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New Very Scarce Tri-Tiered Fletching 1939-1940 Wing


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#1 mtnman

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:39 AM

Good morning gentlemen. I wanted to do a quick presentation on the wing that I have been looking for for the past 4 1/2 years but have not had the blessing of stewardship over until now. A man who has taught me with patience from the beginning, Cliff Presley, has the only named example of this wing that I have encountered and took the time to place the wing,  and information regarding the pilot, on the interwar years wing insignia section of the most excellent of reference sites we have as collectors, Bob Schwartz'
                                  "Aviation Wings and Badges of World War II"

This wing is a wing that stands apart from all others in the unique three-tiered formation of the fletching and shoulders, the artistic attention to all the fletching flowing in a curved spread, with all fletching in concatenated symmetry, from the Shield in a strong and unified flow. But the central power and strength of the insignia is the masculine, squared off escutcheon, a shield of atypical large-size and a PERFECT linear presentation of the pallets in the pale of the Shield and the horizontal bars in the chief of the shield. From this strong and martial foundation, the flow of the fletching is exemplary in its 3 tiered formation, the top tier being the shoulder and the bottom 2 tiers the double layers of fletching with the distant row of fletching the lowest tier using the face of the shield as the standard of the high point. There is a light sweep to the rear at the tips of the wings which adds to the overall experience but is not noticeable unless viewed on a flat plane from the top or the bottom.

The wing is constructed in silver plated brass which the counterfeits I have seen completely overlooked. The wing has a "color" to the silver which is duller than the typical comprehensive sterling wing. To view the wing in a picture is a totally different experience than to view the wing in person, even more so than other wings that I have had the privilege of personally handling. I will never exhaust fascination with the nuanced individuality of this wing. One of the most unique and artistically brilliant aspects of this wing is the sinister side wing extended flair of the tip, out to the sinister side and with an extended vertical sweep. This adds to the wings outstanding ambience.

I have noted the brass peeking through in the Dexter wingtip with a red circle. I have noted also, a key factor in identifying the true wings; there is a slight twist clockwise to the placement of the pin catch and the actual roller itself is unique in that it came from a stamped out flat design that when folded, creates the roller locking device with the 2 "fingers" protruding from the pin catch so as to roll the pin lock into place. These wings do not have the finest of findings so I would have to see if the roller lock device in the pin catch was repeated in another wing, as Cliff's wing has a solid roller lock device. These roller lock devices, if the pin assembly was not of outstanding quality, were often broken, lost etc. and replaced with a new roller device during the war. I asked a jeweler to add a locking device for me on a wing missing a roller, which I had in my early collecting years so I understood how it worked, and it is a very simple addition of the little metal locking roller.

The Walter Lampl wings for example, are very notorious for defective pin assemblies, so do not be disconcerted you find a Juarez Wing (Walter Lampl)(or other wing) with an obviously replaced pin assembly, as it was quite possibly during the period of World War II which can be ascertained with some research into the pin assemblies themselves. I have a Walter Lampl bombardier wing which has a beautiful jeweler replaced pin catch loop done in a silver alloy in Great Britain during World War II.

The three-tiered fletching wing I am displaying had what seems to be a very short one time manufacturing during 1939 to 1940. Cliff's wing is named to a flyer who graduated during that period of time and our intrepid Wing Man Cliff has researched several of the class graduation books from the period of 1939 to 1940 and found that the three-tiered fletching wing is rather ubiquitous in the graduating classes. Cliff further informed me that some of these men kept their wing and went on to have the senior pilot star applied to the same wing which you will see very rarely and is a stellar find. Be wary of any sterling stamped version of this wing and note that there is the clear presence of the snowflake backing indicative of the AmCraft wings of the interwar years WITHOUT THE STERLING MARK. Pay close attention to the coloring of this wing and how the use of the wing during the war years typically gave rise to a little of the brass foundation peeking through.

Blessings in your wing collecting gentleman as always, and may we always remember the America of True Freedom these men we collect the insignia of, gave their lives to protect, for it is our responsibility as much as it was theirs, to establish and defend the America that once was, a land of True Freedom to live lives of Righteousness; to establish True Family and Familial Bonds in lasting love and devotion, to protect this nation and our families according to the Law which transcends the selfish desire to control, which pervades the rotted hearts and heads of the tyrants, these mass murderers who wish to enslave nations weakened from within by changing their standard to SELFISHNESS and DISSIPATION instead of Responsibility; our military protected us from these men who are the portent of the death of nations throughout ALL HISTORY and still desires to protect us from these, so let us remember our Responsibilities to place righteous leaders over these men, when we look at these insignia we collect and remember just what that means .

