Page created: 7th June 2004|
Last updated: 22nd June 2004
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The FAME is site devoted to systematic and scientific study of flags and coats of arms. Such symbols often bear strong political and other messages. Inclusion of those symbols here does not mean that the author support or approve the ideas they may stand for.
With the increase of the shipping traffic it was soon realized that ships need someone who is familiar with the trecherous local waters when entering foreign ports and the pilot service was always a respected one in the maritime tradition. In 18th century it was already custom adopted by the most merchant navies for a ship entering a foreign port to hoist a special flag as indication that she requires a pilot. These were as a rule the same in design to the merchant ensign bordered with a white wide border. The deviations from this pattern include borders coloured in other colours, and the Austrian-Hungarian pilot flag is among the most remarkable examples. With the advent of the wireless communitcation and the adoption of the international signal code flags the need for a special pilot flag decreased and into the modern times it has lost its meaning for the most.
The pilot flags for Austria-Hungary (Lootsenflagge) are reported in many variations and here is hardly two contemporary sources that show the same design. Here are presented the most typical variations in order that may indicate the historical development of the flag. However, the full story of the Austrian-Hungarian pilot flag is yet to be told.
The Josephinian ensign of 1786 with a yellow border with a black saltire.
The Josephinian ensign with a yellow border and black square corner-pieces.
The Josephinian ensign with a yellow border.
The Josephinian ensign with the crown reaching the stylized design formaly established only in 1896 with a white border.
The flag with a white border matching the naval ensign design of 1896.
The "double" merchant ensign of 1869 with a white border.