Early Ohio State Flag with Blue Disc Inside the Buckeye For Sale
Want more images?
Request additional images from the seller
1 of 6 images

Early Ohio State Flag with Blue Disc Inside the Buckeye

About

Early Ohio state flag with a blue disc inside the buckeye, circa 1902-1915, an extremely rare and beautiful example: Early state flags fall between very scarce and extraordinarily rare in the antiques marketplace. One primary reason for this is that most states, even if they existed during the 18th or 19th century, didn’t actually adopt flags until the early 20th century. The Maryland State Legislature, for example, didn’t find need for a state banner until 1904, in spite of the fact that Maryland was one of the original 13 colonies. Some of the earliest states, such as Pennsylvania and New York, officially adopted or at least used flags, almost from their very origin. All adopted official seals (i.e., crests / coats-of-arms), many doing so while still territories, preceding statehood, but most adopted no flag until many years later. Ohio joined the Union as the 17th state on February 19th, 1803, during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, in the same year that Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase. When Ohio finally adopted a flag in 1902, 99 years later, only 19 of America's 45 states had done so. In most cases, the fuel that lit the fire for such action was participation in Worlds Fairs. Ohio was active in several prior to the turn-of-the-century, but it was the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo where things changed. When states had the both the budget and the wherewithal to do so, they built a stand-alone structure in which their World's Fair exhibit would be housed. These were not like modern county fairs, which run for a few days, or for a week or so at best. World's Fairs typically had a duration of several months and required extensive construction, more attuned to what one might expect in a present-day Olympic Games. In fact, the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Expo was held in St. Louis as part of, and in conjunction with, the 1904 games. In 1901, the Ohio building at the Pan American Expo was designed by Cleveland architect John Eisenmann, who also designed a banner that flew atop the structure. This was adopted by the Ohio Commission, which was the name of the legislative body placed in charge of the state's involvement at the fair. When incumbent Ohio Governor George Nash was attending the event, State Senator Samuel L. Patterson presented him with the Eisenmann-designed flag, and the following year, on May 9th, the design was officially adopted by the Ohio legislature. The elements of the Ohio state flag are supposed to be centered on a red disc, set against a circular white ground that forms a letter "O." This simultaneously a buckeye, the fruit of the state tree and an iconic Ohio symbol. The flag's 5 stripes are said to represent the state's waterways and roads, while the triangular shape of the union is said to illustrate hills and valleys. The presentation of 13 stars along the hoist end, arranged in a semi-circular medallion with two off-set stars above and below, reflects the original 13 colonies. The diamond of stars, towards the fly end. bring the overall count to 17 to reflect Ohio's admission. When the design was adopted by the state legislature, the position of these stars was changed slightly, moving them further around the circle to form a wreath. Flag expert Whitney Smith, who coined the term Vexillology in the late 1950's (the accepted term for the study of flags), pointed out that the format of the flag itself was reminiscent of Civil War cavalry guidons, carried by Ohio regiments throughout the state. These were of swallowtail form, though with 13 stripes, all horizontal and 90 degrees to the hoist. Most often these had circular star patterns around an open center, which makes them even more similar to the Ohio flag. Although these were carried everywhere throughout the north, the flags are certainly similar. The Ohio flag, however, is in the shape of a ship's burgee rather than that of a U.S. Cavalry guidon. This is especially appropriate due to the importance of the Ohio River, as well as Lake Erie. For thousands upon thousands of American settlers, the Ohio River, largest of the Mississippi's tributaries, was the gateway to the American West. Its own tributaries provided transport throughout the state itself, while Lake Erie opened passage to Michigan and beyond. All were the lifeblood