Presented is a 13-star nautical wool, machine-sewn flag. The dark blue canton features 13 sewn stars, encircling a fouled anchor at center. The circular arrangement of stars suggests unity and perpetuity, and it was a favorite design style of patriotic painters, currency designers, and flag makers. The flag's design is completed with 13 machine-sewn red and white stripes. The hoist has two metal grommets and the top of the hoist has a stamped logo for the flag maker, Sterling.
The original use of the 13-star flag dates to June 14th, 1777, each star representing a state in the newly formed Union. Throughout the 1800 and early 1900s, the U.S. Navy enjoyed the privilege of placing only 13-stars rather than the full complement of the day. During the nineteenth century, the flags appearance was constantly changing as a by-product of the nation’s western expansion. This U.S. Navy custom continued until President Woodrow Wilson discontinued the practice by executive order in 1916. Thereafter, flags were mandated to represent the actual number of states in the Union, with specific guidelines outlining the position of stars in the canton.
This flag was sewn with a zig-zag stitching. On February 23, 1892, Mr. Henry Bowman was awarded patent #473,653, Device for Making Flags, in which he patented the use of zig-zag stitching specifically for sewing stars onto American flags. As Bowman’s patent describes, the approach was to sew the white fabric blanks to each side of the canton, using zig-zag stitching, and to then cut away the free material and leave the stars. Although this was not the most efficient use of raw materials, the method was a significant improvement in speed versus cutting stars separately. Although this can a leave them looking coarser than a carefully turned-under star, the stars are more secure with the zig-zag stitching. Zig-zag stitching is ideal for use on a nautical flag such as this one.
Good condition. Toning and surface dirt to flag. Small scattered holes. Flag is reinforced at top and bottom corners of hoist. Patched on the fly end, fraying to top fly corner. Flag is unframed, sold as-is.
Dimensions: 45”H x 60” W.