48 Star Flag, strange size

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by Dexter Cole, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Dexter Cole

    Dexter Cole Member

    I've seen flag sizes of 2x3, 3x5, 4x6, etc.. I recently took a chance on this flag, a common Dettras Flag product because its unusual size markings. If my math is correct, it seems to match a US Navy flag size 9 which is 3.52 by 6.69. It has zinc grommets so I believe it is WW2 era. Thoughts?

    Attached Files:

  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hi, Dexter!

    I'm not too sure about the WW2 era, even with the zinc/steel grommets. While the 3.52' x 6.69' size DOES match the dimensions of a Size 9 U.S. Navy National Ensign, most, if not all, of the Navy's Flags during WW2 were made at the Navy bases on the East Coast and West Coast and are stenciled on the hoist (header) to indicate the location (Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Mare Island, etc.) and the year made.

    Perhaps they ARE of WW2 vintage but were made for some OTHER federal government department? Or maybe an early form of "G-Spec" Flags?

    Other than all that supposin' on my part, I really don't know.

    I hope I didn't unnecessarily confuse you any further!

    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
  3. Dexter Cole

    Dexter Cole Member

    Thanks Robin but what's a "G-spec" flag?

    Another confusing thing is that Dettras and Valley Forge both claim that they made military flags during WW2. As you say, the type we see are the "Mare Island" or generically just a "US ENS 9" on most WW2 flags. One of those companies even claim to be the maker of one of the Iwo Jima flags. Those flags both look like Navy made flags to me. Anyway, I like your thought that they might be for some federal agency, makes sense.
  4. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    "G-Spec" is a shortened version of "Government Specifications". I don't know when the "G-Spec" thing came into existence, so that's why I pondered if your Flag might be an "early" version of it.

    The Federal Government buys and flies a LOT of U.S. Flags. To ensure that all the Flags they buy are of the same high quality and of the proper official sizes, the "Government Specifications", G-Spec thing, came into being. Proper G-Spec Flags go WAY beyond the official sizes with the 1:1.9 hoist-to-fly ratio. The G-Specs cover what fabrics are to be used, the weight of the fabrics used, the type and strength of threads to be used in the Flag's seams and hems, the types of stitches and how many per inch, et cetera. Flag Manufacturers had to provide Flags that strictly adhered to the Government Specifications. Some time later, due to civilian demand, G-Spec Flags became a "thing".

    I'm not sure when the G-Specs first came into existence, or when they became a "marketing" niche, and I don't know how old your Flag/Ensign is, so I don't know if your Flag is a G-Spec Flag or not.

    I only offered "G-Spec" as a possible origin of your Flag, and it was/is pure speculation on my part.

    The "style" of DETTRA's Red & Blue stamp certainly appears to be one of their "older" styles, but I don't know enough about them to hazard a guess as to its "era". Given that it has 48 Stars, it's a pretty safe bet that it was made between July 4th, 1912 and July 3rd, 1959. I have seen a few photos of "pre-war" Dettra Flags, but I don't recall what kind of tags, or labels, or stamps, or stencils were used to identify them as being Dettra-made Flags.

    There is a pretty good sampling of Dettra identifying labels and stamps in David Wagner's post : "Flag Maker's Mark Library" that he created on March 9th, 2019, in the "Flag Identification and Collecting" Forum. THIS thread is listed right next to THAT one. There are two stamps and one label that look a LOT like yours! ( BTW : I have seen all of the DETTRA ones listed except for the very first one. )


    As you probably already know, I am NOT (by any stretch of the imagination) an "Expert" in this field !!!

    Hopefully, others with the necessary knowledge and experience will be able to properly identify the year, or era, of your Flag's manufacture.


  5. Dexter Cole

    Dexter Cole Member

    Thanks Robin, I appreciate your input.

    I've seen David's thread about markings; the next time I pull a bunch of flags out I'll be adding to it. Hopefully in time we will be able to look at a mark and say "OK, that mark means this flag was made between 1952 and 1959". We're not quite there yet. That must be why the Mare Island flags are so nice, they give the year and even the month sometimes.

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