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Mechanical Fan: M.269-2015

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mechanical Fan


Maker: Unknown




Hand held mechanical fan. Bakelite.


History note: Lennox Boyd Estate. Christie's no. 1061

Legal notes

Accepted by H. M. Government in lieu of inheritance tax from the Lennox Boyd Estate

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Allocated (2015-04-27) by H.M. Government


20th Century
Production date: circa AD 1920


Bakelite, the world’s first synthetic plastic, is a very unusual material for fans. It was developed by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York, in 1907, and was patented in 1909. It was more commonly used for radio and TV casings as well as kitchenware and toys. This fan, the original type of which was produced in around 1910, would have been considered the height of fashion when it first appeared. Remarkably, it still works.

This fan forms part of the collection of the Hon. Christopher Lennox Boyd, allocated to the Museum by H.M. Government in lieu of inheritance tax in 2015. The collection of over 600 objects ranges in date from the 18th to the 20th centuries and in type from bejewelled and hand-painted court and wedding fans, to printed mass-produced advertising fans, aide-memoire fans, mourning fans and children’s fans.

Materials used in production


Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.269-2015
Primary reference Number: 204837
Sale number: 1061
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 28 July 2015 Updated: Tuesday 26 October 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Mechanical Fan" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-25 14:41:36

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{{cite web|url= |title=Mechanical Fan |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-25 14:41:36|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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