Jump to content

World War One Weekly Wing #44


cwnorma

Recommended Posts

World War One

Weekly Wing #44

Shreve and Co.

 

WWOWW44.png.6a735ea7101a7222c05962e61f6705a3.png

 

Description

 

Reserve Military Aviator

 

An extremely handsome American-made World War One wing, executed in a Beaux-Arts style perhaps unique to San Francisco.  

 

Design wise the base badge is executed in somewhat more naturalistic fashion than many other World War One era badges.  The Beaux Arts movement included both Neo-classical and Greco-Roman revivalistic elements.  Shreve and Co's wing exhibits two splayed wings on either side of a flared, almost flamboyant shield.  

 

Artistically, the Shreve and Co. badge is distinctive and shows influence of the very fancy and stylized designs popular in San Francisco.  The badge is quite oversize and among the largest of WW1 sterling wing badges.

 

The very fancy shield is proportionally somewhat evocative of the Union Pacific Railroad shield.  The chief contains 13 small raised "stars" atop a field of fine horizontal lines.  The field portion consists of alternating raised and relieved vertical columns.  The relieved columns are textured with fine vertical lines.

 

The US is die-struck in thin 14k gold using an a non serif gothic font and separately applied to the face of the shield.

 

The detailed face of the badge is struck in thin stock using the cliche' method.  The relatively thin, highly detailed front piece is fused to a thick sterling silver backplate (much the same construction method as a German WW1 aviator's badge).  The rear of Shreve and Co. badges will show small "holes" that allow for expanding gasses during the fusing of the front to the back of the badge.

 

Markings

 

The badge is marked "Shreve & CO" and STERLING."  Badges have been encountered with the maker's hallmark obliterated and without hallmark--possibly indicating Shreve and Co. engaged in limited wholesale of their badges.

  

Mountings

 

Somewhat unique jeweler-type replacement findings.

 

Background

 

Associated Airfields:  Crissy Field and other Air Service activities at the Presidio of San Francisco.  Additionally, Airmen at training at Mather Field in nearby Sacramento would no doubt have spent some time in the "big city."

 

Shreve and Co was founded in San Francisco in the 1880s by George and Samuel Shreve.  The two Shreve brothers were related to Benjamin Shreve, founder of Shreve, Crump and Lowe Jewelers in Boston.  By the turn of the 20th Century, San Francisco's Shreve and Co. had established itself as one of the nation's finest manufacturers of jewelry rivaled only by the Likes of Tiffany or Bailey Banks and Biddle of the eastern half of the country.

 

ShreveStore-Interior-1909.jpg.af5e3fc3945a592478b80c825ab25326.jpg

Shreve and Co's showroom in 1910

 

Shreve and Co. is recognized as the oldest commercial activity consecutively in business in San Francisco.  Their flagship building was built just before the 1906 earthquake and due to its modern construction methods was one of the very few buildings to survive.  Interestingly, the building caught fire in the quake and the diamonds and jewelry stored there were inaccessible for three weeks while the large concrete vault cooled.

 

ShreveBldg-3.jpg.1aabfaee75697da3ef5dbe67ea66c009.jpg413175823_ScreenShot2020-10-24at3_34_00PM.png.e2a58dbc7eff16e6cafa48e543c618e5.png

Shreve and Co.'s Post and Grant flagship building in 1906 (left) and around 2016 (right).

 

Although the Shreve and Co. building still stands, the company sold the building during a 1990s bankruptcy restructuring, continuing to lease the first floor until 2016.  The company lost their lease that year to the Harry Winston Co. (a direct competitor).

 

The Henry "Hap" Arnold family is known to have had a relationship with Shreve and Co. from their years stationed in California.

 

I am proud to say this particular badge was once part of Duncan Campbell's collection--which beyond it being one of the handsomest of World War One badges makes it quite special to me.  I first got to know Duncan sitting with him and Doc Scipio at the ASMIC shows held at Fort Belvoir in VA.  That is where I caught the WW1 wing badge bug.  This badge was purchased at the Bonham's auction of Campbell's collection.  The collector who purchased the badge at auction unfortunately passed away and I was able to obtain it from his daughter.

