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WW2 Gunner Wings


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#1 militarymodels

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 08:38 PM

Hello, I'd like to clarify if these gunner wings are original and from WW2, and who is the maker based on the pattern if possible? It has a raised "sterling" marking on the reverse. Your commens are appreciated. Sorry for the poor quality picture. Thank you!

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#2 Teamski

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 08:43 PM

Hello, I'd like to clarify if these gunner wings are original and from WW2, and who is the maker based on the pattern if possible? It has a raised "sterling" marking on the reverse. Your commens are appreciated. Sorry for the poor quality picture. Thank you!

Posted Image Posted Image


Looks very good to me. According to Maquire's SWP&G book, the pattern was used on different wings, none marked and associated with a specific manufacturer.

-Ski

Edited by Teamski, 29 June 2008 - 08:43 PM.


#3 pfrost

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 08:49 PM

I think this is very likely made by AMCRAFT. This pattern wing is very typical of their WWII line. For some reason, not all their wings were hallmarked, likely because they were part of a contract order by a school or company.

Still, very clearly the AMCRAFT pattern.

Patrick

#4 John Cooper

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 08:53 PM

HI - can you please post a higher res photo of the shoulder area so I can see the details.

Cheers
John

#5 pfrost

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 09:01 PM

here is a hallmarked amcraft glider wing. Notice the back where the "pusher" part of the strike makes a distinctive fold in the top shoulder of the wing. Also, not the characteristic winglet pattern in the shoulder of the front of the wing.

The other photo is of a non-hallmarked AMCRAFT observer wing. Same back and front, just lacking the hallmark.

IMHO clearly made by AMCRAFT.

Attached Images

  • glider_amcraft.jpg
  • observer3.jpg


#6 Teamski

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 09:05 PM

There you go! Great ID!

-Ski

#7 militarymodels

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 09:06 PM

HI - can you please post a higher res photo of the shoulder area so I can see the details.

Cheers
John


Sorry John, I haven't got it yet. I've seen many of these around and I'm thinking to get one or 2 for my collection. 2 characteristics that I noticed are the little "dot" in front on the bullet and the flaws on the edge of the circle, but I've seen about 10 of these wings and they all have the same characteristics. I'll request a better picture tomorrow or I'll buy it then post the picture here soon. Thank you! Lonny

#8 militarymodels

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 09:12 PM

Patrick,

Your observer wings does not have the flaws on the back as I mentioned. Pay attention on the back at 1, 5, and 7 o'clock...there is some small cuts or indentation.

here is a hallmarked amcraft glider wing. Notice the back where the "pusher" part of the strike makes a distinctive fold in the top shoulder of the wing. Also, not the characteristic winglet pattern in the shoulder of the front of the wing.

The other photo is of a non-hallmarked AMCRAFT observer wing. Same back and front, just lacking the hallmark.

IMHO clearly made by AMCRAFT.



#9 John Cooper

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 09:12 PM

No worries Lonny.

Here is a comparison photo for you. The top pilot wing is marked AMCRAFT while the bottom is from GEMSCO. I have marked a few points of interest on the photo. At first look and small photos as found on ebay it can be easy to mistake the two patterns... well at least for me. As you can see they are similar.

John

http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/7246/amcraftgemsco1ty5.jpg

#10 pfrost

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 04:37 AM

Howdy John,

WHy do you think the bottom aircrewman wing is from Gemsco? Does it have the Gemsco hallmark?

I have a few hallmarked Gemsco wings and they seemed to have used at least 3 patterns but I have not found a Gemsco wing hallmarked with the AMCRAFT pattern.

Also, you have to expect slight variations from wing to wing and between ratings, as the weren't all made on a single die. It will be interesting to see why you think this is a Gemsco wing.

Patrick

#11 John Cooper

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 07:41 AM

Hi Patrick,

Initially I was in agreement with you on this being an AMCRAFT made wing until I noticed some differences as pointed out in the photo I posted. The differences are consistent i.e. two separate patterns although very similar.

Points 1 & 2 are the most important that I have found in that the actual pattern of the small feathers in the shoulder which is the way to tell. There are examples still new in the box with the GEMSCO tag which provides the weight to tip the scales toward GEMSCO IMHO.

