Last modified: 2012-06-23 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | folding | triangle |
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The following question was answered by a little digging in the Betsy Ross home page - but I haven't seen this reported before. Here is the URL for your interest: www.ushistory.org/betsy/more/folds.htm - quite interesting!
submitted by: Rob Raeside, 22 October 2001
What's on the page provided by Rob is an interesting interpretation, but it's a case of people coming up with symbolism for something that existed before the explanation was invented. It is widely noted that the triangular shape resembles the cocked (or tricorn="three-cornered") hat worn at the time of the American Revolution. As I understand it, however, this was not the origin of the method of folding the flag. Instead, the system of folding the flag twice lengthwise then into a series of triangles was developed by soldiers during the 19th century as a practical means of storing large flags neatly (garrison flags of 20 feet in hoist and everyday flags of 10 feet in hoist) without requiring large numbers of men. The method yielded a manageable packet that had the additional benefit of unfolding easily when the flag was hoisted the next morning (the upper and lower grommets were right together inside the triangle--they could be attached by a two- to four-man detail and the flag then unfolded itself while being kept clear of the ground by one or two of the two men as the halyard was pulled).
The business about the symbolism of the various folds is pure invention. Nothing wrong with ascribing such meanings if one chooses, but without historic basis. The number of folds made comes inevitably from the 10:19 ratio of the flag.
Joe McMillan, 22 October 2001
To see how it is done, you can also look at this page: www.crwflags.com/folding.html
Elias Granqvist, 22 October 2001