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WWII & Pre-WWII Submarine Dolphins


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Someone on the forum was asking about pierced-die WWII sub dolphins a little while back. Here's a few sets that reside in my collection for comparison. One of the 4 below is, I'm fairly certain, from somewhere just after the war until around the Korean war era. The other three I believe represent wartime examples.

 

The first set of pictures:

On the left, an attributed set of clutchback dolphins with short pins I bought directly from the veteran's son along with his combat patrol badge. I'll repost these dolphins along with other insignia from the same man in a separate post sometime soon. On the right, a pinback set that resembles the example shown in Jones's book on page 71.

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-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Two more sets: The left clutchback set is likely post war, but probably within a decade or so. The right is a pinback set that had an additional pin/hook on the reverse of the conning tower, but as was sometimes done by the original owners, it has been cut off.

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-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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The reverses. The lower-most one has double hallmarks- a non-legible raised shield to the right, and an incised legible hallmark on the left. The presence of the worn right hallmark leads me to speculate that the reverse die used to produce this badge was a worn one probably leftover from the production of wartime examples.

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-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Comparison of pin lengths on clutchback examples. The post war badge to the right has longer pins.

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-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Beautiful badges!!

 

Thanks Jim! If anyone else would like to post their WWII era or earlier Meyer- produced examples, please feel free to add to this thread.

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Here are a few sets of dolphins that I believe were probably made by the same manufacturer, but unfortunately we cannot identify the producing firm at this time. These badges are somewhat common in comparison to some other period Sub dolphins, so they must have been a fairly decent size operation. Two have are made of struck bronze, and were coated by a gold wash. These have simple c- hooks for a clasp. The hardware and style of dolphins makes me think as the war began and bronze became a strategic material, they started using gold plated silver planchets instead. Examples of these can be found on p.85 of Jones's book. In addition, I believe the dolphins on the upper panels of p. 83 of Jones's book were also made by the same firm. If anyone has a set of these still attached to a card or in the box that indicates manufacturer, I'd be thrilled to know. These images probably dont do the badges justice- The bronze ones have some of the highest relief strikes I've seen in any manufacturer's sub badges.

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-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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The reverses. You can tell someone polished the highlights of one of the bronze badge fronts, and heavily worked on the center of the reverse of that badge. The other example is untouched. This manufacturer used a "sloppy" wash technique that is easy to spot, and you can see uneven run- lines in the reverse finish of the badges. These "run lines" are found on the reverses of the sterling badge variants from the same manufacturer (if my hunch about being produced by the same company is correct). Note the untouched bronze badge has the reverse detailed by hand etched horizontal lines to hide the "scooping" on the back. The other bronze example has deeper reverse "scoops" which are more crude looking and they did not bother to put lines across them.

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-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Hey Josh, you've posted some very nice Meyer's-made sub badges. My collecting focus is primarily on WWII Aviation badges...but over the years, I've picked up a few sub badges and tucked them away. Since sub badges and wing badges appear to follow very similar rules regarding production techniques, pin assemblies and hallmarks, I believe my three Meyer's examples are early WWII, or possibly pre-WWII? Here's the front of #1, which is marked "Rolled Plate" on the back.

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Hey Josh, you've posted some very nice Meyer's-made sub badges. My collecting focus is primarily on WWII Aviation badges...but over the years, I've picked up a few sub badges and tucked them away. Since sub badges and wing badges appear to follow very similar rules regarding production techniques, pin assemblies and hallmarks, I believe my three Meyer's examples are early WWII, or possibly pre-WWII? Here's the front of #1, which is marked "Rolled Plate" on the back.

 

Wow, all three are very nice badges! I really like the earlier ones with the center supporting hooks- my guess is these were issued pre-war probably through most of the war. You can see where one of mine had the hook, but it was cut off. Not exactly sure about the vintage of the last badge, but it is another great example , and it certainly isn't recent vintage. I nearly positive Meyer Metal was available pre-war, but I'm not sure how long they kept that alloy in use and if it extended into the early post war years or not.

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Here's a set for an enlisted man. Notice the reverse Meyer hallmark (mirror image).

 

 

A nice enlisted set. What's interesting is that it has the long vertical lines on the back ( what I'm guessing were pin placement indicators) and cocked, raised reverse shield hallmark like many of the WWII officer's versions had. It does have wide pin head attachments that I've not seen on Meyer clutchback wartime examples. Thanks for sharing!

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Wow, all three are very nice badges! I really like the earlier ones with the center supporting hooks- my guess is these were issued pre-war probably through most of the war. You can see where one of mine had the hook, but it was cut off. Not exactly sure about the vintage of the last badge, but it is another great example , and it certainly isn't recent vintage. I nearly positive Meyer Metal was available pre-war, but I'm not sure how long they kept that alloy in use and if it extended into the early post war years or not.

 

 

Josh, thanks for your kind comments and shared information. My third submarine badge, with the faint Meyer Metal hallmark, had a support hook on the reverse of the conning tower as well. All that remains now is a blackened spot of residual solder.

 

I've noticed there's been about a half-dozen various threads posted in the past few months regarding submarine badges. Maybe it's time to consolidate all of these wonderful sub badge images under a general "Submarine Badges" thread. I think by combining Josh's examples, with JLENG'S terrific sub badge images, plus contributions from all of the other Forum members with similar sub badge interests, you could establish an in-depth reference thread which could be worthy of pinning for easy access. Just a thought.

 

Russ

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Josh, thanks for your kind comments and shared information. My third submarine badge, with the faint Meyer Metal hallmark, had a support hook on the reverse of the conning tower as well. All that remains now is a blackened spot of residual solder.

 

I've noticed there's been about a half-dozen various threads posted in the past few months regarding submarine badges. Maybe it's time to consolidate all of these wonderful sub badge images under a general "Submarine Badges" thread. I think by combining Josh's examples, with JLENG'S terrific sub badge images, plus contributions from all of the other Forum members with similar sub badge interests, you could establish an in-depth reference thread which could be worthy of pinning for easy access. Just a thought.

 

Russ

 

Russ,

I completely agree! I do like the idea of breaking them down to some extent, perhaps by maker etc. Meyer was just so prolific that for the most part, it seems like that almost no 2 examples are identical. It makes for serious collecting opportunities just within a single maker, nevermind the amount available from other makers as well and their variants. I'm planning on doing a series on AMICO variants as well. Those dies didn't really change, but there's more variation in metals/ alloys and marker's marks than I've seen anyone acknowledge on the net or in books. I wont get to that one for awhile though...

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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These are neither Meyer nor WWII dolphins, but they are unique. Engineering Duty Officer, Qualified In Submarines.

Trivia fact: You must have earned a Masters Degree in engineering to qualify for these.

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Hey Guys, you've posted more terrific sub badges! Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to share your very nice pieces of U.S. naval history. JLENG, your Submarine Medical Officer's badge photos answered a question I've carried with me for years. I have what I believe to be a near-identical medical badge, but without the "GEMSCO" hallmark. I've not seen another...and had no idea who produced it until I saw your example. Mine is only marked "Sterling", but they appear to be from the same die.

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