Flag manufacturer question

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by w4uvv, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. w4uvv

    w4uvv New Member

    Hi All. I am a new user to this forum but a long time collector of selected interests. My main interests are collecting historical related US items. One exception is WW2 German and Japanese military items. Being retired I have a lot of free time to pursue my interests via local auctions, internet, private purchases, etc., constrained only by my "piggy bank". I had an occasion recently to acquire a 71 inch x 45 inch 46 star U. S. flag in fairly good condition considering its age of being stored for many years thankfully away from the sunlight. A black faded stamp on the left side (grommet holes) is "HBCO" which I assume to be the manufacturer "HB Co." The flag was correct to fly for 4 years 1908-1912. I have attempted different combinations of Google searches but no luck so far in having any valid returns.

    Does anyone have any identification regarding this manufacturer? Tnx.


    John
     
  2. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hi John and welcome!
    Could you post us a photo of the full flag and a closeup of that marking? Sometime we can identify the maker (government vs. civilian) on how the flag is made.
    Thanks,
    mike
     
  3. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    The only flagmaker I am aware of who could be linked to HBCO is Horstmann Brothers & Company of Philadelphia, though I can find no reference to their using "HBCO" as a lable. The flags I have seen typically have "HORSTMANN PHILADELPHIA" stamped on the heading.

    Nick
    Columbia Maryland
     
  4. w4uvv

    w4uvv New Member

    :)Here is the the flag and manufacturer's stamp or stencil id on the seam of the flag. More accutrately it is "H. B. CO".

    John
     

    Attached Files:

  5. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Chances are it is not Hudson's Bay Company. How are the stars affixed to the canton? Single line stitching or zig zag?

    Nick
    Columbia Maryland
     
  6. w4uvv

    w4uvv New Member

    The stars are affixed via a stencil or template process per each row and painted white.
     
  7. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member


    That's interesting. The same stencil could probably be used for a 3x5 flag as well as your 4x6. That's the kind of thinking a government contractor would use, and we know Horstmann was a US Gov't contractor since at least the Civil War period.

    I have heard that when Horstmann sewed stars to the canton they used single row stitching when most of the industry had gone to zig zag. Hence my inquiry.

    Nick
     
  8. w4uvv

    w4uvv New Member

    I agree it is quite unusual. The flag was found in New York state stored in the attic of an old house. It is in relatively good condition considering the many years in storage and the environment. New York does not get super hot summers like where I live. The flag appears not to have been exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. As to be expected there was noticeable fading of the white/red material with 2 in. x 2 in. a fabric fatigue torn section in one white stripe that repaired well considering the fragility of the material.

    I have a theory that I have not researched yet as why a stenciled/template application of the stars vice sewing. It most likely is not the correct reason but perhaps the manufacturer may have not known the exact year when the Oklahoma Territory and/or Arizona Territory would become states and "blank" stock was prepared. When the Oklahoma Indian Territory acceptance date was known he was able to quickly create 46 star flags in quantity for sale to the public faster than his competition which would be slower having to sew individual stars on their flags...just a speculation with no basis in fact. Maybe I could inquire to some appropriate museums or the National Archives who would the reason why.
     
  9. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hi Nick,
    This is a unique flag with the painted stars during that period. Like you, I have one of those M.I. 48 star jacks with the painted stars but that was during WWII when the Navy had a hard time keeping up with enough flags. I wouldn't think that would be the case before WWI. Interesting, more research is needed for this one. Thank you John for posting your photos. Maybe Jeff has seen this type flag before?
     
  10. w4uvv

    w4uvv New Member

    I guess like almost everything else in life a dollar sign is involved at some level.

    John
     

    Attached Files:

  11. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    John,
    You are absolutely right about that, especially in today's flag manufacturing. I did a check of all the Horstmann Bros. flags I could find on the web and none of them display the painted star technique that your flag has. That's not to say yours couldn't be a Horstmann Bros. but it seems unlikely. Nick is correct that they used a stamp that spells out the entire name on the header of their flags. Every Horstmann I have seen is consistant with that characteristic. With that said I do believe because of the painted stars that some collectors would be drawn to it because it is so unique.
    Cheers


    Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 7.19.37 PM.jpg 1206_2.jpg Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 7.21.35 PM.jpg Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 7.21.12 PM.jpg
     
  12. w4uvv

    w4uvv New Member

    I contacted the previous owner asking for any historical knowledge she may have regarding the flag. Here is her redacted email response...

    “John , I am so so happy to see the flag hanging in a home where it is appreciated. It looks wonderful!! thanks for sharing the photos. I have no clue as to the manufacturing history/reason for the painted stars but your theory sounds quite plausible. I can tell you that the flag was found in attic of my parents 1880 Victorian home which is located in the historic Town of Marlborough in the hamlet of Marlboro on the banks of the Hudson River. It is approximately 20 miles north of West Point United States Military Academy. The previous owners of the home were an old family (Wygant family); Mr. and Mrs. Wygant both passed away in the home back in the 1950s (they were both in their 90s!). My parents bought the house in 1956 and found the flag in the attic with a bunch of other stuff. Obviously the Wygants obtained the flag in 1907/1908 or at some point after.... Continuing, the flag remained folded up under the eves of the attic. The temperature was hotter than hell up there in the summer and the flag did stay up there from 1907 until 1960 without air conditioning, etc. I think it fared quite well during those 53 years. Then it remained up there (in a fairly controlled environment) until this year. To answer your question, I have no history on it but can only give you it's "chain of custody" that I have knowledge of. “

    John
     

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