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Chris Boonzaier

The KO debate revived.....

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I have been pretty much been persuaded about the KO being Klein And Quenzer, a theory arrived at by process of elimination as opposed to proof.... but it seems/Seemed the most likely solution...

 

Here is a page from Michael Baldwins book "Feldzug 1914".... A book overlooked by EK collectors because it is basically Headgear/Uniforms/Equipment.

 

(I cannot recommend them enough! I just got the 1914, 15, 16 volumes today....)

 

Thoughts? Obviously the Münzamt theory has been laid to rest..... but the label on the box is from a factory/maker and not justr a distributer.....

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..but the label on the box is from a factory/maker and not justr a distributer.....

According to the text in the back of the photo, this is distributor´s label:

"A cardboard box with retailer name of Jakob Kling from Mannheim containing thirty second class iron crosses made by the company Koenigliches Muenzamt Orden Berlin"

Which means Mr. Baldwin in this book is on - or just repeats - obsolete Muenzamt theory side.

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According to the text in the back of the photo, this is distributor´s label:

"A cardboard box with retailer name of Jakob Kling from Mannheim containing thirty second class iron crosses made by the company Koenigliches Muenzamt Orden Berlin"

Which means Mr. Baldwin in this book is on - or just repeats - obsolete Muenzamt theory side.

Yup, but I think he is a uniform collector who just happens to have these... There are still many, many, many people who say this. I think the Klein theory has only gained any real traction over the last couple of years....

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Why would there be a distributer's label on a box of official issue crosses?

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It would be nice to confirm all those crosses as "KO." So are you thinking Kling Orden for KO?

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It would be nice to confirm all those crosses as "KO." So are you thinking Kling Orden for KO?

I am thinking they were sent to the Army in boxes like this, not loose... and what are the chances of finding 30 mint KOs in their envelopes?

 

I dont have my Wernitz at hand, so I am not even sure if Kling is listed, but I found this just by coincidence... its not like someone put it together to quickly do rounds on the forums...

 

It is really food for thought....

 

Is not even one of the Berlin makers...

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Yup, but I think he is a uniform collector who just happens to have these... There are still many, many, many people who say this. I think the Klein theory has only gained any real traction over the last couple of years....

 

Jakob Kling - Goldwarenfabrik und Grosshandlung. Gold ware company and Wholesale company. Sorry Chris, you didn´t convince me yet.

I think that someone (KO) who produced 1,5 mil. crosses just had to have some distributors.

Further in the label, Jakob Kling advertises himself as a specialist for: juwelen (jewelery), ketten in allen qualitäten (chains in all qualities), rings, traurings (wedding rings) and Alpacca waren (Nickel-silver ware). To me it looks like distributor trying to catch another "bird" by advertising his own "civil" products. From producer, I would expect at least word about ordensjuwelen, ordensketten or ordensspangen.

CFZ produced crosses for Godet & Co. What do you see on envelopes, etuis (and carton boxes, I suppose)? Godet & Co all the way. In this case even the crosses are marked (if marked) with Godet&Co numbers. Another example - Fr. Sedlatzek.

I agree this pic is a food for thought. But before discussion take off, we should make ourselves sure that we stay on solid ground. Otherwise we are only cleared for wishful thinking.

Edited by kasle

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Hi,

 

a number of the companies producing Iron Crosses 14-18 were probably Jewellers before the war, in fact, I seem to remember another maker who was also a "Goldwarenfabrik"... The demand for awards after the outbreak of the war was high... there would not have been enough demand BEFORE the war.

 

I suppose it depends on when the Crosses found there way into the box....

 

As I think it agreed that the stamps on the rings for official purloses, I think we can assume that Kling were not acting wholesalers in th Private market?

 

Klein Aand Quenzer may still be the most logical bet, but I forget what the source of the 1 500 000 was? would they have subcontracted?

 

What are the chance of finding 30 crosses, bagged, in mint condition, from the same maker... WITHOUT a box?

 

It may not be a smoking gun, but it does show the Klein theory is a long way from being proved, without a shadow of a doubt....

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J

I agree this pic is a food for thought. But before discussion take off, we should make ourselves sure that we stay on solid ground. Otherwise we are only cleared for wishful thinking.

Klar, but everything to do with identifying KO involves more thinking than proof....

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Further in the label, Jakob Kling advertises himself as a specialist for: juwelen (jewelery), ketten in allen qualitäten (chains in all qualities), rings, traurings (wedding rings) and Alpacca waren (Nickel-silver ware). To me it looks like distributor trying to catch another "bird" by advertising his own "civil" products. From producer, I would expect at least word about ordensjuwelen, ordensketten or ordensspangen.

 

 

Good point. This is an interesting discussion given that the K&Q connection is the result of trial an error rather than proof (my understanding anyway) KO was not an original maker of the 1914 EK but they surely produced a boatload during the latter war years as well as afterwards. I agree that it would make sense that they would have had multiple distributors/wholesalers.

 

I still think it's funny to think about this though - the 1939 EK by K&Q is among the nicest models, yet 1914 KO EKs are downright ugly.

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Hi,

 

They may have Gold and jewellry listed as their products but the following thoughts...

 

1) The 50cal on our APC was made by "General Motors spark plugs division".... just showing that wartime production of a company can be rather flexible... there seems to have been many companies involved with making awards that had nothing to do with them prewar.

