Friday, July 6, 2012

Code Flags for the Car

The older, plastic relief variety are on the top and bottom, and the mylar are in the middle.




Of course, some choose instead to have a house flag painted on the door, such as this Volvo wagon spotted at MRYC, St. Michaels.

55 comments:

Susan R said...

Love the car, but what are the flags used for? Is it just a decoration thing?
I remember watching the old Disney flick "Swiss Family Robinson" and they found some signal flags that they ended up using for another purpose, but is that the idea behind the flags? Used for communication?

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

"Dangerous Cargo/Yes/Keep Clear"

"Yes/I require medical assistance/yes"


Or are they initials? Obviously I'm NOT throwing stones at people for using flag codes as their initials.

Lovely weekend to you and yours.

Cranky Yankee said...

Was it Chipp that had the signal flag necktie that read, 'Request Permission to Lay Alongside'? I don't see signal flags or crossed yacht club burgees/private signals on car doors too often these days. Maybe I just travel in the wrong circles.

Patsy said...

Looking sharp! :-)

WrySmile said...

Wow, I haven't seen these since I left New England for Florida in 1999. Totally forgot about this.

Casey said...

I remember those plastic flags - they were all the rage in my hometown (Annapolis, MD). Our parents all had them as initials on their cars.

Greenfield said...

Oh-oh, NOW you started it! And I thought all those PYC burgees were bad . . . ;)

j.mosby said...

I had the plastic ones on the on my Saab. The stores I purchased them have moved away or gone out of business. Can't seem to find the plastic ones know for some reason.
I found some vinyl ones that I'm not crazy about the size of! Luckily they haven't faded as of yet. Know any sources?

Paul Connors said...

While at Navy OCS, I was in OSCAR Co. The OSCAR flag is also used for "man overboard."

Paul Connors said...

@ Susan R: Navies the world over, especially in the days of sail used them to communicate. The proper name for them are "signal flags." In wartime, where radio comms can be intercepted and especially in convoys, signal flags were and still are considered the most secure because of limited sight distances. Flashing light using morse is as well, but NOT during darkness because at sea, at night, even the smallest dot of light can be seen for miles.

WRJ said...

I think I prefer the plastic relief variety. But only on the right car--they'd be a bit incongruous on a sleek new one like this. Perfect on the bright yellow late '80s - early '90s Land Rover Disco I saw the other day, though.

Susan R said...

Ahoy Paul: Thank you kindly for the information. I think a trend may have been started here. I predict marine shops all over the place are going to have a run on these.
I would get on board with it, however, I think they will clash with my Ole Miss decal.

JWF said...

@Yankee - Whisky - Papa...I was thinking why would anyone want to put flag codes on their cars too. Well unless they were attempting to be pithy. Oh well, I guess I am the one who is clueless! :)

Suburban Princess said...

Talk about a time machine post...I'm having flashbacks of 1985...which is about the last time I saw these!

L.A. Rice said...

Classic look, those signal flags, and a classic response to Anonymous. Brava!!

Marie said...

On the Cape they are still quite popular and I enjoy having them on my car-but the best car accessory I have ever seen is a horseshoe magnet that is for one of the yacht clubs in Chatham-I just love it because it reminds me of the best things about summer.

WRJ said...

The anonymous comment is funny coming so soon after the America's Cup post. Multi-million dollar yachts, robber baron mansions, Vuitton and Prada sponsorships, and Larry Ellison? Great! Photographs depicting stickers applied to a friend's mid-range BMW? Outrageous! (Not to mention the apparent failure to even read the post to which it purports to respond.)

Paul Connors said...

I dated a young woman back in 1982,
a real preppie princess who went to great lengths with the signal flags for her initials on her car. They were RJH - ROMEO, JULIET, HOTEL. They weren's stick ons or decals, she had them painted on my an artist. with R J H under each flag.

Paul Connors

Susan R said...

@ Muffy 12:21: Good on ya. Well said. You are a class act all the way my friend.
Anonymous is, in most cases, but not all, another name for "I'm too much of a coward to let people know who I am".

helen tilston said...

I just found your blog, through mutual friends. I have been enjoying reading some of your past posts. I want to follow but for some reason I simply cannot find the "follow" button.

Helen Tlston

Paul Connors said...

To Anonymous and all other Critic Wannabes:

Do us all who are fans and supporters of Ms. Aldrich's efforts here, keep your snide, churlish, immature and unwanted comments to yourself. Better yet, don't leave any comments that aren't conducive to a positive conversation.

binker said...

Wow! Just wow. I don't understand why someone would even venture into a blog that has the word "Prep" in it if even the mere photo of a BMW is bothersome to them. i appreciate quality, traditional cars....Volvos, BMW's, etc. etc.

I certainly can't afford all of the things that have been posted here, but, I grew up in a situation where I was exposed to those types of things on a daily basis. Even though I can't afford a beautiful yacht or a huge mansion, I would much rather have fewer things of greater quality, than a ton of things of lesser quality. To be honest, I would prefer a used BMW or Volvo in very good condition over a brand new car (pick the brand name of your choice, as I don't want to offend anyone).

