Monday, April 19, 2010

Pearl Harbor remains ID’d

This is pretty amazing. A sailor's remains Identified using DNA off the letters he licked back in 1941.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The miracle of black light

I have been having more and more people tell me how some WW2 stuff will glow under black light.

Now I will grant that we don't know for certain what the Germans made everything out of, especially in the last days of the war, but as to US patches I can say I have never seen a patch that I know for sure is wartime (and I have a few hundred from 2 collections made by WW2 GI's that stopped when they left the army) glow. Maybe a mild glow on one that was washed in detergent, but just a mild glow.

Some people say "they could have used a synthetic…" but no one seems to be able to come up with proof of that. From everything anyone has ever seen on WW2 US patches they were not made of any synthetics. So to claim "some were" is to me an extraordinary claim and demands extraordinary proof.

What gets me is that people most vocal about glowing being OK are either dealers selling them, or people who have bought them. Both have vested interests. I'm sorry but until someone shows me some proof I'm not going to believe it. It 'may' be true, but if so then just show your proof. It's that simple.


Will WW2 patches suffer a chemical change when dry cleaned that make them glow? I have no idea. I doubt it, but dry cleaning fluids are nasty things and if any chemical can mess with something I am sure it would be dry cleaning fluids. But where is a chemist to explain the science behind it? If an all natural fiber and common dye can luminesce due to dry cleaning it should either be a simple explanation, or a mystery any chemist worth their salt would like to figure out.

What's really odd to me is that people seem to find glowing patches most frequently when they are rare or theater made, or unusual ones. No one ever seems to find blue star commando patches. Now that could be that they are so common that one ever looks at them. Or it could be that they are so common no one ever made post war versions of them (or some such mundane not terribly collectible patch).

People are free to believe what they want, but I think a lot more collectors need to ask for proof of statements like this. There are too many collectors' myths out there that get passed from one person to the next. Normally so someone can make money. Used ot be history was re-writtenf or political gain. Now it gets re-written for financial gain.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Cammo Maddness


Yes, like everyone I at one time collected camouflage. Of course I also collected everything else so I am not sure what that means. It ended up with me writing the definitive(so far) history of US Army camouflage in WW2- to include a pre-WW1 aborted test of a reversible dual color uniform.

Now I am looking at the sheer massive number of cammo patterns and colors in the world and wonder just how many people that love the stuff have done their homework on it. Camouflage is a funny thing. You have to match color to background, and you have to match size of splotches to distance to viewer to be effective. And then once you start moving it generally makes you more visible than if you just wore plain old olive drab.

Good ol' OD#7 is at a low spot in the human visual receptors that make it "not stand out." Just like bright yellow and lime green at area high spot where they stand out more than other colors and are thus used for fire engines. Consider that at one point they were painting emergency vehicles that bright lime green for safety. They stopped. Why? The loss of morale in the fire crews.

But every soldier in the world is camouflage crazy and if they don't wear a cammo uniform they feel left out and unloved. I cannot help remember a U.S. Army cammo designer that once told me a pattern they were working on was reasonably effective, but the soldiers thought it looked stupid, so they had to stop their tests as it would end up lowering morale. After having read so many reports and tests on the stuff I can't help but think that camouflage is, to a certain extent, a con game in which the major benefit is a boost to soldier morale.

I was reading some web reports by so called "camouflage experts" and it was very clear to me that all they are interested in is pretty colors and designs, as they did not seem to have done any actual reading up on the history and background of the subject.