The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Last updated 15/2/2024


How to Make a Chain from a Playing Card
This page is being used to collect information about the history of the fold and cut effect which I call How to Make a Chain from a Playing Card. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

Much of the information on this page is taken from the blogpost 'The Paper Buckle' by Edwin Corrie, which can be found here.



The fourth volume of the 1723 edition of Jacques Ozanam's 'Récréations mathématiques et physiques' (which was first published in 1694 but revised and expanded from two to four volumes after Ozanam's death in 1718) contains an effect 'Pour couper une carte comme une chaine'. While it is not completely clear how the instructions / illustrations are to be translated / interpreted, it is, I believe, most likely intended to be the How to make a Chain from a Playing Card effect.


The effect also occurs with similarly obscure instructions in:


'Enganos a Ojos Vistas, Y Diversion de Trabajos' by Pablo Minguet E Irol, which was published in Barcelona in 1733.



'I Giochi Numerici Fatti Arcani' by Giuseppe Antonio Alberti, which was published by Bartolomeo Borghi in Bologna in 1747.


'Tresor des Jeux' by Carlo Antonio, which was published in Geneva by Henri-Albert Gosse & Comp and in La Haye, The Netherlands, by Pierre Gosse, Junior, both in 1759.


The effect also occurs:


In 'Mechanemata oder der Tausendkünstler' by Dr Heinrich Rockstroh, which was published in 1831. This effect occurs in two versions, from paper and then from a playing card. Both versions are effectively the same. Information from Edwin Corrie.



In the 5th edition of 'Das Buch der Zauberei' by Johann August Donndorff, which was published in Vienna in 1839.



In 'O Prodigio Nas Salas' by David de Castro, which was published by Ernesto Charoron in Porto and Braga in 1880.



In 'Spiel und Sport' by Dr Jan Daniel Georgens was published by Verlag und Drud von Otto Spamer in Leipzig and Berlin in 1882.



In 'La Nature' Issue 808 of 24th November 1888 in an article by Arthur Good (who also wrote under the nom de plume Tom Tit) headed 'Recreations scientifiques' and sub-headed 'Transformation d'une carte a jouer'.



In the second volume of the German book 'Kolumbus-Eier' (ca. 1902), which was a collection of articles from the children's magazine 'Der Gute Kamarad'. Information from Edwin Corrie.



As 'A Novel Paper Chain' in 'Fun with Paper' by Joseph Leeming, which was published by Spencer Press Inc in Chicago in 1939.