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THE ANATOMY OF A FLAG

Posted on 30th Jan 2014 @ 5:38 PM

 

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THE ANATOMY OF A FLAG

 

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Historically flags have been made from cotton, silk, linen and wool.  In recent history nylon and polyester have replaced those materials because they stand up better in the extreme weather. 

Since the 1600s the majority of flags used at sea have been rectangular.  This has become the accepted shape for land based flags.  Military flags are tradionally square.  Heraldic flags are most often square or nearly square.

Flags are divided into four quarters or cantons.  The two quarters closest to the pole are the hoist ; the remaining two are the fly quarters.  The upper quarter of the hoist which often contains an emblem or seal is referred to as the canton.  This section of the U.S. flag, the blue field with stars, is called the Union.  Flags flown from a vertical flag have a fabric heading or sleeve on the hoist.  Most of the world's flags have a hoist rope sewn into the heading; however, U.S. flags most often have grommets in each corner of the header.  Larger flags have the roped heading. 

The horizontal dimension of the flag is the length of the flag, the vertical dimension is the width.  When showing the proportions of the flag two numbers are used.  the first number is the width, the second is the length.  A flag 3 feet by 5 feet (3 x 5 ) is shown as 1:1.6.

Source:  FLAGS; Kent Alexander; Dr. Whitney Smith, Consulting Editor