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Who Invented the Foam Finger?

The foam finger was invented by Geral Fauss in 1978

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Foam Finger

A general view of a foam finger vendor during the game between the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Edison Field in Anaheim, California.

Getty Images/Stephen Dunn
The foam finger or foam hand seen at many sporting events and political rallies. It is a novelty item intended to enhance the experience of a fan by allowing a fan to show support for their team or political candidate in a very visual manner.

The foam finger looks like an oversized hand with an extended index finger and is worn over a fan's real hand. The surface of the foam finger will often have a name, logo, or slogan, printed on it. The foam finger is also produced in other variations of finger positions, for example: extended thumb and index and pinky, extended index and pinky (see second photo), or extended middle.

Geral Fauss - Inventor of the Foam Finger

In 1978, a high school teacher named Geral Fauss invented the foam finger aka the "we are number one" foam hand, a highly successful and popular piece of sports merchandise. Geral Fauss taught industrial arts at the Cypress Fairbanks ISD in Cypress, Texas. The inventor had a love for design, technical illustration, drafting, and obviously sports.

In 1978, the football team at the high school where Geral Fauss taught had made it into the state finals. Fauss invented the foam finger to show support for the team, to raise funds for the industrial arts club, and as a project that his industrial arts class could produce themselves. The first prototype foam finger was actually made out of plywood and had a painting of a "number one" done in the school's colors.

The success of the hand at his high school led Geral Fauss to venture into the sports merchandise business, by making hands to sell at the 1978 Cotton Bowl game (University of Texas Vs Notre Dame), and later by founding Spirit Industries for the large scale manufacturing of foam fingers. In 1979, the first polyurethane foam version of the product was produced by Spirit Industries.

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