I always try to keep an open mind, as one thing my life has taught me is how much I dont know and how frequently I am wrong.
So, I sent an email to a person who I know is doing a fair amount of research on the history of Walter Lampl and asked her to look over this thread and provide us with some of her insight. Ms Van Hoover contacted me about a year ago based on some stuff I had posted on Walter Lampl and the Juarez wing connection. We talked and I found that she had a deep interest in the Walter Lampl Co and was doing research for a book. Mostly her interest is in the jewelry side of Walter Lampl, but was also interested in knowing more about the wings. I also believe that she is/was communicating with Burt Lampl, one of Walter Lampl's sons. This is her response to my question.
I do recall our conversation. You've been very helpful to my research.
I see a number of issues in this thread. I'll do my best to help clarify things...
The Walter Lampl company was based out of New York. It existed at 4 different locations
over the lifetime of the company. Walter, Sr. died in 1945. His widow inherited the
company and it was managed after his death by his eldest son, Walter, Jr. Walter, Jr.
was in Europe during WW2 and had limited contact with the family business before he
assumed management as a very young man, after the war.
As far as Walter, Jr. and his younger brother, Burt, knew, the Lampl business never
manufactured anything. All manufacturing was done by jobbers. Jobbers worked in a
variety of places. Lampl jewelry was manufactured by jobbers in Attleboro, provenance,
and Newark before the war. Lampl imported carved stones from China before the war. The
New York offices were wholesale offices and/or showrooms only.
Lampl didn't exactly move his business to Mexico during the war. Rather, he had an agent
in Mexico City who dealt with local manufacturers, shipping, customs, etc. During the
war Lampl sold some jewelry which was obviously Mexican in style and theme. He also sold
some jewelry which showed obvious signs of Mexican craftsmanship. I have only seen one
pair of pins which were actually marked Walter Lampl Made in Mexico. I just looked on
the website and in our archives for this pair of brooches and it seems to have
disappeared. I'll have my husband look for it in the database tomorrow. I don't believe
I have seen other examples which I believe were almost certainly made in Mexico which are
not marked that way. Here are a few examples: http://www.milkywayj...s/DG134138.html http://www.milkywayj...s/BC138174.html http://www.milkywayj...r/BK196162.html
I don't know whether the gold work in this ring was made in Mexico, but the cameo was
certainly carved there: http://www.milkywayj...s/AA195293.html
There are ways to get around the issue of import marks. The most obvious is to import
parts, rather than finished items.
During the war American jewelry businesses were forced to find all kinds of ways to bend
the rules to get the materials and resources they needed. When I get my book written
(which is now completely outlined and has an introduction!) I will explain a couple of
ways the Lampl company stretched these regulations.
I don't think there is any way to know whether the wings, specifically, were made in
Mexico or in the U.S. Lampl continued to have some jewelry manufactured in the U.S.
during the war. There were problems with supply and materials, however. In April of
1943, Lampl announced in an ad that their "toolmaker's bench has been closed for the
duration" and implied that they would not be able to continue to produce new designs.
Then, in November of 1943, he announced a "complete line of distinguished Mexican jewelry
- from our branch in Mexico City". I have many more details about how this all worked,
and I'll be including those in the eventual book. Some jewelry continued to be made in
the U.S., but not all.
If "***************" has information about the factory in Newark, I would love to know more
about it. I know that was one of the places where Walter, Sr. had jewelry made, but it
was by no means the only place.
I hope this helps to clear things up a bit. This is all ongoing research, and I would
love to hear from anyone who has information which would help to add more clarity to the
So, I am not so sure that this information settles the score, one way or the other, but it certainly raises the possibility that my contention that Juarez wings were made in Mexico may be incorrect or at least only part of the story.
Just thought I would share this with you guys.
Edited by pfrost, 03 September 2008 - 07:53 AM.