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World War One Weekly Wing #12

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Have we already done 12 of these? Hardly seems possible but its already mid-March! About a quarter of the way through the year; perhaps this is as good a time as any to reassess this project. For those interested in the overall status of the WWOWW project, scroll down to the bottom of this post. For everyone else, on to WWOWW #12:

 

One of Houston Texas' most prominent jewelers at the turn of the Last Century was the J. J. Sweeney Company located downtown at the intersection of Main St. and Prairie. In the oil-rich town of Houston, Sweeney's earned themselves a reputation as the place for that Cities' wealthy to purchase finery.

 

Houston was one of a number of Texas cities that played host to WW1 era training activities. Ellington Field and Nearby Ream Field in Park Place, hosted a large number of training units. Ream Field was the home of the 2nd Reserve Wing. Many WW1 era Aviators took their training, or spent their wartime years in Houston TX. While there, no doubt many young Aviators would have found their way into Sweeney's Jewelry while on pass downtown.

 

Both Reserve Military Aviator (full wing) and first-type Observer (shield half wing) versions of this badge are known. As of yet, a second-type Observer (gothic O half wing) in this pattern has not come to light.

 

Interestingly, this wing is is identical in all respects to a similar badge made by The Eisenstadt Manufacturing Company in St Louis Missouri. With the exception of minor variances inherent in hand-finished badges, the only observable difference between the Eisenstadt and Sweeney versions are the hallmarks. Side by side comparisons of the Eisenstadt and Sweeney badges even reveal use of the same findings. Clearly one company manufactured the badges and another sold them. Considering Eisenstadt marked badges and the relative sizes of the two firms; Eisenstadt is the more likely manufacturer:

 

post-594-0-54258800-1584215413_thumb.jpeg

Additionally, Pilots stationed in nearby San Antonio at Kelly Field #1 and #2, and Brooks Field, In Austin at Penn Field, Waco's Rich Field, and even Dallas/Fort Worth's Love Field, Talliafero Field, Barron Field, Carruthers Field and Benbrook Field could also have found their way to Houston's airfields during navigation training. Campbell (1991) also relates an anecdote regarding the stand up of Eberts Field in Lonoke Arkansas where one of these badges was purchased for a presentation to commemorate the event (p. 87). Evidently, the badge Campbell refers to was purchased, and probably inscribed, at Sweeney's in Houston. Interestingly, Houston is 500 miles from Little Rock Arkansas. Since Eberts was not yet operational, the Airmen who purchased the badge must have taken the train!

post-594-0-18143300-1584215427_thumb.jpeg

The badge has an interesting back plate. Expertly constructed of very thin tin with black velvet material glued to the surface and lapped around the rear. The two have evidently been together for a long, long time.

post-594-0-85666500-1584215443_thumb.jpeg

 

The reverse of the badge shows Sweeney's hallmark ("S" within a shield). The reverse of the back plate shows the black material glued and lapped around the edges and paper-thin bookbinding leather glued to the back.

 

As always, I'd love to see your versions of this badge! Do you have an Eisenstadt? Do you have a Sweeney? An Observer's badge? Please join in the discussion!

 

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note about the WWOWW Project.

 

When I set out to do this at the end of 2019, the goal I put in front of myself was to help collectors, especially new collectors, feel WW1 era wings were more accessible. Outside of a few, pre-internet researched references, there is not much written about WW1 era and inter-war era wings and, unfortunately, with the advent of the internet some information in some of those reference works has been found to be erroneous, apocryphal, or incomplete over time. I had hoped to stimulate discussion of those, and other wing-related matters, through these posts.

 

This is not a vanity project.

 

There are hundreds of posts here on the forum about WW2 era wings, some of them fabulously rare! All of them beautiful in their own way--some truly amazing pieces. It was my hope that these WWOWW posts would stimulate discussion, or better-yet generate questions, about wings from the second era (WW1) and possibly even third era (inter-war) of US military aviation. I had also hoped that this would stimulate others to post their early era badges--either here in these threads or in new threads of their own. It seems though, that the same small group who always weigh in on WW1 wings are the only ones participating here...

