- Historic Sites
The Language Of The Fan
February 1966 | Volume 17, Issue 2
Fans were known to the ancients, and kept the flies off Pharaoh. The Japanese, clever as always, devised the folding variety, and they became enormously popular in the Western world. Whether the thing was made of feathers, silk, or paper, the idea at first was simply to cool the person. But there was something exquisitely graceful about a beautiful lady waving her fan and, as women will, they discovered it. It was a new way to say yes, no, or maybe. Americans naturally systematized codes of fan signals, and we print one such code, dated 1879, below. This magazine takes no responsibility for any problems our readers may incur by using it. Like Colt, we merely sell the weapon.