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2 Sides of 2 Different Coins (Wings)


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#1 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:40 AM

I had been looking for a set of both Wm Link Co. Wings and American Metal Craft Co. Wings of a similar yet very different wing design. The Amcraft has the undulation on each wing and the Link Wing has the fully framed shield while Amcraft has the outer boundary lines of the shield from Chief to the base of the Pale run at a slight angle inward where eventually the edges would intersect. This accentuates the "sideburns" on the Amcraft badge and with the undulation in the center section of the wing, it is the most artistic of the 2 wings, while the Link wing has the Brass underlying the silver coating showing richly in a beautiful coppery radiance from underneath the HEAVY patina as the silver coating is gone with wear, which is just amazing as wing's use seems to have been over an extended career. The woman who passed in Santa Barbara CA was Margaret A Lawrence and she had pictures in the house which from the glance at her home pics from the sale AD on Craigs List, it looks like the pilot might be her late husband as there were pics of a man in military uniform but I could not see the full pic from a distance. A local shop owner bought it at the sale and I procured it from her post sale and later found the estate sale advertised for the weekend before.  So the Pilot's surname was probably "Lawrence" but I have some more work to do.

 

These two wings are fascinating when view in tandem as one sees the different approaches the artisans took to the designs. Both have the typical c-clasp and flat backs but the Link Wing is certainly the more squared off with greater size of the shield and precision lines on a flat medium and the Amcraft uses more variation of angle and depth to get the same masculine, strong and artistically excellent wing from a different approach.  I will set the Amcraft Wing first with Link to follow. Cliff, thanks for walking me through learning about the origins of these badges and their design over the years. Please, if anyone is more well versed in the timing of these, give the timing of their make if you would. I know they are pre-WWII but not specifics......

 

Enjoy Gentlemen and Blessings as Always in Your Collecting Endeavors......

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Edited by mtnman, 10 April 2014 - 07:10 AM.


#2 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:42 AM

Amcraft

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#3 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:43 AM

Amcraft. LOOK CLOSELY at the wings sections and see the undulating "humps".

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Edited by mtnman, 10 April 2014 - 06:44 AM.


#4 doyler

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:47 AM

beautiful wing.

#5 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:47 AM

Amcraft. Shoulders accentuated in this shot

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#6 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:56 AM

THE LINK WING

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#7 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:13 AM

Link Shoulder view

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#8 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:14 AM

Link. OBSERVE the FLAT wing design without the undulating HUMPS of the Amcraft

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#9 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:15 AM

LINK REAR of Badge

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#10 tarbridge

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:25 AM

Thanks for posting.Two good looking wings.Robert



#11 pfrost

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:54 AM

Why do you think that these wings were made by Amcraft and Link?  I have heard more than one significant collector attribute these wings to the Link Company, but I have never seen one hallmarked.  I find that interesting, because you do find the Link company hallmark on a fair number of WWI vintage wings and insignia.

 

I always wondered why they (WM Link) didn't hallmark these later 1920-30's vintage wings? 
 

As for the Amcraft designation, that is a first that I have heard this wing being attributed to that company.  I always suspected that Amcraft started out in the mid to late 30's, and really peaked during WWII.  I really don't recall seeing much Amcraft stuff that could be attributed to earlier in the 20's and first part of the 30's.  In fact, I seem to recall reading somewhere that based on the manufacturing of DUI's, you don't see their products until the mid-30's--but I may be remembering this incorrectly.

 

All the Amcraft hallmark wings that I have seen fall into two patterns, a snow-flake early pattern and the more common WWII pattern. 

 

Patrick



#12 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:04 AM

I am going off the 1925 American Metal Crafts Catalog picture I was able to look at, of this wing which they sold, amongst several others. They had a Balloon wing very similar to the Link Balloon Wing it seems as well. I have yet to see the Link catalog and am going off what I have been taught. I am sure it will be better explained later by another forum goer. Great thoughts Patrick.



#13 pfrost

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:15 AM

Well there your go, I was wrong (again) :blush: .  In fact, Cliff posted that page of the catalog in this thread here--I forgot that we had actually had this discussion before--my bad.

 

http://www.usmilitar...ot-wings/page-4

 

Maybe it was the Link "link" that I was dubious of?  In any case, these "hairy wings" as I like to call them are really neat.  I am lucky to have a set as well.

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  • WWI_pilot7.jpg

Edited by pfrost, 10 April 2014 - 08:16 AM.


#14 bschwartz

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:25 AM

I've always loved this pattern wing and have been searching for one for some time.  I'm very jealous you have two!!  Thanks for posting the variations.  Very interesting to see.

 

Bob



#15 mtnman

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:31 AM

Hey! Beautiful pair of wings from amcraft. the undulations of the wings of the am craft design is what really impresses me along with the larger sideburns around the shield which gives an interesting effect. This type of wing is one of my very favorites as it is so set apart from the other classes of wing design. The "hairy" fletching design that you spoke of is at the same time pleasing to the eye and impressive regarding the minute detail undertaken by the artisan. The 2 different approaches this wing taken by these companies will have me returning to these specimens repeatedly to enjoy under 30 times magnification! I too Patrick am joyful in being blessed with stewardship over these two tiny monuments to history. Thanks as always for your input.

Edited by mtnman, 10 April 2014 - 08:33 AM.


#16 pfrost

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:09 AM

Reading the previous thread, John F (AKA B-17 guy) says that the WM Link dies were bought by AMCRAFT in the 20's.  I suspect that what you may be seeing are more of a situation of the same dies being used by two diffferent companies, one early (Link) and one later (AMCRAFT).  Rather than two companies making a similar product concurrent with each other.  I also believe that John said that the AMCRAFT version had a snowflake back, whilst the ones made by Link were smooth backed.

