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Hand Fans - A Brief History

Rick Cundiff - Jun 13, 2019

Even though most people seldom think about them, hand fans have a rich, distinguished history of both ventilation and decoration. It's easy to understand why. Since the first humans sat on a rock in the summer sun and wished for a refreshing breeze, the concept of a portable cooling device has taken root in our consciousness.

Fortunately, it didn't take long for some very early adopter of technology to realize that a large leaf or palm frond, when held in the hand and waved, worked rather well. Thus was born the basic operating principle of hand fans that hasn't really changed to this day.

Materials used to create fans have varied through the centuries. Palm fronds, ostrich feathers and other such materials have been supplemented with fabrics such as silk or cotton. Items such as wood, ivory and even gold have been used for fan handles.

In the 1600s, ornate folding hand fans from Japan and China found their way to Europe. The Victorians later created a style of “fan etiquette,” with fan gestures used to communicate romantic messages to real or potential suitors.

Hand fans have long been decorated with artistic designs, often painted or drawn onto fan surface. Outdoor scenes, religious images, even advertisements are among the more common designs.

The genteel folding hand fans still have their place in some circles. But custom paper hand fans have become even more popular in recent years. At churches, political rallies and other public events, custom paper hand fans such as those we sell at HandFans-Direct have become a popular way to make a statement, advertise a business, even promote reality show contestants.

Like their antique folding forebears, today's hand fans are printed with custom messages. Hand fans offer a great way to distribute a promotional message to a wide audience.

Think about a parade on a hot summer day. Let's make it a Fourth of July parade downtown. Pass out hand fans printed with a patriotic scene on one side, and you'll be almost as popular as the Shriners in their mini-cars. The people standing on the curb are sure to appreciate a little relief from the heat.

Now consider this - if your advertising message and contact information is on the reverse side of those fans, you've just associated your business with something they like. They're more likely to keep your business in mind when it's time to buy your products or services.

Custom hand fans also make popular wedding favors, especially if you're planning an outdoor wedding. You can have your favorite picture, lyrics to “your” song, Bible verse, or whatever else you'd like printed on the fans. For guests, the fans make a great keepsake of the happy event.

Church hand fans have been popular for decades, especially for outdoor events such as tent revivals, homecomings, picnics and other special occasions. These frequently feature Biblical scenes printed on one side of the fans and an advertisement for local businesses printed on the opposite side. The businesses furnish the fans to the churches for free in exchange for the advertising.

Custom hand fans have a long tradition of both fashion and function. HandFans-Direct is committed to making them available in the finest quality and best prices possible. If you'd like to know more or want to order custom hand fans for any purpose, it's easy. Just call us toll free at 1-866-291-1524, fill out our no-obligation free quote form, or email us at [email protected]. We're ready to serve your every custom hand fan need!