Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Antique Flags > American Flags


Web ID: 37j-846
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 29.5" x 47.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 17.5" x 35"
37 STARS IN A "DANCING" OR "TUMBLING" ORIENTATION ON AN ANTIQUE AMERICAN FLAG WITH ELONGATED PROPORTIONS, NEBRASKA STATEHOOD, 1867-1876, THE ERA OF AMERICAN RECONSTRUCTION: 37 star American national flag, press-dyed on wool bunting. The stars are configured in staggered lineal rows of 7-8-7-8-7, which is an especially unusual layout. Flags in this star count, when presented in a lineal design, typically employ 6 rows of stars instead of 5. The elongated rows are consistent with the elongated format of the flag itself, the appearance of which is more interesting because of it. In this case the stars are oriented such that they alternate point-up, point-down consecutively throughout the field so that they are what I have termed "dancing" or "tumbling." This lends a nice visual element to the design. There is a treadle-sewn, twill tape sleeve along the hoist with an unusual herringbone weave. The 37th state, Nebraska, joined the Union on March 1st, 1867. The 37 star flag was official from that year until 1877, although it generally fell from use in 1875 or 1876 with the impending addition of more states. The 37 star-count is quite scarce in comparison to the flags that immediately preceded and followed it. This is due primarily to the lack of major patriotic events during the period they were used, which followed the Civil War, yet preceded the 1876 anniversary of American independence, and encompassed most of Southern Reconstruction. While the 37 star flag was still official in 1876, it was well known that at least one more state would be joining the Union that year. This caused flag makers to cease production in favor of 38 and 39 star flags. It was for this reason that 37 star parade flags were seldom produced for the Centennial International Exposition, where 38, 39, and 13 star counts (the latter to commemorate the 13 original colonies) were far more prevalent. Some Notes on the Press-Dying Process: First patented in 1849, the press-dying process was thought to be a novel idea that would improve flag-making efficiency. In this case, for example, it could potentially alleviate the chore of hand-appliquéing 74 stars (37 on each side). In reality, however, the result must have been less efficient than sewing. To achieve white stars, for example, metal plates in the shape of stars had to be clamped to either side of a length of woolen fabric, in the desired configuration, so they were back-to-back. These may have been lightly brushed beforehand with a solution that would resist dye, or perhaps with a thin coat of wax. The stars were clamped together tightly, the bunting was dyed blue, and the areas where the metal stars were positioned would be left white. To produce the stripes, the same task was repeated with different clamps. A form of resist-dyeing, this method often resulted in crude characteristics, such as stripes with irregular lines, in various widths, and stars with inconsistent shapes, in slightly varying sizes. It is likely that this resulted in some lost product and wasted time, from flags that had bleeding or misprint issues and were of too poor quality to sell. This may perhaps explain why it never became a become a popular method of flag production. Wool was preferred because it sheds water, making it the fabric of choice for all maritime flags and, in fact, most flags produced by professional flag-makers for long-term outdoor use. Printing on wool is costly and difficult. Even today, only about 1% of wool fabric is printed**, because it generally needs to be washed afterward and wool cannot easily be treated with water. During the Civil War (1861-65) and prior, press-dyed flags such as this seem to have almost universally seen military use. Most often these probably served as camp colors, though some may have occasionally become guidons in a pinch. By 1876 this construction seems to have mostly been employed or flags with decorative function. With respect to the flag in question here, the proportions are unusual for a camp colors, the period is post-war, and its purpose remains unknown. Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by masters degree trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples; more than anyone worldwide. The background is 100% hemp fabric or a hemp and cotton blend (we utilize both). The mount was placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. A shadowbox was made to increase the visual impact of the presentation by giving it some depth. Feel free to contact us for more details. Condition: There is extremely minor mothing and there are a few tiny stains. Overall condition is excellent for the period and the colors are strong.
Collector Level: Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts
Flag Type: Parade flag
Star Count: 37
Earliest Date of Origin: 1867
Latest Date of Origin: 1876
State/Affiliation: Nebraska
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281

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