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CliffP

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  1. There are probably a lot of these seats still scattered over the terrain of North Vietnam. Your father is a mighty lucky man to have you do this for him.
  2. Then let's try again. This image was taken without the advantage of having any sun light. Is there any chance you can tell which company made the die?
  3. Thank you for being so observant. I did not know that the officer's armored collar insignia pre-dated WW2, and yes it does coincide with the fact that since Mr.Puma started the business in 1940 the sample board may have actually been put together the same year. Here is a close up view of the armored collar insignia.
  4. Marty, Officer's Equipment Company did not make any of the insignia that they sold. Tesla, Yes, even though there are not any full-size aviator wings in the sample board at the top of this page, they did sell them. More about the salesman sample board: I've tried again to take close-up images of a few insignia seen in the sample board but none do any of them the justice they deserve. Yes, the sterling silver badges have tarnished over time, but the others still sparkle in the sun light.
  5. Officers Equipment Company - A brief history I was asked this afternoon if I would mind posting a separate thead on the original Officers Equipment Company which was started in 1940 so here goes. The company was started by Mr. Vincent E. Puma who was born in Italy in 1895. He was one of 19 children, nine of whom died at birth and he came to America in 1905. His growing love for this country stimulated him to join the Army before he was twenty, and during World War One he was sent to France as a French-English-Italian interpreter. After the war he became an ardent member of the American Legion. While living in Brooklyn, New York he became a traveling salesman for what was once the prestigious Knox Hat Company on 5th Avenue in New York and eventually he became its Director of Sales for the State of New Jersey. It was in 1928 while on a business trip through New Jersey he saw a gigantic 10,000 square foot Victorian blue pudding-stone house for sell. It was located at 49th Park Avenue in Madison, NJ and called The Daniel Burns Home. It had 12 rooms and 5 bathrooms and he bought it for $25,000. During the Great Depression that hit the country he eventually lost his job with The Knox Hat Company. He continued to work for various other hat companies in New York but was not happy having to work from the bottom up again. In the late 1939 he foresaw America entering World War Two and in 1940 decided to start his own company from the basement of his home furnishing dress equipment for military officers. He called it Officer's Equipment Company and during the war traveled the country selling at various military base PX's. His pride was high and as his reputation grew he did very well financially. He closed the business in 1947 and died in 1980. Pictured below is an image of his home plus a beautiful 12" X 20" salesman sample board which hung in his office after the war. Unfortunately, that image does not do the insignia justice because they are exquisite. It was given to me by his son Reverend Monsignor Vincent E. Puma, Jr. in 2002. Vincent E. Puma
  6. Re: Officer's Equipment Company Here is some background information on Officers Equipment Company which was owed and operated by Vincent E. Puma. Born in Italy in 1895 Mr. Puma was one of 19 children, nine of whom died at birth. He came to America in 1905 and his love for this country stimulated him to joined the service before he was twenty. During World War One he was sent to France as a French-English-Italian interpreter and later became an ardent member of the American Legion. After World War One he lived in Brooklyn, New York and became a traveling salesman for what was once the prestigious Knox Hat Company on 5th Avenue in New York and eventually became Director of Sales for the State of New Jersey. While on a business trip to New Jersey in 1928 he saw a gigantic 10,000 square foot Victorian blue pudding-stone house with 12 rooms and 5 bathrooms called The Daniel Burns Home located in Madison, NJ at 49 Park Avenue. He bought it for $25,000. During the Depression he eventually lost his job with The Knox Hat Company and worked for various other hat companies out of New York; however, he was not happy having to work from the bottom up again and in 1940 decided to begin his own company from home called The Officer's Equipment Company. Furnishing dress equipment to officers of the three branches of service he traveled extensively during the war selling to military base PX's across the country. His pride and reputation was high and he did very well. He retired from business in 1947 and died in 1980. Pictured below is a picture of Mr. Puma's home and the photo of a beautiful 12' X 20" Salesman Sample Board which hung in his office after the war. Unfortunately, the photo does not do it justice. It was sent to me in 2002 by his son *Reverend Monsignor Vincent E. Puma, Jr. *Rev. MSGR Vincent E. Puma, Jr. wrote a delightful biography called "Son of a Bishop! - What A Life". Published in 2000 by Associated Graphics, Inc., ISBN 0-9705655-0-X.
