Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


Fold and One Cut Designs and Puzzles
This page attempts to set out what is known about the history of Fold and One Cut Designs and Puzzles. Please contact me if you know that the information on this page is incorrect or if you know of important omissions. Thank you.

In Fold and One Cut Designs the paper is folded in such a way that it is possible to obtain a given shape with just a single straight cut. Such designs are frequently presented as puzzles.

There are separate pages devoted to the history of the Fold and One Cut Latin Cross and the Fold and One Cut Pentagram, also sometimes known as the Betsy Ross Star.


The earliest known example of a Fold and One Cut Design (in fact a Fold and One Cut Design presented as a puzzle) occurs in the book 'Wakoku Chiyekurabe' (Mathematical Contests) by Kan Chu Sen which was published in Japan in 1721.

The target shape bears a distinct resemblance to the kamon (family badge) of the Ogasawara family shown below (see https://www.samurai-archives.com/crest5.html).


The Fold and One Cut Hexagon

A method of creating a regular Fold and One Cut Hexagon can be found in 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley, which was first published in Bielefeld and Leipzig, and the foreword of which is dated October 1876.


This method also appears in 'Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers' by Maggie Browne, which is an English version of 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch', and was published by Cassell and Company in London in 1896.


The Fold and One Cut Ladder

' La Science Amusante' by Tom Tit (real name Arthur Good) was published in three volumes in Paris by Librairie Larousse during the years 1890, 1892 and 1894. Each volume is a collection of articles, mainly of scientific experiments using everyday objects, which had been previously published in the French magazine L'Illustration. I do not know the dates on which each of the articles was originally published.

Volume 3 explains how to cut a ladder from folded paper using just one cut.


The same effect occurs in 'Le Livre des Amusettes' by Toto, which was published in Paris by Charles Mendel in 1899.