to be as clean here, but it may be related to wear or just the camera flash in the photos, it's not my badge.

 

The point I am trying to show though, is the manufacturer has modified the die so less material is actually being used to produce the wing, thus saving on material and costs.  It doesn't seem like a lot of material would be worth the effort (on one badge) but over time and considering the amount of items actually produced, it adds up.

 

Tim

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  • AC 2a.JPG


#16 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:22 PM

Here, we again see a badge with the same front details but now, the badge is in hollowback.  Again, clutch backs are used.  Some things I want to say at this point.

 

I will show this "progression", for lack of a better term, on other wings sets and we see the same pattern developing.  I understand there were in fact items used during the war that were clutch back.  However, I firmly believe we paint all these wings as WW2 when many are not.  In this hollowback example, I really believe it's post-war, based on die quality.  Perhaps late war but not mid-war or earlier, not IMO.

 

Tim

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#17 Marksman

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:24 PM

Nice discussion!

 

So here is some more fuel for the fire ;)

 

The AC Badge has the same Wing pattern - the same 4 notches in the wing shoulders - the wing is heavy worn and one notch on the right shoulder was nearly worn off.

 

 

It has the same small "STERLING" mark on the back as Rustys 3 Pilot wings.

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Edited by Marksman, 03 March 2014 - 12:27 PM.


#18 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:33 PM

Yes, very nice and an excellent addition!

 

This is the version that I believe falls after the solid reverse design.  They hollowed out the reverse to save on material and it still uses the pin back design.

 

Thank you for showing that and at the opportune moment. ;)

 

Tim



#19 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:35 PM

I'll switch real quick to the navigator wings but anyone coming in late, please feel free to add to those items already being shown.  This thread can go in several directions and eventually I would like to even discuss those utilizing clutch backs vs pin backs.



#20 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:37 PM

Here's one of my navigator wings, again it's solid with brass pinback.

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#21 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:39 PM

The strike quality is superb despite what appears to be minor die crud in the crevices.

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#22 Marksman

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:42 PM

Thanks my friend - timing is everything ;)

 

And you show very nice wings here!


Edited by Marksman, 03 March 2014 - 12:43 PM.


#23 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:43 PM

One thing I noticed on this particular wing, was the top portion of the die strike where the left hand notches were.  You can see how they start to fold around into that "V" shape.  Not sure if the dies on the other wings also had this early on, or if this portion of the die worn right away.

 

As marksman shown on his aircrew wing, that lower notch on the left sometimes starts to wear and is barely visible.  I'll show that in more detail on the bombardier sets; which is the direction I am eventually heading to.

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  • Wing Detail.JPG

Edited by Tim B, 03 March 2014 - 12:44 PM.


#24 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:48 PM

The navigator set is really the one that started the quest for me to try and ID the maker of this particular pattern of wings.  There was one for sale here last year and it was on the American Military Stores card.  I never did find any information on that outlet but now believe it was just a card used to sell these and may in fact been something used by the exchange systems to mount products from various manufacturers.  Still, it was a something to look at.

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#25 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:55 PM

As with the aircrew badge, I do not have an example that uses the pin back design and is semi-hollowed out on the reverse.  I'll show what PIC's I have and hopefully someone will come in with more examples.

 

**A shameless plug here, but the more collectors that participate with examples from their respective collections will not only add more to the thread but IMO, offer a better view of what's actually out there and perhaps clear up misconceptions or clarify ideas. It's up to those here.**

 

Here's a navigator with clutch backs and with a hollowed out back.  Note the shoulder areas and how the center has been smoothly refined, removing material.  This particular example has clutches that appear to be silver in color.  Those could in fact be the 1942/43 Ballou versions.

 

I need to add, that though the PIC is not the clearest, it appears to still have that double sterling stamp.

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Edited by Tim B, 03 March 2014 - 12:57 PM.



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