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UNUSUAL GLIDER PILOT WINGS-Please weigh in!

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looks like a lot of flaws in the feathers?

 

-Brian


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I am no wing expert, but I can verify that some of these "letter wings" made with observer type bases are genuine. I know a flight engineer from the 99th BG who was issued a flight engineer wing when he graduated from I believe a Boeing school. The wing is an observer type with an applied E. He did not know they were unusual wings when I asked him about them, he just said everyone in his class was issued them. I think they were Gemsco wings.


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Thought I might try grasping at straws while I was at it.

 

Here are a pair of WWII British 2nd Glider Pilot wings. Of course the wings I have originally shown are not theater made, I am just wondering if they were influenced by these. I copied this photo from a British WW2 airborne militaria site. http://home.tiscali.nl/nijsten/qualificationbadges.html

 

 

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This wing vatiation subject is intriguing. I am not a wing expert and don't collect them. I have seen and held in my hands what is supposed to be the German, circa 1946 made G wings and I was told they are the most rare G wings?. However, I could not identify these wings if I was handed a pair of them unless I was told what they wre. To add to my confusion is my lifelong experience in the jewelry business which raises many questions in the marking of all varieties wings thjat are available today.

 

U.S. law since around 1906 or thereabouts says that metals need not be quality marked or trademarked. However, law does say that if an item is quality marked, it must be trademarked to identify the company (person) who says it is a specific quality. Trademark can be used without quality mark but not quality mark without trademark. U.S.quality mark, Sterling, means the item has to be minimum of 92.5 % pure silver. To mark an item Sterling without a trademark is not acceptable or legal in the U.S. and has not been legal for over 100 years. Trademarks must be registered (with exceptions). A few years ago, I was told by a seller who was trying to justify his reproductions, quality marked without trademark, that this quality/trademark law was suspended by "The government" during WWII. Duh? Shades of today's dictatorship in D.C.? In looking at info on the internet, it appears to me that the truly legitimate manufactureres (such as N.S. Meyer Balfour, Blackington, etc) all seem to have quality mark and trademark. So who made all the available wings carrying a quality mark but no trademark? Have they been tested to verify the silver content?

 

I have never seen one, has anyone ever seen a contract order from the Army for any type of wings? What does it specify?

 

A few days ago I found a web reference to this round (observer) center G wing as being a Burma wing?? Does not make sense to me because wings were awarded at graduation, by the Army, in the U.S. All the 1AC glider pilots were graduated glider pilots, awarded wings, before they were selected for 1AC and went to Burma.

 

http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/usaaf/usaafmain.shtml

 

Looking over this web site shows the round center (observer) wing used for various types of wings. None of the round center are shown as GP or power pilot wings ???

 

Does anyone know of a summary of various mfg and the style of wing they made?

 

Does anyone know the history of wing distribution? That is, which styles of wings and manufacturers did the Army buy? Which styles and mfg. were sold in PX and which ones were sold through jewelers or dealers or street vendors other than the Army?

 

Charles Day.

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I think the problem is that there really is no way to find out.

 

There are plenty of items quality marked but not maker marked... even today.

I am not sure what law you are quoting, but if there is such a law... I doubt it is enforced.

There are wings attributed to Blackinton etc that are not maker marked as well.

 

-Brian


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http://www.925-1000.com/a_StampingAct1906.html

 

If anything is attributed to a manufacturer verbally or even in writing, but not marked per the stamping act, then, buyer beware.

 

The Federal Trade Commission is the enforcer. At this time they are pretty busy with cases concerning precious metals investment scams. They also do not generally go looking for trouble without receiving complaints from consumers.

 

Go to your jewelry store, find a karat gold or sterling piece, find the quality mark and the trademark on the piece and ask the jeweler what the marks mean and why the marks are there.

 

Sears and a couple other large retail chains were "nailed" several years ago for selling improperly marked, imported, purported karat gold, neckchain.

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Right, but do you think this is something heavily enforced? especially during wartime?

