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Grad Wings - Is Coro the Manufacturer For This Pattern?


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#26 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 01:01 PM

Here's a couple of PIC's of the same navigator in hollow version.

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  • Navigator Wings CB.JPG


#27 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 01:07 PM

The strike on this one still appears to be decent and what caught my eye was the clutch backs it had with it.  Again, seller PIC's are often not the best but they appear to be the plain Ballou 1942 versions with sterling on them.

 

Not to say they originally came together or, were married up over the years, we may never really know but...it's something to think over.  Considering the navigator rating was first established in September 1942, one would tend to think the original badges would be the solid versions with pin back shown and not something hollowed out.  I don't know what to think here; thoughts?

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#28 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 01:11 PM

I should probably add a link to the site that discusses clutch backs as they have a section on Ballou.

 

Here: http://hglanham.trip...ngclutches.html



#29 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 01:19 PM

I also found this site to be a very interesting read, as it discusses the developement and use of solder paste and how it changed the way attachments could be mounted starting in the 1930's.  It also goes on to show starting in the 1950's how automation allowed for machines to place solder items directly.  I think that process is important when looking at items and seeing how the attachments are really connected to the badge in question.

 

Here: http://www.fusion-inc.com/about-us/



#30 Tim B

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 02:58 PM

I stopped for a bit to allow others that wanted to offer up thoughts or opinions on this topic.  I'll add some general comments relating to the two links I posted above.

 

Always happy to hear from others and completely understand that we don't always have to agree on points but, that's what a discussion forum is all about IMO.

 

I added a couple of links above and wanted to touch on the topics a bit here.

 

 

Some excerpts from Dr. Howard G. Lanham’s site on clutch fasteners that caught my eye and thought were important to call out here.

 

- “When using fasteners to date an insignia there is a risk that someone might have previously removed the original fasteners and replaced them with ones from a different time period.  If you are fairly certain that the insignia still has its original fasteners then knowing the time period of the fasteners can be helpful.”
 

I think it’s important to remember this, as many of the items out there on the market today claim they are WW2 vintage or pre-war vintage and IMO, many are not.  If you look at the clutch backs on some of these items, they are clearly types that were manufactured after the war, if Dr. Lanham got his information correct.  So, why so many anomalies, IMO, it sells!  Most of the collectors we see today are only interested in the items from WW2 or prior.  Most of the guys I see here on the forums discussing these (wings, sub badges, medals, etc.) are not interested in anything post-WW2.  Many consider that garbage as “surplus” and not worthy of collecting.

 

Sellers, especially on venues like Ebay, have picked up on that and now everyone claims their item to be WW2 vintage or earlier.  I always laugh when I see sellers claiming items as “rare”, “extremely scarce”, “vintage WW2” and the item has a maker’s hallmark from the 1960’s or later.  The point is, it is and always will be “buyer beware” as a little knowledge provides an unscrupulous seller to make items up and colorfully sugar coat descriptions.

 

 

- “After the war (WW1) in a market that had suddenly contracted people asked the question can we produce a higher quality insignia that will stand out among the competition?”
 

I think this goes to show that the pin back design was not the most desirable.  We see a lot of examples today where the pin has been broken, repaired, and in some cases replaced altogether.  Clutch back style pins were an easier, more cost-efficient alternative.  All they needed was a better clutch to secure it to the uniform and a better way to solder the pins to the device.  That’s where Fusion Engineering Company came into play.  With the development of a soldering paste, small items could be attached much easier and the process becomes more streamlined.

 

 

- “It seems that wing badge collectors in particular are fond of reminding others that clutch fasteners existed prior to the Second World War.  They are correct about that.  However, the truth is that prior to World War Two clutch fasteners were not used on any kind of government-issued, enlisted insignia and were found on a minority of other kinds of privately purchased insignia, mostly worn by officers.  The vast majority of pre-World War Two insignia still were pin-back or screw back in construction.”

 

- “At the onset of World War Two the majority of insignia were being attached by pins or screws.  However, by the end of the war it is possible the percentage attached by clutches exceeded those attached by those older means.  The success of clutches was mostly the result of the introduction of the Ballou clutch in 1942.”

 

- “During the Second World War rank insignia and distinctive insignia continued to be mostly of pin-back or screw back construction but after the war Ballou clutches also because common place on them.”

