How to Preserve the Life of Your Flag

When flying a flag or banner outside your home or business, it is important to take the appropriate steps to protect against the elements and preserve the life of the flag or banner.  Proper protection can help ensure that your flag will last longer and stay brighter.


Selecting the Appropriate Material

Most US flags and banners are made of one of the following materials: cotton, nylon, or polyester.  Each material has its own benefits, and this should be taken into consideration, when choosing the appropriate material for your flag or banner.

Cotton flags are best suited for indoors, but can be flown outside for short periods of time.  Keep in mind that cotton fades quickly in the sun, will not hold up well in harsh weather conditions, and are not meant to be left outside for extended periods.

Nylon is a durable, all-weather material, meant for sustained outdoor use.  It’s still important to note that harsh conditions and high winds may damage a nylon flag or banner.  When harsh weather is expected, it is recommended that the flag be taken down beforehand, to ensure protection.

Polyester is best suited for high wind areas.  This material is heavier and needs more wind to fly, but is also stronger and can withstand harsher conditions.  No matter what material you choose, it’s important to protect your flag or banner from harsh weather, whenever possible.

Cleaning Your Flag

Cleaning your flag can actually help protect it, and even help it last longer.  Most outdoor flags and banners can be hand-washed, using a mild detergent.   If you choose to wash your flag in the washing machine, be sure never to let the flag sit or soak in water, as this may cause the colors to run.  Flags should be laid flat to dry; never crumple or fold a wet flag or banner.

Treating Your Flag for Damage

If your flag is subjected to harsh conditions, it’s important to check your flag for damage, such as tearing or fraying.  A damaged flag should be taken down immediately, not only is it a sign of disrespect to display a damaged flag, but it is also more likely to succumb to more tearing or fraying.  A damaged flag may be replaced or repaired.  6×10’ flags and larger should be sent to the manufacturer to be repaired, please call Gates Flag and Banner Co., Inc. for pricing.  Smaller flags can be repaired by a dry cleaner or tailor.


This image shows a flag, damaged beyond repair. 

No matter the material of your flag or banner, you will want to ensure proper handling. If you are not sure of how to take care of your flag or banner, the manufacturer is a great source.  Gates Flag and Banner Co., Inc. can provide information to help you protect and ensure the longest life for your flag or banner.  Flag and banner makers know the steps that need to be taken to care for your item.

Watch the “Flag Use and Care” Video Here!


Pearl Harbor – 75 Years [Please Lower Your Flag]


This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the first anniversary of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. This is a day to remember, not only the sacrifice that was made by so many, but also the strength of a nation that stood up in the face of adversity. Let’s stand together on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and commemorate our great nation and those impacted by this tragic event.

In memory of the lives lost on December 7th, 1941, please lower the U.S. flag to half-staff from sunrise to sunset.  Never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Please take a moment to hear from survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor who “are grateful to be able to mark the day and remember their fallen brothers”.


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A Gates’ Flag Stands for Quality, Pride and Patriotism

When you think of the Gates Flag and Banner Company, we hope a few things come to mind; quality, pride and patriotism.  In business since 1870, we have proven time and time again, our passion for ensuring that our flags and flagpoles exceed the standards of our customers and represent the quality of American-made products.  Over the years, our flags and poles have been a part of some truly remarkable events, and withstood even the harshest of environments.


Some of you who are local to NJ, may remember the terrible fire on Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne in 2003.  The photograph above was taken during the blaze, and as you can see, standing tall through the flames is a Gates Flag and Flagpole.  This photo is a great representation of the strength of our flag and our passion for quality.

The photo above inspired this poem:

What a sight to see, unbelievable in all its glory.
Burning flames spreading fright,
Setting ablaze the pitch black night.

When all else seemed burned, crushed and defeated…
Without fail, a glimmer of hope succeeded

Through all the pain, smoke and confusion,
Alas we were brought to a grand conclusion

There it was…standing, still.
Embodying the determination of America’s will!

Thanks to all of our customers who believe in the quality and pride of Gates Flag and Banner Co., Inc.  We look forward to continuing to provide the highest quality of flags and poles over the next 150 years!