 

Frankly, I think the wing with the "undulations" as you call them, is actually an earlier wing than the smoother, more refiened version.

 

The funny thing is, while an INTERESTING and relatively rare wing, I actaully find this pattern to be one of the uglier patterns that I have seen.  It just something about a "hairy wing" that I find disquieting.  Not that I'd kick this wing out of the ricker mount for eating crackers, as the saying goes.

 

The ones I really like are the early AMICO wings.


Edited by pfrost, 10 April 2014 - 09:09 AM.


#17 tomcatter

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:49 PM

I'm not a pre-WWII wings expert so I can't add much to the discussion,
but I can not help but say that they are very interesting wings!



#18 CliffP

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:29 PM

Here are both of Mel's badges pictured one above the other in approximately the exact same size in order to better compare the minor but very distinct differences between the two designs.

 

According to Mel, the Link badge is at the top and the Amcraft badge is at the bottom.

 

Now due to the angle Mel held the camera when he took the photos there is a bit of distortion; however, it should be clear to most who view them that the two badges were struck from different dies.

 

Personally, I think they are fascinating wing badges which rank as some of my favorite designs produced between the two World Wars.

 

A few of the better known USAAC personalities who worn them were Major Harold E. Hartney, Colonel Roy C. Kirkland and MG Frank M. Andrews.

 

BTW - It should be noted that one of these two designs was actually produced as late as WW2 in clutch-back.  I say that because I know of a WW2 B-17 pilot who received one when he graduated from flight school in 1943; however, I've yet to be able to get a really good close-up pic of it.

 

Cliff    :-)

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Edited by CliffP, 10 April 2014 - 06:54 PM.


#19 B-17Guy

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 05:36 AM

Great discussion Mel!

 

The Link pattern wing badges have always been amongst my favorites.

 

I have four pilot wings in the pattern that you feel is Amcraft and none in what you feel is the Link pattern.

 

As Patrick mentioned, it has always been thought that Amcraft acquired the Link dies in the

mid to late 1920's.

 

Your points about the differences in the two dies now warrants a re-evaluation of the theory, in whole or in part.

 

It is known that the William Link Co was making wings in 1918 in Newark, NJ. I have a Naval Aviator wing that is biographical to 1918,

and is shown with the W Co hallmark (picture below).

 

Also, Link is shown in the 1922 Jewelers Index (image from chicagosilver.com), but in the 1931 Jewelers Index, Link does not appear.

More interestingly, the exact same hallmark is shown in 1931 as being Winter & Co, also of Newark (image from my hard copy 1931 Keystone Index).

 

I wonder if Winter bought Link and maybe sold the dies, since Winter & Co is thought to never have made wings? Using Google Maps, the two companies

were within about four blocks of each other, so they would have been in competion for local business. On the ther hand, maybe Winter worked for Link,

bought the company and moved it, using the same logo?

 

I will take comparison photos in the next few days of my four wings (two are snowflake backed) and post them on this thread to add to the discussion.

 

It would really be great if someone could come forward with a hallmarked wing in one of the above patterns.

Link hallmarked wings are very rare and Amcraft does not appear to have hallmarked/snowflaked their wings till closer to WWII.

 

Great topic and I feel this is only the second inning!

 

John

 

 

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  • Lt(jg) LP Marshall grouping cu #561 008.jpg
  • Wm Link 1922.JPG
  • Winter-Link hm.jpg

Edited by B-17Guy, 14 April 2014 - 06:01 AM.


#20 mtnman

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:23 AM

John, PLEASE get a shot in of the front of the Link Navy wing for comparison. Great comments!



#21 B-17Guy

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:31 AM

Here you go.

John

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  • Link WWI Naval Aviatior #561 001.jpg


#22 B-17Guy

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 12:09 PM

Here are my four wings concerning the pattern(s) discussed.

I have two that are snowflake backed and two that are unmarked.

The front of the non snowflaked is different than the front of the snowflaked backed, which in turn are different than Mel's "Amcraft".

 

Wings in fist pic-

 

1. Appears sterling but is unmarked

2. Plated brass and is unmarked

3. Snowflake and marked STERLING (this wing was worn by Robert Twyman, killed in 1944)

4. Snowflake and gilted brass

 

I think 1 & 2 are 1920's and 3 & 4 are early WWII.

 

In the wings pictured, note the differences in the first two vs second two.

The thickness around the edges of the shoulders and details within the shoulders are different, yet close in design.

The feathering has very subtle differences too.

 

Makes me wonder if Link made two dies, as unlikey as that would be, or if an early die broke and

Link made a replacement that was very close in design.

 

More to follow.

 

John

 

 

 

 

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  • Link-Amcraft side by side 014.jpg


#23 B-17Guy

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 12:11 PM

Details, top non snowflake, bottom snowflake backed.

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  • Link-Amcraft shoulders.JPG


#24 B-17Guy

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 12:12 PM

Backs

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  • Link-Amcraft side by side 016.jpg


#25 CliffP

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 04:31 PM

Makes me wonder if Link made two dies, as unlikey as that would be, or if an early die broke and

Link made a replacement that was very close in design.

 

Hi John,

 

Just a couple of things to touch on if I may.

 

Link could not have made a second die of that first pattern wing due to its being broken because I have the original die and it seems to be in pretty good shape. 

 

The feather details in the original Link die appear to be much nicer overall than the feather detail in the badges that Mel says were made by Amcraft.

 

Below is a photo of the original Link die. 

 

I also took a close-up of the wing pattern etched into the Link die and reversed the image. Then that imaged was placed below the Link wing badge that Mel has.  Now make note that the angle I was holding the camera was a bit off center but the two images still make for an interesting study should anyone be so inclined to try and compare or match the details.

 

Cliff

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  • post-reversed-images.jpg



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