I doubt anyone, even the QM depots, would have lodged such a complaint.

 

-Brian


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Since my last post, I have been told that the gov contracts for wings made inder contract to Gov for Gov distibution (NOT sales) to graduate pilots prohibited the placing of trademark and quality mark on those pieces. Though not written proof of this action, the gov supposedly did not want recipients to have reason to believe one wing was better than another.

 

Not directly related but similar, the gov stopped Ford and Willys from stamping those names into sheet metal on back of Jeeps to stop favoritisn amount soldiers. Of course, a fallacy to this is the the nomenclature plate on right dashboard still had Ford or Willys on it....

 

The omission of quality and trade marks did not apply to wings made for sale as opposed to free presentation for graduation. In any case if the gov forced the mfg to use quality mark, but not trade mark, the gov would be forcing the mfg to violate the stamping act. Did this happen?

 

So, could this mean that the law abiding wings which have both quality and trademark were NOT under gov contract and were not sold to gov for distribution as graduation wings? That these law abiding wings were retail market wings sold in PX, BX, and to non-gov retail locations?

 

My opinion is that the wings, old or new that have quality mark but no trademark, were then and are now, being made for retail sale, not on gov contract and they violate the stamping act. Based on what I was told by a dealer selling quality mark without trade mark a few years ago there is a pretence that this is acceptable and gov approved when in fact it is not true and is only a story used for the sales pitch. At least until I see it written on a gov order or directive.

 

How many of the un-trademarked wings with sterling quality mark, new or old, have ever been tested for metal quality?

 

That it is and was not contested is that the market is so small and, as you say during war time, it would have been overlooked by most.even if they were aware.

 

I once asked a WWII glider pilot friend if he remembered the name of the tire manufacturers of CG-4A glider he flew. He laughed and said who cared, they had air in them and they were nice to sit on in the shade of the wing.

 

Charles Day

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Hello All, been Moving, missed you guys! but I do have an answer. These are die struck Officer Supply Co. Wings. Seen them on the actual card they came on before. Unique design!

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it is true that the law requires a trademark on sterling but it is violated so frequently that the lack of a trademark on a wing or anything else should not be considered at all as a warning sign. I handle lots of sterling flatware and hollowware a month and see pieces marked only sterling all of the time. I scrap most of it and have never had a piece returned by the smelter.


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After more investigation:

 

US gov contracts did and do cause manufacturers to violate US gov laws. Purortedly, this forced violation is handled by the wording of the contract. Reversing my previous statement, the WWII wings marked Sterling, without a trademark, were gov contract wings made for gov distribution (free presentation) to pilot graduates. Gov contract prohibited use of the company ID (trademark) on those contracted wings. Wings made during that period with Sterling quality mark and a Trademark were made for distribution for retail sale, in whatever type retail operation. These wings with quality and trademark were not contracted by the gov, and to be legal, meet the stamping act requirements. Because these wings were not under Gov contract, they could have variations that would not be allowed under gov contract. I am told, the fine for violation of the stamping act was and is $5000 per item. Today, there are assigned government marks or designations used (with quality mark) instead of a commercial trademark in order to make the quality mark legal.

 

During WWII for Gov contracted wings the gov furnished drawings and specifications for wings and the gov loaned hubs to the wing manufacturers, thus the similarity in wings from different manufacturers.

 

I agree that violation of all this might be akin to running a stop sign or a red light. It is done every day, but that does not mean you will get away with it forever. It will eventually kill you or cost you money.

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Hello All, been Moving, missed you guys! but I do have an answer. These are die struck Officer Supply Co. Wings. Seen them on the actual card they came on before. Unique design!

 

Thanks MTNMAN for the info! Don't happen to have a photo of these or similar on the cards do you? Or know where I can find a copy of their catalog?


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Maybe some other folks can post wings built from the same pattern for other wings i.e. AG...

 

I glad I can help a little and maybe spark some additional thought on this topic.

 

Cheers

 

P.S. Take a look Bob's site start with the AG wings and see if ya see something in the ballpark.