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  • Tiered Fletching Wing w-notessilver plt cpprweb.jpg

Edited by mtnman, 30 May 2015 - 08:54 AM.


#2 mtnman

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:41 AM

The Pic Above shows the brass foundation peeking through the tip of the wing and here is a pic of the back ...

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  • on Tiered Fletching Wing willbk.jpg


#3 mtnman

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:42 AM

Here is the pic revealing the slight twist clockwise, of the pin catch....

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#4 mtnman

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:45 AM

Here's a pic revealing the tiers as they rise from the outer band of fletching to the inner shoulder and face of the shield...

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#5 mtnman

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:47 AM

Here is a vertical view from the base which both shows the tiered rise of the fletching to the shoulders and the gentle sweep of the wings at the far tips with the extension on the sinister (left) side....

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  • Tiered Fletching Wing will vert view.jpg


#6 pfrost

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 12:56 PM

NIce wing. I have always wanted one in my collection but I have yet to find an example that I like.  Good for you!



#7 mtnman

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 04:46 PM

Thanks So Much Patrick, I completely empathize with you regarding hitting copious dead ends with trying to find one of these wings over the years. As we both know Buddy, PERSISTENCE with PATIENCE and a side of IMPULSE CONTROL are the seeds of success in finding the outliers in the realm of rarity. Thank You again for your encouragement as Always and Godspeed in your most diligent efforts to take stewardship over new rarities....

#8 Patchcollector

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 09:32 PM

Great looking Wing,love that "Art Deco" look that it has



#9 tomcatter

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 01:49 AM

Great wings!!!



#10 mtnman

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 04:32 AM

Always a Blessing to hear from you PC and TC, THANKS for you consistency in this avocation and encouragement of collectors Gentlemen....and PC, that Magee, Jr. poem you chose as Post Script on your posts ...... WHEW! I NEVER get tired of reading the beauty of the thoughts of a poet/pilot penetrating and traversing the "burning blue" ........

#11 Steve Brannan

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 02:12 PM

I have two wings of the same style from the estate of an Army Air Corps pilot who won his wings at Maxwell Field May 21, 1941 (Class 41-D). Both are marked Sterling. I wonder if the 1938-40 wings were made of brass stock and then by 1941 made from Sterling. I know at some point brass became a strategic material and Sterling was substituted. Even have a picture of this pilot wearing them when he was a Captain. He liked them so much he had a Star added when he qualified for Senior Pilot. Both are waffle back and have the same type catch as the earlier ones.

 

 

 

 

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#12 Steve Brannan

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 02:14 PM

The same pilot's Senior wings.

 

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#13 rustywings

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 03:08 PM

I'm also of the opinion these deco-style Pilot badges were produced in both sterling and brass with silver wash. This pattern has indeed been replicated in a variety ways over the years...but there are authentic sterling-marked examples to be hunted down.

 

The top example is brass with silver wash...the bottom is sterling marked:

 

 

    

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#14 rustywings

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 03:10 PM

What's curious is the "starburst" patterns are different on the reverse.

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#15 rustywings

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 03:12 PM

Note the "STERLING" marked badge has a larger starburst pattern. (As a side note, this larger starburst pattern is also found on the back of early Amcraft hallmarked silver-wash over brass made Airship Pilot, Balloon Pilot and Balloon Observer badges.)  

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Edited by rustywings, 31 May 2015 - 03:37 PM.


#16 mtnman

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 03:54 PM

outstanding information guys. Thanks so much for broadening the scope of authenticity and shedding light where my ignorance of the whole story prevented me from speaking with experience or knowledge. I had never seen the authentic sterling wing, only knockoffs. Thanks again for the excellent diligence and willingness to contribute of the wing men on this forum!

#17 rustywings

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 07:02 PM

MtnMan: Thank you for your time and effort in starting another quality "wing" thread. We ALL learn from these nice exchanges of ideas. I especially enjoy it when many collectors bring pieces of the puzzle to the table and fresh information emerges!   

 

Steve: That's a terrific Senior Pilot badge you've posted above! The unique star applied to the top of the shield sure appears to have been added professionally. I've handled several of these identical Senior Pilot badges over the years and believe they may have had the fancy stars added at the Amcraft shop using the Pilot badges they had in stock to fulfill the order...

 

 

 

Here's  a 1944 image of Major Arthur Blum wearing the same style Pilot badge.  

