“What makes Flags and flagpoles?” is a question that is often asked.
Thermoplastics are commonly used to make flags. These plastics are capable of being produced in any color, shape or size and are highly durable. The most popular materials used for mass-production flags include polyester, nylon, vinyl, and olefin, but historically the ‘best’ material was silk! This means they resist fading, fraying, tearing, mildewing and abrading.
A standard flag has many parts: header tape stitched into hem sleeve grommets or rope and toggle sewn on, sleeve hem reinforced with ribbon/ binding. Some flags even have a canvas (natural fabric) header to which the appliqués are sewn.
Some firms now offer digitally printed flags to order in any quantity. However, this option still requires assembly at either end by professional seamstresses before being digitised via the colour-scanning process. This is only a basic outline of how flags and flagpoles are manufactured.
The materials used to make flag poles vary from community to community depending upon geography, climate, local regulations etc. Here are a few examples of pole materials: wood, metal/aluminium, fibreglass or carbon fibre, and recently synthetics such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is tolerant of cold weather conditions (the material commonly used for speed skating rinks) and floats!
All materials require some form of treatment to stop them from rotting, rusting or de-ticking [insects can cause damage to the pole by their constant climbing and moving up and down]. The most common method is galvanisation, but this technique can also produce a powder coating. An alternative way of protecting poles from rot is by dipping them in plastic concrete. The concrete acts as an insulator and sound barrier while providing a very smooth finish with ‘scratch proof’.
A flagpole is simply a wooden mast on top of a tubular steel pole base – the two are then permanently fixed together using cement, grout or even bolts. This same union is sometimes achieved by welding the two components together to form one monolithic pole.
Whether flown from the top of buildings, mounted on poles outside government offices or hung at homes during holidays, flags serve as symbols for countries all over the world.