U.S.45 Star Ensign- Navy, New York, 1904

Sub-collection: U.S. Naval

45 Star U.S. Ensign - Navy Yard New York, 1904
This large woolen United States 45 star ensign is an excellent example of a sizable flag made for naval use at a U.S. Navy Yard flag loft. It is clearly marked on its header with a signifier of U.S. Navy #3 size; the location of the yard, N.Y. Navy Yard; and its date of manufacture - May of 1904. It also bears its contract number, C.11903.

From the earliest days of the republic the U.S. Navy satisfied its flag requirements in two ways. They made their own flags at navy yards or supplied bunting to ships so that flags could be made at sea. In times of great need, like the American Civil War and the two world wars, the USN supplemented their own effort with flags manufactured under civilian contract. This process was abandoned in the 1960s and presently all official U.S. Navy flags are made under contract.

When the 20th century dawned the United States Navy was in the midst of a technological transformation. The wooden sailing ships of the American Civil War era, with their underpowered steam propulsion, were swept aside. Replacing them were steel-hulled warships, with powerful engines and modern weapons. America's "Steel Navy" was the beginning of an evolution that would see the U.S. Navy surpass the navies of Europe and Asia to become truly a global power.

Along with the modernization of the fleet there was a corresponding improvement in the manufacture of flags. Flag lofts at navy yards acquired modern double needle and zig-zag sewing machines. Hand sewing was relegated to the finishing details of the hoist and for repairs. This flag exhibits these technological improvements in flag manufacture. This size #3 U.S. Ensign complies with the U.S Navy Bureau of Equipment 1899 table of allowances for flag dimensions. Its numerical designation indicates that it is the third largest flag carried aboard a U.S. warship. Flags of this size were intended for the Navy's capital ships.

This flag dates from the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), and was made early enough to have been in ships stores by the time he dispatched the "Great White Fleet" on its circumnavigation of the globe in 1907. U.S. 45 star flags are relatively common, they were used from 1896 to 1908; but large, marked, yard made flags are rarely encountered.

* Made at Navy Yard N.Y. in Brooklyn, NY, May 1904.
* Acquired by Kim Southern, Seabrook, HN, until 2009.
* Purchase on Internet Auction by Louise Veninga for Zaricor Flag Collection, 2009


Flags of Maritime Nations, United States Navy Dept. Bureau of Equipment, Washington, 1899, p.5, Internet Archive, 19 June 2013, from: http://archive.org/details/ofmaritimeflagsn00unitrich

Flag Sizes, Naval History & Heritage Command, 19 June 2013, from: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq129-1.htm

History of the BNY, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, 19 June 2013, from: http://www.brooklynnavyyard.org/history.html

Zaricor Flag Collection (ZFC) Archives, 2013.

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 150
Length of Fly 282


Width of Union/Canton 78
Length of Union/Canton 109.5


Comments on Star Measurements 8-7-8-7-8-7 horizontal rows


Width of 1st Stripe 11.25
Width of 3rd Stripe 11.25
Width of 8th Stripe 11.5
Width of Last Stripe 11.25
Size of Hoist 2


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 45
How are the stars embeded? Sewn
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no


Description of Crest/Emblem Yard Made Flag, 1903


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool


Stitching Combination
Comments on Stitching Hand & Machine stitching


Type of Weave Plain


Method of Attachment Loop & Toggle


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


Research Documents
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Good
Damage Like new some mothing
Displayable yes


Date 1903