 

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#18 B-17Guy

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 07:29 PM

Really a great thread with tons of great information.

Here is a die for the first pattern Orber.

Note the die is busted in the corner of the right shoulder, which

probably lead to it's retirement.

Not sure where this variation falls in the lineage of the pattern...

I have had it for about two years.

 

Best, John

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  • First Pattern Orber Die 002.jpg


#19 mghcal

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 09:27 PM

Beautiful examples of one of my favorite patterns! Here's another modified type of this wing. What's interesting is that it's the same star as Steve's wing. It was also converted to a clutchback. He received his wings at Kelly Fields class 38-C. If I remember correctly he entered the US Military Academy in 1933 so he would've been eligible for senior pilot in 1943?

This one is a biographical wing that belonged to Charles W. S.t.a.r.k. He was a pretty interesting guy and commanded the first P-40 unit. Also commanded the 79th fighter group in 1944 before he was shot down and became a POW. He was then appointed Senior Allied Commander of Stulag Luft. In Korea he lead the 6131st Fighter Wing. At his retirement he had accrued 7,034.5 flight hours in 106 different aircraft types.

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#20 mghcal

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 09:29 PM

Back

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#21 pfrost

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 08:17 AM

Here is another vintage picture of this pattern wing being worn.

 

 

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#22 mtnman

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 08:22 AM

FYI mghcal ...
Command Pilot
1. 15 yrs Active Duty (AD) with 2000 hrs flying time (FT)
2. 10 yrs AD with 3000 hrs FT
3. 20 yrs as rated pilot (RP) with air component of Navy/Marine/AAF with 2000 hrs FT
4. 15 yrs RP with 3000 hrs FT
 

Just Beautiful Wings Guys! And Russ, Thank you so much for pointing out that most excellent fact regarding ID - The Starburst/Snowflake pattern inundating the rear of the Silver Plated Brass version of the wing is roughly 1/3rd SMALLER than the LARGER SNOWFLAKE/STARBURST PATTERN of the STERLING wings. And NOTE GENTLEMEN, the Brighter Reflective Rate and tone of the Silver Plated wing. This may be tarnish to a degree but there most certainly IS a difference in tone of reflectory rate and the surface of the Sterling wing is more gun metal grayish.

 

The knockoffs I saw had the STERLING under the pin catch or on the shoulder from what I remember and NO SNOWFLAKE REAR.  This is so great to KNOW there is a STERLING version out there that I can now endeavor to find! Thanks Again Gentlemen....


Edited by mtnman, 01 June 2015 - 08:28 AM.


#23 CliffP

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 03:57 PM

As a follow-up to Mel's opening comments, pictured below is the wing I have which is commonly referred to as being made by Orber. . .  but there is a theory that it may have also been made at some time later by Amcraft.  Other forum members may wish to post their own view about that but I lean to the theory they were originally made by Orber.

 

The wing in the two photographs is an actual biographical badge, meaning it came directly from its original owner, Col. Charles Polansky, who received it upon graduating on 30 August 1940 with Class 1940-E, Gulf Coast Air Corps Training Center, Advanced Flying School, Kelly Field Texas.  It is made of brass and well plated with Sterling Silver.  Be sure to note it has a snow-flake pattern on the back with no other markings.

 

I have always thought that the designed was first created sometime in 1939 and the USAAC purchased a good number of them to be used as graduation wings since there is no question they was awarded to several flight school graduates during the period between 1940 and 1941.  The design was also available for private purchase in Sterling Silver.  

 

These were handsome badges. . . and similar examples for Senior Pilots have been found including actual photographs of officers wearing them to substantiate how well other pilots liked them. 

 

Cliff

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  • polansky-frtlg-Copy.jpg

Edited by CliffP, 01 June 2015 - 04:07 PM.


#24 mtnman

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 10:11 AM

Cliff, 

Thank You. You always have a way of summing things up with the strong historically delineated linking connections which make the picture clearer and less based in supposition than it was, with timing, manufacture process, distribution, through to the pilot's use of the Wings in the different Theaters of war. Glad the wing collecting world has the benefit of your patient diligence and comprehensive experience in gathering the historical information both scholastically in the tomes of the times and personally with the myriad pilots and Family members of pilots you have had the Blessing of meeting because of your consistent discipline in the search for these tiny monuments to history's preservation.



#25 B-17Guy

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 03:27 PM

Here is one more to add on a biographical set of dress blues dated 8-20-38.

John

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