|VINTAGE FLAG OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS, THAT BECAME THE TEXAS STATE FLAG, MADE BY DECORATORS, INC. OF BRAZIL, INDIANA, [LATER KNOWN AS THE “OLD GLORY DECORATING COMPANY”], MOST LIKELY FOR THE 1936 CENTENNIAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS AS AN INDEPENDENT NATION, OR FOR THE 1945 CENTENNIAL OF TEXAS STATEHOOD
|Frame Size (H x L):
|46.25" x 69.25"
|Flag Size (H x L):
|34.5" x 58"
|Texas State flag, made by Decorators, Inc. of Brazil, Indiana, which manufactured flags and patriotic adornments. The owner, Walter Evans, began the business in 1936 in a garage, in his home town, travelling extensively to adorn and bedazzle towns for landmark celebrations. At some point he changed the name to Old Glory Decorating Company.
The flag was part of a group acquired through the Evans family. Given the manner of construction, I suspect that Walt Evans produced these flags for either the 1936 centennial of the Republic of Texas, or for the 1945 centennial of Texas statehood, then used them as frequently as made sense. Of the many states that he frequented, the Lone Star State was a regular stop, and it remained so for many years to come. Soon he had teams of installers that hit the road for long periods, going from one location to another, decorating buildings, fairgrounds, and outfitting parades.
While most states celebrate anniversaries of statehood, Texas and Hawaii are the only two that previously existed as independent nations. Spain claimed ownership of a significant portion of modern-day Texas in 1519, as an extension of Mexico. France claimed ownership for a 5-year period, from 1685-1690, returning to Spanish rule thereafter. In 1821, Mexico declared its independence, taking Texas with it, maintaining control until 1836, when it became the Republic of Texas, declaring its own independence, following the Texas Revolution (1835-36). It maintained this status until 1845, when it was annexed into the United States and granted statehood. This led to the Mexican War (1846-48).
The anniversary most revered in Texas is the year it became its own nation. In 1936, a large World’s Fair was held in Dallas, to honor the event, called the Texas Centennial Exposition, or the “Central Centennial Exposition.” Like many World’s Fairs, this ran for a lengthy period, just under 5 months, at Fair Park, from June 6th to November 29th. The expo attracted almost 6.5 million visitors, including then-president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Creating 10,000 jobs it is credited with buffering Dallas from the Great Depression. The 1936 anniversary of Texas presented one very likely reason for the display of this flag, and the group with which it was found, but the 1845 centennial of Texas statehood is every bit as likely, and if they appeared at the former, they were almost certainly utilized for both.
The flag’s single star is made of cotton and is double-appliquéd (applied to both sides) with a zigzag machine stitch. The vertical bar and the two horizontal bars are pieced and joined with lineal machine stitching. There is a twill cotton binding along the hoist, with two brass grommets.
Old Glory Decorating Company was active in flag business until 1980, when it was sold and soon after, dissolved.
Brief History of the Flag of the Republic of Texas / Texas State Flag:
Although its designer remains unknown, a flag in this general design was introduced to the Congress of the Republic of Texas on December 28, 1838. Presented by Senator William H. Wharton, it was adopted on January 25, 1839 as the final of several national flag designs used to represent the Republic as a nation unto itself. A man by the name of Dr. Charles B. Stewart is credited with the drawing, accepted by the Third Congress of the Republic, when it enacted the legislation through which the flag was officially adopted.
Use of one "Lone Star" in Texas symbolized its solidarity in declaring independence from Mexico. A single, large star appeared on what is known as the "Burnet Flag," which served as the national flag of the Republic of Texas from 1836 until 1839. It also appeared on the flags designed by Stephen F. Austin in 1835 and Lorenzo de Zavala in 1836, the latter of which was allegedly adopted in the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos. It is of interest to note that flag historians also cite the use of a single, large star decades beforehand, in The Republic of West Florida, which existed in 1810 for a period of just over two and a half months.
It is also of interest to note that during the Civil War, the State Flag of Texas was sometimes married with that of the First Confederate National Flag (a.k.a., the Stars & Bars). The latter was very similar to the flag of Texas, instead displaying a blue canton in the upper, hoist-end corner, similar to the Stars & Stripes, on which there were a number of white stars to represent the count of Confederate States at any particular time. This grew as more states were accepted to the Confederacy. The canton was paired with a field of three horizontal bars, in red-white-red. Texas patriotism during the war sometimes led to the combination of the two flags, via the use of just one lone star on a flag in the First National design. Close variants of this can also be encountered.
Although design of the Flag of the Republic of Texas remained the de facto state flag from 1879 - 1933, there was technically no official state flag during this period. This is because, in 1879, all statutes not explicitly renewed by the state were repealed under something called the "Revised Civil Statutes of 1879." Since the statutes pertaining to the flag were not among those renewed in that year, Texas was formally flagless until the passage Texas Flag Code in 1933.
19th century examples of the Flag of the Republic of Texas, which was to eventually become its flag as a state, are near-to-non-existent, both in both private hands and within institutional collections. Even flags of the early 20th century are surprisingly scarce.
Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own 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% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. The black-painted and hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Condition: There is minor golden-brown oxidation throughout much of the white bar, accompanied by a modest to moderate streak of soiling, and two very minor ones. There are small tack holes, with associated rust stains, along the hoist binding. Many of my clients like vintage flags to show their age and history of use.
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