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Beverly Craft history


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#1 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:09 PM

Being a resident of Los Angeles and just down the street from Beverly Hills, I was hoping to find a bounty of information on the Beverly Craft company so I could pass along the collective wisdom.

 

Unfortunately, the trail is very thin. Here is what I have so far.

 

There is a Beverly Craft jewelry manufacturing company listed in the 1942 Los Angeles City Directory. It is owned by Carl Cook Veneman and T. A. Arthur. The address is 8477 W 4th St which actually is in Beverly Hills. 

 

But, there is no other listing for the company in the 1939, 1941 or 1948 Los Angeles City Directories. And no listing in the Beverly Hills City Directory. 

 

Carl C. Veneman and Mazie H. Veneman are listed as living on 244 S. Palm Drive which is again, in Beverly Hills.

 

C. C. Veneman (as he is often listed) seems to be quite the inventor. He holds numerous patents including a belt buckle (1926), a spring-based lamppost that would not kill drivers who ran into it, a scale, and an adjustable furniture base (1960).

 

I was not able to find any company legal incorporation papers or registration of the name or of the palm tree jeweler's mark.

 

I am hoping to find more but I would throw this up here as a start. 

 

Cheers.



#2 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 01:01 PM

I am now in touch with one of the Veneman grandchildren so I hope to have more information soon.



#3 John Conway

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 01:36 PM

Not sure where everyone is on this post Todd, but an excellent pursuit! I'm looking forward to what you learn. I remember finding Beverlycraft wings back in the 60's & 70's and wonder just exactly what the weird little cryptic hallmark was (no idea it was a Palm tree) and why the pins went the other way? Then the light came through the clouds when I discovered one on the original card. Hoping you uncover something that embellishes everyone's expertise just a little more! Thank you for sharing your progress so far.



#4 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 04:17 PM

Well thanks for the acknowledgement John. Thought I was just talking to myself.



#5 katieony

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 04:51 PM

I look forward to whatever information you are able to find.  The Beverlycraft wings are a personal favorite!

 

Mike



#6 John Conway

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 05:53 PM

Well thanks for the acknowledgement John. Thought I was just talking to myself.

 

That happens to me a lot! LOL!

Thanks Todd! I'm not sure where my original card pieces are right now (many moves) but I would be happy to share when I find them! They are not 3" wings - 1.5" or 2" as I recall.



#7 graham

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:11 AM

I had read with interest but tend to only post if I feel I have something to add. Would a face book style LIKE be a good idea ?

#8 LuftStalg1

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 06:20 AM

Lets bee honest.  I never read the articles, I just look at the pictures. ;)

 

Just kidding, waiting with great anticipation!



#9 pfrost

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 06:37 AM

Lets bee honest.  I never read the articles, I just look at the pictures. ;)

 

Just kidding, waiting with great anticipation!

You'll go blind doing that!

 

I always wondered if Beverly Craft ran a mail order business or had some local contacts that the supplied insignia and stuff to around the Los Angeles area.    They only seemed to make USAAF wings and some related sweetheart items.   Why not cater to the Navy guys as well?  There were plenty of servicemen from all the branches in and around Los Angeles during the war.

 

Patrick



#10 bschwartz

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:35 AM

You mean like this Beverlycraft Navy sweetheart wing/garrison cap badge?  http://www.ww2wings....navypilot.shtml

 

Now watch Russ post twelve different variations of a Beverlycraft full size Naval pilot three of which will be attributed to Bull Halsey.


Edited by bschwartz, 22 April 2014 - 09:36 AM.


#11 pfrost

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:08 AM

You mean like this Beverlycraft Navy sweetheart wing/garrison cap badge?  http://www.ww2wings....navypilot.shtml

 

Now watch Russ post twelve different variations of a Beverlycraft full size Naval pilot three of which will be attributed to Bull Halsey.

 

That Russ guy... what a show off! :P

 

I have seen a variety of sweetheart items by Beverly Craft, but never a full size USN wing.



#12 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:07 PM

So I am now in contact with multiple members of the Veneman family but no one seems to know anything about the company. I have not been able to communicate with anyone of the sibling or immediate offspring generation. Only grandchildren. They are hunting for an autobiography. I hope they find it. They were excited to see examples of the product from "Grampy's" company.



#13 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 03:46 PM

So I have now received autobiographical information from the Veneman family. Now we can know a bit more about the Beverly Craft company and its history.

 

It turns out that Beverly Craft was a rather quickly conceived and short lived operation. Basically C. C. Veneman, who was a constant inventor and metal crafter, was hoping for a job with a large lamp company in California. It didn't work out. He was searching for other ways to make money and decided to buy some used metal crafting equipment, namely a drop hammer press, to manufacture jewelry. The drop hammer press didn't appear. What did was a lot of used manufacturing equipment. So Mr. Veneman started a used equipment supply list that he created, printed and distributed on the west coast titled aptly "The Pacific Coast Buyers Guide." 

