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  13 STARS IN A 3-2-3-2-3 CONFIGURATION ON A SMALL SCALE FLAG WITH "SQUARISH" PROPORTIONS, 1895-1926

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 44.25" x 57.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 34" x 47"
Description....:
13 STARS IN A 3-2-3-2-3 CONFIGURATION ON A SMALL SCALE FLAG WITH "SQUARISH" PROPORTIONS, 1895-1926:

Small scale 13 star flag of the type made from roughly the last decade of the 19th century through the first quarter of the 20th century. The stars are arranged in rows of 3-2-3-2-3, which is the most often seen pattern in 13 star flags of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In most cases the 3-2-3-2-3 design can also be viewed as a diamond of stars, with a star in each corner and a star in the very center. It is of interest to note that the 3-2-3-2-3 pattern can also be interpreted as a combination of the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George, which some feel could have been the design of the very first American flag and may identify a link between this star configuration and the British Union Jack. The pattern is often attributed--albeit erroneously in my opinion--to New Jersey Senator Francis Hopkinson, a member of the Second Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, who is credited with having played the most significant role in the original design of the American national flag. Hopkinson's original drawings for the design of the flag have not survived and his other depictions of 13 star arrangements for other devices are inconsistent.

Note the squarish profile of the flag itself, and how the stripe area has stretched to create bowed and serpentine lines along the top and bottom edges. Both of these characteristics lend an interesting appearance to the overall design.

Why 13 Stars?
The U.S. Navy had long been using 13 stars on its small-scale flags because they wished the stars to be easily discerned at a distance. This was the original number of stars on the American flag and equal to the number of original colonies. As the number of stars grew with the addition of new states, two circumstances occurred. One, it became more and more difficult to fit stars on a small flag and two, it became more and more difficult to view them from afar as individual objects on a small flag.

For all practical purposes, commercial flag-makers simply didn't produce flags with pieced-and-sewn construction that were 3 to 4 feet in length before the 1890's. There are rare exceptions to this rule, but until this time, the smallest sewn flags were approximately 6 feet on the fly. The primary use had long been more utilitarian than decorative, and flags needed to be large to be effective as signals. But private use grew with the passage of time, which led to the need for long-term use flags of more manageable scale.

Beginning around 1890, flag-makers began to produce small flags for the first time in large quantities. Applying the same logic as the U.S. Navy, they chose the 13 star count rather than the full compliment of stars for sake of ease and visiblity. Any flag that has previously been official, remains so according to the flag acts, so 13 star flags were and still are official today.

13 star flags have been used throughout our Nation's history for a variety of purposes. In addition to their use on the small scale flags of the 1890-1920's era, 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 Navy's use of the 13 star flag ended in 1916 following an executive order written by President Woodrow Wilson. Among other uses, 13 star flags were carried by soldiers during the Mexican and Civil Wars, used at patriotic events, including Lafayette's visit in 1825-26, celebration of the Nation's centennial in 1876 and the sesquicentennial in 1926.

Construction: The canton and stripes of the flag are treadle-sewn of wool bunting. The cotton muslin stars are machine-sewn with a zigzag stitch and double-appliqued (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 has been washed to remove 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 staining, accompanied by very minor bleeding, fraying, and mothing. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 13
Earliest Date of Origin: 1895
Latest Date of Origin: 1926
State/Affiliation: 13 Original Colonies
War Association:
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
 

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