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Thoughts on this wing


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I have an identical one in my collection, great heavy wing.

No way to nail down an exact date, but I would say between the wars and agree with above post that states most likely 1930’s.

Hope that helps.

John

...and on the eighth day, God created the radial engine...

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I also have an attributed one in this pattern.  Mine has the same catch but the pin is silver not brass, and mine has an incised STERLING mark.  According to one article I found, my pilot did not join the Air Force until January of 1942 so the pattern pre-dates WWII but they were still available during the war.

 

I have a second very similar pilot wing that has a brass pin, the same catch and no metal mark.  From the back the wing looks exactly like yours, but on the front the shoulder feather details are different.  Both wings are about 1/8" thick, and are heavily vaulted when viewed on edge.  

 

There are also similar observer wings out there, thick, heavy, vaulted edge profile, same brass pin and large catch.  The observer wings are wider in span (3-3/16"), have a raised letter STERLING and almost no shoulder feather detail.  I will try to get some photos posted for comparison later.

 

Marty

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I have theorized that the die for these badges started their life as "Adams-type" dies.  As they wore from use or perhaps to make them more distinctive, the dies were freshened with additional detail.

 

Chris

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If the wing is 3" tip to tip it would date between 1919 and Nov 1941 at which time the size was changed to 3 1/8". I have a wing that was issued to Lt. Van Duzen in 1919 and it has that heavy brass pin on the back.  

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The uniform regulations changed the prescribed wing widths to 3-1/8" in December of 1926, not 1941 so the span is not an accurate way to date the wings.  Many WWII Amico and Balfour wings are only 3" wide so there was no hard enforcement of making the wings 3-1/8" wide.

donation2013.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

 

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There is a very good thread on 191-1941 wings here: 

 

I have always felt that there is no really solid line that differentiates when many wings were made.  Prior to 1939, the AAC was pretty understaffed, especially in officers, planes and pilots. I recall reading somewhere that only about 500 pilots a year were being trained, which could hardly keep up with attrition rates.  If that is taken as a truism, then one can imagine the relatively small number of uniforms and insignia being made for these aviators during this time.  On top of that, the older a collectible is, the less of them are going to be around.

 

So while I wouldn't quibble too much about these wings being pre-1939 (which is when things really started to gear up for the US Military), they are also rather common.  Compare that to other makes of wings (i.e. Kenney, JA Myers, Nobel, Dieges and Clust, Robbins, etc) that are much harder to find. 

 

Another thing to consider is when would you say is the wing's birth date?  I suspect some Adam's style wing dies may have been cut in 1919 and then only pulled out sporadically to meed demand for insignia.  That, theoretically could have gone on for decades.  Thus for most un-hallmarked Adam style wings, there is no real way to tell when the specific die was made (unless you have the dated die, I guess), or the exact date the insignia were stamped out, or the actual date they were purchased and worn by a pilot.  In some other cases, the company may have gone into/out of business at a certain time, so you can narrow down the dates of manufacturer.  Or there are existing records/advertisements/catalogs that can give you some insight.  In other cases, there may be some specific autobiographical information about a wing that narrows down the time frame.


Outside of that, there is a lot of collector hand waving and dealer lore out there (I fear I am one of the most guilty of the "pontificators" out there..._.  Not that it isn't true, but these ideas are often not defined by actual proof (to some extent or the other).  That being said, if a wing is in your collection and you feel it is of a pre-war manufacture, then who are we to tell you differently.  LOL

These flat back wings seem to have been popular for engraving. Sometimes you will find them with a date.  As you would expect, it is much rarer to find a pre-1942 engraved wing, probably because there were much less pilots being trained.

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