The Borough has a Coat of Arms that it uses for display purposes on its signs, banners (flags) and stationery. David Pittman Johnson, a noted heraldic artist, together with the mayor, designed our Arms in the 1990s and they are registered with the American College of Heraldry. Municipal Arms are quite common in Europe and fairly often used throughout the United States. Many of them date from Colonial times.
Arms usually tell a story about a person or a place. If you look at our shield it is divided into three parts, the top (called the chief), the middle, and the bottom (called the base).
The top in our case is meant to represent the Ohio River.
The base represents the hills above the Borough and our land generally. The three white circles on the base, called roundels, are from the Arms of William Penn showing that this was once Penn's land.
The middle is a Conestoga wagon wheel, showing that our pioneer ancestors came through the valley on the way west; the wheel has flames to make it evocative of the rising sun. This was done as a pun (heraldry loves puns) on the name of the Colony's land agent who acquired the region by purchase from the Indians, Colonel John Morgan. In German, "morgen" means "morning."
Our full Arms (called an Achievement) include a bear holding a red marigold. In Old English 'osborne' means divine bear and the red marigold is our official flower. The Borough's motto, "Consilio Non Impetu," translates from Latin as "Wisdom, Not Impulse," which we think is a good rule for a government to follow.
We use the full Achievement on Borough stationery and on the entrance signs to the borough. We use the shield alone for the street signs. The banners properly reflect only the elements of the shield, as is done, for example, with the US flag. Some states follow the same rule, while others place their Arms on a colored background.
Perhaps the most striking and heraldically correct state flag is Maryland's, which uses the Arms of its former Lord Proprietor, Lord Baltimore. Pennsylvania uses the second format, on a blue background. Compare the two and decide which makes more of an impact to you.
David Sigley, 5 July 2023