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Lieutenant Frederick Fuller, Spherical Balloon Pilot

daniel griffin

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Congrats on scoring this group. I think a lot of us have lusted after it since it first came out but couldn't really justify the price.


Top notch! Thanks for sharing. These photos alone advance the state-of-the-art when it comes to accessible, high-quality images of Dunham made wings.


A truly unique group.



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This is a nice group of wings and insignia owned by Lt Frederick Fuller


That WWI Military Aeronaut wing in Sterling Silver was custom made for Lieutenant Fuller by someone who worked for the firm of Dan S. Dunham in San Antonio, TX.


A few interesting features seen on this badge:


The two wings attached to the balloon (and the one wing on the observer badge) were struck from dies owned by Dunham - as can be seen in the bottom photo posted below. Similar examples of these wings can be seen in the book by J. Duncan Campbell, "Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army 1913-1946," page 15, number 20, and page 17, number 22.


The hinge, its pin and the U-shaped safety catch date from 1918.


In the top photo, notice the red dots penciled in to indicate the point were the thin silver shroud lines were attached to the balloon envelope. What a nice touch.


In the second image it is plain to see the gold letters 'US' were attached to the balloon slightly off-center.


In both the top and middle image one cannot help but notice the irregular shape of the fabric covered brass back-plate. Maybe the craftsman who cut it out was in a bit of a hurry as Lieutenant Fuller patiently waited for him to put the badge together? Frankly, I think there is a strong possibility that is exactly what happened.


This unique badge would make a nice addition to any collection. . . as would any of the other insignia seen in this thread.





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A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to inspect this wonderful grouping in-hand. These four badges and two identifications absolutely radiate historic U.S. aviation! Dan, thank you for posting and sharing these detailed images.

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A "Spherical Balloon Pilot",that's just too cool B)



If the Wings are the "cake",then the documents are the "icing on the cake". ^_^

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  • 3 weeks later...

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