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Two inch USAAF wing pattern ID'd.


rustywings
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rustywings

I'm certain that most wing collectors who've been in the hobby for a while will recognize the feathering pattern of these shirt-size wings as relatively common and almost always distinguishable by their very small raised "STERLING" mark and lack of any hallmark on the reverse.

 

Robbins F.jpg

 

 

So, after seeing and handling dozens of these handsome two-inch gems over the years, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Pilot wing example with an incised "Robbins Co." hallmark stamped on the back. Check out the badge in the middle of the image below. Even though the badge was meant to be a pilot wing, as noted above, it looks like they made a production mistake and used an Aerial Gunner die on the reverse (as seen below).

 

Robbins G.jpg

 

Anyway, I believe this might be a significant tidbit of info in furthering the identity of this wing pattern.

 

Robbins H.jpg

 

Your ideas and opinions are always welcome...

 

 

 

 

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rustywings

Robbins Co. hallmark...

 

So maybe a lapse in quality-control that day with the manufacturer caused the badge to be mistakenly stamped with a hallmark?

Who knows?

thumbnail_IMG_1769.jpg

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skypilot6670

Nice find Russ. Production pressures must have high as orders poured in early in the war so possibly a push to get them out the door. Or as you said a lapse in quality control. Either way your observation has named a manufacturer of these wings. Well done. Mike

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skypilot6670

Thanks Marty I didn’t know that. So the early War hurry theory is a bust. Good info Russ. Thanks again. Mike

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5thwingmarty

I should add though that even though they were not officially authorized until then, the manufacturers knew they were coming and they were available before then. One of my uncles was KIA April 2, 1944 and he had two 2" wings in his effects.

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5thwingmarty

I can also add that the 2" wings from my uncle were from Bell and Amico, so those two companies were making 2" wings before they were officially authorized.

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Cool find Russ, good to see ultimate confirmation on the long time theory.

 

Funny thing about shirt size wings is that you have to look pretty hard to actually find a photo from WWII of a vet actually wearing one!

A good friend of mine flew B-29s in the Pacific. He showed me his various wing badges from WWII before he passed and amongst them was a 2 inch Amico Pilot.

He looked puzzled when I referred to them as shirt size and said he never knew of the regulation for them to be worn on the shirt when not wearing a coat (as many other vets have said).

He said they bought them to give to wives or girlfriends and he NEVER saw anyone wear anything but a full size wing on the shirt or coat.

 

I am sure some gents wore them, but my impression is the vast majority did not.

 

John

 

PS, now if we could just get so many collectors/dealers to stop calling 2 inch USN wings shirt size (Mess Dress size) lol.

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Good points John as I've rarely seen standard 2" pilot wings worn either. But what I find odd is probably half of the photos I see of a GO with command pilot wings they're wearing the 2" versions.

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  • 3 years later...
5thwingmarty

I solemnly swear that I did not pilfer this from Russ' collection.  Just like his, it was made using the same striker as they used for the Aerial Gunner wings.  In comparing it to a couple of non-hallmarked (NHM) Pilot wings in this pattern, made with the correct striker, this hallmarked example is just over a gram lighter (5.97 vs. 7.01 grams).  That doesn't sound like much, but but it can be felt when picking them up.  In comparing the two NHM Pilot wings with this hallmarked one, the Aerial Gunner and an Aircrew wing, the two NHM Pilot wings are made from visibly thicker metal than the other three.  I don't know if that is consistent for all these wings or just the examples I have.

 

2-in Robbins Pilot rear.jpg

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  • 1 month later...
5thwingmarty

Here is another one that was made into a bracelet.  It does not appear to have ever had pin fittings, and the back looks to have been polished and the back cleaned up to remove the sharp edges.  It is silver finished not gold as my pictures imply.  Note it was also made with the Aerial Gunner reverse die.

 

Robbins bracelet front.jpg

Robbins bracelet rear.jpg

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