The state flag of Ohio, United States, is known as the Ohio Burgee. The only non-rectangular state flag of the United States is a triangular swallowtail flag. The state's natural characteristics and order of entry into the Union are represented by its red, white, and blue components. The state's name is suggested by a conspicuous disc in the triangular canton of the flag.
John Eisenmann created the flag in 1901 for the Pan-American Exposition, and it was approved in 1902. Prior to that, Ohio lacked a state flag that was officially recognized for almost a century after statehood. Unsuccessful designs included one that was based on the state seal.
The flag is folded in 17 folds according to the official protocol, which Ohio has embraced. Numerous logos and municipal flags in the state of Ohio have taken inspiration from the Ohio flag. Based on the state seal, a red gubernatorial flag is flown.
Complete History of the Ohio Flag
By the early 1850s, Ohio expressed interest in adopting a state flag, as numerous other states had already done. In late 1860, Qtr. Mr. Gen. David L. Wood and Adj. General Henry B. Carrington created a flag with the state seal on a white background. They had it flown above the Ohio State Arsenal in Columbus, in hopes that it might someday become the state flag. At a banquet hosted by Columbus Typographical Union Local #5 on January 17, 1861, future U.S. President James A. Garfield gave a speech defending the national flag as the only flag Ohio's soldiers would march to battle under. The present generals were persuaded to reject their suggestion and raise the Stars and Stripes in its stead. Later that year, Wood and Carrington joined fellow Ohioans in battle under the 34-star Union flag, which would serve as the inspiration for a state banner decades later.
In 1901, Cleveland architect John Eisenmann was commissioned to design an exhibition hall for his state at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He developed a distinctive flag to fly over each corner of the Ohio Building. The state of Ohio was not officially represented by the wool flags, but rather the Ohio Pan-American Exposition Commission. On July 18, Governor George K. Nash paid a visit to the exposition and was given one of the flags, which is now in the collections of the Ohio History Connection. Eisenmann secured a U.S. design patent for his design, which he described as "a triangular forked or swallow-tailed flag corresponding to the shape generally known as a 'cavalry-guidon' or 'broad pennant.'"
In 1902, State Representative William S. McKinnon, a member of the Ohio Pan-American Exposition Commission, introduced House Bill 213 establishing Eisenmann's design as the official flag. It became law on May 9, making it the 20th U.S. state flag or banner. (Eisenmann had assigned his patent, which had a duration of three and a half years, to the State of Ohio on April 24.)
The press searched abroad for examples because Eisenmann's design deviated from the "seal on a bedsheet" style that was then almost universal among state flags. The layout was compared to either the flag of Cuba or the flag of the Philippines, and the red and white annulus was mocked for being similar to the sun on the Japanese flag.
Initially, Ohio's flag was rarely flown, in part because it was widely believed that the Stars and Stripes should have exclusive rights to patriotic displays. A similar attitude impeded the approval of municipal flags in Cleveland and Cincinnati, to the extent that both were minimized as simple "banners" for advertising purposes. In 1903, it was reported that, among state politicians, only Governor Nash displayed the guidon.
In the century following its adoption, the guidon gained significant popularity, being flown not only by the state but frequently also by its residents and businesses.
Ohio Flag Design
Section 5.01 of the Ohio Revised Code defines the design of the state flag of Ohio as follows:
The state's flag must be burgee shaped. It must feature three red and two white horizontal stripes, which stand in for the state's roads and waterways. The union of the flag shall consist of seventeen five-pointed white stars within a blue triangular field, the base of which shall be the staff end or vertical edge of the flag, and the apex thereof shall be the center of the middle red stripe. The blue triangular field shall represent the hills and valleys of the state. The constellation's stars will be arranged around a red disc with a white "O" in the center. The four additional stars placed to the triangle's top signify that Ohio was the seventeenth state admitted to the union. The thirteen stars arranged around the letter "O" stand in for the thirteen founding states of the United States. The "O" implies the nickname for the state, the buckeye state, and stands in for the "O" in "Ohio." The official design on file at the secretary of state's office shall serve as the basis for the proportional dimensions of the flag and each of its constituent sections.
The annulus of the flag stands for "the original territory of Ohio" in the Northwest Territory, as well as the letter O and a buckeye nut.
In Ashtabula County, a rectangular Ohio flag is flown in front of the Benetka Road Covered Bridge.
The only non-rectangular state flag of the United States is Ohio's. It is an uncommon instance of a non-quadrilateral civil flag; the flag of Nepal is another prominent example. Whitney Smith, a vexillologist, claims that it might be loosely based on cavalry flags from the Spanish-American War and the Civil War.
