Friday, January 11, 2013

A few decades ago, flagpoles became electronic. The new deluxe system allowed the flag to be raised and lowered to a timer. This was important because the flag is stored in the flagpole at night. There is no need for a light to illuminate the flag. There is a disk-shaped container about halfway down the shaft of the pole with a small opening for the flag to be drawn into. Flags have to be made with a special thin header to fit into the container. Brilliant idea, but...

I have yet to see a fully functioning electronic flagpole. If you have one, send me a picture. And it is not for lack of finding them around the country. They seem to pop up in every upscale business park. But when you look closely, the flagpole is much like the flagpole in this video – retro fitted to be a different kind of flagpole.

We believe the flag flyer deserves better than this product. Sometimes, the industry tries to answer a question by creating a bunch of problems. The electronic flagpole is a great idea, with a faulty design. Perhaps we are just old school, but raising and lowering the flag is a privilege of the flag flyer. There are even government guidelines which speak to the reverence of the flag raising and lowering. So why avoid lighting the flag?

Lighting the flag has gone from very difficult to kind of difficult in the last few decades. There isn't a solid solution yet. Solar powered lights are not effective. Powered lights have to be ground wired and the system needs several components. It seems electronic flagpoles could take care of the night time solution. As proven in the field, the lesser of two evils is an adequate lighting system.

Flagpole lights range greatly in price. But the place to start may not be a flag dealer, but a hardware store. FlagDesk is close to making an affordable, quality flagpole lighting series. It is not practical the take the flag down every night for many flyers, and you don't want to be disrespectful of the flag. But for now, electronic flagpoles are not the answer.