This book traces the history of fans from biblical times to the present day. Fans are made from a wide variety of materials and in numerous different shapes and sizes, and they come from many diverse cultures. Originating as an everyday functional object, the fan rapidly acquired ceremonial and social significance, becoming the utilitarian sceptre of kings, the subject of conversation for blue-stockings of the seventeenth century, the toy of frivolous ladies, the vehicle of revolutionary messages, the sentimental possession of the Victorians, the mirror of the Belle Epoque, and an advertising gimmick. Above all, fans are hand-crafted objects and therefore no two are identical, which makes recording and classsifying them an absorbing and fascinating historical adventure. Softcover.