 

I think those are important points to keep in mind.  The success of clutch backs, with the new Ballou style clutch were much more efficient, in production costs, material usage, and in general wear, that we can see why pin back versions started to fade from the scene and more and more items were being manufactured using clutch type fasteners.  How many pin back insignia do we actually see manufactured post-1950?

 

 

Here's an old USMF discussion that might be of interest: http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=61111

 



#31 tomcatter

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:39 AM

Last November I saw on eBay a nice pair of post-WWII Basic Pilot wings by Coro (item# 161137567297).
The front pattern is similar to the unidentified wings, and the back is quite interesting: same flat back and same "Sterling" mark.

Of course the shape is similar but not identical.

 

I post a photo from this listing, just for future reference (photo credits to eBay seller).

I post also a front and back photo of my pair of unidentified wings for comparison.

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  • wings.jpg
  • wings2.jpg

Edited by tomcatter, 04 March 2014 - 03:41 AM.


#32 Tim B

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:48 AM

Thanks TC,

 

Yes, I remember that one from last November and was going to make a point on that version and later hallmark towards the end of this discussion.  IMO, it goes to show that Coro (if and when we agree that Coro is the maker here) changed designs later on, which appears to be the case for other manufacturers as well.

 

Another member commented to me last night that I should give more time between posts so, I'm stopping for a bit in order for those members that want to participate to have the opportunity to read and reply to anything thus far.

 

Tim



#33 rustywings

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:15 PM

Tim,

 

Here's an Aerial Gunner badge with the correct feather pattern on the front.  Heavier than most, but not completely solid-back. It appears to be sterling, but there's no precious metal marking on the reverse. 

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  • IMG_4876_crop.jpg


#34 rustywings

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:18 PM

Solid single strike. Similar pin and catch, but no "STERLING" mark on the back...

 

 

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#35 bschwartz

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:12 PM

Wow, now that's a funky one.  I've never seen the bullet hollowed out in the tips of the wings like that before.  Interesting wing.  Russ you never cease to amaze me at what you pull out of that collection of yours.  It should be in a book.................... :rolleyes:



#36 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:13 PM

Evening Russ!

 

That's an interesting AG wing you have there, a bit different from the ones I am used to seeing but it shows some points I would like to discuss later in the thread, if you don't mind?  Great wing and I like those wing notches and will show why later.

 

Tim


Edited by Tim B, 05 March 2014 - 05:14 PM.


#37 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:15 PM

Nice to see you here Bob!  Great wings site btw!!

Tim



#38 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:25 PM

Okay, I’ve shown examples of aircrew and navigator wing sets that have these same die traits and we see these same traits in the other wing patterns for pilot and even some alphabet wings as well. 

 

Here’s an example of a glider set that is early enough to be pin back in design but has the center hollowed out, similar to the pilot wing sets Russ showed earlier in the thread.

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  • Glider Grad wing2.JPG


#39 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:27 PM

Is there anyone that still believes at this point these are not common to one maker?

 

If not, I would like to direct the next section towards the bombardier set of wings.  I like to show the bombardier wing as it’s one of the ratings that had a short life span and that may help in defining production dates.

 

From:  http://www.303rdbg.com/badges.html

BOMBARDIER (Rating established 4 September 1942 - Discontinued 26 July 1949)
Awarded to graduates of the 20 week Bombardier school.

 

Does anyone actually know when the bombardier wings stopped being produced?



#40 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:40 PM

I'm trying to slow my inputs down to allow for others to post, sorry if I seem to be cramming info and photos down in rapid succession here.  I have really been trying to get to the bombardier set of wings but wanted to show the others first to establish the common die traits.

 

Here's a bombardier from my collection, again we see the solid wing with double sterling stamp and in pin back.

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  • 1.JPG


#41 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:42 PM

On mine, the lower notch is really worn and barely visible but, it's still there.  I notice a lot of these are the same, so perhaps it was die related?

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#42 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:49 PM

Here are a couple of wings that I feel are the next, immediate generation of the above wing.  Note only the bomb is hollowed out and the center target roundel is slightly smoothed out as well. 

 

I still feel this indicates that the company was starting to look at ways to save on raw materials and started thinning the wing sets out on the reverse.  The actual weight difference would be barely noticiable to the wearer IMO.

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  • 2.jpg


#43 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:51 PM

And another one showing the center better.  Note by the time they moved away from the solid reverses, the double sterling mark is gone.