 

There is some evidence, albeit somewhat circumstantial, that Shreve and Co may have manufactured other variant wings during the WW1 era.  Additional research into the matter is needed.

 

I would love to see your examples of Shreve and Co. badges!

 

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob, on first glance I thought it appeared that your wing might also have replacement findings, at least the catch.  In hand does that appear so?  I don't have anything in hand to compare to, but in comparing to Cliff Presley's wing on your site the pin looks the same and the catch is different.  Then in comparing to a set of Shreve collar insignia on ebay, the catches are the same as your wing.

 

Congrats to all of you that have examples of such beautiful wings.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Marty, you know I thought that too when I first got the wings but the aging around the pin and the catch are the same and I don't see any obvious signs of a repair/replacement.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, cwnorma said:

World War One

Weekly Wing #44

Shreve and Co.

 

WWOWW44.png.6a735ea7101a7222c05962e61f6705a3.png

 

Description

 

Reserve Military Aviator

 

An extremely handsome American-made World War One wing, executed in a Beaux-Arts style perhaps unique to San Francisco.  

 

Design wise the base badge is executed in somewhat more naturalistic fashion than many other World War One era badges.  The Beaux Arts movement included both Neo-classical and Greco-Roman revivalistic elements.  Shreve and Co's wing exhibits two splayed wings on either side of a flared, almost flamboyant shield.  

 

Artistically, the Shreve and Co. badge is distinctive and shows influence of the very fancy and stylized designs popular in San Francisco.  The badge is quite oversize and among the largest of WW1 sterling wing badges.

 

The very fancy shield is proportionally somewhat evocative of the Union Pacific Railroad shield.  The chief contains 13 small raised "stars" atop a field of fine horizontal lines.  The field portion consists of alternating raised and relieved vertical columns.  The relieved columns are textured with fine vertical lines.

 

The US is die-struck in thin 14k gold using an a non serif gothic font and separately applied to the face of the shield.

 

The detailed face of the badge is struck in thin stock using the cliche' method.  The relatively thin, highly detailed front piece is fused to a thick sterling silver backplate (much the same construction method as a German WW1 aviator's badge).  The rear of Shreve and Co. badges will show small "holes" that allow for expanding gasses during the fusing of the front to the back of the badge.

 

Markings

 

The badge is marked "Shreve & CO" and STERLING."  Badges have been encountered with the maker's hallmark obliterated and without hallmark--possibly indicating Shreve and Co. engaged in limited wholesale of their badges.

  

Mountings

 

Somewhat unique jeweler-type replacement findings.

 

Background

 

Associated Airfields:  Crissy Field and other Air Service activities at the Presidio of San Francisco.  Additionally, Airmen at training at Mather Field in nearby Sacramento would no doubt have spent some time in the "big city."

 

Shreve and Co was founded in San Francisco in the 1880s by George and Samuel Shreve.  The two Shreve brothers were related to Benjamin Shreve, founder of Shreve, Crump and Lowe Jewelers in Boston.  By the turn of the 20th Century, San Francisco's Shreve and Co. had established itself as one of the nation's finest manufacturers of jewelry rivaled only by the Likes of Tiffany or Bailey Banks and Biddle of the eastern half of the country.

 

ShreveStore-Interior-1909.jpg.af5e3fc3945a592478b80c825ab25326.jpg

Shreve and Co's showroom in 1910

 

Shreve and Co. is recognized as the oldest commercial activity consecutively in business in San Francisco.  Their flagship building was built just before the 1906 earthquake and due to its modern construction methods was one of the very few buildings to survive.  Interestingly, the building caught fire in the quake and the diamonds and jewelry stored there were inaccessible for three weeks while the large concrete vault cooled.