2) As the company Kling was supplying to the military (it seems) and not commercially, there would probably have been little need to add medals to their label

3) As precious metals were at a premium, and people were giving in "Gold for Eisen" it seems logical that such jeweller firms looked elsewhere in other fields to earn their money

4) The KO, even if K&Q is a very unclear thing.... Maybe K&Q subcontracted out, having other companies do assembling for them under the KO name...

 

I doubt Kling WAS actually KO... too many crosses for an unknown firm.... but what if KO was actually a cooprative, with a number of firms involved in the making and assembly. Trevor points out they all have the same rims, but there are core variations....

 

Maybe one company made rims, 4 made cores and 6 soldered them and finished them, and KQ was the Dachorganisation that coordinated...

 

Once again, just musing... but it would be wrong to dismiss this because it rocks the current theory...

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I still think it's funny to think about this though - the 1939 EK by K&Q is among the nicest models, yet 1914 KO EKs are downright ugly.

 

If you know the company history, many things clear up very quickly.

Company started in 1904 as a small firm, but very quickly, in 1906 it became a manufacture employing 80 workers, involved in producing chains, watches and ladies jewelry mainly for export (USA, etc). They lost these markets with the outbreak of ww1, but they quickly reoriented to production of military awards.

Alfred Quenzer died already in 1918 (some sources say 1917). Company led by Robert Klein only, was for a certain time named Klein, Oberstein. It would be good to add at this time, that Oberstein became Idar-Oberstein only after first administrative reform of Third Reich in 1933, when smaller municipalities of Idar, Oberstein, Tiefenstein and Algenrodt became one town.

Only in 1928 Klein & Quenzer Aktiengesselschaft (AG) was founded, with shares in hands of Robert Klein and company Kollmar & Jourdan Pforzheim. In this time new factory was built which employed 300 workers.

Robert Klein died as old man in 1940. It means that during the "nicest era" of 1939 EKs company was led by somebody completely else (Robert Stein and Alfons Schmidt) than during "ugly era" of EK 1914, in another form (AG)  and producing in another, "modern" factory. At that time, Klein & Quenzer was only a trademark.

Knowing this facts, I am not supporter of Klein & Quenzer AG, Idar-Oberstein theory, being producers of KO crosses. For me it was Klein, Oberstein. Klein probably returned to the Klein & Quenzer name only when EK production ceased and it was not from nostalgy. He just wanted to return to "civilian" international market under the same  name as they used in prewar time and started to sell watches. chains and ladies jewelry as "good old" Klein & Quenzer.

I think it was quantitative theory, not trial and error method that led to this connection. It is known, that Klein (& Quenzer, if you want) produced many EKs in 1917 - 1924 era, but it is not surely known which ones. On the other hand, there are many EKs marked KO from unknown maker. There is no other big producer, whose crosses we don´t know, and there is no other huge amount of EKs, that have no maker identified.

If I remember correctly, it was Wernitz who found the order for 13.000 EK1s addressed to Klein, Oberstein company shortly after war.

Edited by kasle

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"Knowing this facts, I am not supporter of Klein & Quenzer AG, Idar-Oberstein theory, being producers of KO crosses. For me it was Klein, Oberstein. Klein probably returned to the Klein & Quenzer name only when EK production ceased and it was not from nostalgy. He just wanted to return to "civilian" international market under the same  name as they used in prewar time and started to sell watches. chains and ladies jewelry as "good old" Klein & Quenzer."

we cannot know for sure, but I always thought after Quenzers death, or during his possible illness in 1917-18, maybe the Quenzer family was not sure they would continue with their share of the comapany? so old Klein was already angling for sole ownership and thought the company would be "Klein Oberstein", stamping crosses KO, then maybe the Quenzer Family said "We are keeping our shares" and stayed on as silent partners?

Just supposition, but you have to start somewhere...

The thing that intrigues me most is, how did the box and the crosses come together? It is of course possible that some Wehrkreis in the 1920s had hundreds of KO crosses left over after postwar awards had stopped and just placed them in this box which was laying around, totally unrelated to the crosses.... or they were all in another container and some collector put them in a box 10 years ago...

Either way, a stock of KO crosses must have been around, and at some stage someone put them in this box... in 1918 or 1928 or 1968... I guess we will never know :-(

 

 

 

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My opinion is still the same:

These (KO)  crosses are in Kling marked boxes, because Kling distributed them. Maybe Kling was an owner of contract and subcontracted Klein to make crosses for him. It widely happens here and now as well, for example in engineering industry. Many winners of contract competitions are not the companies, who know to do it (anything), but companies with bests lobbists (and contacts, logically). Sometimes the winning company consists of lobbists only without any production facility. All they do by themselves is producing invoices.

In both cases (jewelery and engineering) the contract must be "delivered" or realised under the name of contract winner, not under the name of subcontractors (though these are the real makers of contract subject). This is how I see Kling´s label on those delivery boxes.

The other opportunity, but with identical result is, that there are (and surely were) many producers - mainly those bigger ones - who don´t delivery their products instantly to the target customer, but only to distribution (wholeasale) companies. You can´t go to Wolfsburg, to Volkswagen production facility and order one Volkswagen. You must go to authorised dealer, who will sell you one. When you will buy it, there will be VW logo on the front grill - and authorised dealer´s sticker on luggage doors.

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