Colorado flag specifications

Yes, I know. It’s only been … six months or so since I posted here. I had some trouble with my ISP, and I got busy with other things. Perhaps I’ll write about some of that.

I found a buyer for my Texas flag coffee table. At least, he said he was coming over with a check. I won’t say it’s sold until I get the cash, but I’m pretty confident that I’ve made the sale.

txTable

The buyer wanted me to add some bracing to the legs, which is why the lower supports. I think it’d be pretty hard to break the joint at the top of the legs, but this table will likely be subjected to a lot of abuse aboard a party boat. I was happy to make the modification if it meant a sale.

With that one gone, I thought I’d make another table.  This one, though, will have a Colorado state flag.

Colorado state flag

Why Colorado? Two reasons:

  1. I grew up there, and love the place.
  2. It’s another easy flag, like the Texas flag and the American flag.

I need a scalable vector graphic (.svg) file for the flag, and whereas the ones I’ve downloaded look okay to the eye, every one I’ve examined seemed slightly imperfect. I need that “C” to be centered perfectly, or my flag is going to look kind of wonky. At least, that’s what I thought.

So I went looking for the flag’s specifications. Here’s the language from the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 24, Article 80, Part 9.

A state flag is hereby adopted to be used on all occasions when the state is officially and publicly represented, with the privilege of use by all citizens upon such occasions as they may deem fitting and appropriate. The flag shall consist of three alternate stripes to be of equal width and at right angles to the staff, the two outer stripes to be blue of the same color as in the blue field of the national flag and the middle stripe to be white, the proportion of the flag being a width of two-thirds of its length. At a distance from the staff end of the flag of one-fifth of the total length of the flag there shall be a circular red C, of the same color as the red in the national flag of the United States. The diameter of the letter shall be two-thirds of the width of the flag. The inner line of the opening of the letter C shall be three-fourths of the width of its body or bar, and the outer line of the opening shall be double the length of the inner line thereof. Completely filling the open space inside the letter C shall be a golden disk; attached to the flag shall be a cord of gold and silver intertwined, with tassels one of gold and one of silver. All penalties provided by the laws of this state for the misuse of the national flag shall be applicable to the said state flag.

Yeah, that’s a mouthful. Let’s take a closer look at the dimensions:

  1. “The flag shall consist of three alternate stripes to be of equal width and at right angles to the staff,”
    Easy enough.
  2. “…the proportion of the flag being a width of two-thirds of its length.”
    So if the flag is 1 unit long, then the flag is 2/3 unit wide. That makes each stripe 1/3 of 2/3 units, or 2/9 units, which is … my head explodes. Let’s say that each stripe is one unit wide. That makes the flag three units wide and 4.5 units long. That should be easier to deal with.
  3. “At a distance from the staff end of the flag of one-fifth of the total length of the flag there shall be a circular red C…”
    So the left edge of the ‘C’ is 4.5/5, or 0.9 units from the left edge.
  4. “The diameter of the letter shall be two-thirds of the width of the flag.”
    Well that’s easy enough. The flag is three units wide, so the circle is two units in diameter.
  5. ” The inner line of the opening of the letter C shall be three-fourths of the width of its body or bar,”
    Now this is a problem. It says that the line is 3/4 the width of the letter’s body, but it doesn’t say how wide the body should be. And is that “inner line” the arc of the inner line? Or is it the length of the chord connecting the endpoints of that arc?
  6. “…and the outer line of the opening shall be double the length of the inner line thereof.”
    Not a problem, once I know the answer to #5.
  7. “Completely filling the open space inside the letter C shall be a golden disk;”
    And just how large should that disk be? We can infer it from #5, but that requirement is insufficiently specified.

If could be that #5 and #6 are sufficient to define the width of the letter and as a result the diameter of the inner golden disk. The Wikipedia article says, “On March 31, 1964, the legislature further dictated the diameter of the gold disc to be equal to the center stripe.” I don’t see that in the statute, so perhaps there is only one solution that satisfies the conditions. I’ll have to study the geometry.

Note also that nothing in the language says anything about the vertical placement of the ‘C’. As far as I can tell, that letter could be placed anywhere along that vertical line, 1/5 of the length from the left edge of the flag.

The Colorado flag with three stripes and the red ‘C’ with gold interior was first described by legislation in 1911. It was revised in 1929 to say that the red and blue must be the same colors as the U.S. flag, but the “golden” color doesn’t appear to be specified anywhere. The size of the ‘C’ wasn’t specified until 1964. I find it curious and somewhat amusing that the statute doesn’t define the vertical position, and that the rest of the description is so wonky. You’d think they would have hired a consultant to clarify the language so that anybody with a ruler and compass could easily draw the flag.

Good thing I paid attention in high school geometry, huh?

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