In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, you begin to see streets across the US decked out in flags. You also see U.S. flag displays in retail establishments – from the local supermarket to Home Depot.
Many of these retail displays are for Annin Flags, a family-owned flagmaker headquartered in New Jersey and employing over 500 people across three factories located in Virginia and Ohio.
The company is the number one manufacturer of U.S. flags, state flags, international flags, and custom banners.
All U.S. flags made by Annin are made of domestic materials using the latest sewing and construction technologies.
An Annin-made U.S. flag graces the White House; Annin’s U.S. flags have also played key roles in historical events, including Iwo Jima and the moon landing.
The company produces and ships out over 1.5 million U.S. flags from its South Boston, VA facility and over 3 million full-sized U.S. flags and patriotic decorations from its Coshocton, OH factory.
Each flag is hand-sewn using stand-up sewing techniques and is constructed of fabric woven in the U.S. and then dyed at one of the company’s plants.
Annin even has a facility dedicated to high-speed embroidery of the blue star fields.
Over 57 people at the 40,000 square foot Cobbs Creek, VA facility produce over 1M embroidered star fields each year. (Not all their flags have embroidered stars.)
The U.S. flag features 13 red and white stripes, which represent the original 13 states and stand for purity and courage. After the dying procedure, the fabric is then cut by slitting machines.
The stripes are sewn together and added to the blue star field (the blue represents justice), with the hem, header, canvas edging and grommets added using high-speed sewing machines and other equipment.
The company’s capabilities also include digital printing for state and international flags and custom banners. In fact, it’s one of the largest digital printers in the U.S.!
The flag of explorers, presidents, and world events
Brothers Edward and Benjamin Annin, were just 15 and 13 when they started the flag business within their father’s existing business in 1847.
According to company history in the book, Annin Flagmakers: An Historical History, the company’s reputation for quality and service spread to government buyers, with Annin winning the prize commission: supplying flags for the inauguration of Zachary Taylor as President in 1849.
The company has supplied flags for every presidential inauguration since. By 1851, the company was supplying flags to World’s Fairs and yachting events such as the America’s Cup.
Business soared after the company designed the 50-star flag when Hawaii and Alaska entered the Union in 1959.
Annin flags have been carried by explorers to the North and South Poles and by the Apollo 11 astronauts, who set an Annin flag on the moon’s surface in 1969.
Today, Annin is overseen by 6th-generation family members and is still privately-owned.
If you fly a U.S. flag in front of your house or business, it just may be an Annin flag. If it is, you now know some of the history, quality and pride that went into manufacturing it.
Annin Flagmakers is headquartered in Roseland, NJ. Learn more about the company and flag etiquette at at the company website.