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Beverlycraft or Beverly Craft history


rathbonemuseum.com
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rathbonemuseum.com

Beverly Craft wings obverse.

 

The most telltale sign of the pattern is the low-definition inset "pebbles" in the corner of the shoulder. No other USAAF wing has that element.

BeverlyCraftWingsObv.jpg

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rathbonemuseum.com

Beverly Craft wings reverse.

 

Because of the unique nature of the embossing press that C.C. Veneman ended up using, each wing has a central depression where the embossing die would hit a center punch to give some rise and dimension to the obverse of the center device. Otherwise the reverse of the wings are totally flat and smooth. And yes, for some reason, BEVERLYCRAFT have their findings attached in the reverse manner from most other pinback wings. Maybe it was that "peg-leg character"? Who knows. You will usually find hallmarked BEVERLYCRAFT vs. unmarked graduation wings. I believe this had to do with Veneman's sales strategy which was to distribute to PXs and men's stores for individual purchase vs. direct to the military bulk purchase.

BeverlyCraftWingsRev.jpg

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Patchcollector

Nice display of wings.Thanks for the tip on the "tell" of the inset "pebbles" too.

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5thwingmarty

Tod's wing looks the same as the one on Bob's website. Jay's wing looks like a three-piece wing which has a different design for the attached bomb. Looks like you guys have some additional variants to look for to complete your Beverlycraft sets.

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Beverly Craft wings reverse.

 

Because of the unique nature of the embossing press that C.C. Veneman ended up using, each wing has a central depression where the embossing die would hit a center punch to give some rise and dimension to the obverse of the center device. Otherwise the reverse of the wings are totally flat and smooth. And yes, for some reason, Beverly craft have their findings attached in the reverse manner from most other pinback wings. Maybe it was that "peg-leg character"? Who knows. You will usually find hallmarked Beverly craft vs. unmarked graduation wings. I believe this had to do with Veneman's sales strategy which was to distribute to PXs and men's stores for individual purchase vs. direct to the military bulk purchase.

 

Here is one without the central depression. This one is currently on ebay.

 

post-311-0-98617400-1399867665.jpg

post-311-0-14512100-1399867711.jpg

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rustywings

Terrific investigative work; a willingness to share information; and nice images of numerous ratings really make this thread stand out! Thank you all for your efforts...

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rathbonemuseum.com

Interesting that one without the central depression. I speculate that it was one of the beginning strikes and perhaps they may have felt it was too flat?

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rathbonemuseum.com

Mike,

 

I will gladly take that air gunner as I am missing it from my set!

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I really enjoyed reading this thread, and hope it gets pinned. Maybe deserves to be the founding post of a new section "Insignia manufacturer research" or something like that. It has great substance and answers the kinds of questions many of us have but where we often can't find satisfactory information available. A great contribution to the educational mission of the forum. Well done!

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LuftStalg1

I really enjoyed reading this thread, and hope it gets pinned. Maybe deserves to be the founding post of a new section "Insignia manufacturer research" or something like that. It has great substance and answers the kinds of questions many of us have but where we often can't find satisfactory information available. A great contribution to the educational mission of the forum. Well done!

 

I'll second that!

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John Conway

So I have now received autobiographical information from the Veneman family. Now we can know a bit more about the Beverly Craft company and its history.

 

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.

 

Nicely done Sir Tod. It took a little doing but you finally smoked out some commentary! Sometimes it takes both barrels to show 'em you mean business! Congrats - another chapter written in the big book of wing facts!

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  • 4 years later...
  • 6 months later...
rathbonemuseum.com

Here is an interesting example of a glider wing that demonstrates what might go wrong with a constantly running embossing machine and if you don't set the planchet right when you push it in. It hits the stamp off-center. Not unlike coins that are off-center. You can see this most pronounced on the front edges.

2019-11-20 08.48.25.jpg

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  • 8 months later...
5thwingmarty

Although most Beverlycraft wings are pin backs mounted backwards compared to most wings, they can also be found as clutch back wings.  I have been told this may have been an option from Beverlycraft as those with the clutch backs are so similarly done.  Here are the three I have with clutch backs:

 

This Pilot wing is unique in that it has the palm tree motif throughout the recessed area behind the shield.

Beverlycraft clutch backs-1_resize.JPG

Beverlycraft clutch backs rears_resize.JPG

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5thwingmarty

Along with the full-size wings, Beverlycraft also made sweetheart wings.  These are typically found with the palm tree motif covering the entire back and the hallmark reading "Beverlycraft of Beverly Hills", but they can be found with a variety of back finishes including completely smooth except for a raised palm tree hallmark and raised sterling mark.  The odd thing (to me anyhow) about the sweetheart wings is the Pilot wing does not have the "berries" in the shoulders.  Instead they are a pelican beak style wing like an Amico or LGB wing.  The sweetheart wings can also often be found with rank insignia attached.

 

In addition to the sweetheart AAF wings, Beverlycraft also made a Naval Aviator sweetheart, and the company also made collar and rank insignia.

 

Sorry my photos are so bad today, everything is coming out looking gold tinted.  In actuality only the Naval Aviator is gold.

 

 

Beverlycraft sweethearts fronts_resize.JPG

Beverlycraft sweethearts rears_resize.JPG

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5thwingmarty

One last wing to add.  Beverlycraft made a wide variety of Bombardier wings, two of which have already been shared.  Those wings were made by attaching target backgrounds and bombs to the base wing.

 

They also made Bombardier wings using Observer wings to which bombs were attached, with these bombs varying greatly in style and girth.  This one has the fattest bomb I have seen on a bombardier wing.

 

 

Beverlycraft bombardier front_resize.JPG

Beverlycraft bombardier rear_resize.JPG

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Here are the ones from my collection that have not been posted yet.  A pilot wing with a "G" applied by Beverlycraft for the Glider pilots, the Flight Engineer "E" wing and the Flight Instructor cap/sweetheart badge on the original card.  There are three more Beverlycraft that I've seen (two in the forums here) but don't own; the Instrument Flying Instructor, the "R" Radio operator and the "G" glider cap/sweetheart badge.   Those three and the large bombardier variant are at the top of my wish list.

20200809_182500_copy_864x1067.jpg

20200809_182406_copy_864x681.jpg

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