The Vast Number Which a War Vessel Needs to Have Ready.
Before a man-of-war is completely equipped she must be supplied with a varied assortment of the flags of all nations. The flag lockers of a cruiser like the New York will contain more than 200 different ensigns.
All the flags for our navy are made in the equipment building at the Brooklyn navy yard. The floor of the flagroom is covered with lines representing the exact measurements of the various ensigns, and it is no easy matter to turn out a flag which will be exactly according to pattern, both as to design and measurement.
There are eight colors used in flags — red, white, blue, orange, yellow, green, brown, black and canary yellow.
The canary yellow is used instead of white in flags used for signaling. This is because it is found that, when signaling at a distance, a white flag or a device on a white ground blends with the horizon and becomes almost invisible.
The largest American flag made is called No. 1. It measures 34.86 feet in length and 13.12 feet in breadth and is very rarely used.
The size called No. 2, which is considerably smaller, is the one generally used by warships.
Cruisers carry the stars and stripes in seven different sizes, but only the Minneapolis and the Detroit fly the gigantic No. 1 size.
The most difficult flag to make is that of San Salvador. This flag requires all the colors, and Costa Rica runs it close, requiring all but brown.
Our own flag is by no means an easy one to make. The 44 stars in their blue field have to be accurately arranged and the stripes mathematically exact according to the official pattern.
The stars are made of muslin, folded 25 times and punched out by a steel punch, which cuts a dozen or more stars at each operation.
There are used in the navy yard 50,000 yards of bunting annually, which is all made in the United States. Before being made up into flags the bunting is put to a very severe test. From each lot a sample is taken and steeped in fresh water for 24 hours. After that it is thoroughly scrubbed with strong soap and then rinsed and dried. It is then exposed to the direct sunlight for 18 hours, and if it shows no fading in color it is accepted.
The industry gives employment to a great many men and women. — Boston Globe.
Monday, June 23, 2008