|13 STARS IN A MEDALLION CONFIGURATION,CA 1895-1926, A PRIVATE BOAT ENSIGN:
13 star flag of the type made for use on private boats and yachts in the 1890-1926 era. The U.S. Navy had long been using 13 star flags on small boats, and private individuals began to copy this in the last decade of the 19th century. Theses flags were commercially available and were likely purchased for patriotic occasions as well as for maritime use. On rare occasion I have seen period photos of these flags in use on land.
The stars are arranged in a medallion configuration, with a single, larger center star and four flanking corner stars. Most 13-star, private yacht ensigns have a less-desirable, staggered row design with stars arranged in counts of 3-2-3-2-3. Medallion patterns, like this one, seem to comprise about 10-15% of such flags that have survived.
Two by three feet and two-and-a-half by four feet were the most common sizes of private yachting ensigns, the larger, like this one, being more unusual. Both are very small for the period, however, and the small size of these flags is significant because with exception of military flank markers and camp colors, they were far smaller than almost any other type of Stars & Stripes flag with pieced and sewn construction that was made during this era and prior. Their small size makes them desirable because they are easy to frame and display in an indoor setting today. That isn�t true of flags with the full compliment or 45 or 46 stars (1896-1912) or even of 48 star flags made before 1930.
13 star flags have been used throughout our Nation's history for a variety of purposes. In addition to their use on private yachts, the U.S. Navy used the 13 star count on small boats, both in the 18th century and through most or all of the 19th century, particularly the second half. The practice ended in 1916 following an executive order of President Woodrow Wilson. Some private ships also used 13 star flags during the same period as the Navy, and the use of yachting ensigns with a wreath of 13 stars surrounding an anchor, which began in 1848, still persists today. Among other uses, 13 star flags were carried by soldiers during the Mexican and Civil Wars, and were used at patriotic events, including Lafayette�s visit in 1825-26, the celebration of the Nation�s Centennial in 1876, and the Sesquicentennial in 1926.
The canton and stripes of the flag are made of wool bunting, pieced with a treadle machine. The cotton stars are machine-sewn with a zigzag stitch and double-appliqu�d (applied to both sides of the flag). There is a heavy cotton sleeve with 2 brass grommets.
Mounting: The flag has been stitched to 100% silk organza on every seam and throughout the star field for support. Then flag was then hand-sewn to background of 100% cotton twill, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The flag was then placed in a black-painted and hand-gilded, contemporary Italian molding. The front is u.v. protective acrylic.
Condition: There is minor foxing and staining, accompanied by minor mothing. There are a couple of stitched repairs, the most significant of which is in the bottom fly-end corner, where a vertical tear is mended in the last three stripes.