New pics & questions about an old 38 star flag

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by newblue44, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. newblue44

    newblue44 New Member

    I became a member in Feb. 2009. I was delighted to find this site. I have been trying to find out info about this old 38 star flag for a long time. I was only able to find out basic info and wanted more specifics on the age and use of the flag. Originally I didn't have any photos to send. So I wrote a detailed description. But I had troubled getting responses to my thread. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. So I decided to wait till I had some photos and try again. Here goes again, this time with pics.

    The flag is 7'8" x 11'8". It apppears to be made of wool bunting? The stars are hand cut, hand sewn and are double appliqued.The stripes appear to be tradle sewn? The hoist is a cotton sleeve with a hemp running through it. The hemp rope exits the hoist top & bottom, where it wraps around steel grommets. The hoist is sewn closed top & bottom where the rope exits.
    Is the sleeve type hoist and the type of grommets any indication as to the use of the flag and/or its age? I am thinking it is possibly a Naval flag. This would make sense, my Grandfather, Great & Great Great Granfathers were Navy. Also the double rows of stitching which run the length of the hoist. Do they have a clue as to the use, added strength?

    There is also a hoist hand sewn all the way across the top edge of the flag. This top hoist has eyelets or buttonholes spaced across the length of it. The top hoist appears to be a modification to the original flag. It's purpose is somewhat of a mystery?

    There aren't any markings or writing on the flag anywhere. There is one small design feature that might be of some help? A light blue dotted line on the back of the hoist which runs parallel to the two rows of stitching.

    The condition of the flag is very good overall. There are of couple stars that have small holes in them and a few small holes in the flag itself. The colors are good. The material seems to have thinned with age? Except for the modification to the top of the flag it seems to be in very good original condition.

    I thank you in advance for any assistance you can give me. I would really like to be able to find out the age, original use and value of the flag. My Father and Grandfather are no longer living to ask about the origin of the flag.

    Thank you very much for this wonderful resource,

    I have plenty more pics of the flag, but could only fit 5. If anyone needs to see more detail, please tell me. I will post more.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hi there

    I would be greatful if you could post larger pictures of the flag as my eyesight is not very good and I can't see the pictures all that well :(

    I am sorry if you had trouble getting responces last time... I seem to remember this flag though, because of your description of the addition of the strip across the top with grommets on
  3. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Greetings, NewBlue44 !!! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums !

    I'm kind of "new" here myself as I joined about a month after you did. But, I'll try to see if I might be able to offer a couple of things that might help you out. Remember, I'm NEW here and I am NOT an "expert" (and I don't "play" one on TV either!).

    #1 The topside "Header", or "hoist" as you call it : It's only a guess, but I think the "strip" across the top of the flag that runs from the hoist to the fly end, was added (at a later date) so that the Flag could be displayed in the horizontal position against a wall, or hung from a rafter.

    The "button-holes" were used to hang the Flag on some similarly spaced hooks (or nails or screws) near the top of the wall, or along the bottom of a rafter. The spacing of "button-holes", as such, are to make sure that the weight of the Flag is evenly distributed so that no one portion of the Flag will be over-stressed and sag, or worse - tear!

    While the Flag most definitely started out as an "Outdoor" Flag, it most likely ended up an "Indoor" Flag (lucky for YOU!) in a large Hall or Auditorium somewhere (maybe even in your Family's Hometown!). I can't say if it was on "permanent" display or maybe an occassional "temporary" one.

    The types of places the Flag could have been displayed are almost endless: a Fraternal Lodge (Elks, Moose, Eagles, etc.), a Veterans Association or Post (Grand Army of the Republic - G.A.R., American Legion, VFW, etc.), a School (public, private, college, university, etc.), a Scouting Toop (BSA, GSA, Boy Guides, Girl Guides, Sea Scouts - Maybe up on the wall in a large building at a Summer Camp, etc.), an Auditorium (Symphony Hall, Theater, Burlesque House, Nickelodeon, etc.), on a Military Base (Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, etc.), or maybe some rich, patriotic millionaire with a BIG naked wall in his mansion..... :eek:

    Does ANY of that make sense ??? :confused:

    #2 PHOTOS : Be all means, PLEASE post some LARGER photos! While there are size "limits", I've never had any problems posting photos that are 600x450 pixels. In some cases, you might even be able to post photos as large as 800x600 pixels. It just depends on the "file size". When you start the process of "attaching" the photos, a box will open and in it the file size limits are listed.

    What "kind" of photos? One of the "overall" view of the Flag, of course. Close-ups of the Stars (type of stitching used, material, etc.), the Stripes (Stitching, material, condition, etc.), The "Top-Side Header" - NOT sure what to call it - across the top (the "button-holes", material, stitching, etc.), The Flag's Header (header material, rope & thimble - or "D-ring", etc.). You get the idea.

    If you have more than four or five photos to post, you can always use a second entry, right? Also, if during any of the discussions here about your Flag there is a question about how the Flag was constructed or some other issue, remember that a picture paints a thousand words!

