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pfrost

Weekly Wings of WWI (TV Allen edition)

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Not that I can even do a tiny bit as well as Chris had done, I thought I would add something to the WWWIW threads.

T.V. Allen Co., the prominent Los Angeles jewelers and stationers, was founded in 1912. This company made fine paper, printed items, school rings and sports medals. Special printing jobs were featured during the 1932 Olympics, and for years, T.V. Allen Co. made the Academy Award envelopes!  Initially, they were located in downtown Los Angeles at 723 7th St (1912 to circa 1916) then they moved to Hill Street between 8th and 9th St (circa 1919), then to 815 Maple Ave (circa1920’s).  These dates are rather broad and are based on the dates from various advertisements that I found during my research. They were still in business through WWII and into the 1950’s. They were very active in producing fraternity/college-related jewelry and advertised in most of the local college and high school yearbooks, it seemed.  I don’t see that they were involved (at least directly) in making military insignia, but I do know that they likely had a die for both the WWI pilot AND observer wings. To date, I have seen only two TV Allen made badges.  If I had to guess, I would think that they may have made a special “one off” order for flight insignia for a USC graduate in 1918 or so (that is just a guess of course) but TV Allen frequently advertised in the USC yearbooks and school newspapers.

The wing itself is of the “Dallas” design.  The wing is cinched onto a metal (likely brass) cloth covered backing plate using small silver prongs.  The wing is of one-piece construction and highly vaulted and finely feathered. The pin is attached to the backing plate and is covered with a fine black/dark blue fabric.  The dimensions of this wing are rather long, so it gives the overall badge an elongated and rather “aerodynamic” effect. The hallmark is simply the name of the maker “TV Allen”.

The only other TV Allen wing I have seen was in another collection.  The pilot wing is also a one-piece construction, without the backing plate. The feathering pattern and shape of the badges aren’t that similar.  The pilot badge is a bit more delicate in design and has had the pales of the shield cut out.  However, both badges are very handsome.

TVAllen1.jpg

TVAllen3.jpg

TVAllen1a.jpg

TVAllen2.jpg

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TV Allen advertised rather heavily in Southern California.  They made (or at least sold) trophies, fraternity jewelry, school rings, and fine paper work.  What is interesting is this photo of an engraver working at the TV Allen shop.  He is apparently making the plates for engraving cards or stationary, but one can imagine how an engraver would be working on the dies for a pilot wing. 

TVAllen Advert.jpeg

TVAllenHallmark.jpg

TVAllenWorkshop.jpg

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Cool-

Only two full size pilot's wings? Wow- I guess the chance of running across one is pretty much zero. Thanks for posting- the wing looks in detail comparable to a Haltom or Shreve. Did the full size wing look like the observer as well?

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Patrick,

  1. What an excellent addition to the Weekly WW1 wing posts!
  2. Thank you very much for the week off!

Here is a little bit on Airfields that might be associated with T.V. Allen wings:

Ross_Field_-_California.jpg.a0a97284a94bf2f4a92d162a50a3be58.jpg

Ross Field, Arcadia.  The diagonal street near the top is Huntington Drive.

Ross Field.  I have often wondered about the fabulously rare T.V. Allen wings and wondered if there wasn't some association with that firm and the Air Service Balloon School at Ross Field in Arcadia.  So few T.V. Allen wings are known so as to make it difficult to come up with any strong theory to confirm or refute as to what airfields and which airmen would have worn them.  Ross Field was stood up on the grounds of what is today the Santa Anita Golf Course in Arcadia California.  During its brief wartime existence, over 200 Air Service Observers took their training at Ross Field.  TV Allen was about 15 miles from Arcadia in Los Angeles.  

Marchfield-3-1932.jpg.a010fdf0e60d4ca8af334b23e668083f.jpg

March Field -- Approximately 1930.  Showing the Field's distinctive chevron shape.  Many WW1 era airfields had distinctive shapes to make them easily distinguishable from the air

March Field.  The Air Service training field in Riverside is another possible field that may be associated with T.V. Allen.  About 50 miles from Los Angeles, March Field Airman may have gone down into Los Angeles as the closest "Big City."  By 1917-1918, Hollywood was well on its way to becoming; "The Film Capitol of the World."  Airmen training at Ross Field would no doubt have gone down into the big city to hob-nob with celebrities.

Aviation General Supply Depot, Los Angeles.  Another large Army Air Service activity that can at least be geographically associated with the Los Angeles area was the Aviation General Supply Depot. T.V. Allen could also have found young aviators stationed at the depot among their customers for wings.

San Diego and Sacramento Fields.  Airmen from Mather Field, Rockwell Field, or any other California Air Service activities would also have flown to March Field for navigation training.  No doubt those young men would have wanted to visit Los Angeles in the hopes of meeting Errol Flynn, Mary Pickford or Elsie Janis!


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No, the pilot wing was slightly different. Sadly I promised the person who owns the pilot wing that I wouldn't post its photo on the forum.

 

And I have only seen 1 pilot wing and 1 observer wing.

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