|13 star American national flag of the type used by the U.S. Navy on small boats around the turn-of-the-century. The reverse side of the coarse linen sleeve is stamped with the words �U.S. Ensign No. 8, Navy Yard New York, Jun. 1904, c.11903�.
Although typical for this particular style of Naval ensign, the stars are unusually large when compared to those on other Stars & Stripes, a trait that adds considerably to the visual quality of the design. This lent aid in identification from a distance on the open seas. The stars are arranged in the 3-2-3-2-3 configuration, which is the most common design in 19th century flags with 13 stars. This creates a secondary pattern that forms a diamond of stars with a star in each corner. It also mimics the St. Andrews and St. Georges� crosses found on the British Union Jack.
Adding to the appeal of this flag is its comparably small size when compared to others made for extended outdoor use in the 19th century. Printed parade flags (sometimes called hand-wavers) were made for short-term use and were generally three feet long or smaller, but flags with sewn construction were generally between 7 � 10 feet long and larger. This is because most flags needed to be seen from a great distance to be effective in their purpose as signals. Today�s use of the Stars & Stripes is more often decorative, for the general display of patriotism, and a four-foot flag would not be considered unusual. It was not until the 1890�s that small sewn flags like this one, made for small Navy craft and private yachts, were regularly produced. Because the average 19th century sewn flag is difficult to frame and display in an indoor setting, small flags like this one are coveted by collectors.
The flag is entirely machine-sewn, constructed of wool bunting with cotton stars that are double-appliqu�d with a zigzag stitch. There is a coarse linen sleeve along the hoist with three brass grommets, each of which is stamped with the following text: �Pat�d Aug. 26, 1884, No. 0�. The presence of this dating is a very nice feature and demonstrates how the Navy stockpiled supplies. The New York Navy Yard purchased bunting and made their own flags.
13 star flags have been used throughout our Nation's history for a variety of purposes. In addition to their use on small Navy boats, they were displayed in celebration of Lafayette�s final visit to the U.S. in 1825-26, carried by soldiers during the Mexican and Civil Wars, and made to commemorate American independence during the Nation's centennial in 1876, the Sesquicentennial in 1926, and other patriotic occasions.
Mounting: The flag has been stitched to 100% silk organza on every seam for support. The flag was then stitched to its background of 100% cotton twill, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. And acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic. |
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
||Phone: (717) 502-1281
||1st Half 20th Century (1901 -1949)|
||The flag is excellent for the period, with a tiny amount of mothing and a very minor amount of bleaching in the canton. It was probably ship's stores and was never flown.|
||Frame: 65" x 40" Flag: 54" x 29.5"
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