For more information on the 2003 fire, see the information below:

(Wayne-AP) -- A Fire in a Gas Main Forces Evacuations and Closes a Bridge in Wayne.

It started with a transformer explosion at about nine p-m at the intersection of Hamburg Turnpike and Valley Road. The explosion brought down a power line that ignited a gas main. The fire spread to a brush area, forcing evacuations of 75 residents of an assisted-living facility. About 30 residents of the Wayne Valley Apartments and the residents of more than a dozen homes nearby also were evacuated. There was extensive damage to a bridge on Hamburg Turnpike over the Singac Brook. A spokesman for the Wayne Office of Emergency Management said the bridge would be closed this morning while engineers assess the damage (2003).


Co-Authors: Anna Ebersold and Qurra-tul-Ayn Saleem

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Patriot Day – Remembering 9/11

911-flag-1024The National 9/11 Flag

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack the U.S. has seen since World War II. On this Patriot Day, we must remember all those who lost their lives, and honor our fallen heroes.

Many flags have been created to commemorate all those lost to us on 9/11, but the National 9/11 flag has helped many to heal. This large flag found ripped and damaged at the site of the World Trade Center has been repaired by over 30,000 people in every state of our nation including threads from the original Star Spangled banner and Abraham Lincoln’s flag. We will Never Forget but this flag has helped bring America together and serves as a symbol of our strength as it hangs today at the 9/11 Museum and Memorial.

The flag has been stitched by soldiers and schoolchildren who survived the shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas, by World War II veterans on the deck of the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, by the family of Martin Luther King Jr., by 20 Members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, and by thousands of everyday service heroes nationwide. On President Lincoln’s Birthday, a piece of the flag that Abraham Lincoln was laid on when he was shot at Ford’s Theater was stitched into the fabric of The National 9/11 Flag. In May 2011, The National 9/11 Flag was presented as the official flag for The Kentucky Derby and on September 11, 2011, the final restorative patches were sewn into The National 9/11 Flag by 1,067 tornado survivors in Joplin, Missouri.

-New York Says Thank You Foundation






Re-Roping a Flagpole


First, tightly wrap a 3″ section of the old halyard line with black plastic electrician’s tape.



Next, make a straight clean cut with a sharp razor blade. Tie one of the ends off to the cleat so you don’t lose it up through the pulley!



Then, prepare one end of the NEW halyard line as in the first step. Use a needle and thread to sew the new and old halyard lines together.



After that, wrap the splice with another piece of electrician’s tape.



At Last, carefully run the new spliced halyard up the pole and through the pulley.

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Vet & Longtime Customer Featured in Flag Raising

Gates Flag and Banner Company had the privilege of installing a flagpole for this esteemed WWII Veteran and making 2 custom flags for him that represent his service to our country. This 25’ white fiberglass flagpole was installed for Mr. Frank LoBue at his home in Rocky Hill, CT so he can proudly display the US Flag, the Fifth Army Division flag and the Combat Infantry Aidman custom flag. Frank has been a loyal customer of Gates Flag and Banner Company for nearly 20 years and it is our honor to cater to this great American Hero!

Author: John Healy

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Gates Anniversary & Remembering Bill!

Today, July 8th, marks the day of Gates Flag & Banner’s 145th Anniversary! It just so happens that today is also Bill Gates’ birthday…yeah the original Bill Gates—3rd generation owner of Gates Flag & Banner (…after all, he had his name first). So what is it you say that makes our Anniversary so worth celebrating? Because we love what we do! We aim to share the wealth of happiness in our quality service to you.

Look out your window, down the street or at one of your favorite parks, in front of your local fast food restaurant or your car dealer; see a flag/flag pole? Maybe you’re giving the royal wave as you ride down the streets through a plethora of Avenue Banners. Chances are we installed that gleaming flagpole with our beautiful stars and stripes snapping in the breeze. We proudly salute all our flags and poles covering NJ with a reach that extends to NY, CT, PA, MD and DE, including a light house in Rhode Island. We are even known for shipping flags and poles across the country. That said, we’d like to bring you a bit closer to Gates…the guy!

