The History of Labor Day

Celebrated on the first Monday of every September, Labor Day honors the contributions and achievements of the American worker. Becoming a federal holiday in 1894, Labor Day originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters.

At the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States during the late 1800s, the average American worked 12-hour days, 7-days a week. And this was just to manage a basic living. Also, and despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 worked in mills, factories, and mines earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. Workers of all ages, the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities, and breaks.

As manufacturing work replaced agriculture as the main source of American employment, labor unions grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and pressed employers to renegotiate hours and pay. In New York City on September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, when several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Then on May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. Two months later, the American Railroad Union led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. These events, among many others, brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view.

The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it. Congress, however, would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later after the massive unrest involving the Pullman Palace Car Company. In an attempt to repair ties with the American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified. While many credit Peter J. McGuire, who co-founded the American Federation of Labor, others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.

United States Flag Store is here to answer all your questions. Feel free to give us a toll-free call at 1-877-734-2458 or email us at support@onlinestores.com.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Flag

Super Tough Heavy Duty 20ft Residential flagpole with US made nylon flag

The decision on which fabric to choose when purchasing an outdoor American flag (or any flag) is important. You need to take into consideration where you live (for flyability) and if you plan on flying the flag 24 hours/7 days a week (durability). United States Flag Store offers an American Flag Comparison Table to break down the flyability and durability for each fabric at different sizes to help consumers decide. Let’s take a look at the three main fabrics for flags: nylon, polyester and cotton.

Polyester is the most durable of fabrics for flags. It would be your choice if you choose to fly your flag 24/7. They are a heavier fabric, so they do require more wind to “fly”. There are two types of polyester that United States Flag store offers: sewn polyester and printed polyester. Sewn polyester flags would be the most durable of the two. They are made from a special type of polyester fabric that actually looks like coarse cotton in texture. The open weave reduces fabric stress, which makes it ideal to fly all day and in relatively high winds. These flags also feature sewn stripes and embroidered stars. Printed Polyester Flags are a more economical option. These flags are printed on silky-looking polyester fabric, but are lighter making them more flyable in less windy areas.

Nylon flags are considered the “all weather flag” due to its ability to fly in low winds and shed water, making it an ideal flag for wet climate areas. Nylon flags provide a bright, lustrous appearance making these United States Flag Store’s most popular outdoor flags.

Cotton flags, while vibrant in color, are not designed for outdoor use. Consumers can use cotton flags for outdoor use, but it is recommended for only short-term use. Cotton flags are more likely to fade, stain, shrink and lose their shape when displayed outside. Cotton flags are ideal for indoor display and are typically used as a burial flag or funeral flag (the 5 foot x 9.5 foot size that is used for covering a casket).

Online Stores, Inc. 5ft x 9.5ft Cotton American Memorial Flag

United States Flag Store is here to answer all your questions. Feel free to give us a toll free call at 1-877-734-2458 or email us at support@onlinestores.com.

Flag Display Cases from Zell Manufacturing Company

United States Flag Store is proud to offer American Made display cases for flags from Zell Manufacturing Company, Inc. Located in Export, Pennsylvania (about 35 miles east of Pittsburgh), Zell Manufacturing was founded by Clifford R. Zell in 1965 and remains in operation by his 3 sons. Specializing in a variety of quality wooden products, each display case is custom made. Let’s take a look at each style that United States Flag offers.

Recently added are flag display cases for both 3 foot x 5 foot flags and 5 foot x 9.5 foot size flags. The cases are made of solid poplar wood are available in walnut, cherry, and black finishes. Poplar wood is a hardwood that comes from the trees in the magnolia family. The common English-language names for this tree are “yellow poplar”, “tulip poplar”, “American tulip” or “tulip tree”. Since the yellow poplar’s growth range spans from the Mississippi River to the east coast of the US, it may not be surprising to find that the wood from yellow poplar trees were used extensively for buildings in that area between the 18th and 20th centuries.

US Made Flag Case for 3' x 5' Flag

These same 3 foot x 5 foot and 5 foot x 9.5 foot size flag display cases are also available in solid oak. The solid oak flag display cases are available in clear, cherry, walnut, and black finishes.

Solid Oak Flag Case for 5' x 9.5' Flag - US Made

Zell Manufacturing also makes beautiful Flag and Document Cases that will not only display a 3 foot x 5 foot flag, but any certificates, diplomas, family heirlooms, or documents that measure 8.5 inch x 11 inch. This stunning display case is available in a cherry finish in either solid oak or in solid poplar wood.

Deluxe USA-Made Hardwood Flag and Document Case - Cherry - for 3' x 5' Flags

Last, but certainly not least, Zell Manufacturing’s Shadow Boxes features a black felt backboard to proudly display medals, memorabilia, and certificates. These shadow boxes also come with a flag case for a 3 foot x 5 foot flag. These flag cases are available in a cherry finish or in an oak finish .

Military Flag and Medal Display Case - Shadow Box

Flag and Medal Display Case - Military Shadow Box - Oak

United States Flag Store is here to answer all your questions. Feel free to give us a toll free call at 1-877-734-2458 or email us at support@onlinestores.com.