Some form of handkerchief has been used by law Since the very earliest times. Probably the first form of the handkerchief was the tail of a jackal which was mounted on a stick. Primitive people used this as both a handkerchief and a fan.
The first handkerchiefs were made by the ancient Egyptians, around 4000 years ago. Handkerchiefs were often made out of linen and silk, and were used to wipe the noses of pharaohs.
A handkerchief is a small square of fabric or other disposable material used for personal hygiene, most commonly for the nose or for wiping tears. The word handkerchief derives from the Middle English “handkerche”, which is in turn a variant of the Middle High German “handkerc”. Because the word “Handkerchief” is not found in Old or Middle English, it is thought to be an adoption of the French “mouchoir”, meaning hand cloth. The word was also often spelled “an hankercheef”. M.L. further explains the meaning of hankercheif as “a small cloth carried about the person, to wipe the hands, face, or any part of the body.
We know that many savage races made little mats of straw which they wore on their heads and used to wipe away perspiration. This was probably the chief early use of the handkerchief.
In Greek and Roman times, there were not only handkerchiefs but napkins, too. Napkins were used for drying the hands at the table. Handkerchiefs were made out of small linen squares which were put inside the clothes and taken along on journeys. In the seventeenth century in France, handkerchiefs became very elegant.
They were made of lace and often decorated with gems. When snuff became popular in the eighteenth century, women began to use handkerchiefs of colored cloth. Marie Antoinette persuaded Louis XVI of France to issue a law that or oblong! had to be square in shape, instead of round, or oval
What Are Handkerchiefs Used For?
Personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one’s hands or face, or blowing one’s nose.