Photo by Shutterstock
America has come a long way since its birth as a nation in 1776. But just as the country has evolved throughout the years, so has Old Glory. From the arrangement of those iconic stars and stripes to the materials and colorants used in its construction, the American flag has changed considerably since George Washington commissioned its creation (as legend has it, from Betsy Ross), according to Barbara Gatewood, professor emeritus of textile science at Kansas State University. Today’s flags are made with polyester and nylon, along with synthetic dyes and pigments manufactured primarily from petrochemicals, Gatewood says, but it wasn’t always so.