 

After selling the guide, he invented and patented a small cheap postal scale. Unfortunately the scale's plastic parts kept warping so what started off as a promising venture ended up being a bust.

 

Around 1939-1940, with war on the horizon, the enterprising Mr. Veneman decided to get into military jewelry (what we would call sweetheart pieces). Again, he could not find a more traditional drop hammer press. He was able to put a down payment on an old fifty ton embossing press. This was not the typical machinery used. It was a constantly running up and down machine that was meant to emboss a constant feed of metal. Not to press out individual pieces. Veneman found a gambling die maker who made up a couple of bracelet patterns and alphabet series of letters. He had no money for a trim die so he had to finish the pieces by hand with a drill press and hand files. The work was dangerous because of the constant motion of the embossing press. One had to quickly insert the blank or planchet into the running machine. Also, the machine would only impress one side.

 

Finally Veneman made enough pieces that we has able to hire a salesman who brought back thousands of orders for the bracelets. He was also able to hire a "pegleg character...a bull-necked tough guy, who I am sure, served time, and probably lost his leg in a gun fight." He apparently was a natural at the embossing press. His record according to Veneman was 3,000 coined pieces a day. Apparently with the drop hammer press usually used by the big firms in provenance or Attleboro, they could only put out 500-600 pieces a day. 

 

Veneman opened the Beverly Craft company office on 4th street near La Cienega in Los Angeles, just around the block from the famous restaurant row. His target was selling to PX's and military stores. He eventually expanded to men's tailors and haberdashers that specialized in military uniforms "who could outfit an entire graduation class in one fitting."

 

As the war started and materials became short, Veneman could no longer order brass for his bracelets. Instead he got a government contract to produce military hardware like rank, branch of service and wings. This allowed him to purchase brass and sterling silver again. His business boomed, especially since he priced his material three times as high as other big companies who could not increase prices once they became fixed by the OPA. 

 

By 1943, "the army announced that after a certain date all insignia would have to be purchased through the central Post Exchange in New York." Veneman could no longer purchase raw metal materials unless he went to the black market. Instead, he discontinued making military insignia and closed the company. 

 

He took his profits and purchased a lovely home in Beverly Hills off Coldwater Canyon at the top of the hill. "Our five neighbors included Ginger Rogers, John Hayes Hammond and Jascha Heifetz. Naturally I joined a country club and from about ten a.m. played gin until lunch - then golf and bridge until dinner time, when our wives would join us to complete the perfect day."

 

Charles Cook Veneman continued to work in metal crafts the rest of his life with his sons, designing modern furniture and lighting. He is survived by grandchildren and further generations that primarily live in Spain. 


Edited by rathbonemuseum.com, 08 May 2014 - 03:52 PM.


#14 rathbonemuseum.com

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 03:49 PM

Beverly-Craft-AC.jpg



#15 B-17Guy

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 04:06 PM

Well done Tod, well done.



#16 Patchcollector

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 04:45 PM

A fascinating read and a nice boxed wing to boot.After learning the background on these pieces I will try and find one for my collection.Thanks for posting.



#17 bschwartz

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 04:59 PM

Great research Tod, thanks for sharing it.



#18 CliffP

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 08:25 AM

Todd,

 

Thank you for all the effort you personally put into getting this story written.  Research has always been my first love and after reading your report I suspect that you've gotten the bug too.

 

All the best, and keep up the good work!

 

Cliff Presley  ;)



#19 Nack

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 09:49 AM

Interesting!  Good detective work.

 

And well done, Mr. Veneman!



#20 BROBS

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:53 AM

Awesome info.. thanks for posting!

 

anyone have a good pic of the back setup on a Beverlycraft piece?

I have seen a couple unmarked wings with reversed pins.. I wonder if they were Beverlycraft?

 

-Brian



#21 APO472

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:44 AM

Well done!  Great read!  Thanks!



#22 Jay Seay

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 08:09 PM



Awesome info.. thanks for posting!

 

anyone have a good pic of the back setup on a Beverlycraft piece?

I have seen a couple unmarked wings with reversed pins.. I wonder if they were Beverlycraft?

 

-Brian

 

 

Looks to be a Beverlycraft without the Palm tree. 

Bcraft 003.JPG Bcraft 008.JPG



#23 Jay Seay

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 08:15 PM

Awesome info.. thanks for posting!

 

anyone have a good pic of the back setup on a Beverlycraft piece?

I have seen a couple unmarked wings with reversed pins.. I wonder if they were Beverlycraft?

 

-Brian

 

Looks to be a Beverlycraft without the Palm tree hallmark.

Attached Images

  • Bcraft 003.JPG
  • Bcraft 008.JPG


#24 Jay Seay

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 08:18 PM

 

Looks to be a Beverlycraft without the Palm tree hallmark.

 

 

Here's some more views of it.....

Attached Images

  • Bcraft 017.JPG
  • Bcraft 024.JPG
  • Bcraft 010.JPG


#25 BROBS

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 05:24 AM

Thanks much, Jay.
That will help me in my neverending quest for more wings. :)

-Brian


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