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  #1  
Old 03-01-20, 11:22 PM
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zorgon zorgon is offline
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Default Reproductions of the CAF (1920) Pilots’ metal wings

Over the years I have collected some examples of reproduction/replica metal pilot wings from the early Canadian Air Force (CAF) era. I’ll present five here. The original metals wings were made by superimposing silver overlays of the wings and CAF monogram over a single stamped copper base.

Any replica a reader finds to date is most likely from the reproduction sets which were commissioned as a 7 piece commemorative issue by a well know Canadian dealer in 1967. It is my recollection that the initial order was for 100 sets and due to demand, an additional 50 sets were subsequently ordered. If anyone has more accurate info, please post. (1st image).

It has been my observation that there are slight differences between the two, ‘67 production runs. Most noticeable is the different design and finish on the CAF monogram (2nd image). The keen observer will notice a subtlety in the design of the two monograms. Note the angle of the small interior lines in the “C”. In one, they remain parallel and in the 2nd, they are perpendicular to the curve of the letter “C”. This is in fact a variation that not only exists in the original pilots’ wings but on many of other original CAF insignia suggesting that at least two dies, and perhaps two different manufacturers, existed for the various size monograms. Both of these replica examples are fitted with the more modern threaded posts which are of same thread count but different diameter (slightly larger) than the original production posts. Both also bear the Maker’s Mark, “CARONBROS” on a wing on the reverse as did all 1967 reproduction wings. They were manufactured in the style of the originals, i.e. two layer construction but the fit between the overlaid wings and copper back never seems to match the quality of originals.

The next three replicas are of relatively modern manufacturer (the last decade or so?). They must have been designed and sold as space fillers as there was no attempt to duplicate the multilayer design of the originals. From a distance, they look... OK. The top item came as part of a CAF set. I had previously analysed the finish on another piece and it was found to be aluminum, presumably paint, vs. silver for original items. The fasteners are simple pins which are a give-away in distinguishing them as replicas. The middle piece, which has crudely been reinforced, shows signs of the silver-like finish peeling off but has the modern size screw post fasteners. The bottom one is a very good impression of the original wings. It appeared on the market in the last few years. The reverse shows a lot of detail in the impression compared to the other two and I would say one would be hard pressed to distinguish it from an original. Note on the reverse, the maple leaf isn’t filled in as it is in two above it. The saving grace in visually distinguishing it as a replica is the fact it is one-piece construction. All three show the Caron Bros mark suggesting that original style was the pattern used in the duplication process. Note too, the points of the maple leaf on all three are quite sharp and defined, unlike the ’67 reproduction items.


These are just my impressions and observations and I would encourage anyone with alternate views, opinions or additional examples to please express them in this thread.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1) 1967 plot's wing replicas.jpg (84.8 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg 2) comparison of CAF monograms.jpg (68.6 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg 3) modern replica CAF wings.jpg (86.2 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg 4) CAF pilots backs.jpg (114.3 KB, 42 views)
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  #2  
Old 04-01-20, 04:36 AM
cefguy cefguy is offline
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Z:
That is a great summary of what is out there today. Thank you for posting that. It is great when you can actually find the advice of an extremely knowledgeable collector. I wore the wings of the Cdn Forces much later than these and I appreciate the significance of what they meant to those pilots.
Thank you
Don
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  #3  
Old 06-01-20, 01:15 AM
RCAF_Mike RCAF_Mike is offline
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A fantastic analysis of these badges. I am going to have to check my '67 wing again, I never noticed a Caron Bros. Mark on there before!

In any case, well done!
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  #4  
Old 09-01-20, 02:51 AM
edstorey edstorey is offline
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Default CAF Wing

This is a 1940s vintage archive image so I suspect the photographed wing was original?

CAF Wing.jpg
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  #5  
Old 09-01-20, 03:43 AM
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zorgon zorgon is offline
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Nice find Ed. The Observer half wings are rarely seen. Yours looks original to me from this image but I understand there are replicas. For more info, go to p.74 of Eagles Recalled by Warren Carroll where he describes a couple of variants and has images of the reverse too. PM me if you like and I can send details.

Mike, do let me know if your ’67 replica wing has the Makers Mark on the far right side of one of the feathers when looking at the reverse (see attached image). I think they all do. If it doesn't, maybe it's an original?

Great to hear you were a pilot with the RCAF/CAF Don. I’ll bet you have lots of interesting tales from the good-old days!

I’m working on a post for this Forum to discuss the original pilot wings of this period. Hopefully that will be well received and create some interest amongst collectors.
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Old 10-01-20, 01:54 AM
RCAF_Mike RCAF_Mike is offline
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Wayne, Yes I checked and the hallmark is on the lower righthand side. It is definitely from a 1967 repro set
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  #7  
Old 24-01-20, 10:22 PM
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Rob Dekker Rob Dekker is offline
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What’s the deal on this set of wings?
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File Type: jpg 1583E49D-4277-4ABA-9919-67B3D25A4D30.jpg (34.3 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg 24DAA374-459A-48EA-9D61-DA7B21A1F4B3.jpg (29.8 KB, 19 views)
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  #8  
Old 24-01-20, 11:23 PM
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zorgon zorgon is offline
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Rob:
Looks like a good set to me from these photos. Great to see the nuts, support bar and backing present to make it complete.
Is that a repaired break on the viewers Lt. at the wing-Maple Leaf intersection? It doesn't really matter as many of them are found broken or broken and repaired. Does it have the CARONBROS maker's mark?
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  #9  
Old 29-03-20, 03:04 PM
Jim Buckland Jim Buckland is offline
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Default Reproduction of 1920 CAF wings

Attached is my 1967 Museum quality CAF Centennial set. I prefer that this CAF insignia Group stays together on their original red cardboard and not be separated. There is or was NO CAF metal Observer wing copied.
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File Type: jpg 1967 CAF 1920-23.jpg (60.0 KB, 3 views)
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