The other night, one of the women in my Toastmasters Club gave me a really cool piece of aviation history, shown in the photo included with this post. It appears to be a “Warplane Identification Wheel” used by plane spotters in World War II, because one side has spotting info for U.S. Planes, while the reverse side shows planes you might find in the European theatre:
There is a small window that you can line up with various airframes which shows basic ID data such as wing location and shape, number of engines, landing gear configuration, and the make and model of the plane. That's all good stuff to call in to the War Department to let them know exactly what the bad guys are flying when they're headed your way.My mother was an official warplane spotter in Seattle as a young woman, as part of her activities in the USO. She often told me of drills they would have that taught spotters how to recognize enemy planes inbound to ruin your day. She was very, very proud of her planespotter status, and if she were alive today, I'll bet Jumpin' Joanie would relish a few minutes spinning my new Warplane ID Wheel.
I'm posting this because I need help from any WWII historians out there who could tell me if this thing is valuable. I can find no info on the wheel to help me ID this artifact, except that is says “A.G. 452.9 (4-21-42) on one side, and “U.S. Government Printing Office, 1942-0-457035” on the other. I'm guessing from these numbers it was printed in 1942, but beyond that, I got nuttin'.
If anyone has any info on this, please shoot me an email here.