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CliffP

Officers Equipment Company - A brief history

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Officers Equipment Company - A brief history

 

I was asked this afternoon if I would mind posting a separate thead on the original Officers Equipment Company which was started in 1940 so here goes.

 

The company was started by Mr. Vincent E. Puma who was born in Italy in 1895.  He was one of 19 children, nine of whom died at birth and he came to America in 1905.  His growing love for this country stimulated him to join the Army before he was twenty, and during World War One he was sent to France as a French-English-Italian interpreter.  After the war he became an ardent member of the American Legion.

 

While living in Brooklyn, New York he became a traveling salesman for what was once the prestigious Knox Hat Company on 5th Avenue in New York and eventually he became its Director of Sales for the State of New Jersey.  It was in 1928 while on a business trip through New Jersey he saw a gigantic 10,000 square foot Victorian blue pudding-stone house for sell.  It was located at 49th Park Avenue in Madison, NJ and called The Daniel Burns Home.  It had 12 rooms and 5 bathrooms and he bought it for $25,000.

 

During the Great Depression that hit the country he eventually lost his job with The Knox Hat Company.  He continued to work for various other hat companies in New York but was not happy having to work from the bottom up again.  In the late 1939 he foresaw America entering World War Two and in 1940 decided to start his own company from the basement of his home furnishing dress equipment for military officers.

 

He called it Officer's Equipment Company and during the war traveled the country selling at various military base PX's.  His pride was high and as his reputation grew he did very well financially. He closed the business in 1947 and died in 1980.

 

Pictured below is an image of his home plus a beautiful 12" X 20" salesman sample board which hung in his office after the war.  Unfortunately, that image does not do the insignia justice because they are exquisite.  It was given to me by his son Reverend Monsignor Vincent E. Puma, Jr. in 2002.

 

 

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                                                                                           Vincent E. Puma


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Cliff,

 

Really tremendous and illuminating post!

 

Thank you very much.

 

Chris


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That is an awesome display board.  It is interesting that the other thread that lead to this was about jump wings, and there are none in the display.  It makes me wonder what other insignia they made that is not shown in the display.  Did they make any aviation badges?

 

Marty


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Here is an Officer's Equipment Company Glider pilot wing I have.  I unfortunately don't have a scale to provide the weight of it, but it's not a flimsy strike and has some weight to it.  

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Marty,

Officer's Equipment Company did not make any of the insignia that they sold.

 

Tesla,

Yes, even though there are not any full-size aviator wings in the sample board at the top of this page, they did sell them.

 

More about the salesman sample board:

I've tried again to take close-up images of a few insignia seen in the sample board but none do any of them the justice they deserve.  Yes, the sterling silver badges have tarnished over time, but the others still sparkle in the sun light.

 

 

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donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

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Thanks very much for taking the time to create this post Cliff.

 John


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

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