Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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13 STAR FLAG WITH HAND-SEWN, CANTED STARS IN A 3-2-3-2-3 PATTERN, THE ONLY EXAMPLE I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED WITH THE MARK OF THE “UNITED STATES LIGHTHOUSE ESTABLISHMENT”, AN EXCEPTIONAL EXAMPLE IN A WONDERFUL SMALL SCALE, MADE ca 1880 - 1895

Web ID: 13j-1334
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): 35" x 52.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 24.5" x 42.25"
 
Description:
13 star American national flag, made sometime between 1870 and 1890, with an especially rare and interesting black-inked mark along the hoist binding that reads “U.S. Lighthouse Establishment” in Old English style lettering. This is the only flag I have ever encountered with markings related to this organization, which was created shortly following the Revolutionary War, in 1789, and operated under the Department of the Treasury. In that year all U.S. lighthouse ownership was transferred to the government, which became the general lighthouse authority.

In 1852, The Lighthouse Board was created, following complaints of the shipping industry of the Lighthouse Establishment, which, since 1820, had been under the control of Stephen Pleasonton. This new, quasi-military board first met on April 28, 1851, after which time the administration of lighthouses and other aids to navigation took their largest leap toward modernization since the inception of federal government control.

In 1910, the Lighthouse Board was disestablished in favor of a more civilian Lighthouse Service, under the Department of Commerce, and in 1939 this was merged into the United States Coast Guard.

While this flag bears the “U.S. Lighthouse Establishment” marking, it was most certainly made later, under the auspices of the The Lighthouse Board. The construction is indicative of the period between the 1880’s and the mid-1890’s.

The count of just 13 stars was chosen because of the scale of the flag and the regular use of this star count at sea. 13 star flags were flown by American ships both private and federal. The U.S. Navy used 13 stars on the ensigns made for small boats, because they wished the stars to be easily discerned at a distance. As the number of stars grew with the addition of new states, it became more and more difficult to fit stars on a small flag so that they may be viewed from afar as individual objects.

In addition to their maritime function, 13 star flags have been continuously produced throughout our nation’s history for various other purposes. This was the original number of stars on the American flag, representing the original 13 colonies, so it was appropriate for any flag made in conjunction with celebrations of American independence. 13 star flags were hoisted at patriotic events, including Lafayette’s visit in 1824-25, the celebration of the nation’s centennial in 1876, and the sesquicentennial in 1926. They were displayed during the Civil War, to reference past struggles for American liberty and victory over oppression, and were used by 19th century politicians while campaigning for the same reason. Because any star count that has previously been official remains so today according to the Congressional flag acts, all 13 star flags in an otherwise appropriate design remain official flags of the United States.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed in our own textile conservation department, which is led by expert trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.

The background is 100% hemp fabric. The 3-part frame consists of a cap and liner that are constructed of wood, but which have a finish that presents like antique iron. The flat profile molding in the center has a finish like gunmetal. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. Feel free to contact us for more details.
   
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count: 13
Earliest Date of Origin: 1880
Latest Date of Origin: 1895
State/Affiliation: 13 Original Colonies
War Association: 1866-1890 Indian Wars
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com


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