 

I have no intention yet to stop, but I would like to implore you: This WWOWW project is about the wing collecting fraternity (sisters too if there are any out there). These posts will continue to have limited value if others don't weigh in. There is lots of knowledge out there, so please, don't be afraid. Ask questions! Tell me; "You've got it all wrong and here's why!" Even better, post your wings!

 

Or, if you really, honestly don't like these weekly threads clogging up your forum, let me know that too.

 

Warmest regards!

 

Chris


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post-594-0-14184900-1584220751.jpeg



The J. J. Sweeney Clock, Downtown Houston TX (since 1908)



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post-594-0-84039200-1584225410.jpg


J. J. Sweeney Clock in its original location in front of the J. J. Sweeney Jewelry store at the Northwest corner of Main St and Prairie (about 1910).



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Chris, thank you for the consistent weekly posts. I have enjoyed them very much.

 

Here are my two of this pattern, the Sweeney and the Eisenstadt. So very similar, its difficult to tell much difference.

post-12287-0-25926900-1584240764.jpeg

post-12287-0-66453300-1584240786.jpeg

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Have we already done 12 of these? Hardly seems possible but its already mid-March! About a quarter of the way through the year; perhaps this is as good a time as any to reassess this project. For those interested in the overall status of the WWOWW project, scroll down to the bottom of this post. For everyone else, on to WWOWW #12:

 

One of Houston Texas' most prominent jewelers at the turn of the Last Century was the J. J. Sweeney Company located downtown at the intersection of Main St. and Prairie. In the oil-rich town of Houston, Sweeney's earned themselves a reputation as the place for that Cities' wealthy to purchase finery.

 

Houston was one of a number of Texas cities that played host to WW1 era training activities. Ellington Field and Nearby Ream Field in Park Place, hosted a large number of training units. Ream Field was the home of the 2nd Reserve Wing. Many WW1 era Aviators took their training, or spent their wartime years in Houston TX. While there, no doubt many young Aviators would have found their way into Sweeney's Jewelry while on pass downtown.

 

Both Reserve Military Aviator (full wing) and first-type Observer (shield half wing) versions of this badge are known. As of yet, a second-type Observer (gothic O half wing) in this pattern has not come to light.

 

Interestingly, this wing is is identical in all respects to a similar badge made by The Eisenstadt Manufacturing Company in St Louis Missouri. With the exception of minor variances inherent in hand-finished badges, the only observable difference between the Eisenstadt and Sweeney versions are the hallmarks. Side by side comparisons of the Eisenstadt and Sweeney badges even reveal use of the same findings. Clearly one company manufactured the badges and another sold them. Considering Eisenstadt marked badges and the relative sizes of the two firms; Eisenstadt is the more likely manufacturer:

 

attachicon.gifWWOWW12- - 1.jpeg

Additionally, Pilots stationed in nearby San Antonio at Kelly Field #1 and #2, and Brooks Field, In Austin at Penn Field, Waco's Rich Field, and even Dallas/Fort Worth's Love Field, Talliafero Field, Barron Field, Carruthers Field and Benbrook Field could also have found their way to Houston's airfields during navigation training. Campbell (1991) also relates an anecdote regarding the stand up of Eberts Field in Lonoke Arkansas where one of these badges was purchased for a presentation to commemorate the event (p. 87). Evidently, the badge Campbell refers to was purchased, and probably inscribed, at Sweeney's in Houston. Interestingly, Houston is 500 miles from Little Rock Arkansas. Since Eberts was not yet operational, the Airmen who purchased the badge must have taken the train!

attachicon.gifWWOWW12- - 2.jpeg

The badge has an interesting back plate. Expertly constructed of very thin tin with black velvet material glued to the surface and lapped around the rear. The two have evidently been together for a long, long time.

attachicon.gifWWOWW12- - 3.jpeg

 

The reverse of the badge shows Sweeney's hallmark ("S" within a shield). The reverse of the back plate shows the black material glued and lapped around the edges and paper-thin bookbinding leather glued to the back.

 

As always, I'd love to see your versions of this badge! Do you have an Eisenstadt? Do you have a Sweeney? An Observer's badge? Please join in the discussion!

 

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note about the WWOWW Project.

