Wisconsin Flag History
Adopted: May 1, 1981
Wisconsin Flag Design: Blue flag charged with the Wisconsin coat of arms.
An official design for the Wisconsin flag was initially provided by the legislature in 1863. Noting that a flag had not been adopted and that Civil War regiments in the field were requesting flags, the legislature formed a 5-member joint select committee to report "a description for a proper state flag." This action resulted in the adoption of 1863 Joint Resolution 4, which provided a design for a state flag that was substantially the same as the regimental flags already in use by Wisconsin troops.
It was not until 1913, however, that language concerning flag specifications was added to the Wisconsin Statutes. Chapter 111, Laws of 1913, created a state flag provision, specifying a dark blue flag with the state coat of arms centered on each side. That provision has become Section 1.08 of the statutes.
The 1913 design remained unchanged until the enactment of Chapter 286, Laws of 1979, which culminated years of legislative efforts to alter or replace Wisconsin’s flag so it would be more distinctive and recognizable. The most significant changes made by the 1979 act were adding the word "Wisconsin" and the statehood date "1848" in white letters, centered respectively above and below the coat of arms.
Over the years the Wisconsin Legislature has officially recognized a wide variety of state symbols. In order of adoption, Wisconsin has designated an official seal, coat of arms, motto, flag, song, flower, bird, tree, fish, state animal, wildlife animal, domestic animal, mineral, rock, a symbol of peace, insect, soil, fossil, dog, beverage, grain, and dance. (The "Badger State" nickname, however, remains unofficial.) These symbols provide a focus for expanding public awareness of Wisconsin's history and diversity.
Seal and Coat of Arms.
Article XIII, Section 4, of the Wisconsin Constitution, requires the legislature to provide a "great seal" to be used by the secretary of state to authenticate all of the governor's official acts except laws. The seal consists of the coat of arms with the words "Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin" centered above and a curved line of 13 stars representing the 13 original United States centered below, surrounded by an ornamental border. A modified “lesser seal” serves as the seal of the secretary of state.
The coat of arms is an integral part of the state seal and also appears on the state flag. It contains a sailor with a coil of rope and a "yeoman" (usually considered a miner) with a pick, who jointly represent labor on water and land. These two figures support a quartered shield with symbols for agriculture (plow), mining (pick and shovel), manufacturing (arm and hammer), and navigation (anchor). Centered on the shield is a small U.S. coat of arms and the U.S. motto, "E plurbus unum" ("One out of many"), referring to the union of U.S. states, to symbolize Wisconsin’s loyalty to the Union. At the base, a cornucopia, or horn of plenty, stands for prosperity and abundance, while a pyramid of 13 lead ingots represents mineral wealth and the 13 original United States. Centered over the shield is a badger, the state animal, and the state motto “Forward” appears on a banner above the badger.
The history of the seal is inextricably entwined with that of the coat of arms. An official seal was created in 1836 when Wisconsin became a territory and was revised in 1839. When Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848, a new seal was prepared. This seal was changed in 1851 at the instigation of Governor Nelson Dewey and slightly modified to its current design in 1881 when Dewey’s seal wore out and had to be recast. (See "Motto" below.) Chapter 280, Laws of 1881, provided the first precise statutory description of the great seal (and coat of arms) in what ultimately became Sections 1.07 and 14.45 of the statutes.
Motto: "Forward". The motto, "Forward", was introduced in the 1851 revision of the state seal and coat of arms. Governor Dewey had asked University of Wisconsin Chancellor John H. Lathrop to design a new seal. It is alleged the motto was selected during a chance meeting between Governor Dewey and Edward Ryan (later chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court) when the governor went to New York City, carrying the Lathrop design to the engraver. Ryan objected to the Latin motto, "Excelsior", which Lathrop proposed. According to tradition, Dewey and Ryan sat down on the steps of a Wall Street bank, designed a new seal, and chose "Forward" on the spot. It is officially recognized in Section 1.07 of the statutes.
NOT ALL WISCONSIN STATE FLAGS ARE THE SAME!
Extra care is taken in making these flags. Flag designs are researched to ensure that they are authentic and current. We use sturdy fabrics, allowing the flags to be flown outdoors, indoors, or carried in parades.
Constructed with 100% Heavy Duty Nylon (digital dyed) ★ Beautiful, brilliant colors ★ Resistant to wear and tear of sun & rain ★ Complete with heavy canvas heading & brass grommets to meet the most demanding commercial and residential uses.
- All outdoor flags are finished with heavy-duty thread, polyester heading, brass grommets, and four needle fly hem
- State flags constructed to precise specifications
- Flies in the slightest breeze
- Proudly Made in the USA
- Beautiful Presentation - This Wisconsin Flag makes an excellent gift for friends, parents, or to PROUDLY display on your HOME or OFFICE.
HEAVY-DUTY NYLON OUTDOOR STATE FLAGS WITH SOLAR SHIELD
Our most popular and versatile outdoor Wisconsin flag, USA Flag Co. flags offer the optimum combination of elegance and durability for every purpose. The 100% nylon material provides a rich, lustrous appearance. Our flags have superb wearing strength due to the material’s superior strength-to-weight ratio and will fly in the slightest breeze. State flags are finished with strong, polyester canvas headings and spurred brass grommets, and four needle fly hem. The result is a flag that will be flown with pride year after year.
- Rich, Vivid Colors
- Mildew Resistant
- Sheds Water
- Lightweight for Flyability
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This is the most common question asked in the industry and the most difficult to answer. No two flags will wear the same due to weather conditions and how often the flag is flown. Our flags offer the best stitching and highest quality materials to get your flag off to a great start.
Do not hang a flag where the wind will whip it against rough surface, such as tree branches, wires or cables or the outside of your home or building. Inspect your flags regularly for signs of wear. Repair any minor rips or tears right away this can be mended easily with a sewing machine or sewing kit. Keep the surface of the pole free of dirt, rust or corrosion that could damage or stain your flag.
We recommend that you hand-wash your flag with mild soap, rinse thoroughly and air dry. You can also use a dry cleaning service.
Exposing your flag to rain, wind, snow or high winds will shorten the life of your flag considerably. If you leave your flag exposed to the elements, it will greatly reduce the life of your flag.
Yes, as long as your pole is large enough to support the weight of the flags. The USA Flag must always fly at the top. The flag underneath should be at least one foot lower and be one size smaller than the USA Flag. Flags of other countries are not to be flown beneath the USA Flag.
If your flag is significantly faded, torn or tattered it is time to retire your flag. Your flag should be retired privately in a dignified manner. In addition, many local community organizations have flag disposal centers that will dispose of your flag for you.
Exactly what you are expecting.
Very pleased with my purchase. Several compliments on my Massachusetts flag from passersby.
I love it. Even though I’m in Calif now, Oklahoma is still my home. The flag is beautiful.