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WWI pilot wing (handmade Robbins pattern) with unknown USAS aviator


rathbonemuseum.com

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rathbonemuseum.com

Hey team,

 

Recently acquired this very nice WWI wing of the Robbins variety. It was found and purchased recently (not by me) at an estate sale in Southern California. It came with the photo. Unfortunately no name or biographical information. The only clue is the wagon behind the aviator. Aviation Section Signal Corps US Army. Have no ideas if No. 1413 refers to the Section or the wagon. 

 

This wing is featured in Chris Norma's wings of WWI #11. Hand made. Layered silver. John Ferguson and Cliff Presley say Robbins made them. Chris says "not determined". Anyway, nice wing.

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94E66CA9-D8AD-4907-8B92-96B0A817918A_1_105_c.jpeg

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Tod,

 

Really beautiful wing! An outstanding addition to any collection.  Here are two by the same maker for you to compare:

 

SpurMaker.jpg.20c1bc4b87aa6cce49e5176d4e73f4a4.jpg

 

This American maker hand-crafted at least two full-size patterns along with 2" size versions.  Although there is a clear similarity to the large-size Robbins badge, I am not sure if this badge inspired Robbins or the other way around.  Examining examples, I find a number of construction method similarities with southwestern sterling jewelry (i.e. conchos etc) of the same period.  In particular, laminated construction, chasing, and straight-line bright cuts are characteristic of Mexican and Navajo silver work.  My working theory is these wings were hand fashioned by a (likely Mexican or native) jeweler/silversmith in either Texas or California.  

 

Particularly nice that your badge retains the original backing cloth.  These are normally missing.

 

I know Patrick has a couple of badges by this maker, and Russ has a few as well.  Perhaps they might be enticed to share theirs for comparison too?

 

At any rate; really top notch!  Congratulations again.

 

Chris

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Just saw these on your Facebook page, Tod.  Gorgeous wings.  Congrats on adding them to your collection.

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21 hours ago, rathbonemuseum.com said:

Also screws are marked THE VICTORY PAT NOV 8 1900

Cool wing

 

When you say "hand made", do you mean that someone (not Robbins) made the wing using a Robbins wing as a model? 

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rathbonemuseum.com

I mean it is constructed and layered and engraved by hand vs primarily machine made out of a single planchette. Could still be made by Robbins. The pattern style is attributed to Robbins as later versions that are more machine made and less hand finished were hallmarked. That’s my understanding from the research from this group.

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blind pew,

 

The best way to illuminate this discussion is with an illustration:

 

1628262300_RobbinsandJewler.png.b7cb0c4b1762f4f9aa88edb00f05ce5f.png

 

The upper badge is a single piece, solid, die-struck badge manufactured by the Robbins Manufacturing Co of Attleboro, MA.  The lower badge is entirely hand crafted out of sterling silver and gold sheet, laminated together, then all of the design work was hand cut or chased into the surface of the badge.

 

As you can see, both badges share exceedingly similar designs.  So much so that it is clear that one was an inspiration for the other.

 

As Tod pointed out in the OP, some collectors see this design similarity as an indication that Robbins was the manufacturer.  My counter point is, yes they do share most design elements bu that Robbins usually marked their wares (the one above is hallmarked) while none of the hand made version encountered yet has ever borne that firm's hallmarks.  Normally they are unmarked or in rare occasions only content marked "STERLING."

 

So while I cannot definitively state that Robbins did not make the hand made version of the badge, I also can find no actual evidence that they did.  If anyone has something (one way or the other), beyond the superficial design similarity, I would love to see it.

 

Chris

 

 

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