Interesting American Flag Facts

American Flag

Interesting American Flag Facts

If you live in the United States, you probably see an American Flag displayed prominently every day. American Flags are a great source of pride for many Americans and are even required at some organizations. Unfortunately, the United States imports many American Flags from foreign countries for lower prices. At Quality Sign Designer, we stitch all of our American Flags at our production facility in Florida. If you’re looking for an American Flag that is made in America, you’ve come to the right place.

Grommets on American Flag
Grommets being added to an American Flag at our Florida production facility

 Who created the first American Flag?

The short answer is that no one truly knows.

The first American Flag from 1776 (or 1777) is often referred to as the “Betsy Ross Flag.” Legend has it that Betsy Ross stitched together a design that George Washington sketched at his request. Ross’ grandson, William J. Canby, brought this theory to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in a paper in 1870. However, there is no documented evidence that proves, or disproves, Canby’s claim.

Betsy Ross Flag
The “Betsy Ross Flag”

How many times has the American Flag been modified?

The American Flag has been modified 26 times!  On June 14th 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted the first official guidelines for the national flag: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Within the United States, citizens celebrate Flag Day on June 14th because of this. It is unclear whether the “Betsy Ross Flag” was created prior to this act as legend has it, or if it was created afterwards.

 In 1795,  the Second Continental Congress established a new 15-star, 15-stripe design, after Vermont and Kentucky became states. Known as the Star-Spangled Banner, this was the flag that inspired the Francis Scott Key song by the same name that became the National Anthem of the United States.

15 Star, 15 Stripe Star-Spangled Banner
The 15-star, 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner

In 1818, the American Flag went back to thirteen alternating stripes. The 1818 Flag Act set forth that there be 13 alternating red and white stripes to represent the 13 original colonies, and one star for every state.

The remaining alterations to the flag were to add stars in the upper left corner as more states were added. The U.S. Government adopted the current 50-star version in 1960 and it has not changed since.

Why is the American Flag called “Old Glory?”

Old Glory was a nickname given to a 10’ x 17’ American Flag by William Driver, a sea captain from Massachusetts. Driver was the owner of the flag which has said to have survived many attempts to deface it during the Civil War.

Driver was a master mariner, sailing his own ship at the age of 21. In his 20-year career as a merchant seaman, Driver sailed to China, India, and Gibraltar. Driver would later move from Massachusetts to Nashville, Tennessee where Confederate soldiers tried confiscate his American Flag. However, Driver consistently resisted, even hiding his flag with his neighbors to prevent soldiers from taking it.

Historic American Flag
Willaim Driver’s flag, nicknamed “Old Glory”

Regarding his 10’ x 17’ American Flag, Driver wrote, “It has ever been my staunch companion and protection. Savages and heathens, lowly and oppressed, hailed and welcomed it at the far end of the wide world. Then, why should it not be called Old Glory?” Driver was a respected unionist and others noticed his devotion to protect the flag, causing to the nickname “Old Glory” to stick.

Interesting Regulations Under the U.S. Flag Code

Flying your own American Flag can be a great source of pride and honor, however it is important to understand the regulations under the U.S. Flag Code so you can display your flag respectfully. Below we will highlight some regulations for when and how you should fly Old Glory.

  • The American Flag should not be publicly displayed in darkness. Owners should raise the Flag at sunrise and lower it at sunset, unless a light illuminates the flag when it is dark.
  •  Main administration buildings of all public institutions should display the American Flag daily.
  •  If flown alongside a national flag of another country, the two flags should be flown on separate staffs, at equal height.
  •  When hung horizontally or vertically, the American Flag should be hung with the union (stars) on the upper left from the observer’s perspective, or the flag’s own right side.
  •  When owners fly the flag at half-staff, they should first raise the flag to the peak of the flagpole for an instant, then lowered to half-staff. When lowering the flag, owners  should raise the flag once more to the peak and then lowered.
  • The American Flag should not be flown in adverse weather unless it is an all-weather flag. Flying the flag in adverse weather (snow, rain, heavy wind) increases its chances of being damaged and is against U.S. Code.
  • On Memorial Day, the American Flag should only remain at half-staff until noon.
  • The American Flag should never be displayed with the union (stars) at the bottom (upside down), except as a signal of dire distress.
  • People should never use an American Flag as a costume, clothing, or drapery.
  •  American Flags owners should destroy them in a dignified way, like burning, when the flag is in poor enough condition that is no longer suitable for display.
  • The American Flag should never touch anything below it.
  • People should never carry the American Flag horizontally or flat, but always aloft and freely.

American Flag Sewn Stripes


The next time you hear someone mention “Old Glory” or the “Betsy Ross Flag,” you will know the history behind it. At Quality Sign Designer, we are proud to produce American Flags here in America. If you are looking for an American Flag or any type of signage, we have the solution for you.