    I don't know if any of my "ramblings" will be of use to you or not. I hope so. We DO have some genuine American Flag EXPERTS on this site, so keep in touch, okay ???

    THANX !!!

    Robin Hickman

    PS. I'm curious about the "Topside Header" (I don't know what else to call it!). How many "button-holes" does it have? Are the "button-holes" sewn or are metal (brass?) grommets used? Thanx!
  4. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Hey NewBlue44. No question that your 38-star predates 1890. The single row stitching around the perimeter of the star is a dead giveaway. By the mid to late 1890's zig zag stitching for stars was nearly universal on flags that large. It is indeed wool bunting with cotton stars. The metal loops are common on larger flags
  5. newblue44

    newblue44 New Member

    Larger photos of 38 star flag

    This is the first time I have ever posted pictures on the web. I thought the file limit was 19 kb but was actually 97 kb. I used the 600 x 450 & 800 x 600 as guides to resize them. Which helped alot. But the file sizes varied greatly. So alot of them I had to do by trial & error. I tried to get them as close to the 97 kb as possible. most of them are pretty close, some are in the 60 kb range. If any of them are still to small, please let me know.

    When I took the pictures of the flag it was a very windy day. So I was in a rush because the flag really pulling at the corners. If anyone wants to see more detail up close? I could take some photos indoors. I am limited for space. If full size pictures are needed, I will try to hang it outdoors. Hopefully these pictures will provide enough detail for identification and value.

    Once again thanks for all the assitance and for devoting your time to this site.

    Attached Files:

  6. newblue44

    newblue44 New Member

    Additional larger photos of 38 star flag

    Here are some more pics of the flag. Please let me know if they came out OK. If size and detail are OK?

    It took me a while to get the hang of resizing them and using the site. But I think I got the hang of it.

    Thanks again very much,

    Attached Files:

  7. newblue44

    newblue44 New Member

    Yet more pictures of a 38 star flag

    This is the last of the bunch. I hope they come out OK. Please let me know.

    Once again I say thank you for all your help,

    Attached Files:

  8. newblue44

    newblue44 New Member

    I hope the pics of the topside header are OK. They could be a bit better.
    The topside header is made of cotton and the buttonholes are sewn in.
    There are 34 buttonholes spaced almost exactly 4 1/4" apart. The topside header is actually in two pieces. The first section starts at the hoist end and runs towards the middle of the top of the flag, it has 20 buttonholes. Then there is a 1" space. Then the second section runs the rest of the way to the fly end, it has 14 buttonholes. The topheader itself is 2 1/2" wide and the seams and buttonholes are machine sewn. It is hand sewn to the top of the flag with a totally different thread , which is a gray color. I hope my description makes sense.

    I think you are right about the use of the topside header. For hanging the flag indoors horizontally. That makes perfect sense. My Grandfather did belong to a lodge of some sort. I'm not sure which. It is probably a good possibility that the flag might have hung there. I don't know how I could find that one out.

    If you're not done with my ramblings yet? I have a few more questions. Does the hemp rope in the hoist (with the metal rings on the ends) have any naval signifigance? Or is it standard to other types of flags?
    I had read somewhere that after 1884 only brass grommets were used. Does that apply to these type of metal rings also? Are the rope & metal rings the rope & thimble you mentioned?

    I hope everything I described made sense? Please let me know.


  9. Hey there NewBlue

    I took the liberty of placing all the pictures you had in separate threads all into here, so our forum users can find them more easily :)

    You have a very nice example of a 38 star flag ::)

    Reiterating what NAVA1971 said, the stars are a very good indicator that this flag pre-dates 1890

    A hoist with the rope sewn inside it with 2 loops either end with metal hoops through is a common feature seen on larger flags, for the reason that this creates a much stronger hoist, for a flag that will pull on its pole more due to its size.

    On larger flags these days this arrangement is still seen, but often with additional grommets spaced evenly down the hoist- depending on the size of the flag.
    This type of hoist is not solely used for naval ensigns, so therefore it is not really a way of being able to tell if this flag was intended for naval use.

    The hoist along the top of the flag is certainly an interesting and unusual feature!
    Certainly added after the flag was originally made.
    The clear purpose for this is to enable the flag to be hung horizontally indoors without pins or tacks or anything put straight into the material that might damage it.
  10. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    HEY, American_Flag_UK !!! :D

    THANK YOU for putting all of NewBlue's photos into this thread. It sure makes it a whole lot easier to refer to them !!! :eek:

    GOOD JOB !!! :D

  11. newblue44

    newblue44 New Member

    Thanks so much for all your assistance. I am very grateful for finding this site. It is a wonderful resource. I would still like to find out where the flag was flown, but without any markings it is probably next to impossible. I would also like to get an idea as to the value of the flag. I have only found one other comparable flag, it was on Historical Americana. It was virtually the same and retailed for $3995.00. What do you think my flag would retail for. How much of a difference is there between wholesale and retail?



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