U.S.M.C./ U.S. Navy Flag

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by Josey, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. Josey

    Josey New Member

    Here are a few pics of another one of my WW2 flags that I briefly mentioned in the "Gold Star Flag" thread.

    Because I know very little about flags I wanted to get your input on this one. I was told by a fellow militaria collector that this flag belonged to a USMC or Navy unit because they are the only ones to fly flags with ropes to attach them to halyards. Do you know if this is correct?

    Also, since this flag has a manufacturers label on it maybe someone will be able to date it. To be sure it is indeed from the WW2 era.

    This flag is pristine and would easily rate a 10.

    Josey

    [​IMG]

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  2. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

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    Hi, Josey ! :D


    NICE Flag ! :D


    At this point in my "Flag Career" I can tell you with all certainty that I do NOT know if the USN/USMC were the only ones that flew Flags with ropes on them (rather than grommets, etc.).

    I can, however, state with some small measure of certainty that that particular Flag/Ensign is probably one intended for civilian use and NOT an "official" U.S. Flag of the USN. I say that because of the stamp on the canvas header stating that the Flag's size is 5'x8'. That is NOT a USN "regulation" size Flag.

    One of the things that I've learned HERE is that the U.S. Navy has their own sizing chart and ALL of the sizes listed use the Government Specified "Hoist-To-Fly" ratio of 1.0 : 1.9. In fact the Navy numbers the different sizes.

    I got this simple sizing chart from :

    http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq129-1.htm


    Flag Size Number = Hoist x Fly Length (in feet)

    Size 1 = 20.00' x 38.00'
    Size 2 = 19.00' x 36.10'
    Size 3 = 14.35' x 27.27'
    Size 4 = 12.19' x 23.16'
    Size 5 = 10.00' x 19.00'
    Size 6 = 8.94' x 16.99'
    Size 7 = 5.14' x 9.77'
    Size 8 = 5.00' x 9.50'
    Size 9 = 3.52' x 6.69'
    Size 10 = 2.90' x 5.51'
    Size 11 = 2.37' x 4.50'
    Size 12 = 1.31' x 2.49'



    Sure is a NICE Flag, isn't it ??? :D


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  3. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

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    Hello, again, Josey ! :D


    In regards to your USN/USMC U.S. Flag, I almost forgot to ADD that NYLON was patented early in 1937. While that is "pre-War", some of what I've learned about nylon's use in flag-making is that it really didn't come into wide-spread use until some time in the 1950's (I think).

    I'm unable to tell you if "NylonWave" was a WWII era Flag material or more of a "post-war" material. :cool:


    Robin Hickman
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  4. Josey

    Josey New Member

    Robin,

    Thanks for your info. Possibly this flag was intended for civilian/commercial use but ended up in the hands of the U.S. government. Notice the U.S. stamp as well near the lable. That is a military marking. I know this flag reads nylonwave but it sure feels like it's all cotton. It must be woven into the material somehow. Another interesting flag.[​IMG]

    Josey
     
  5. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

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    Hi, Josey ! :D


    QUOTE : "Notice the U.S. stamp as well near the lable. That is a military marking."


    I believe that the "U.S." stamped in black ink on the header is simply identifying the kind of Flag it is. In this case, "U.S." stands for "United States" because it is a United States Flag.

    If it were an Oregon State flag then it would have been stamped with something like "Oregon", "Ore. St.", or something similar. If it were a U.S. Army or Navy flag then it would have been stamped "ARMY" or "NAVY".

    See? :cool:

    As far as the Flag "feeling" like cotton, that is altogether likely as there has been (still is) a "blending" of materials. Recently, I saw a unique 49 Star Flag on eBay that was made of a WOOL & NYLON mix. While I have no idea what the 49 Star Flag "feels" like, in the pictures supplied it looked very much like wool.

