The ones that Lt. Bilderback had were both struck in thin metal painted a dull black and others that were solid and extremely thick which were not painted but dark bronze, unlike the French that are all struck on a thin metal. Do you have any other info that would place this design back to France
Other than the points you made above, I don't have anything specific to definitively say they were made in France. Also I have never come across one of this style in thick bronze like you found in the Bilderback group. So far, all of this style I have seen have been constructed in thin metal, with the C-wire style catch, and wrapped steel pin; nearly always classic indicators of French manufacture. That said, some things for discussion:
- This style is fairly common, indicating it must have been manufactured at some scale. Even if they were manufactured in France, that would probably not preclude their sale in England. I'm sure English tailors could have bought them wholesale in Paris for resale (also vise versa). Of course, unless heard from Lt Bilderback himself, family oral histories can be notorious for getting details muddled. I had one family swear to me (in great depth) that their father was one of Eddie Rickenbacker's "co-pilots." Tough duty for an enlisted guy--he was a cook. But he was indeed a member the 94th Aero Squadron. So he certainly baked Capt Eddie' some bread.
- I have also occasionally seen this style manufactured as a souvenir, often with a bronze ribband saying a French place name such as "Verdun" or "Lorraine". I have not yet seen one with a place name in England. Again, not definitive, but it "points" toward France.
This is exactly the direction I hoped this thread would take! There is a lot of muddled information out there with respect to French v/s English v/s Italian made insignia. Barring a manufacturer's hallmark it can be a matter of detective work and outright guessing.
Terry, would you be so kind as to post photos of the thick bronze version of this device? I would really like to see what sort of hardware it has.
Terry, you posted while I was writhing this thanks for sharing!
Edited by cwnorma, 17 December 2014 - 08:46 AM.