 

ShreveBldg-3.jpg.1aabfaee75697da3ef5dbe67ea66c009.jpg413175823_ScreenShot2020-10-24at3_34_00PM.png.e2a58dbc7eff16e6cafa48e543c618e5.png

Shreve and Co.'s Post and Grant flagship building in 1906 (left) and around 2016 (right).

 

Although the Shreve and Co. building still stands, the company sold the building during a 1990s bankruptcy restructuring, continuing to lease the first floor until 2016.  The company lost their lease that year to the Harry Winston Co. (a direct competitor).

 

The Henry "Hap" Arnold family is known to have had a relationship with Shreve and Co. from their years stationed in California.

 

I am proud to say this particular badge was once part of Duncan Campbell's collection--which beyond it being one of the handsomest of World War One badges makes it quite special to me.  I first got to know Duncan sitting with him and Doc Scipio at the ASMIC shows held at Fort Belvoir in VA.  That is where I caught the WW1 wing badge bug.  This badge was purchased at the Bonham's auction of Campbell's collection.  The collector who purchased the badge at auction unfortunately passed away and I was able to obtain it from his daughter.

 

There is some evidence, albeit somewhat circumstantial, that Shreve and Co may have manufactured other variant wings during the WW1 era.  Additional research into the matter is needed.

 

I would love to see your examples of Shreve and Co. badges!

 

Chris

Chris- is there any relationship to Haltom wings, as they both have the same shaped shields? What was the training base near SF such that pilots would obtain wings there?

Link to post
Share on other sites

blind pew,

 

If there is a business relationship between the two firms, I have not been able to uncover it yet through research.  

 

Although, there may be a partial answer to your question when we consider the training syllabus.  The fledgling Airmen would take their ground school (normally at a University) in one location, basic flight training at a second Air Field or civilian flight school, gunnery training at another Air Field, specialized training at a fourth, then be assigned to duty at a fifth.  Each assignment would have been an opportunity for a pilot to seek out a fancy sterling pilot badge.  In 1918, the Army was angling for the great spring offensives planned for 1919, meaning most graduates would be assigned to either to Flight Instructor duty or to one of the large provisional units forming across the United States in late 1918.  Although most wanted to get "Over There," very few were shipped out overseas.

 

In other words, these badges often crisscrossed the country with their RMA owners.  It is not wholly out of the question for some young pilot, who took his original basic flight training in Houston (and proudly purchased a Haltom badge upon commissioning) to be assigned to Flight Instructor duty at Crissy or Mather Field (or vise-versa).  If we look up the Air Service transfers in Aerial Age, it probably wouldn't take too long to find several men who fit that exact criteria.  The point is; inspiration happens in many ways.  Given the competitive culture surrounding pilot badges in 1918, I would not find it out of the question for our theoretical young Aviator to approach the local jeweler with: "Could you make something better than this?" 

 

Of course, both jewelers could have taken inspiration from the Union Pacific shield. That Railroad was active in both Texas and California during that period...

 

It could also be entirely coincidence--but it is fun to speculate.

 

Cheers!

 

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting!

 

Thanks for the information. I had envisioned that all training was performed at one camp for each pilot/crew member. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

My one example; the catch appears to be the same as Bobs.IMG_0760.jpeg.c54f053787a77b5b33f41ea3b2c305f1.jpegIMG_0769.jpeg.0decf95192dd14551ce674c8aa44ae55.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Steve L, @bschwartz,

 

I am in envy of the patina on your Shreeve.

 

That is my favorite look for sterling silver, dark patina with polished highlights.  Beautiful!

 

My badge belonged to Duncan Campbell who was fairly famous (infamous?) for polishing his wings bright.  When I got it, it was shiny like a new penny and covered with some sort of clear lacquer.  A bath in mineral spirits and boar bristle brushing later, I got it back down to the sterling silver.  Now, it is slowly mellowing back down.  It will probably take a few years more...

 

Some day, mine will approach the beauty of your's and bob's example above.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.