Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object Name Fan
Date ca. 1880-1900
Description Folding "trick" fan. Leaf is composed of nine horizontal bands of light and dark pink cotton ribbons. Wood sticks are serpentine shaped and are painted pink with a painted silver design on the guardsticks. Metal loop and pink ribbon attached at rivet. Possibly made in France.
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, Victorian)
Acquisition From Ruth (Wood) Morren (Mrs. George E.B. Morren)
Ownership and History This type of fan could be called a trick fan, broken fan, or fancy ribbon fan. The ribbons are attached to the sticks in such a way that if opened in the typical manner (from left to right) it appears as a normal folding fan with a ribbon leaf, but if opened in the opposite direction (from right to left), the ribbons are revealed to be short pieces that connect pairs of sticks, giving the appearance of a broken fan.

This example may have been made by a manufacturer of inexpensive fans, possibly in France. However, a similar fan is documented in a U.S. publication of May 1866, Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, which gave instructions for making a simpler version with three bands of ribbons as a do-it-yourself craft project.
Earliest Date 1880
Latest Date 1900
Material Cotton/Wood
Subjects Fans
Lexicon Sub-category Personal Gear
Catalog Number 78.009.0005
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Fan Association of North America (FANA), 2013. (
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.