Remember This? Pennants

Dorri Partain
Contributor


For over 100 years, felt pennants have been a colorful way to show team spirit, whether at the stadium or on your bedroom wall.


To this day, not one particular person or manufacturer can claim to be the originator, though the earliest versions were conceived to show which team fans were rooting for as college football took hold at such Ivy League schools like Yale and Harvard.


Fabricated from two colors of wool felt, letters and emblems were hand-cut and stitched into place, one pennant at a time, and sold at university bookstores. 


By 1910, the laborious process was quickened by using the screen-printing process, which also gave more flexibility with multi-color emblem design and flocking.


In addition to college football teams, pennants were also produced for major league baseball teams. The Women’s Suffrage Movement also designed and marched with pennants proclaiming “Votes For Women.”


Pennants also became popular souvenirs for tourist attractions and signature events, such as the 1914 Indianapolis 500 motor race.


By the 1920’s, pennants had become popular room decorations, showing club memberships and youth groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

The emblem shown on this flocked Girl Scout pennant was designed by founder Juliette Low in 1912 when she organized and led the first troop: the emblem was in use until 1978 when an updated emblem was designed by Saul Bass.


A companion brown and yellow Brownie pennant was also available for the youngest Girl Scout members.

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