 

John,

 

I tried to PM you but your box is full. Thank you for posting these examples!


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
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I still feel that these wings are fantasy reproductions. Designed to fool collectors.

 

You periodically see "E" (flight engineer) and "R" (more than likely for radio operators) placed on an observer or pilot wing. These were freqeuntly made in theater (CBI) not stateside. You also sometimes see English made bullion observer wings with a "G", "R", "L" or "AG"(and likely a few others) emborodered in the center. These were more than likely the local English attempts to anticipate or replicate what the new gunner wings were going to look like. At least that is what the owner of these "G" wings told me. He was a B24 gunner, and went overseas with only the aircrewman wing. He told me that when he got to England, he bought a pair of these wings because he couldn't get ahold of the metal ones with the bullet.

 

The stateside manufactures, while taking some liberties with patterns, knew that there was no market for blatantly non-compliant insignia and they would have been well aware of what the new insignia was going to look like.

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After more investigation:

 

US gov contracts did and do cause manufacturers to violate US gov laws. Purortedly, this forced violation is handled by the wording of the contract. Reversing my previous statement, the WWII wings marked Sterling, without a trademark, were gov contract wings made for gov distribution (free presentation) to pilot graduates. Gov contract prohibited use of the company ID (trademark) on those contracted wings. Wings made during that period with Sterling quality mark and a Trademark were made for distribution for retail sale, in whatever type retail operation. These wings with quality and trademark were not contracted by the gov, and to be legal, meet the stamping act requirements. Because these wings were not under Gov contract, they could have variations that would not be allowed under gov contract. I am told, the fine for violation of the stamping act was and is $5000 per item. Today, there are assigned government marks or designations used (with quality mark) instead of a commercial trademark in order to make the quality mark legal.

 

During WWII for Gov contracted wings the gov furnished drawings and specifications for wings and the gov loaned hubs to the wing manufacturers, thus the similarity in wings from different manufacturers.

 

I agree that violation of all this might be akin to running a stop sign or a red light. It is done every day, but that does not mean you will get away with it forever. It will eventually kill you or cost you money.

 

 

 

Hmm,interesting stuff here.So if I'm reading this right,then the Wings marked only "Sterling" were Govt. procured,and the ones' marked "Sterling" with additional makers' marks were "private buy" items.I had always thought it was the other way around,my thought being the more markings,the more "official"!


High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silver wings;

Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there

I've chased the shouting wind along and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue

I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,

where never lark, or even eagle flew;

and while, with silent, lifting mind I've trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

 

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June 9, 1922 – December 11, 1941

 

 

 

" And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

 

Don't let the B@stards wear you down -"Vinegar" Joe Stillwell

 

 

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world.Unreasonable

people attempt to adapt the world to themselves.All progress,

therefore, depends on unreasonable people.

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" Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining" , Fletcher,from the movie "The outlaw Josey Wales"

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Hello All, been Moving, missed you guys! but I do have an answer. These are die struck Officer Supply Co. Wings. Seen them on the actual card they came on before. Unique design!

 

I lean more toward Mel's assumption. . . but the correct name of the firm was Officers Equipment Company in Madison, NJ which got out of the business in 1947.

 

They really did sell wings late in WWII that were die-stamped in the same pattern shown at the bottom of this post and I have one given to me by Duncan Campbell which he personally bought there; however, I don't disagree with Patrick because a similar pattern is still being made by someone for collectors today.

 

Suggest you check out this thread for additional information on Officers Equipment Company.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/102046-skeleton-back-wings/?hl=%2Bskeleton+%2Bback+%2Bwings

 

Cliff

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So if I'm reading this right, then the Wings marked only "Sterling" were Govt. procured, and the ones' marked "Sterling" with additional makers' marks were "private buy" items.

 

Actually in practice that was not always the case; therefore, additional clarification is needed here.

 

Yes, early in WW2 official War Department Regulations said that issued wings were not suppose to be maker marked; however, that requirement was rarely/if ever enforced; therefore, as the war progressed it was not out of the realm of possibility for a new pilot to be awarded wings with a makers' mark on the back.

