• Steven Heller

A Fan Boy’s Fan Collection

If you’ve ever seen the film Inherit The Wind, the fictionalized version of the real 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial (the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes) over the teaching of evolution in public schools, you’d have noticed the extras sitting in the sweltering courtroom furiously fanning themselves with cardboard fans. Provided by the local funeral home, they were a common advertising premium in the 1920s through the 1960s—and particularly ubiquitous in the warmer climes.

Newton Manufacturing Company’s catalog of “stickless” and “Comfyhold” fans feature an odd array of illustrative stock designs on the fronts and various suggestions for copy on the back. Who knew that Newton, Iowa, was the backbone of fan production in the American heartland. But since advertising is ubiquitous and fans were popular, it’s logical that everywhere a fan was used an advertising manufacturer was not far away.

All too often, typeface designs, typographic designs and handlettering get overlooked in competitions—which is why Print developed a competition that gives the artforms their full due and recognizes the best designers in each category. Enter Print’s Typography & Lettering Awards today.

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