Additionally this pattern seems to have come in at least two slight variations of quality. One of a lower quality and finish (not as clean a strike) and the other a better strike with better finish. (private purchase vs. GI)

Now if only I can find a period catalog!

#12 militarymodels

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:10 AM

I thought GEMSCO only used this pattern http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=21072


Hi Patrick,

Initially I was in agreement with you on this being an AMCRAFT made wing until I noticed some differences as pointed out in the photo I posted. The differences are consistent i.e. two separate patterns although very similar.

Points 1 & 2 are the most important that I have found in that the actual pattern of the small feathers in the shoulder which is the way to tell. There are examples still new in the box with the GEMSCO tag which provides the weight to tip the scales toward GEMSCO IMHO.

Additionally this pattern seems to have come in at least two slight variations of quality. One of a lower quality and finish (not as clean a strike) and the other a better strike with better finish. (private purchase vs. GI)

Now if only I can find a period catalog!



#13 pfrost

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 12:01 PM

That is the "traditional" GEMSCO pattern. However, they also used an earlier pattern on (at least) their pilot wings.

example here: http://pfrost.bol.uc...ilot_gemsco.jpg

You can also find late war/post war GEMSCO wings in the pelican beak pattern.

To be honest, I still disagree with John that the wings that started this thread are Gemsco. I agree that variations are obvious between the different strikes, but the similarities are clearly greater than the differences. I also think that GEMSCO was a retailer of insignia so they may have bought items from different whole sale manufacturers, thus explaining the GEMSCO marked cards.

All of this is moot, of course. The wings are great examples of WWII vintage insignia, in a very intersting pattern that has always appealed to me for its "art deco" style.

Patrick

#14 John Cooper

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 09:28 PM

Patrick - just so we are on the same sheet of music. At this point I feel the wing I posted is GEMSCO as this pattern has appeared new in box with GEMSCO tags. (until I see better photos of the wing posted by Lonny the jury is still out)

Now the fact that they are found in GEMSCO boxes does not in and of it self prove they are made by GEMSCO but either way you look at it there is also no proof they are made by AMCRAFT even thought the pattern is similar.

If the simularity of patern was the evidence then we would have some interesting things to say about the pelican beak pattern produced by several makers and sold by retaliers.

There is just enough information to blanace the scales dead center for both unless we can produce a catalog or find an example sent home with some proof i.e. a dated sales slip...

At this point a we are balanced in the center.. maybe some day we will find that little bit of info to tilt the scales one way or the other!

As for the wing itself it is 100% period on that we can agree!

BTW the IOH lists GEMSCO as a maunfacture and seller of insignia which serves as proof they do make insignia as far as I know.

Regards,
John

#15 pfrost

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 04:57 AM

Hello John,

General Embroidery And Military Supply Co. (GEMSCO) was a supplier of all types of military uniforms, insignia, accessories, and related items that went out of buisiness in the 70's IRCC.. They even offered souviners (ie lighters and plaques) and related items. I am pretty sure they offered wares for all the military services and included things from USN and USMC officers swords to flight jacket patches. In fact, my very brief stint in NROTC my freshman year in collage, I was issued a belt buckle in a GEMSCO box.

I dont know if GEMSCO actually made all the items under their brand label, but I suspect they did not. Many retail companies have whole sale suppliers (Morrie Luxenberg Co is a perfect example) that provide items for sale. Many manufacturers never sold retail (an example is the Walter Lampl Co which according to the son of Walter Lampl only sold wholesale). So it would not shock me if a retail company like GEMSCO decided it was cheaper to by a lot of military insignia from a whole sale/mail order supplier like AMCRAFT than maintain the staff and equipment required to manufacture insignia "in house". I suspect that it would have been just to cost prohibitive to make everything they sold.

If we analyze this information we can postulate the following

Factoid 1: On one hand we have unmarked wings that are very very similar to marked AMCRAFT pattern wings.

Factoid 2: On the other hand we have these unmarked wings on cards that have the GEMSCO brand name.

Factoid 3: Insignia marked with GEMSCO hallmark are of totally different pattern than the unmarked wings in question.

Factoid 4: "AMCRAFT" pattern wings have similar die strike characteristics (ie the characteristic pusher back that causes a fold in the back) and hardware in both AMCRAFT marked and unmarked wings.

Factoid 5: Gemsco already had insignia hallmarked by them in a different pattern that would have been made in the same time period (ie aircrewman's badges).

