The Oldest and Largest Makers of Flags in the United States since 1847
The American flag was scarcely 70 years old in 1847 when brothers Benjamin and Edward Annin founded Annin Flagmakers flag–makers on Fulton Street in New York City. The business had begun with their father, Alexander Annin who had been sewing flags and supplying them to merchant ships from his sail-making shop on the New York City waterfront as far back as 1820. There, the company prospered and grew along with our nation.In 1865 Annin Flagmakers experienced its first big surge in business when the Civil War ignited the fires of patriotism in the American populace. This was the first time in America’s history that private citizens purchased American flags in significant numbers to display on their homes.In 1910 Annin Flagmakers relocated to 5th Avenue and 16th Street, a location that later came to be known as ‘Old Glory Corner’. Increased demand for American flags coincided with our country’s industrial revolution in the latter part of the 19th century. Annin Flagmakers, on the forefront of technology, then as it is today, made the sewing machine, invented in 1846, a standard piece of flag-making equipment.Demand for U.S. flags boomed again in 1917 with our involvement in World War I and it was during this time that Annin Flagmakers built its flagship plant in Verona NJ. The new facility was fully modernized for its time, with all of the latest equipment and a dedicated and skilled workforce. Brand new machines, such as mechanized die-cutters for stamping out stars, were invented specifically to automate the flag-making process and were installed at the Verona plant. Assembly lines, popularized by Henry Ford, were also set up to increase efficiencies. The management of Annin Flagmakers made certain that the methods of production in their factories kept pace with 20th Century progress.Historically, the domestic political climate and world events have affected U.S. flag sales in a way that is unique compared with other products. While sales of American flags dipped during the depression years, they rose again during the patriotic fervor of World War II. The addition of the new states of Alaska in 1959 and Hawaii in 1960 generated a avalanche of orders from Americans who wanted to replace their outdated forty-eight star U.S. flags with the new fifty-star version. The anti-Viet Nam War sentiment during the turbulent period of the late sixties and early seventies made those years lean ones for U.S. flag sales but America’s Bicentennial in 1976 brought Old Glory back stronger than ever.Annin Flagmakers grew both in physical size and in production capacity in the last twenty–five years of the 20th Century. Annin purchased competitive flag companies Colonial Flag Company of Coshocton, Ohio in 1975 and Dettra Flag Co. of Oaks, Pennsylvania in 1998. Dettra Flag Company had been Annin’s largest
commercial competitor since its inception in 1902.By mid-twentieth century, Annin Flagmakers had become known as the premier flag maker in the United States. It had the best quality products, broadest product line, best-known brand, largest inventory, best service, highest fill rates and the greatest production capacity in the industry.The patriotic fervor that gripped the people of the United States after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 led to an unprecedented demand for American flags. Orders poured in for quantities of U.S. flags that were twenty times that of normal. Annin Flagmakers rose to the occasion and dramatically increased production.In 2005, Annin Flagmakers joined with other domestic flag manufacturing companies and became a founding member of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America (FMAA). This industry organization is dedicated to promoting the manufacture of U.S. flags in America by Americans with domestically made fabric.
Today Annin Flagmakers prides itself on embracing the best of 21st century technology. Annin’s state-of-the-art SAP ERP business system allows it to offer its customers improved service through best –in- class forecasting, purchasing and manufacturing planning. Annin’s Mass Market customers can order with EDI and
ASN capabilities. A FTP (File Transfer Protocol) site is available for uploading art files for custom flag and banner products
In Annin’s two largest domestic factories, US flags are manufactured with advanced cellular production techniques; state, international and custom flags are digitally and screen -dyed to exact color specifications; the in-house research and the development testing laboratories, together with the art department are constantly monitoring dye formulas. Our Distribution systems are in real-time synchronization compliance with customer requirements.
Presently, Annin Flagmakers is still family owned and operated by the Beard and Dennis families. On January 1, 2011 Carter Beard became the President and CEO of Annin Flagmakers. Carter and his cousin Sandy Dennis Van Lieu, Sr. Vice President, are supported by a strong team of managers, many of whom have over
twenty to thirty years of experience with the company. Annin Flagmakers employs over 500 Americans and prides itself on the quality of its products and the experience of its people.
Annin plans to extend its flag-making tradition well into the 21st century and is committed to expanding and upgrading its manufacturing and distribution capabilities.
With promises to its customers to make the best quality products and to offer the best levels of service, Annin Flagmakers anticipates retaining its position as America’s largest manufacturer and distributor of US flags for the indefinite future.