I have been a fan of fans for a long time. I find it hard to pass one up if I see it at a garage sale or in a thrift store. There are so many out there. Vintage, plastic, wood, painted, paper, cheap, antique, glamorous, fun!
I always carry one in my purse, in case I am sitting somewhere, maybe a waiting room, and it gets a little stuffy. Pull it out, and whoosh, a blast of cooling air, courtesy of a little bit of paper glued to a little piece of wood. No electricity needed, just a little bit of "elbow grease", as our piano teacher Mrs. Domingues used to say.
Above is one of my last fan finds. It is painted wood, and came in its own little gold foil box. These punched design fans are often broken in places, but this one is perfect. Perhaps because it has been protected by its box.
I find that often the painted decorations on a fan are oriental in design.
This lovely white plastic fan is a souvenir of Arkansas, and has painted scenes from that state. It would be fun to collect a fan like this from each state.
I love this simple wooden fan, although it has a couple of broken areas. It still works!
I have noticed that in the punch-work designs, the tulip is very common.
Tulips again on this inexpensive yet intricate white plastic fan.
A thin simple satin ribbon holds it all together.
The fan above is a favorite. It is made of thick paper, painted on both sides, with lacquered wood stems. This side is a very popular flower, chrysanthemums, with some peonies and a few other lovelies, all of glowing gold foil. And it is reversible:
Silver foil and daisies plus on the other side. This fan is very sturdy. I plan to use it with a costume one of these days.
An older very sturdy wooden fan with punched designs.
Golden letters spell out BALI. A well-traveled souvenir.
A very cheap, very new paper and balsa wood fan with hibiscus blooms, ready for a neighborhood luau. You can get these in large batches at party supply stores.
These little paper fans fold into the handle when closed. They are very handy for the purse or pocket. And they are very cheap.
I am ending with my oldest fan. It is a mourning fan, all in black, wood with black crepe fabric. I found this fan in Georgetown at an estate sale. It probably dates back to the 1930s or earlier.
Mourning fans are a very interesting collectible. Some are very intricate and decorated with silver and marcasites. Mine is as simple as can be, although made of quality materials. A mourning fan is less for staying cool, and more about holding it up before your face to hide the tears and puffy eyes.
I hope you can stay cool as we head toward the longest day of the year. If you start to heat up, whip out a fan, use some elbow grease, and work up your own personal breeze.