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  48 STAR U.S. NAVY JACK, WWI - WWII ERA (1917-1945)

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 31" x 42"
Flag Size (H x L): 22" x 33"
48 STAR U.S. NAVY JACK, WWI - WWII ERA (1917-1945):

United States Navy jack with 48 stars, made in the period between WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-18) and WWII (U.S. involvement 1941-45). Like the British Royal Navy, American vessels flew three flags. When at anchor or moored, the jack is flown at the bow (front), the national flag or "ensign" is flown at the stern (back), and the commission pennant is flown from the at the main mast. When under way, the Jack is furled and the ensign may be kept in place or shifted to a gaff if the ship is so equipped.

The American Navy jack is a blue flag with a field of white stars. The design is the mirror image of the canton of an American national flag. In scale, the jack was meant to be the same size as the canton of the corresponding Stars & Stripes ensign with which it was flown.

This particular example is made of wool bunting that has been bound with machine stitching. The stars are made of cotton and double-appliqu├ęd with a zigzag machine stitch. This became the primary way in which stars were applied during the 1890's and remained so until the close of WWII. There is a heavy canvas binding along the hoist with four brass grommets. One the reverse, near the top of the hoist binding is an inked stamp that reads "Union Jack 3". While the technical name for this type of flag was a "union jack," the confusing verbiage, being the same as the nickname of the most recognizable British flag, has resulted in a common shortening of the term to simply "the jack".

Interestingly enough, the British Union Jack is not the proper name for that signal either. The design commonly called the "Union Jack" is actually the "Union Flag," though practically no one uses or is even familiar with the term. The only time that it can be properly called the "Union Jack" is when it is, in fact, flown as the jack on a British Navy ship. Because the British fly various national flags: the white ensign (Royal Navy), blue ensign (non-navy ships in public service), and red ensign (merchant ships), each of which is composed of a wide field the corresponding color, with the Union Flag design as its canton, the use of the Union Flag as the jack on Royal Navy ships employs the same logic as using the blue field with stars, without the red and white striped field, as the American jack. Early American ship paintings suggest that the various flags and pennants common to U.S. Navy ships, were sometimes flown on non-navy vessels. One may occasionally observe them in portraits of merchant ships and yachts, dressed with a complement of colorful ensigns and signals for special occasions. Because ship paintings were often commissioned, with both painter and purchaser wishing to display the craft in the most splendid manner possible, flags may be present in these images that were not regularly flown or even appropriate in the chosen setting. The same can be true in the sketched and painted views of U.S. Navy ships.

The 48 star flag became official in 1912 following the addition of New Mexico and Arizona. 48 remained the official star count throughout WWI, WWII, and the Korean War (1950-53), until Alaska gained statehood in 1959 and the 49th star was added.

Mounting: The flag has been hand-stitched to 100% natural fabrics for support on every seam and throughout the star field. The flag has been hand-stitched to a background of twill cotton, black in color, which was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. The mount was then placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. The glazing is U.V. protective Plexiglas.

Condition: There is minor mothing throughout.
Collector Level: Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 48
Earliest Date of Origin: 1917
Latest Date of Origin: 1945
State/Affiliation: Arizona
War Association:
Price: SOLD

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