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   Glossary of Terms

Sewn Flag

Views: 4862 Added: 04/10/2009 Updated: 04/10/2009
Sewn Flag — A flag made in the traditional manner, sewing its components together. Early sewn flags are typically made of wool bunting, silk, cotton, linen, or some combination of these materials. The sewing can be done by hand or machine.
Walter Hunt built the first crank-operated American sewing machine in 1833-34. Elias Howe, of Massachusetts, completed his first mechanized sewing machine prototype in 1844, and it was issued an American patent in 1846.   Because of problems marketing his invention, Howe went to London to further develop the machine. Treadle sewing machines were first mass-produced in 1855 by American, Issac Singer.

By the time of the Civil War, sewing machines were being used on roughly 60 – 70% of American national flags. By the Centennial, the treadle machine was used on almost all stripes, but the stars were typically still hand-appliquéd. By the Spanish American War (1898), hand sewing on American National Flags had all but vanished.

Many 18th and 19th century military flags actually had painted stars. These were often gilt-painted in gold or silver, but are sometimes white on homemade flags. SEE ALSOparade flags and press-dyed flags.

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