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Beverlycraft Navigator and Bombardier wings


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#1 Tesla

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 02:55 PM

Here are my most recent aquisitions. The Bombardier is marked Sterling only, no palm tree and is missing the roller catch, but is a nice three piece example. The Navigator wing has a very nice original finish on the armillary sphere and has the palm with the sterling mark. I've seen the instructor wings, aircrew and observer wings in other threads (really awesome!) and I have the pilot, AG, and FE marked "E". Are there any other wings made by Beverlycraft?

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#2 5thwingmarty

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 06:34 PM

Glider pilot is the only other one I can think of.  I think there is one on ebay.



#3 Kropotkin

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 03:29 AM

Lovey wings. Making me want to add to my solitary example!

#4 5thwingmarty

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 06:23 AM

Beverlycraft also made 1-9/16" cap-sized wings, including many that were sweetheart pieces with attached rank insignias.  I have not seen a small Cbserver or Fight Engineer wing from Beverlycraft, but I think I have seen a small Glider Pilot wing.  They also made a small Naval Aviator wing with gold finish.  I am still looking for the full size Aerial Gunner and Observer wings, and any letter wings that aren't approaching 4-digits in price.

 

Here is a photo of the back of my clutch back Pilot wing.  The bottom tip of the shield looks like it may have had a loop attached at some point to hang a rank insignia from.  I have never seen another full-size Beverlycraft wing with the palm tree surfacing on the back like this one has behind the shield.

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  • Bev Pilot rear.JPG


#5 pfrost

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 11:40 AM

Here is a B/C glider wing.  It has the applied "G"

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  • glider_beverlycraft.jpg


#6 pfrost

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 11:42 AM

and a variant of the bombardier wing  and a picture of a young bombardier wearing a similar wing.

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Edited by pfrost, 14 September 2018 - 11:45 AM.


#7 pfrost

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 11:46 AM

navigator and aircrew B/C wings.

 

I have a B/C wing that isn't hallmarked in my collection.

 

I an not sure if I have ever seen a B/C gunner wing.

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  • bevnavigator.jpg
  • aircrew_beverlycraft.jpg


#8 pfrost

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 11:50 AM

Anyone interested in Beverly Craft must read this thread by our own Tod Rathbone.  A really very well researched and scholarly bit of work.

 

http://www.usmilitar...-craft-history/



#9 pfrost

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 11:52 AM

To cut a paste from Tod's work (but be sure to read the whole thread).  Tod did some excellent work.

"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 pfrost, 14 September 2018 - 11:52 AM.


#10 Tesla

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 11:33 AM

Thanks for all of the information and other examples. The palm tree design on the pilot wing is really awesome and the glider wing is at the top of my want list! I'm looking forward to seeking out the variants.


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