From this, we can generate a number of hypotheses...(BTW, I am a scientist so I like to brandish big words to hid my ignorance..heh)

Hypothesis 1: Wings were one of at least 2 different patterns of aircrew badges made by GEMSCO (one one of which was hallmarked) and were sold under the GEMSCO brand name.
Hypothesis 2: Wings were made by AMCRAFT (explaining similarities in hardware and pattern) and supplied to GEMSCO for retail sale and they added card.

Both are equally supported by data and I have no reason to exclude either. However for me, I rather think that the explanation that both explains the facts and seems to be the simplest explanation is that AMCRAFT already had dies for these wings in this pattern and supplied a batch (minus their hallmark) to GEMSCO who sold them under their brand name AS OPPOSED to GEMSCO making a similar die from scratch and selling them (minus their hallmark) on under their brand name.

Still you may be correct. I have no proof and it is only my opinion as said before.

Best

Patrick

#16 Paul C.

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 05:22 AM

All,

I will chime in , I have to come in on the Amcraft side, the roller is also the give away, it's distinctive to Amcraft....

#17 John Cooper

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 08:59 PM

Patrick - too tired to reply to you post until later. As an alternative I will post some more photos that relate to the topic at hand. Thease are from an extensive collection of a friend of mine. This is a set of mint in the box somthing I wish I had.

John

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t209/smkngun27/Wing%20Collection/DSC00006.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t209/smkngun27/Wing%20Collection/DSC00012-5.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t209/smkngun27/Wing%20Collection/DSC00013-12.jpg

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t209/smkngun27/Wing%20Collection/DSC00015-5.jpg

#18 pfrost

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 10:17 PM

John,

I think we are starting to beat a dead horse here...and not to be argumentative....let me argue with you a bit. heh!

A couple of things. I have the gunner, aircrew, and bombardier in this pattern that started the thread sitting here in my greasy little hands. All three are 2 piecers on the observer base. I also have the obserer base wing. All four wings have a raised "island" right in the center of the wings, and 3 of the 4 have a raised sterling mark in the center of that island. The pilot series (I have senior, pilot, service pilot and glider pilot) are all hallmarked AMCRAFT. As I sit here and fondle these wings (the unmarked ones, the AMCRAFT marked ones, and all my GEMSCO marked ones) it is clear that the unmarked wings share more in common, such as hardware, general stylistic design, and hardware with the AMCRAFT marked wings than with the GEMSCO. When I look at the backs of these wings, you can see that the metal on top of the wings tend to have a deep "folded" in or "pinched" appearance behind the center and shoulders of the wings that is almost identical to the AMCRAFT marked wings. To me, this is the MOST important aspect of these wings, as it indicates they were made in similar manner with similar material with a similar design. One last point, you can find the AMCRAFT pattern of wing sometimes with the DONDERO hallmark stamped in the back, suggesting that either the dies were shared or at least one other company (Dondero) also contracted with AMCRAFT to supply them wings, thus supporting a precedence for this type of arrangement.

In contrast, when I look at the GEMSCO marked wings, the hardware is different, the styling of the wing is different, and the backs are different....GEMSCO tend to be almost totally flat with a slight indentation behind the center of the wing. In addition, the planchet is much thinner (in general) than what I see on the above wings. For these wings to have been made by GEMSCO, to me it makes no sense that they would have used two completely different set ups to make the same set of wing badges--and only have bothered to put their name on one set but not the other.

That being said, I have no doubt that you have a box with the GEMSCO label on it, but that says nothing about who MADE the wings in that box. Also, I dont see how you can be totally certain that the wing and the box started life together. That wing is not mint, notice that the pin is bent.

I have a box labeled Desmond's of Southern California that has a minty NS Meyer wing in it, and I am pretty certain that Desmonds, which was a department store, never made wings.

But again, this is all moot. Unless someone has some sort of record or communication from either AMCRAFT and/or GEMSCO, we simply have no way to tell. For me, who cares who actually made them, Gemsco, Amcraft of the Goggly-Woogly Co of Bumble Hump Arizona, they are very nice wings. Furthermore, it shouldnt change the price as both GEMSCO and AMCRAFT are about the same in terms of rarity and craftsmanship and the prices are about the same for each maker.

