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Windsocks information

Windsocks have been used throughout history and for many reasons.

Evidence shows that, back as far as 105 A.D., the Romans used a windsock as a military banner.

Windsocks have been used by farmers, at airports, and by weather watchers. Its large cone-shape can indicate wind direction and the relative wind speed. (Watch a windsock and you can tell which direction the wind is blowing. Example: If the windsock is pointing due west, the wind is an easterly breeze – the opposite of the direction the windsock is pointing.) If there isn’t much wind, the windsock will hang deflated. If it is windy, the windsock will be full and standing out.

Windsocks, as we know them, have their origins in China and Japan where they were made of paper and, for those families with the means, of silk. Often the windsock resembled a fish. See our front page for a description of the Lucky Koi windsock.

Many of our other designs have historical backgrounds also. The Law of the Splintered Paddle is represented on our Hawaiian Banner  – although it is not a windsock, it is as useful and decorative and as attention-getting as our windsock patterns.

The Hawaiian Banner (pictured at right) is symbolic of an historic event in the life of Hawaii’s King Kamehameha. In 1783, King Kamehameha was a furious war-mongering king. This one event changed him into a peaceful, self-respecting, kind citizen.

Kamehameha was a strong, brave ruler, and considered himself to be immortal. He believed he knew what was best for his warriors, his people, and his country. And, he felt that he could own (stealing) all that others had – all the land and crops, etc.

In a battle at Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii, he attacked those who had been aiding the weak to run from his fury. A fisherman turned toward Kamehameha and threw a fishnet over him to stop his advance. Kamehameha fell on sharp lava when his foot got caught in a crevice under the thin lava rock surface. The innocent men he had been chasing turned back and began to hit Kamehameha with their paddles, but the paddles broke after just a few strikes to the King. One of the King’s steersmen had been commanded by Kamehameha not to chase the enemy. This common man stayed with Kamehameha and freed the King from the lava, but the enemy returned with spears and one spear pierced the steersman. The King broke off the spear. The men ran away seeing that Kamehameha now had a weapon.

This event changed King Kamehameha forever more. He was sad that he had caused the death of his steersman for his own personal greed. He was sad that he had attacked the innocent and the defenseless. He knew this was not right. He proclaimed that, from that day on, no man in his kingdom would have the right to make excursions for robbery without punishment, be he chief or priest. The law was in memory of his steersman and is known as Ke Kanawai Mamalahoa or the law of the friend and the broken paddles.

Our banner is in honor of this law and King Kamehameha – it is the banner with the splintered paddles.

View our Photo Gallery to see samples of our various Windsocks available.

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