Starting somewhere around the 17th century and continuing until the rise of the atomizer in the second half of the 19th century, fans (éventails) served as an object to which perfume could be applied. This use was entirely logical for a reasonable amount of perfume could be absorbed by the material of the fan, the material could retain the fragrance for a reasonable amount of time, and a reasonable amount of fragrance would be given off when the fan was flapped by the user.
As the atomizer replaced the perfumed fan, the nature of the fan changed from being a perfumed object to being an advertising object for perfumer. In fact, advertising fans promoted many products and services ranging from funeral parlors to railroads; champagne to beer.
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