|Stars in their eyes: Seamstresses rush to complete the new 50-star flag in 1960. |
(Photo by Larry Keighley, © SEPS)
One more month and the proud new 50-star flags you see being sewn together by the busy Betsy Rosses at left will become officially ensigns of the United States. It has been a hard two years on manufacturers such as the Dettra Flag Company of Oaks, Pennsylvania.
After 47 years of an unchanging 48-star design, two newcomer states forced the rearrangement of the flag’s union, or starred blue field, twice within a year. On the double change-over, Dettra lost about $150,000 in canceled orders and unsalable inventory. The short-lived 49-star flag started the biggest boom the flag business had ever known. This boom collapsed utterly when Hawaii’s admission to the Union was voted by Congress in March 1959.
Related: Saturday Evening Post's Fourth of July Covers Throughout the Decades.However, when President Eisenhower announced on August 21 which 50-star design was to be used, the boom revived, and by the Fourth of July Dettra will have made 2 million bright new banners — twice as many as it ever made before in a single year, and about 40 percent of the year’s total for the country.