At first I doubted the legitimacy of the above video, mostly because of the music and quality of the film itself, but after reading through some of the comments about it, I found out that this short was added to the National Film Registry and was also included in the film about the history of Pixar.
In 1972, Ed Catmull, the founder of Pixar, created the first rendering of a 3D model using his own hand. While we use the polygon tool in Maya and just extrude different shapes out, Catmull had to create an exact replica and physically slice it up into polygons. I'm sure if we made a hand now, our process would be incredibly similar to what they had to do in 1972. That the hand in initially created as lines, then the next step would be a creating the unsmooth surface, which eventually leads to the final version.
If you stop around 5 minutes in and see the initial version for the face, it looks just like something we would be creating in class. Its actually amazing how much has changed in the technology yet how little has changed in the design.