    Annin and Valley Forge both make low-end (printed) Flags that are constructed using a fabric called "PolyCotton" that is a blend of Polyester (70%) and Cotton (30%). I happen to own about about two dozen of them and they DO "look" and "feel" MUCH more like cotton than polyester! :eek:


    Yes, it is a very interesting Flag. Unique, too! I don't know about anybody else, but until I saw the picture of your Flag, I'd never even HEARD of "NylonWave" !!! :D


    Robin
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  6. Josey

    Josey New Member

    Robin,
    Thank you for the information. Here I had assumed that the U.S. stamp indicated military use.

    I am a U.S. militaria collector and am quite knowledgeable in that field and the U.S. stamp on the flag is just like the markings on WW1 - WW2 field gear, right down to the block periods. So I assumed, and well you know what they say when you assume something.[​IMG]

    Josey
     
  7. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

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    Hey, Josey ! :D


    Don't worry about it ! ;)


    The info that I shared with you about the U.S. Navy's ensign sizes, the use of nylon in Flags, the stamped marking of "U.S." on the Flag's header; I learned all that here on the USA-Flag-Site forums !!!

    Some of the stuff I've learned here on the site about flags in general and the U.S. Flag in particular I learned because I was trying to help someone else out. In a way you might say that I sometimes "Googled" my way into a Flag Education !!! :eek:


    Believe me when I tell you this, I've made some really, really BIG boo-boo's here in these Forums! All I can do then was 'fess up and do my best to learn from the experience, and try not to let it happen again. :cool:


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  8. Josey

    Josey New Member

    You almost have to chuckle at the fact that the flag company felt the need to put a U.S. stamp on the American flag to identify it. I can see the need for it on state flags and others though.

    Anyway, since this flag is not military it does not fit into my collection I will more than likely move it down the road. Would anyone be willing to put a value on it for me? I would sure appreciate it.[​IMG]

    Josey
     
  9. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

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    Hi, Josey !


    At this time my advice is to NOT be in a hurry to "move it down the road". :eek:

    Hold on to it and start doing a little "investigating" to see what you might find out about the Flag, the manufacturer (Vincent J. Spelman & Co.), and maybe even the Flag's fabric ("NylonWave" - Does it have a U.S. Patent?).

    My advice in cases like this my advice is: "When In Doubt, GOOGLE It Out". :cool:

    "Vincent J. Spelman"
    "Vincent J. Spelman & Company"
    "Nylonwave"

    The Vincent J. Spelman & Co. is known to have manufactured flags for various shipping companies, including the White Star Line (think Titanic). the United States Patent office has a least one or two patents filed by one "Vincent J. Spelman", including one for a ship's hatch cover.


    If the Vincent J. Spelman & Co. is no longer in business (and it appears that that is the case) and it used to manufacture flags (which appears to be so since you have one!), and that "Nylonwave" is a not very well known flag fabric ("Google" it and this is the first page in the search results), then I'd say (even though I am NOT an "expert") that you have a unique and very rare U.S. Flag !!!


    Hold on to it !!! :D


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  10. Josey

    Josey New Member

    Robin,
    Thanks for that info. I did do a web search, however it doesn't turn up very much.

    It would be very cool if did turn out to be a rare flag but I am not going to hold my breath.

    Again, Thank you. I appreciate your input.

    Josey
     
  11. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Josey,
    I agree and Robin. Hold on to this flag! Because of it's uniqueness it can only go up in value.
     
  12. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

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    Hello, Again, Josey !


    QUOTE : "You almost have to chuckle at the fact that the flag company felt the need to put a U.S. stamp on the American flag to identify it. I can see the need for it on state flags and others though."

    I don't know how the Vincent J. Spelman & Co. stacked or stored their Flags. Maybe the only thing that was showing on the storage shelves was the headers of the Flags?


    Why hold on to the Vincent J. Spelman U.S. Flag?


    QUOTE : "Thanks for that info. I did do a web search, however it doesn't turn up very much."

    I would venture a guess that because there wasn't very much turned up in your web search, THAT would be a very important reason to hold on to the flag!