Ohio Flag Practices
In 2002, the Ohio General Assembly commemorated the 100th anniversary of the state flag's adoption by adopting a salute to the flag, to be recited after the Pledge of Allegiance:
“I salute the flag of the state of Ohio and pledge to the Buckeye State respect and loyalty.”
— Ohio Rev. Code §5.013. "Pledge to the state flag".
Folding the Flag
A method of folding the flag of Ohio was created by Alex Weinstock, a Boy Scout from Junction City, for his Eagle Scout service project. It requires two people. The procedure was approved by the 125th Ohio General Assembly as House Bill 552 and signed into law by Governor Bob Taft on February 15, 2005:
“The general assembly hereby establishes a recommended procedure for the folding of the state flag by two people. The procedure is as follows:
With the flag unfolded, fold the flag in half lengthwise so that the points of the flag are aligned. Fold the flag in half lengthwise a second time to form a long strip with the red disc facing the ground. Next, fold the pointed end back onto itself to form a rectangle. These steps entail three folds.
Starting on the end formed by the fold of the pointed end back onto itself, fold two inches of the flag onto itself for a flag with a three-foot hoist and a five-foot fly, or another appropriate width of fold for a flag of a different size. Repeat the folds a total of fourteen times, alternating the folds in a fan-like manner.
The result is a total of seventeen folds symbolizing that Ohio was the seventeenth state admitted to the Union. Finally, neatly and snugly wrap the remaining length of flag around the fan-folds to form a compact rectangle.
— Ohio Rev. Code §5.014. ‘Procedure for folding state flag.’”
Although Ohio is not the only state with a flag folding protocol, Ohio's protocol is particularly significant because of the flag's unique shape. An Arkansas flag vendor called the process "quite a challenge."
What Other State Flags are Derived from the Ohio Flag?
The percussion section's row mascot, "JI-Row," of The Ohio State University Marching Band frequently flies Ohio's flag during football games. The Columbus Blue Jackets logo and Cincinnati Bengals supporter flag are both based on the state flag.
A number of municipalities and counties in Ohio have adopted pennants and swallowtails modeled on the state burgee. Adams County, Marysville, and Mentor have flags that, for the most part, substitute the annulus with a seal and change the arrangement of the stars in the triangular union. In addition, the city of Green utilizes a burgee for its official flag, changing the red and white of the Ohio state flag to green and white stripes.
FAQ About the State of Ohio
What is the most popular food in Ohio?
Ohio's state candy, buckeyes, is widely available in the state at eateries, petrol stations, cafes, and potlucks. These treats are produced with peanut butter that has been shaped into balls, dipped in melted chocolate, and then coated on all sides but one. To maintain its shape, peanut butter is mixed with butter and powdered sugar. Buckeyes are still a well-liked handmade dessert that were first cooked in household kitchens. They were given this name because they resemble the Ohio state tree's nut, the buckeye.
Why is the Ohio flag not rectangular?
The stripes of the flag stand in for the roads and rivers, and the triangles produced by the main lines stand in for the hills and valleys characterized by the State Seal.
What is Ohio famous for?
Ohio is well-known for its Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cedar Point, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Visit Hocking Hills for a day of nature. The phonograph, gas-powered cars, golf balls, and Superman were all created in Ohio. The first person to set foot on the moon was Neil Armstrong.
What Kinds of Ohio Flags Does Carrot-Top Offer?
We are proud to offer a variety of Ohio flags to ensure that you are getting a flag that is best suited for you and your display needs!
This state flag is displayed in a traditional manner with the help of indoor Ohio flags made of our special Beacon® Nylon. These flags exhibit brilliant, bold colors and exceptional craftsmanship while being produced from the finest materials. There are two sizes of these flags available.
Outdoor Ohio flags come in a variety of sizes to fit your flagpole's height and your particular display requirements. They are made from two of our distinctive fabrics. The best materials are used to create Carrot Top flags, which have the most vivid and striking hues.
Our Ohio flag sets feature beautifully made, well-crafted flags along with classy flag poles and sophisticated pole finishes. You can create a display with Carrot Top flag sets that best suits your needs and preferences. Choose between three finishes, two indoor flags, and two flagpoles.
Our Ohio State Flags are Made in the USA!
We are really proud to provide American and Ohio state flags that are Made in the USA. By buying American-made goods, you can directly promote American independence and guarantee safer and more equitable working conditions, ensured by US Labor Laws.
Contact Our Expert Team Today!
We at Carrot-Top are very proud of our more than 40 years of experience selling flags. If you contact us right away, any of our Customer Care Representatives will be delighted to assist you in placing an order for an Ohio state flag, an American flag, a flagpole, any of our personalized goods, or even one of our military flags. Please read our comprehensive flag buying guide as well to ensure that you are getting the right size flag for your display!