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Unique WW1 Bley and Hornstein Wing


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#76 horsa

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 10:23 PM

Did anyone ever establish the name of the estate the pin came from? It seems a bit of genealogical work could be more conclusive than debating construction, style, etc.

There is another way and I'm sure everybody but me would regard it as exotic and bordering on the insane. But it would be fairly simple, fast, and inexpensive.

We all know that patinas are frequently faked. So the patina gives us an opportunity. If it were brushed on(faked) it would most likely present as smooth discoloration of the silver, and even the gold(yes, gold does tarnish over time). If the patina were original, it would most likely have some crusting in the deep recesses of the the feathering, or where the pin mounts to the reverse of the badge. Often this crusting will form almost crystal-like growths...anyone who has a seen alot of old brass insignia knows what I mean. Also, there should be dirt/debris at the seam where the enamel meets silver. Obviously this can only be seen with an extremely high power loupe or perhaps a microscope. It would also show minute scratches in the enamel from use and other subtle indications not visible to the naked eye. I know this takes it to an almost forensic level, but it could tell us a great deal about the pin pretty quickly.

Yeah, I know it's a pretty eccentric(OK, crazy) way to do it. But the patina can tell us a great deal, especially in the low relief portions of the pin and where metal joins metal.

#77 horsa

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 10:38 PM

I did want to make one other point. The motivation of fakers is not always monetary. There is also the motivation of beating the experts. In some cases this is worth more to the faker than money. Many of the best are master craftsmen, and have fooled the best experts in Civil War and Revolutionary War artifacts. As an example, some of the best fakes of Confederate accoutrement plates use period brass from projectile sabots. This is to fool any metallurgical tests that a skeptical buyer might employ.

#78 John Cooper

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 11:09 PM

Howdy Horsa,

Take a look at the last photo and look to the right of the top point of the star and you will see some gray material. The actual background is pebbled but much of it is\was covered in this stuff... for lack of a better word. I think it is similar to what you find on the bottom of the glide pads on a PC mouse. That stuff that needs to be scraped off i.e. oil from skin and dead skin cells...

John

#79 none

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 05:02 PM

We all missed one point to examine. Can we get good detail photo's of the pin joint and the drop in clasp. Sometimes these can tell you more about the time a wing was made than anything else. Also make sure you photo the base of these as I need to see how they were soldered.

#80 John Cooper

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:59 PM

http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/75/bh1wq9.jpg

#81 pfrost

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:36 PM

John, stop teasing....

#82 John Cooper

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:08 PM

Here is some interesting info for you all. I contacted a researcher at the Chicago Hiistory Museum so time ago and they searched the archives for Bley & Hornstein and were only able to find that they had been in business from 1913 to 1919 after which time no more adverts are found in the newspaper.

I guess they could have gone their seperate ways or sold the business...

John

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 09:57 AM

Good - the center drop in clasp was silver soldered and that is good, also it is the same one used in many other items of that period. You find that findings were made just by a few companies and everyone purchased from them. The pin joint is hand riveted and the top of pin flat area is typical of a purchased pin. What is also interesting is a small nick at the top, which could have been made while the pin rivet was being set. I know I have done it myself.

#84 hawk3370

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 06:40 AM

I saw these on ebay and I believe this wing was made in the late 70's by a man in Boca Raton, FL. He had a metal shop and was a master craftsman. He was also a minor level militaria collector/dealer and hand made a few sets of wings just to see if he could fool the experts. He had the place, skill and equiptment to do the job. I knew him fairly well and saw his workmanship. Without actually handling them I'm pretty sure this is one of his sets.
Garth


Incidently, an identical set of these wings appeared on e-bay a couple years ago. I was extremely suspect at that time, but will leave the debate to the experts. One observation, one comment mentioned that there was enamel on the wings, this being the case I would lean towards a sweetheart type device rather than an actual wing worn by the aviator. Keep in mind that aviators then and now are an extremely proud group of military men and recently women and to wear something that was outlandish or completely out of the norm would probably not have been done. It was a common practice for aviators of the period to wear the bullion wing more so than the metal wings so they would not be considered "new guys", so to make this leap seems unlikely.

#85 John Cooper

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 10:03 PM

Hi Terry,

Do you have any photos of the wing from several years ago?

I have talked to several folks that follow Ebay and wings very closely… one friend in particular keeps a very close eye and he has never seen one like it. (With the exception of the one Duncan had which is painted vs. actual enamel)

As far as a wing like this is concerned you say that it is more common to wear bullion wings vs. metal since they did not want to appear to be “new guys” yet there are so many examples of period wings that are metal. In fact a large number of the wings in your book are metal so I am a bit confused about that point.

Now about Pete Carlson… why would someone who wants to “fool the experts” make a wing that is so unique so as to draw so much attention? Additionally how did Pete come up with the name of an obscure Chicago jeweler that ran ads in Chicago newspapers from 1913 to 1923? (These are the only date’s ads for this company can be located at least in my research)

Regards,
John


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