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Old 03-01-20, 11:22 PM
zorgon's Avatar
zorgon zorgon is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 163
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 3) modern replica CAF wings.jpg (86.2 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg 4) CAF pilots backs.jpg (114.3 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg 2) comparison of CAF monograms.jpg (68.6 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg 1) 1967 plot's wing replicas.jpg (84.8 KB, 52 views)
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1920, caf, canadian air force, pilots wing, replica

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