05. Grand Luminary Flags, 1796 - 1912



 

The Grand Luminary or Great Star Pattern Design From The Revolution to Late 19th Century and Beyond

The arrangement of stars in the canton of the Unites States flag was not considered when the first flag act was passed in 1777. This left the star pattern to the whim of individual seamstresses and sempstress and not surprisingly there ware as many variants as there were makers which makes the early flags highly collectible. One of the most compelling, attractive and popular designs was the Grand Luminary design where the individual stars formed a single larger star.  Surviving examples demonstrate that Grand Luminary were originally an infrequent variant, but one which gained popularity rapidly as the result of the popularization efforts of a War of 1812 American privateer captain Samuel Reid. 

In 1818, as the Third Flag Act was being considered, when Reid created several proposals for the redesigned United States Flag; a Grand Luminary flag which he called the People's Flag; He also proposed an additional U.S. flag with an American eagle in the canton to be used concurrently as the Government Flag that the chief executive would use which he styled as the President's Standard. Congress did not act on any of Reid's proposals and instead the U.S. Navy adopted the more familiar rectilinear star field. 

The Grand Luminary design did remain in the popular imagination and sanctioned or not became widely utilized by private citizens on ships, buildings, and eventually the militia. The flag would continue through the rest of the 19th century, reaching its peak of popularity in the 1840's. It would remain popular for another thirty years until both the increased number of states and the rise of large flag manufacturing companies seeking more efficient ways of production gave way to more simple designs. The Grand Luminary would linger on as a novelty flag into the early 20th Century and reminds one of the most desirable of collectible American flags.  One of the later period examples in the ZFC is a 38 star flag see above (ZFC1423) from 1876 and the unique Whiple 46 star design of 1908 modified to 48 stars in 1912 (ZFC0635).  There is also 48 star Grand Luminary that represents the oldest Grand Luminary in ZFC (ZFC2276). 

The Grand Luminary flags in the Zaricor Flag Collection range from the ragged to the resplendent. Presented below are some examples, including aante-bellum flags, flags made during the American Civil War; flags from the Centennial Era and the early 20th century.  You will find a large number of Grand Luminary Flags throughout the early Groupings beginning with the Revolution Grouping up through and including The Reconstruction Period post Civil War before it fades in the 1870's.

 

Grand Luminary Flags, 1796 - 1912 Grouping



12 RESULTS
Item Ref Item Name Sub-Collection
U.S. 21 Star Grand Luminary Flag - Illinois. ZFC0422 U.S. 21 Star Grand Luminary Flag - Illinois. Flayderman // Early American
U.S. 26 Star Flag Grand Luminary Star Pattern. ZFC0696 U.S. 26 Star Flag Grand Luminary Star Pattern. Mastai - Early American Flags
U.S 26 Star Grand Luminary Flag. ZFC0606 U.S 26 Star Grand Luminary Flag. Mastai - Early American Flags
U.S. 26 Star Grand Luminary Flag, 1837 - 1845. ZFC0607 U.S. 26 Star Grand Luminary Flag, 1837 - 1845. Mastai - Early American Flags
U.S. 31 Stars Flag, California joins the Union. ZFC0585 U.S. 31 Stars Flag, California joins the Union. Judge John T. Ball courtroom & chambers flag collection
U.S. 33 Star Grand Luminary Flag. ZFC1155 U.S. 33 Star Grand Luminary Flag. U.S. 33 Star Flags
U.S. 34 Star Flag, 1863 - 1865, ZFC0005 U.S. 34 Star Flag, 1863 - 1865, "Grand Luminary". U.S. 34 Star Flags
U.S 35 Star Flag - Hidden Grand Luminary Star. ZFC0699 U.S 35 Star Flag - Hidden Grand Luminary Star. Mastai - Early American Flags
U.S. 38 Star Grand Luminary Flag - Colorado. ZFC1423 U.S. 38 Star Grand Luminary Flag - Colorado. U.S. 38 Star Flags
U.S. 48 Star Grand Luminary Flag. ZFC2276 U.S. 48 Star Grand Luminary Flag. U.S. 48 Star Flags
U.S. 48 Star Flag ZFC0635 U.S. 48 Star Flag "Whipple Flag", 1912. Mastai - Early American Flags
U.S. 48 Star ZFC0705 U.S. 48 Star "Whipple Peace Pennant" Mastai - Early American Flags

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