    QUOTE : "It would be very cool if did turn out to be a rare flag but I am not going to hold my breath."

    I'm not recommending that you hold your breath, just hold on to that Flag !!!


    Josey, do you remember where & when you acquired that Flag? Do you remember who you got it from? Was there any kind of a "back story" or "history" associated with that Flag? Those pieces of information might be important pieces to your Flag's puzzle.

    What are some of the pieces of the puzzle that we already have?

    For instance, since it's a 48 Star Flag we know that 48 Star Flags were the "official" Flags of the U.S. from July 4th, 1912 to July 3rd, 1959. Depending on where & when and from whom you got that Flag, chances are that it was made before 1959.

    Since there doesn't seem to be very much info on the internet about the Vincent J. Spelman & Co, chances are it's no longer in business. Well, when WAS it in business? If we can find that out, then maybe we can further narrow down when the Flag was made.

    We know that Vincent J. Spelman received at least two (2) U.S. Patents : #2130603 (Ship's Ventilator) on September 20, 1938, and #2163072 (Hatch Tent) on June 20, 1939. Incidentally, BOTH of those inventions require the use of some kind of fabric that will stand up to the rigors of salty sea air.

    By Googling "Vincent J. Spelman", we were able to find at least two shipping company flags that carried a manufacturer's label marked "Vincent J. Spelman & Co.". So we know that the company not only made flags, they made maritime or nautical flags that had to be able to stand up to salty sea air and some harsh weather conditions out at sea.

    I would think that there would have to be SOME kind of written record SOMEWHERE of Vincent J. Spelman and his eponymous company, Vincent J. Spelman & Company.

    Perhaps somewhere on the East Coast there are some maritime museums that have some papers in their possession that might shed some light on this mystery?

    Maybe there are some members of the North American Vexillological Association (N.A.V.A.) who might have some knowledge of the man, his company, and the flags they made???


    Well..... Whatever..... HOLD ON TO THAT FLAG !!!


    Robin
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  13. Josey

    Josey New Member

    Okay ! [​IMG] I guess it really doesn't take up that much space in one of the foot lockers. It will be interesting to see what I can turn up on the history and manufacture of this flag.

    I am used to researching veterans from the Civil War through WW2 utilizing the National Archives in Wash. D.C. So, I may start there and see what I can find out about the Vincent J. Spelman Co.

    Josey
     
  14. vela

    vela New Member

    I have a Vincent J. Spelman flag too but it is not a stars and stripes flag, it's the eagle with the 13 arrows in one foot and the olive branch in the other. Did you have any luck finding info about him? I am coming up pretty empty....
     
  15. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

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    Hello, vela ! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums ! :D


    QUOTE : "I have a Vincent J. Spelman flag too but it is not a stars and stripes flag, it's the eagle with the 13 arrows in one foot and the olive branch in the other. Did you have any luck finding info about him? I am coming up pretty empty...."


    To make it easier for us to help you, could you start a new thread about your flag in the "Other Flags" Forum. That way it will be a LOT easier to find when it has its own thread!

    Also, do you have any pictures of your Flag? One good one of the entire Flag, plus two or three "close-ups" of some of the details, such as the identifying label or stamp, sewing stitches, hem-work, etc.

    Believe me, that will be a BIG help for us and for you !


    Looking forward to hearing back from you !!! :D


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  16. Vexman

    Vexman New Member

    Spelman was a flag company that started in Philadelphia in the late 19th century. They went out of business in the early 1980s, although they had stopped making flags for many years before that. NylonWave is their version of a cotton-nylon blend fiber that was used briefly for flag bunting, approximately 1948 or so to about 1958 or so (exact dating is uncertain). The factors that make a flag rare are the known numbers of a specific type, its condition, its proven history, and, not least, its desirability to collectors. The only way to prove such is to see what it gets at an auction. See my web pages at Dave Martucci's Flag Pages
     

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