Most people spend at least some time in their lives job searching or changing careers or at least time pondering what their ‘dream job’ would be. That was never the case when you talk about Bill Gates. He always knew what he was going to do and he was the perfect man for the job. Starting out his young life hawking ladders off the back of a truck in the city streets of Paterson, he became the great salesman we all knew. Bill grew up in the business, at that time, known as Gates Ladder Company. He knew his father and grandfather had built a proud reputation in ladders and he meant to continue that tradition. His real love was the flag and flagpole side of the business.

He loved to tell the story of his grandfather who, like Abraham Lincoln (his words) started out splitting logs for a living. Most were split and manufactured into ladders but the truly straight logs were turned into wooden flagpoles. Flagpoles and ladders both evolved using similar materials, aluminum and fiberglass. Gates Ladder manufactured wooden ladders through the 1960’s, and under Bill’s guidance, expanded the flag and flagpole business into what it is today.

Bill Gates, was the owner, President, CEO and extraordinary salesman of what is now Gates Flag and Banner Company in Clifton, NJ. He loved what he did and it was evident to everyone he met.

Today, over 12 years since his passing, customers still come in looking for ‘Bill’ and tell stories of how they enjoyed sitting with him and chatting sometimes for hours. He was known to everyone as ‘Bill’ and sometimes ‘Billy’ but he didn’t want to be called ‘Mr. Gates’. “Call me Bill…Mr. Gates was my father’s name,” he would say. That was just one way in which he welcomed people in and made them feel at ease. He was genuine and had a charm and wit about him that attracted others to him. He was also very sharp and quick with numbers, which all put together made him a natural salesman and a pleasure to do business with. He loved asking questions about people and learning about them. Sometimes people would stop in lost, asking for directions, they would spend time with Bill and walk out after purchasing flags and poles. Legend has it that one customer came in the office interested in having a flagpole installed, spoke with Bill at great length and by the time the customer returned home the flagpole was installed in his yard already. He even enjoyed joking about sharing the name with the computer genius turned billionaire.

With all sincerity, from the Gates family to yours, thanks to all our loyal customers for all your support and many years of working together!

We always love you to share, so if you have any memories or could take a picture with your Gates product – post to our Facebook page saying, “Happy Anniversary!”

Co-Authors: Lisa Gates-McCormick, John Healy and Qurra-tul-Ayn Saleem


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The Significance of Flying Half-Staff

April 15 has now been established as a national Day of Remembrance for President Abraham Lincoln. It has been directed that all American flags flown on government buildings be displayed half-staff. Additionally, all Americans have been asked to lower their flags at their homes and businesses.

While flying at half-staff is an act showing honor, many people misinterpret the actual significance. It is intended as a symbol of mourning; honoring important figures befallen by death. According to the flag code, “by order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory.”

By no official regard, it has been said that flying half-staff is for the “invisible flag of death” flying above. April 15 is the nationally recognized day of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination 150 years ago. The Presidential Proclamation was signed April 14, 2015 (see proclamation:

Although there are customary dates to fly at half-staff, there are also special designated flag-flying days. These days should be celebratory—with fresh, crisp flags flying beautifully at full staff. Please see below the special occasions to fly your flag and in the proper manner:

Dates to fly Half-Staff:
• Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15th (Unless that day is also Armed Forces Day.) (sunrise to sunset)
• Memorial Day, last Monday in May (sunrise to noon)
• Patriot Day, September 11th (sunrise to sunset)
• National Firefighters Memorial Day, October (Typically a Sunday, on the day a memorial service held in Emmitsburg, MD and coincides with Fire Prevention Week – Sunday through Saturday in which October 9 falls).
• Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7th (sunrise to sunset)

Other Special Flag-Flying Days:
• President’s Day, 3rd Monday in February: A celebration situated between Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays. It is not a half-staff day.
• Flag Day, June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.
• Veteran’s Day (formerly Armistice Day), November 11th: This is a day to honor our nations Veterans. It is not a day of mourning, but a day of celebration and honor. Citizens are encouraged to flag POW/MIA flags and flags of the Military Branches on this day to show support to our Veterans.
• National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, July 27 of each year: This day marks the anniversary of the signing of a treaty ending the Korean War.

