Michel Waisvisz's The Hands is one of the most famous and long-lasting research projects in the literature of digital music instruments. Consisting of a pair of data gloves and exhibited for the first time in 1984, The Hands is a pioneering work in digital devices for performing live music. It is a work that engaged Waisvisz for almost a quarter of a century and, in turn, has inspired many generations of music technologists and performers of live music. Despite being often cited in the relevant literature, however, the documentation concerning the sensor architecture, design, mapping strategies, and development of these data gloves is sparse. In this article, we aim to fill this gap by offering a detailed history behind the development of The Hands. The information contained in this article was retrieved and collated by searching the STEIM archive, interviewing close collaborators of Waisvisz, and browsing through the paper documentation found in his personal folders and office.