In 1978, Cy-Fair High School, where Geral Fauss taught, made their way to the state football finals.
Fauss created the #1 hand to match team spirit with profits to earn funds for the school's industrial arts club. He designed the hands so that the students could actually be involved in producing them in his classroom.
Fauss designed a one dimensional replica of an oversized hand based on his own hand. Students then cut wooden hands and painted them with the graphic '#1' in the school's colors.
His first design and production of the #1 hand sold out. He made money for the school club as he had hoped, and thus the beginning of a cultural phenomena was born.
This idea began to niggle at him... if it sold here, why wouldn't other schools want to show their spirit in the same way? The sheer simplicity of the design was also attractive to Fauss.
"My first venture into selling the #1 hands was at the 1978 Cotton Bowl game. the University of Texas was playing Notre Dame. I hand cut the #1 hands out of plywood, painted them white, and used an orange board-marker to hand draw graphics on every hand - they were actually very professional looking.'
'I didn't have a plan for selling these. I just thought I would work it out after I got there. so I found out who was the manager for the concessions in the stadium, showed him our hands, and asked him if we could sell them on consignment. He agreed to a 60/40 split, and I was in business. I sold all the hands I'd brought before the game started.
After this venture, Fauss decided he wanted to really try to make a go of his creation. He quit his teaching position to start his own company manufacturing and marketing the #1 hands.
Photo by Design Boom.