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Family…what is it to have one? Sure the widely accepted version may be a group of blood relatives, but we here at Gates are more…complex. You see this is a family company and we have lived the definition—possibly even redefined it. Gates Flag and Banner has stood strong on the foundation of ‘family’ since 1870. As sure as we were initially in the ladder business, families do evolve; but it is the evolution toward success that one must strive for.


We at Gates have made that stride toward success in continuance as we take in our customers, like family.

And of course you have every kind of personality, diversity…but isn’t that the business we’re in? We stand for America, the gold beneath the soil; the beauty that she can truly be.

Customer satisfaction is our main goal, to make her proud, if you will. At times we have to be flexible, though no more or less than the wave of a flag that alters with the wind. “Gates, they’re known across the country,” indeed. But better yet, we have established relationships across the country. So what do you say? Why not become part of the Gates family. Oh, and we promise we won’t be that relative.


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1964 NY World Fair

World Fair: America Ingrained

The place that exhibits variance yet preserves its independence…well that’s America of course! And what better site to present the very essence of America than at the world fair. It’s where people can experience pride in their home country while celebrating a mean that brings it all together. The world fair is “an international exhibition of the industrial, scientific, technological, and artistic achievements of the participating nations.” –Google

It astounds beyond belief and some of the most ingrained aspects of American culture made their debut at the world fair(s). Particularly, the [Gates] to the 1964 World Fair opened for the first time in New York; where nearly 52 million people were graced with the ambitions of the future. Moon colonies, video-conferencing and underwater hotels were just a few illustrations making their big appearance that have influenced living today.

Are you a fan of FaceTime or Skype? Well the Bell System Pavilion presented its company’s Picturephones at the fair; and this piece of technology simply stole the show. Taking precedence in the business arena, recreation or just for personal use, video-conferencing has taken off with popularity among people at present day!

Sure, those Dodge brother commercials have been pretty prim lately (did you catch the one featured during the Super Bowl), but guess who made its debut at the 1964 World Fair with a force? Maybe you picked The Ford Mustang. That’s the one! This auto captured the crowd, with its makers selling four times its projection in the first year—a whopping 400,000. Having nine million sold to date since its initial presentation, Mustang has made it to the list of best-selling automobiles in American history.

See even more exciting World Fair beginnings that made their mark on America!
(With special mention to the History Network and Lyons Press)

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Pole Sitter

Flagpole Sitting

Pole Sitter

Does anyone remember that American culture craze…Flagpole-sitting? What a bizarre way to spend the day! Actually, at a specific point in time this was the thing to do and whoever could do it…well, cool was an understatement. This act was very popular in the 1920s. No wonder they were roaring! America underwent great change during this era; very dynamic and rambunctious change. This was in response to a period engulfed by confusion and disorder, whereas creative activities were a source of tensional relief. The objective was simple: Climb atop the local neighborhood flagpole and sit there for the longest amount of time. Oddly enough, the amateur standard was set at ten days, ten hours, ten minutes, and ten seconds by fifteen-year-old Avon Foreman of Baltimore. The longest someone sat on a flagpole then was 21 days. This hobby became an inspiration to the nation, encouraging people to come together to view the challenge and celebrate the victors!

To hear more on this topic refer to this site.

While flagpole sitting may have gone out of style, you can still install a finial.

Better yet, grab a flag! That’s why we’re here.

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Get Creative, and Customize!

It’s always nice to fly a flag and show one’s pride—country, or cause…. But what about your inner Van Gogh. That’s right, I’m talking custom design! Why not let your imagination run wild, land on canvas and then fly free? What’s stopping you? Maybe the thought of earlier printing processes. Back then, the price alone was a pretty sufficient deterrent; but no more. Today’s digital printing process makes it inexpensive enough to think outside the box without cringing from budget. You may have looked into stock flags, but the choices are very limited. Don’t worry, the solution is simple: let go and get creative! You won’t regret it, just take a look at one of our client’s custom designs. Lots of fun and very festive!