of industry and trade. On the particular flag that is the subject of this discussion, the disc in the center of the white "o" is blue instead of red. In this way it differs from both the Eisenmann version and the state's adaptation. This was very likely an error on part of the flag-maker. The stars follow the original, Eisenmann design, as opposed to that of the state, and the shape of the textile is not tapered to the degree specified for either flag. Lots of liberty was taken in the making of both state flags and banners, and the further back one goes in American history, the greater the variation. This is a parade flag, block-printed on plain weave cotton, made to be tacked to a stick and waved at parades or political events, or displayed at patriotic functions. The printing of this example is unusual, in that the white field is actually printed with white pigment. Most parade flags let the white fabric on which the flag is printed serve as the white color, while only the red and blue were printed. Parade flags printed with white ink are known in a variety of star counts ranging from 36 to 48. I don't happen to recall any 46 star examples with white pigment, but it does appear on flags with 45 stars (ca 1896 -1907). There is also one notable 48 star variety, of which only one single example survives, that I believe to have been printed before we had 48 states and therefore anticipatory of the star count. Large political banners, printed with white grounds, are common to the 1930's and 40's, but the flags of the 1908-1940 period seldom ever had white printed stripes. In addition, and no less significant, the shades of red and blue on this Ohio flag are more akin to what I would expect of the 19th century than the 20th. For this reason, I believe that it was most likely made for Ohio's participation in the 1904 St. Louis Expo., or the 1905 Louis & Clark Centennial Expo. in Portland, Oregon, or Seattle's Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Expo. in 1909. The Panama-Pacific Expo., a major 1915 fair in San Francisco, is a possibility, though the flags have an earlier feel. The flag was found with other banners, some of which related to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Similar to the Masons in some respects, the Odd Fellows are one of the few secret fraternal groups that were operating in the 18th century and still exist today. The organization formed in England sometime during the 18th century and was introduced to the U.S. in New York in 1806. Though the exact date of origin is uncertain, the earliest surviving meeting minutes (from a chapter in London) date to 1730. The original purpose of the Odd Fellows relates to a time before there was a welfare state, socialized healthcare programs, or trade unions. The aim was (and still is) to provide assistance to its members along these lines when they need it. The name “Odd Fellows” has long been a source of curiosity and speculation. Though forgotten by the organization itself, one reasonable theory is that it referred to those persons employed in “odd” trades, as there were organizations for most of the major trades. Trade organizations had been a major feature of parades and patriotic functions in America since the 18th century. It is very likely that a member of the Odd Fellows, perhaps as part of an Ohio delegation from the organization, acquired and displayed the flag at an event. World's Fairs had all sorts of mini-celebrations within them to draw attendance from various groups, and it is probable that there was an "Ohio Day" at any major fair, or some other event coinciding with visits to the fair by state dignitaries. Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and presentation of flags and have preserved thousands of examples. The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The scooped profile molding has a rope style lip and a finish that is very dark brown in color, nearly black, with reddish highlights and overtones. To this a silver gilded liner was added. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass. Feel free to contact us for more details. Condition: There are very minor holes along the hoist end, at and adjacent to where the flag was affixed to a wooden staff, accompanied by a few others in the bottom red stripe. There is modest to moderate pigment loss in the striped field, along with some fading and modest fraying along the fly end. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use. Frame size (H x L): Approx. 32.5" x 47.5" Flag size (H x L): 20.25" x 35"     