 

Cliff

 


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Hmm,interesting stuff here.So if I'm reading this right,then the Wings marked only "Sterling" were Govt. procured,and the ones' marked "Sterling" with additional makers' marks were "private buy" items.I had always thought it was the other way around,my thought being the more markings,the more "official"!

 

That was my original thinking, but I was told I had it backward. If the Sterling marked wing without trademark was made under gov contract during the war it was sterling. and the gov likely checked production, unannounced. If it was made for wholesale/retail market, it had to observe the stamping act and carry the trademark if it carried the Sterling mark. Abbreviation stamp such as Ster is not legal description and likely means the item is not Sterling. Then intent to fraud or deceive comes into play.

 

Problem today is, is the item a WWII article or is it a faked reproduction that is or may not be .925 (which is the quality they are selling)? I can see that the fine of $5,000 each item is a deterent for legitimate mfg. Then, what about a non-legit guy in for a fast buck or if the real source is not in the US? Even the "innocent" guy handling and offering for sale the Sterling item that is not Sterling, is in for a potential $5,000 ride for each item, if he gets caught running the red light (if the FTC is called in).

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John,

 

I tried to PM you but your box is full. Thank you for posting these examples!

Beast I sent you a PM. You are welcome... I hope this helped you shed some light on these wings. I know I am a bit of the suspicious side but I would keep them base on what I said in the PM.

 

Cheers


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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Beast I sent you a PM. You are welcome... I hope this helped you shed some light on these wings. I know I am a bit of the suspicious side but I would keep them base on what I said in the PM.

 

Cheers

 

John, Got the PM. Thanks again for all of your help!

 


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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I lean more toward Mel's assumption. . . but the correct name of the firm was Officers Equipment Company in Madison, NJ which got out of the business in 1947.

 

They really did sell wings late in WWII that were die-stamped in the same pattern shown at the bottom of this post and I have one given to me by Duncan Campbell which he personally bought there; however, I don't disagree with Patrick because a similar pattern is still being made by someone for collectors today.

 

Suggest you check out this thread for additional information on Officers Equipment Company.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/102046-skeleton-back-wings/?hl=%2Bskeleton+%2Bback+%2Bwings

 

Cliff

Cliff,

 

Thank you for your input and the link to the Officer Equipment Company thread.


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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;)

 

One more thing for any who have the book by Duncan Campbell. In it, and I quote:

 

"Other unauthorized wing badges not illustrated include some made in error and not withdrawn from sale. When glider, service and liaison wing badges were prescribed in September 1942, one manufacture "jumped the gun" in his haste to grab the market and erroneously applied the letter G, S, or L inside the center O of the observer's wing badge. These were never worn but did become available as war surplus in 1945 from military (surplus) outfitters (like Officer's Equipment Company). "

 

Cliff


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;)

 

One more thing for any who have the book by Duncan Campbell. In it, and I quote:

 

"Other unauthorized wing badges not illustrated include some made in error and not withdrawn from sale. When glider, service and liaison wing badges were prescribed in September 1942, one manufacture "jumped the gun" in his haste to grab the market and erroneously applied the letter G, S, or L inside the center O of the observer's wing badge. These were never worn but did become available as war surplus in 1945 from military (surplus) outfitters (like Officer's Equipment Company). "

 

Cliff

 

Excellent information!


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agreed... so much knowledge on this site!

 

-Brian


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;)

 

One more thing for any who have the book by Duncan Campbell. In it, and I quote:

 

"Other unauthorized wing badges not illustrated include some made in error and not withdrawn from sale. When glider, service and liaison wing badges were prescribed in September 1942, one manufacture "jumped the gun" in his haste to grab the market and erroneously applied the letter G, S, or L inside the center O of the observer's wing badge. These were never worn but did become available as war surplus in 1945 from military (surplus) outfitters (like Officer's Equipment Company). "

 

Cliff

 

Thanks Cliff!

 


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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