Fans at the Athenaeum
Object ID:
"Cigar fan" pleated paper cockade fan.

The cigar fan was an amusing novelty item popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When closed, it appears to be an ordinary cigar. By pulling the top, however, an inner paper tube emerges and a dainty paper pleated leaf opens into a 360 degree arc. To close the fan, simply push the top and the paper leaf folds back into itself and disappears into the cigar.

Cigar fans with American flag motifs were popular items for patriotic holidays and political conventions. The outer tube of this fan is made of wrapped layers of brown paper to resemble the tobacco leaves of a cigar. Some of the outer brown paper is missing, however, exposing inner layers of paper printed with Japanese writing and cartoon images; some images are of World War I era Japanese soldiers. On the band is printed MADE IN JAPAN, as required by law of all Japanese imports to the United States starting in 1921.

Dimension Details:
Open width: 4.75"
Open height: 10.25"
Closed length: 5.5"
Arc (degrees when open): 360

Place of Origin:
after 1920
Credit Line:
Gift of Hyman Myers
This online exhibition is made possible through a generous grant from the Fan Association of North America (FANA).
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front view of opened fanfront view of opened fan
detail of fan handledetail of fan handle
detail of paper layersdetail of paper layers
view of fan half openedview of fan half opened
closed cigar fanclosed cigar fan