Question from Taft's Executive Order 1556

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by Two Fish Apparel, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. Two Fish Apparel

    Two Fish Apparel New Member

    I recently read the flag Executive Orders and found a line in Taft’s Executive Order 1556 of 24 June 1912 that reads:

    Number of Stars: All National Flags having a hoist less than five (5) feet, except colors to be carried by troop, and the corresponding Jacks, shall have only thirteen (13) stars in the Union, in order that the identity of the stars may be plainly distinguishable.

    This doesn’t appear to be a sub-paragraph inside another section. The EO also begins by stating that the order pertains to National Flags for the Department of the Government. I know that commercial flags don’t always conform to GS flags (dimensions as an example) but I’ve never before heard about GS flags having a completely different star count. Am I understanding this correctly – the official star count for all smaller 1912 GS National Flags was 13? The Executive Order 1637 of 29 October 1912 revoked EO 1556 and this small-flag star count isn’t mentioned again. I’ve just never heard of this before and was surprised when I read the actual order myself. Does anyone know the history of this? Did government buildings really fly 13-star flag for a few months in 1912?
  2. APS221

    APS221 Member

    Actually, Executive Order 1637 does mention the 13-star flags and refers to their use as "boat flags." Buildings didn't fly them, but small Navy boats did. This practice was discontinued by Executive Order 2390.
  3. Two Fish Apparel

    Two Fish Apparel New Member

    It is the National Flag that I never again read about small-size flags having only 13 stars. EO 1556 didn't make a distinction between National Flags and Boat Flags and EO 1637 is the first place I saw that made a specific rule for boats - although it did say this was following a long time Navy tradition. Unless EO 1556 assumed that National Flags under 5' hoist were only used by the Navy on boats, it does seem that the order called for all small-sized National Flags (on boat or building) be 13 stars.
  4. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    If you look at flags that appear on eBay you will very rarely see small sewn flags with other than 13 stars. Flags with 38 to 46 stars are almost always 6 to 8 feet long or much longer. Sewn flags shorter than 6 feet are almost always 13 star flags, so it wasn't just the Navy that used them as "small boat flags." Most small sewn flags had 13 stars. If you wanted a small flag with 45 stars it was very likely to be printed.

    Nick A
    Columbia Maryland

Share This Page