Again..Muffy, you shouldn't have to warn someone ahead of time that a blog about daily prep lifestyles will include BMW's, golden retrievers, family heirlooms, pearls, topsiders, sailboats and Nantucket reds, etc.. "Anonymous" appears to have thrown his/her common sense overboard ...possibly somewhere after leaving Newport and before arriving Maine ;). I shudder to think of the many anonymous posts that never get posted. Thank you for putting up with the anonymous posters and for protecting us from them. I come here as a means of an enjoyable break in the day...much like reading a wonderful book/magazine ...not to argue about or defend a lifestyle... or even a car, for that matter.

Entre Nous said...

FINALLY! The old clunky flags would simply not have made it on my last three cars. Loving the new style and ordering them! Thanks for the legwork :}

Entre Nous said...

P.S. Anonymous was quite obviously looking at pictures and not reading nor comprehending the post, nes pas?

Anonymous said...

Clearly that anonymous doesn't read this blog, but I wouldn't say that the comment is particularly funny coming on the heels of the America's Cup posts, considering the multi-million dollars yachts, mansions, and the rest are obviously not Muffy's. It's one thing to document a race from a friend's boat, and another to show off your own high-end items in an intentional but seemingly-casual way, pretending that's not what you're doing. (The latter, of course, is NOT what Muffy is doing, but apparently what Anonymous thinks she is doing.) Still, the comment is a bit ridiculous considering Muffy has repeatedly shown her Volvo and written about Volvos.

I would say, though, that the text of the post leading up to the car photos is a bit ambiguous, though I doubt intentionally so. The post reads, "I purchased a set of the 1 inch letters and drove them over to my friend's new car." The first photo shows Muffy in a car, appearing to be about to get out of the car. The photos could illustrate the friend's new car, or Muffy having just driven the decals to the friend. So, I wouldn't take issue with the comment on the grounds that the meaning of the photos is clear from the text. I actually wondered if the post had accidentally been published before it was finished because it ended more abruptly than usual. (I thought I'd see the flags on the car!)

But Muffy, I laughed out loud (literally) at your 4.) and 6.). Touché!

Whether putting these flags on one's car is tacky remains to be seen. My general preference is simply a yacht club membership/boat decal and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

*Addendum to my comment at 5:56 am...

I couldn't see the decals! I squinted and then finally enlarged the photo because I simply could not understand why you had a photo of part of the side of the car, seemingly without any decals. THEN I saw them so the post seems to end less abruptly. Still, I think it is understandable for someone to not immediately link the photos to the text about the decals. (For some reason I was also expecting them to be on the rear of the car, so I was expecting a photo of the rear of the car.)

Greenfield said...

If "Anonymous 10:18" represents the "99%," I'll continue to hang with the 1%, thank you very much!

Miss M said...

I used to see this quite often in the 80s. It is due for a comeback.

binker said...

@Samantha - you forgot to mention that Muffy rents many of her British mysteries from that old-fashioned place called a free library;) ...not to mention, offsetting some lovely restaurant meals with her own homemade chicken soup and homemade cocoa and tapioca pudding.

p.s. I love Muffy's attention to detail!!!

Samantha said...

@binker: Ah yes, the public library. I bet Anonymous 10:18 imagines Muffy's retinue cleared out the common rabble before she entered. :)

Which reminds me: Muffy, I've been meaning to thank you for introducing me, via your blog, to Midsomer Murders. I'm a fan of British mystery/police procedural programs, yet somehow that one was not on my radar before.

Kathie Truitt said...

I always look at the pictures and then go back and read your content. When i saw the picture of the white BMW I knew before I even read it that it probably wasn't yours, although I don't think it's any big deal if it was. Some folks just need to chill. Geez.

Patsy said...

"Think bigger!" - lol!

Anonymous said...

The thicker, plastic ones work great on the rear of most cars, near the license plate or badge...something about the mylar ones just doesn't work for me - too, well, sticker-y.

Dana Sipes said...

Hello Muffy-

I just placed an order via your source for Ultimate Hat. Good night, did you know that I just paid $23 for a needlepoint/leather belt for my son? A lovely buy and a very, very fair price.

Not to mention getting the code stickers for my children's camp trunks. Many, many thanks.

Not necessary to mention, so forgive. Your taking of the high road with silly, anonymous comments is a testament to your patience. I fear I would not respond as gracefully.

Best,
Dana Sipes
Nashville, TN

Anonymous said...

I just found you blog and heaven on line.

An oasis from my past life... Just came from our annual Vermont vacation with the same vibe...

Now living with outside Boston in what I thought would be the same but find ...a world bereft of grace. Plenty of learning opportunities for our daughters..Ie We don't do that! Off to a PTA meeting which feels like a snake pit. Thank for giving me belief that the world I grew up in exists.

Love your ban rays, as we used to call them. May go buy a pair to better see my world through.. We are on quest for a smallish dog for our 8 yo to snuggle with... What kind of terrier is yours? We need that kind of energy ;)

Anonymous said...

