The Origins of the Foam No. 1 Finger

Liquid Paper, the integrated circuit, the frozen margarita, the Topsy Tail — Dallas has given the world a number of marvelous inventions. If you’re not Cristina Daglas (we’ll keep trolling her until she writes something for the blog), you probably know about the origins of those aforementioned items. But did you know that the big foam No. 1 finger came out of Dallas?

While catching up on Miley Cyrus news, I read this FoxSports story about the guy who invented the No. 1 finger. Steve Chmelar didn’t much care for Cyrus’ fingering herself with a descendant of his finger, which he made in his parents’ Iowa garage out of galvanized hardware cloth, paper mache, and spray paint. But Chmelar put away his finger after a couple games. It was a guy in Dallas who really made it all happen with foam:

Several years after Chmelar created his original No. 1 finger, a man named Geral Fauss — after designing failed prototypes using cardboard and plywood — created the first foam finger and began selling them at the 1978 Cotton Bowl game. Chmelar said he has never spoken with Fauss, but that he believes it was his creation that inspired the digit we all know today.

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy learning about that. So I told you.


  • Marcus

    New editor: Assign Tim work, asap.

    • Cristina Daglas

      I’m working on it.

  • anon

    Uh, not so much. Fauss was in Houston, specifically a graphics art teacher in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. He drove up to Dallas to sell them at the 1978 Cotton Bowl. They eventually became Spirit Industries, located in Montgomery, Texas. Here’s more: The lesson here is to not believe everything that you see on Fox.

    • Peter Kurilecz

      or MSNBC 😉

    • Steve Chmelar

      Are suggesting that I didn’t I didn’t create the original #1 finger? I am Steve Chmelar and these photos were taken in march of 1971 … years before Geral Fauss introduced his product.

  • Tim Rogers

    She speaks!

  • RAB

    I personally thought that Miley Cyrus’s use of the foam No. 1 finger was about the best I’ve ever seen.