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American Flag Machine Cancel Usage at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois

First World War Period, 1917-1919

by Bob Swanson

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About This Presentation

  • Examples of the American flag canceling machine have been seen used from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station during the First World War (1917-1919)
  • Each cancel type (per Langford) will be illustrated with dates of known usage
  • There is a major mystery regarding dates of usage for these flags vs the "Great Lakes" handstamp
  • Collector input is vitally important and always requested

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'Great Lakes Receiving Ship' in Flag (Type A-38)

[great_lakes/a38_great_lakes.jpg]
American Flag Machine (Langford Type A-38) with 'Great Lakes Receiving Ship' in Flag (Click on image to see larger version.)

  • The flag contains the lettering "Great Lakes Receiving Ship"
  • Seen used from 5/4/18 to 9/30/18
  • Unverified reports of an item dated 1/26/18
  • This flag re-appears on mail in the period 1920-22

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'U. S. Receiving Ship' in Flag (Type A-38)

[great_lakes/a38_us.jpg]
American Flag Machine (Langford Type A-38) with 'U. S. Receiving Ship' in Flag (Click on image to see larger version.)

  • The flag contains the lettering "U. S. Receiving Ship"
  • Seen used from 10/15/18 to 12/30/19
  • Note that Great Lakes returned to using the "Great Lakes Receiving Ship" cancel in 1920

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Plain (No Die Space) Flag (Langford Type A-14)

[great_lakes/a14_great_lakes.jpg]
American Flag Machine (Langford Type A-14) with Simple No-Diespace flag (Click on image to see larger version.)

  • The flag cancel is the simple design with no die-space
  • Seen only from 10/1/18 to 10/14/18
  • Due to 14-day use, it is highly sought-after by collectors

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Hand Cancel Mystery

[great_lakes/great_lakes_duplex.jpg]
Duplex Handstamp of Great Lakes, Illinois (Click on image to see larger version.)

  • A duplex handstamp was used before the American flag cancel
  • Seen or reported from (EKU) 5/4/17, through May, then July, August, and December, 1917
  • See the next slide regarding a major time gap in usages!

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Conclusion, Mysteries, and a Challenge to Collectors

  • Mystery: A Great Lakes, Illinois, handstamp was used before the American flag cancel
  • Based on the usages seen or reported, there is a major gap in dates of mail from Great Lakes between the handstamp and American flag machine, roughly from August 1917 to May, 1918.
  • Tens of thousands of sailors were training there during this time.
  • Where is that mail, and how was it handled?

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Acknowledgements

Flag types designated by the late Frederick Langford in his Flag Cancel Encyclopedia .

Cancelation examples from the collection of Bob Swanson

Mini-Presentation updated 9 February 2018

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Table of Contents

Title Page
About This Presentation
'Great Lakes Receiving Ship' in Flag (Type A-38)
'U. S. Receiving Ship' in Flag (Type A-38)
Plain (No Die Space) Flag (Langford Type A-14)
Hand Cancel Mystery
Conclusion, Mysteries, and a Challenge to Collectors
Acknowledgements
Instructions for Reading Presentation

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