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#44 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:59 PM

Then, we start to see the versions in clutch back form.  Again, it's a time progression I think I am seeing on these.  I may be totally wrong here and why I always like to see more inputs, especially from dedicated wing collectors that have handled many more wings than I. 

 

On this version, we see the center with a more pronounced hollow center and the wing shoulder areas are being hollowed out as well.  The front still shows the same die characteristics.  Note the Tinnerman style clutches, though I am not saying they are original issue to the wings, I don't know that.

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  • 3.jpg


#45 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:01 PM

And, yet another example.  I'll show a closeup of this one in the next post and I see something that might be important.

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#46 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:06 PM

Note the die flaws that are pointed out.  When I seen this, my first thought was that they hollowed out too much material and what we are seeing is stress related cracks starting to develop.

 

We see similar type stress cracks on the Amcraft series of wings and I wonder if this version did not last long and the next version will, IMO, possibly support that thought.

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  • 4a.jpg

Edited by Tim B, 05 March 2014 - 07:07 PM.


#47 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:13 PM

The next two sets are similar and what I am seeing most commonly being sold these days.  Again, the front design remains the same but now, instead of hollowing out the center and wing shoulder areas, less material is removed from the center and more material is removed along more of the top portion of the wings.

 

IMO, this might be a correction to the issue of die cracking we see in the previous wing shown.

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  • 5.JPG


#48 Tim B

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:21 PM

And the other example.  I would be curious to know the actual weights on this version and how they compare to the early solid backed versions.

 

Okay, I will stop for others to read and post if they want and will continue tomorrow with why I think Coro might in fact be the source of all these wings.

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  • 6.JPG


#49 Tim B

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 08:21 AM

Okay, lots of readers and maybe many have not had a chance to read/respond yet, especially coming out of the SOS timeframe.  I'll continue, by all means if anyone has anything to add one way or the other, feel free as it only adds to the forum discussion.

 

 

First, some background information on Coro, Inc. that is available searching online:

 

Coro Jewelry/Cohn & Rosenberger was originally founded in 1902 as the partnership of Emanuel Cohn & Gerard Rosenberger.  Starting out as a small shop in New York selling jewelry and personal accessories, Cohn died in 1910 and the company kept the original name. The "partnership" incorporated in 1913 and adopted the corporate name - Coro, Inc. in 1943.  The name incorporates the first two letters of each partner's name.

 

Coro was an importer, exporter, and seller of costume jewelry and simulated pearls, conducting business worldwide.  By the 1920’s, Coro was the largest manufacturer of costume jewelry with a work force of over 2,000.  The company produced a broad range of designs and an immense volume of jewelry at all price levels.  Some pins sold in five-and-dime stores for as low as 50 cents and some pins sold as high as $100 in specialty stores. Some of the rhinestone studded Coro jewelry can be compared with the very best produced by other costume jewelry companies of that time.

 

During World War II, they operated partially as a prime contractor for the federal government, manufacturing insignia, parts for bomb nose fuses and base detonator fuses, and "miscellaneous items".  It also manufactured as a subcontractor under another prime contractor during the war years.  As of the mid-1940s, the parent company in New York was operating subsidiaries, showrooms, and/or plants in provenance, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Toronto, and London, England.

 

Letterhead used for correspondence in the 1950's indicates additional offices in Dallas and Atlanta.  By the mid-1960's additional plants were operating in Olneyville and Bristol.  In 1970, the company became a subsidiary of Richton International Corporation.  By 1979 all the Coro companies, except the Canadian company, were bankrupt.  I understand the company was sold in 1992 to a South American company which also went bankrupt.

 

Coro produced items that incorporated a wide variety of hallmarks over the years and dependent on the quality of product line being produced.  Here’s a link showing the various hallmarks and approximate time of their use:  http://www.illusionj...ymarkscoro.html

 

 



#50 Tim B

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 08:27 AM

As so many of the medal and insignia manufacturers had originally started out in the jewelry business and operated under government contracts during wartime, and the fact that Coro was heavy in the costume jewelry business, I found it very interesting when I seen this bombardier sweetheart pin posted on Bob Schwartz’ website on WW2 Wings.  http://www.ww2wings.com/main.shtml

 

As you can see, the hallmark is “sterling craft by Coro”.  What I understand is, this particular mark is circa 1942 -’44 based on more information I've read online.  If anyone knows more on that, please add that information to the thread.

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  • Bombardier Sweetheart Wngs - Coro.JPG



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