The city adopted its flag in 1898.
The flag as it is today was executed by Bailey, Banks & Biddle, of Philadelphia, and was adopted by Councils as the official standard of the city.
The flag consists of three vertical stripes, red, white and blue, the colors of the Union, representing the patriotism of the people, who have taken an important part in the affairs of the city, state and union. In the center of this field of red, white and blue is a coat of arms.
Bears Arms of the Penn Family.
Its description is as follows:
Escutcheon – The black shield and gold band combine the colors of the Old German Empire, representing the birthplace of the majority of the city’s people. In the center of the shield is displayed the arms of the Penn family, who were the proprietors of Reading and laid out the city. The beehive indicates the busy industrial center which the city has become. The salamander in the midst of a flame shows that its prosperity is principally dependent upon furnaces of every description.
Supporters – The figures supporting the shield are emblematic of labor, which has always been the pride and support of Reading and the source of its prosperity. Thor and Vulcan were selected to represent Labor, because of their association with fire and metals.
Crest – The staff of Mercury is used for a crest because it is the symbol of constant activity. The staff issues from a mural crown representing a city, and indicative of the position Reading occupies in the Commonwealth.
Motto – The motto “Deo Adjuvante Labor Proficit,” is Latin, and translated means “Labor profits with the help of God,” it being a fitting motto for a people who thrive and prosper under God’s care.
The flag has been honored on several occasions. It is used as a means to arouse civic pride. Recently a beautiful silk flag of Reading was presented to the Pennsylvania Society of New York, when it was greatly admired by all who saw it. A copy of the flag in colors was printed in the year book of the society.