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Bear Breaks Bracket Being Used for Bird Feeder

bear blog doodle

So…, did you know that bears like…bird food? The seed feed to be exact—a bit unexpected in noticing the large mass of a bear! Studies around the world heavily support this bear behavior. “Wildlife biologist Rick Sinnott of Anchorage, Alaska said bears will probably eat anything birds will eat at a feeder.”

Black bears are good climbers and problem-solvers. They are attracted to bird feeders and bird food and will tear down feeders to get at the seeds. Bears will also shake trees to empty feeders or knock them down.

But anyway, how’d this fascinating topic come about? A local NJ resident walks in to Gates Flag and Banner and poses a common question, but for a reason that took us all here by surprise. He needed a bracket to replace the one that a neighborhood bear kindly broke in efforts to settle its angry tummy; with a light snack I might add. The customer actually uses his residential kit flag pole to hang bird seed. Seems like the bear thought that was a really good idea—and the rest brought that local resident to Gates’ front door. No problem, we’re more than happy to assist!

Thanks for sharing your story, here’s some tips to help you and others avoid that hungry visitor.

Sinnott recommends that in the summertime, folks living in urban bear country put away bird feeders and enjoy birds in other ways. Replacing feeders with nest boxes and birdbaths are good examples.

Bears—and birds—have plenty of wild food available in summer and should eat natural foods. Take down bird feeders in mid-April to keep bears out of your yard.

Polly Hessing, a wildlife biologist with Alaska Fish and Game in Juneau, estimated that a quarter to almost half the calls in years before have been bear and bird feeder related.

Hessing said in some ways, bears think like dogs. “Positive reinforcements such as food make a big impression. Bear studies show it’s difficult to change their behavior. This is straight out of classical conditioning, B.F. Skinner. Animals try really hard before they give up. We’re the same way. The bottom line is don’t get them started. If they do find food, it’s a reward and really increases the chances they’ll return.”


Contents from this article can be found in the June 2004 edition of Alaska Fish and Wildlife News

For more info, follow link Bird Feeders and Bears

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What is a Tear Drop Banner, and How Can it Help You?

What is a Tear Drop Banner, and How Can it Help You?

Getting tear drop banners is a great new way to advertise that you may want to consider. First, let me start by telling you what a tear drop banner is. Have you ever seen a wind surfer before? Do know the pointy sail that they use to catch the wind? That is pretty much what a tear drop banner is. The reason they are such a good marketing tool, is because they can go with you anywhere. Normal banners need permanently fixed flagpoles, but with tear drop banners that isn’t the case.

Tear drop banners come built with their own pole, and so you can easily place it in dirt, sand, or snow. You can even put mini floor stands if all you have is concrete. They are large yet light, and so they travel easily. The pole attached to the flags is sturdy and can with stand weather and a lot of use.

You may have seen these flags in front of shops. I found out about a new pizza place by my home because of these very flags. You can find them at sporting events, ski resorts, shopping malls and more. Why not get yourself some tear drop banners for your business today.

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Picking Your Very Own Banner Maker

Picking Your Very Own Banner Maker

You cannot just trust any banner makers. Being in the business of making banners does not require testing. With that being the case there is no standard for banner makers, and so you must be smart when looking for the right one. There are a bunch of different features you should be looking for when it comes to custom banner work. I’d like to share some of them with you now.

Unless you are a graphic designer, it is really important to find a banner making company who has a talented team of artists. Let’s face it, your banner is a work of art, and you need people who can treat it as such. The right banner makers will make sure they get the color scheme right, the lettering perfect, and the image crystal clear. A lot of times when people go for custom banners they just have an idea in their head, and it takes a talented artist to make that vision a reality.

Another important thing to look at when looking for the perfect banner makers for you is the amount of time the company has been in business. Time is the true test of a good banner maker. That isn’t to say that some new companies do an amazing job, but you can rest easy with a company who’s been in business for 10+ years. You can really know what those guys are doing.

One last thing you should look at is pricing. I’ve been talking about getting world-class banners, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Some companies that use better machines and higher quality materials will be more expensive; you see huge increases in prices that a red flag should go up. If a place quotes you a number that seems insanely high to you then it most likely is, and you need to find different banner makers.

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