Muffy,

I had purchased some 1.5-inch code flag magnets from Fridgedoor.com last year, however I don't see them listed any more. You might inquire however. They were very well made, fade-resistant, and snazzy.
-Rich from GCYC

Wayne Silverman said...

When I read this post I was transported back to my childhood. I had forgotten about the flags on people's cars! I didn't realize this was still popular, putting your initials on the driver's side door or trunk hood in code flags. Thanks for reminding me about this, I grew up on the water and boats and code flags and Sperry topsiders and all that sort of thing. Funny how these small details can bring back so many memories. Love this blog!

Ann said...

A lot of the other Naval Officers have these on their cars. Tongue in cheek humor, I suppose. I like them as license plate fronts (for one plate states) or plate frames. I have also seen them welded together and affixed to a grille clip to put on the front for vehicles with larger grilles. That can look very smart.

Paul Connors said...

@Muffy:

If you hear again from the obviously obnoxious ANONYMOUS, you could always have "your Signalman hoist the following flags that read:

KILO MIKE ALPHA.

I will leave it to your imagination as to what the hoist means. I realize you will and it may seem off color, but it does send a very cogent message.

Paul

Duckboot said...

I put my initials on my stateroom door when I was on a ship as a junior Naval officer, and also on my office door placards when ashore. We're a long way from the days of wooden ships and sails, but I thought (and still do!) think it's a good way to remember our nautical traditions.

Anonymous said...

Muffy I love your blog, it feels like home...

Anonymous said...

Muffy, I awake each morning to your blog first thing. Waiting with anticipation for my next East Coast fix. Like some do for their shot of coffee to kick in. Formerly from Halifax but now in Calgary, I still love all things about the eastern seaboard and Prep. My boys take their sailing lessons on the reservoir here.Please keep sharing, just adore you and your blog. FYI to anonymous: This blog is about authentic east coast living not pretentious east coast living. Take time and read a little after you take in the pictures.

chadmkohler said...

Is it the case that the only proper place to put the flags is centered on the driver's side door of the car? What about on the left side bumper or the right side trunk?

sclemmons said...

I do recall "Permission requested to lay alongside."

I wish they would bring those back. I'd wear it.

Wasp Decor said...

How else would one recognize the Jeep Wagon at the boatyard in a SEA of other Jeep Wagons but by the Code Flags on the drivers side.

It's just a bit of whimsy, folks; nothing more, nothing less.

I love it. I bought two sets, a belt and a few sunglass strap thingies.

Anonymous said...

Love it! Never seen this tradition before, but purchased some decals and had to read through the comments to determine where actually they are supposed to go? Drivers side door!

Anonymous said...

where could I find one of the plastic relief variety? They don't seem to make them anywhere I've looked

Tom Bujold said...

I used to have these on the rear bumper of my car to "spell" out my initials...only problem was that they seemed to be cursed. everytime i put a set on they seemed to get destroyed (car got rear-ended twice!)

Needless to say i have been in the hunt for another set and can't seem to find the plastic relief kind anywhere. I used to get them on MV in the tourist trap shops but they don't seem to have them either. I live in Baltimore and have looked in similar shops in Annapolis but with no luck. If anyone finds these online some where let us know!

skiwithapro said...

This is maybe what will keep us all going long after Muffy retires... dig up old posts and go at it...
After much soul searching, I think I have finally come to the conclusion that signal flags sure beat the "My honor student beat up your.... whatever" sticker.

JT said...

Anyone know where I can get the plastic code flags for cars?

Bob Henkel said...

OK this is just plain freaky. Last week I was searching for these signal flags for the front license plate for my car. For days afterward an ad for the flags appeared on Facebook. Today it show up on Daily Prep.

Can it be that I am a week ahead of the rest of the DP universe???

Bob Henkel said...

LOL. Jokes on me. Just saw that this was posted July 2012.

BlueTrain said...

I can't believe I let this thread slip by without comment. Now's my chance to try to be nice and clever, both being difficult for me.

A relative of my wife who I have mentioned elsewhere, graduate of both the Naval Academy (1937) and the Virginia Theological Seminary, had a boat parked out in the cove in front of his house just off the Chesapeake Bay. He said the nice part was just to be able to look out the window at it whenever he wanted. No doubt he would have understood all the signal flags but I wonder what he would have thought about seeing them on a car.

I've been thinking that a vanity licence place would be, well, nice to have. The problem is to come up with something good. "ATROPOS" comes to mind and most people wouldn't understand. A few might get "JODLN" but that's corny. All the other I can think of have to do with cars I've owned but it would atleast have to be cryptic.

jo baldwin said...

As I recall from my navy days in the early '60s there was an enlisted rating of Signalman, and they did communicate ship to ship by flags.
My favorite was the Bean Flag which meant the meal was being served and all are welcomed.

Skip said...

You can buy them on Amazon if you search for "Signal Flag Tile". They have the nice acrylic ones you can put on your car.