Facts on Handkerchiefs


Handkerchiefs have a variety of uses: from fashion accessories to health and beauty aids, these tiny pieces of cloth have had a valuable impact on many generations.


  • Handkerchiefs (also known as hankies) have been around since the fourteenth century, when Richard II of England is said to have been the first to use a small piece of linen to blow his nose.


  • There are 12 different ways to fold a handkerchief, including the Four-point fold, the Presidential and the Astaire.


  • Most handkerchiefs are made of linen and cotton cut in squares and folded in fours.


  • Only a few countries in the world still use handkerchiefs regularly for their original purpose (to blow a nose), as it is considered unsanitary in the United States and many European countries.

Fun Fact

  • Handkerchiefs are often waved to express celebration during soccer matches, especially in South America.

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  • Photo Credit Paul Goyette
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