  7. Chris, Re: "Caveat Emptor" Without question, swindlers who prey on unsuspecting collectors will always be around; therefore, I don't have any words of wisdom to share that haven't already been expressed but I would like to point out a named WW1 Balloon Observer uniform currently being offered on eBay that caught my eye. While the uniform itself may have actually belonged to the Balloon Observer in question, and the dealer selling it may be doing so in good faith, the Observer half-wing attached to the uniform is a fake. It is also similar in construction to both the Observer half-wing and Balloon Aeronaut badges in your Box of Tears. RARE VINTAGE WWI USAAS 2nd LT L.A. FARGE JR. BALLOON OBSERVER PILOT UNIFORM BELT https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-VINTAGE-WWI-USAAS-2nd-LT-L-A-FARGE-JR-BALLOON-OBSERVER-PILOT-UNIFORM-BELT/254629172355?hash=item3b4914d483:g:-4wAAOSwTWNe7CMc
  8. Looking at these clearer images, I would say there is no question the badges are reproductions.
  9. One thing about our friend Mel Everingham, he is a mastered when it comes to drafting an almost poetical use of words. Words meant to give us a deeper if not haunting philosophical understanding about what he saw when he first looked at that badge. In other words, he saw details that some of us may have skipped over... if not ignored at first glance, but they spoke to him. John Ferguson is right too, it is what it is, a nice pre-great depression era badge that visibly shows it has been put through the paces during a long and hopefully productive existence. If only it could talk.
  10. Chris, one small correction. It's not the one known good example of a first type (silk) Aeronaut badge. A second example is posted on Bob Schwartz's Aviation Wings and Badges of the World Wars website. See below.
  11. Marty, I haven't a clue who may have made the Balloon Pilot badge but could make a strong case that the Airship Pilot badge was made by Kinney & Company.
  12. Your miniature 1919-1921 gold finished Balloon Pilot wing badge could be very special. Back in 1985 I was fortunate to receive a similar size gold finish Airship Pilot wing badge from Colonel Angier H. Foster (1896 - 1989). He was stationed at Fort Omaha, Nebraska between 1919 - 1921 and received free balloon pilot training there. In 1922 he attended the B & AS school at Langley Field, Virginia. Later that same year when the B & AS school was transferred to Scott Field, Illinois he was an Airship Pilot instructor and ground course director... until he transferring to heavier-than-air in 1925. Colonel Foster was not married during his light-than-air service with the USAAS between 1919 - 1925 but during our first conversation in 1985 could not remember why or how he happened to have a miniature gold finished Airship Pilot badge. However, during a later conversation he did say he may have worn it on his service cap while at Scott Field. Congratulations, you could very well have a 1919 - 1921 Balloon Pilot instructor wing badge.
  13. Mike, I appreciate your comments. Chris, Your comments were valid quips rather than nitpicking. Ideally they were meant to help the readers of the forum understand and appreciate how constructive they were intended to be. . . and I fully agree. Still, while I know Robert Pandis who produced the books, I don't know who produced the video but after viewing it, strongly suspect their objective was not to pass themselves off as being specialists on the subject of Bailey, Banks & Biddle Dallas-style wings. On the contrary, my impression is the video was only suppose to be a brief primer on the subject of collecting military wing badges. In that regard, I think they were very successful and hope they will make a few more. Cliff
  14. Video: WW1 Dallas-Style Pilot Wings by Bailey, Banks & Biddle Published on March 23, 2020 by Medal Men
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