Whew...I think I am done on this topic gents.

P

#19 Mark

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 06:26 AM

I share Patrick's opinion as well. Nice box, nice wings, but only a drawn conclusion. GEMSCO was maker mark happy, most all of the metal items they sold were maker marked. As far as the wing comparison, I would be more convinced if you were comparing a bombardier wing with another bombardier wing.

I have had a penchant for these AMCRAFT wings (either marked AMCRAFT or in that style) for some time now. They all have similiar design features in not only manufacturing ( to include the hardware) but also design styles. I would even go so far as to say they are unique in that matter.

There still is an open question of why the sterling marked wings exist along side maker marked wings. Were they making wings for other manufacturers? Abiding to a government requirement? We may never know. I do know that the wing die patterns were passed down to other manufacturers who did add their name to the wings, and eventually those dies fell into the hands of the fakers.

Here are some of my AMCRAFT (style) wings..

Attached Images

  • wings800pix.jpg

Edited by ADMIN, 03 July 2008 - 07:05 PM.
Removed duplicate photo per user request.


#20 Mark

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 06:38 AM

Here is my bomber wing, I cant really see any difference in design that couldnt be written off as a variation.

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  • bomber.jpg


#21 Mark

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 06:44 AM

Now for a little fun..

An AMCRAFT style senior pilot wing

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  • pilot_1.jpg


#22 Mark

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 06:49 AM

but not AMCRAFT, in fact maker marked DONDERO.

I am wondering if any other companies used this wing design post war?

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  • senior_reverse.jpg
  • dondero_hallmark.jpg


#23 pfrost

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 07:57 AM

I have this very interesting wing in this pattern marked Polar Flight. It is hard to see in this scan, but it is there in an angle. What is interesting about this wing is that it is of a very thin material, has a cliche style back, and a fake STERLING mark. From the front, you can see where the sterling mark has mooshed part of the shield. It is hard to see this wing lasting long due to its shoddy construction, but that may explain why it is so scarce.

Somewhere in my library of reference material, I have an old WIngs and Things from Russ Huff that shows many of the different hallmarks found on USAAF wign. This exact hallmark is illustrated there, and is the only other place I have seen this wing. Recently, another Polar Flight wing showed up on ebay in a different pattern wing. Make of it what you will.

Patrick

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  • service_polarflight.jpg


#24 John Cooper

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 08:16 PM

Patrick if this thread could speak it would say "I'm not dead yet!" (ala Monty Python)

I think this has been an very interesting discussion although you your posts do not reflect your true passion for wing collecting :D

Overall I think your last points in posts 15 & 18 show the scale is balanced. I only hope we can one day find a period catalog or other material to support this either way.

Additionally the last two wings posted have an interesting detail in the left shoulder to make for one more variation.

BTW Mark - thanks for posting some of your wings very NICE I hope to see more in the future!

Regards
John

P.S. feel free to add to the makers mark post!

Edited by John Cooper, 03 July 2008 - 08:17 PM.


#25 pfrost

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 09:07 PM

No worries Lonny.

Here is a comparison photo for you. The top pilot wing is marked AMCRAFT while the bottom is from GEMSCO. I have marked a few points of interest on the photo. At first look and small photos as found on ebay it can be easy to mistake the two patterns... well at least for me. As you can see they are similar.

John

http://img294.imageshack.us/img294/7246/amcraftgemsco1ty5.jpg


I thought I would continue to beat this dead dog and post some pics. Here is a composite scan of the back of a GEMSCO marked wing (top) and the AMCRAFT wing (bottom) with the unmarked wing in the center. For some stupid reason, I picked a wing that someone made into a bracelet, but you get the idea. The arrows indicate the areas of similarity in the back with the characteristic "pinched" effect of the medal. The GEMSCO lacks this effect. To my knowledge, this pinching is a characteristic of only AMCRAFT and the unmarked pattern. It should be noted that the level and amount of "pinching" seems to vary between wings, and is not always the same, with more or less pinching.

One thing I didnt do is scan the catch and hinges. However, you will have to trust me when I say the GEMSCO (in my wing the catch is broken and missing the roller) is unique, while the AMCRAFT and unmarked wing are very similar.

Attached Images

  • backmarks.jpg

Edited by pfrost, 09 July 2008 - 09:12 PM.



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