Details

  • Production Time
    Available Now
  • Place of Origin
  • Date of Manufacture
    1902-1915
  • Dimensions
    H 32.5 in. x W 47.5 in. x D 2.5 in.H 82.55 cm x W 120.65 cm x D 6.35 cm
  • Seller Location
    York County, PA
  • Seller Reference Number
    ofj-932
  • Reference Number
    LU849712256211
Buyer Protection Guaranteed
Our Promise To You: If you're not happy with the way an item arrived, we'll work with the seller on your behalf to ensure you're satisfied with the resolution. Read more

Delivery, Returns & Payment

  • Delivery
    Rates vary by destination and complexity
    Shipping methods are determined by item size, type, fragility and specific characteristics.
    Shipping costs are calculated based on carrier rates, delivery distance and packing complexity.
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

    View details
  • Online Payment Methods
    1stdibs accepts the following payment methods
  • Item Invoice
    Generate an invoice that you can customize and print.

About the Seller

5 / 5
Vetted
Recognized
1stdibs seller since 2008
Located in York County, PA
You may also contact the seller by phoneCall seller through 1stdibs
More From This Seller
California State Flag with Gold Silk Fringe
Vintage 1950s American Political and Patriotic Memorabilia
California state flag with gold silk fringe, circa 1950-60: Early state flags fall between very scarce and extraordinarily rare in the antiques marketplace. One primary reason for...
Hand-Painted Patriotic Banner with the Seal of ...
Antique Late 19th Century American Political and Patriotic Memorabilia
HAND-PAINTED PATRIOTIC BANNER WITH THE SEAL OF THE STATE OF OREGON AND GREAT FOLK QUALITIES, 1861-1876: Swallowtail format, patriotic vertical banner bearing the name and the seal o...
Hand-Painted Patriotic Banner With The Seal of ...
Antique 1860s North American Political and Patriotic Memorabilia
HAND-PAINTED PATRIOTIC BANNER WITH THE SEAL OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AND GREAT FOLK QUALITIES PROBABLY MADE FOR THE 1868 DEMOCRAT NATIONAL CONVENTION AT TAMMANY HALL IN NEW YORK CITY...
44 Star Flag with Stars That Form the Letters "...
Antique 1890s American Political and Patriotic Memorabilia
44 stars configured into the letters “U.S.”, patented in 1890 by W.R. Washburn, one of only four known surviving examples and one of the boldest designs known to exist in early flags...
You May Also Like
Texas State Flag by Annin Flag Company, circa 1...
Vintage 1930s American Political and Patriotic Memorabilia
This is vintage Texas state flag, produced by Annin Flag Company in the 1930s. The flag is sewn and measures 3 ft x 5 ft. Texas passed its Flag Act in 1933, describing the exact ...
42-Star "Whimsical Star Pattern" American Flag ...
Antique 1880s American Historical Memorabilia
This is an uncommon 42-star flag, commemorating the addition of the state of Washington to the Union. The flag dates to 1889-1890, and is printed on cotton. The canton consists of si...
30-Star Medallion American Flag with Large Cent...
Antique 1840s American Political and Patriotic Memorabilia
This is a rare 30-star medallion American flag, celebrating the addition of Wisconsin to the Union. The flag is printed on linen, and has a spectacularly unique star pattern. A doubl...
British Union Jack Flag from the 19th Century i...
Antique Late 19th Century British Victorian Political and Patriotic Memo...
Cotton
A large and wonderfully distressed 19th century Union Jack flag. Partially hand stitched with period repairs, age related damage and service wear throughout. Measurements are approx...
Whimsical Civil War Homemade Flag with 33-Star ...
Antique 1860s American Historical Memorabilia
This is an unique and incredibly unusual flag where the finished side of the canton has 33 stars, yet the reverse has 35 stars. Close examination of the canton fabric reveals that no...
23-Star Centennial Celebration Flag, circa 1876
Antique 1870s American Political and Patriotic Memorabilia
This 23-star count flag normally dates back to 1820, when James Monroe was President and Maine joined the Union as the 23rd state. However, the mode of construction of this flag sugg...
40-Star "Unofficial" Whimsical Star Pattern Ame...
Antique 1880s Historical Memorabilia
This 40-star American flag is very rare and celebrates the addition of North and South Dakota to the Union. The body of the flag is constructed of wool, with 40 machine-sewn, dou...
31-Star Great Star Parade Flag Celebrating Cali...
Antique 1850s American Political and Patriotic Memorabilia
This is a rare 31-star medallion American flag, celebrating the addition of California to the Union. The flag is printed on cotton, and has a spectacularly unique star pattern. A ...

Why Shop on 1stdibs?

Learn More

Only Vetted, Professional Sellers

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

Fully Insured Global Deliveries