 

When I set out to do this at the end of 2019, the goal I put in front of myself was to help collectors, especially new collectors, feel WW1 era wings were more accessible. Outside of a few, pre-internet researched references, there is not much written about WW1 era and inter-war era wings and, unfortunately, with the advent of the internet some information in some of those reference works has been found to be erroneous, apocryphal, or incomplete over time. I had hoped to stimulate discussion of those, and other wing-related matters, through these posts.

 

This is not a vanity project.

 

There are hundreds of posts here on the forum about WW2 era wings, some of them fabulously rare! All of them beautiful in their own way--some truly amazing pieces. It was my hope that these WWOWW posts would stimulate discussion, or better-yet generate questions, about wings from the second era (WW1) and possibly even third era (inter-war) of US military aviation. I had also hoped that this would stimulate others to post their early era badges--either here in these threads or in new threads of their own. It seems though, that the same small group who always weigh in on WW1 wings are the only ones participating here...

 

I have no intention yet to stop, but I would like to implore you: This WWOWW project is about the wing collecting fraternity (sisters too if there are any out there). These posts will continue to have limited value if others don't weigh in. There is lots of knowledge out there, so please, don't be afraid. Ask questions! Tell me; "You've got it all wrong and here's why!" Even better, post your wings!

 

Or, if you really, honestly don't like these weekly threads clogging up your forum, let me know that too.

 

Warmest regards!

 

Chris

 

Chris- I am sure that many are like me on this issue. I LOVE these threads, but lack the material and knowledge to effectively contribute. I have quite a few wings, but lack the interesting wings you guys post.

 

Don't perceive the lack of responses as lack of interest. I think that many (like myself) simply lack the knowledge to intelligently contribute! We are, however, learning a lot from these.

 

I am building a wing collection (I have 20 now) and hopefully in the future will gain enough material to be able to make intelligent statements.

 

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Chris- I am sure that  many are like me on this issue. I LOVE these threads, but lack the material and knowledge to effectively contribute. I have quite a few wings, but lack the interesting wings you guys post.

 

Don't perceive the lack of responses as lack of interest. I think that many (like myself) simply lack the knowledge to intelligently contribute! We are, however, learning a lot from these.

 

I am building a wing collection (I have 20 now) and hopefully in the future will gain enough material to be able to make intelligent statements.

 

+1

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed your post and appreciate the time you have taken to educate us on these beautiful wings. Blind Pew summed it up really well. One day ( when the kids are out of the house) I will be able to hopefully add to my collection. For now they are priced out of my collection budget. I may get lucky and find one in the wild for a reasonable price. I certainly appreciate your post as I am sure a lot of the forum does as well.

 

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

 

 

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guerrap, blind pew, Gerradtgrant,

 

Thank you all for your kind words! My intent is to continue posting these, so please do weigh in.

 

Thanks also to guerrap for posting your examples. Looking at your pictures, it clearly illustrates the similarities between the Sweeney and Eisenstadt versions of this badge.

 

Note how guerrap's Eisenstadt version in his photograph above is particularly handsome with its slightly more separated US. A great, attractive and seldom seen variation!

 

Below is the Reserve Military Aviator (full wing) compared to the Junior Military Aviator/Type-1 Observer (half wing). Again showing the similiarities between the two badges. In this case, the RMA badge is marked Sweeney, and JMA/OBS badge bears Eisenstadt's Hallmark:

 

post-594-0-34855800-1584285355_thumb.jpg

post-594-0-73524800-1584285374_thumb.jpg

The JMA/OBS badge in particular reveals interesting construction details about this badge.

 

Cheers!

 

Chris

 


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I may get lucky and find one in the wild for a reasonable price...

 

Gerradtgrant,

 

This is exactly my hope for these posts! I want to enable you; for that time you find a WW1 badge on the loose, "in the wild" so to speak, at a very reasonable price--to make a good decision.

 

Best wishes!

 

Chris

 

 


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I don't have any wings to add to this thread, but I did just get a copy of the "Ellington 1918" yearbook. This ad was included in the book.

 

post-96854-0-58153900-1585620983_thumb.jpg


donation2013.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

 

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Marty,

 

Thanks for posting this! "Ellington" is a great book and there are some really great photos of wings "on the man" in it. This advertisement is testament to the special relationship between the men of Ellington Field and the JJ Sweeney Co.

 

Chris


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