Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

 

 
 

The 1885 engraving of the Flapping Bird

  The history of paperfolding is a fascinating one. This page provides links to a Timeline of Paperfolding History as a whole and to other more detailed pages relating to both broad themes and specific designs, all of which clearly show the original source of the information.

Objects made of paper are ephemeral and the record we have of them at an early date relies largely on their chance survival or their mention or appearance in poetry, books, fabrics, drawings and paintings. It is likely that many practical and recreational paperfolds are much older than the earliest evidence for their existence. Unfortunately, of course, we cannot know, even approximately, how much older they might actually be.

While I have long been interested in paperfolding history there are many paperfolders who know much more about the subject than I do and these notes should be seen as a starting point rather than a comprehensive guide. If you find any errors or inaccuracies in these notes, or are aware of additional information, particularly early information, that I do not know of, or may have overlooked, please let me know.

I would particularly like to acknowledge the assistance of Juan Gimeno, Michel Grand, Masatsugu Tsutsumi, Edwin Corrie, Jaume Coll Guerrero, Koshiro Hatori and Joan Sallas, who have provided information and pointed out mistakes. All the remaining errors are, of course, my own.

 
 
 
A Timeline of Paperfolding History
 
How to find information on this page
 
The first two sections below provide links to pages about Some Well-Known Designs and Paperfolding and Some Well-Known People and their connection to paperfolding. Looking through a few of these may, I hope, encourage you to dig in a little deeper.

The next two sections provide indexes to various broad Categories of Designs and then to some Paperfolding Techniques. In some cases material from the main sources has not yet been carried over to these index pages. You can, however, still use them to locate designs which do not (yet) merit a specific page of their own.

The next section is probably the one that you will want to use the most. It provides pages about Specific Designs, including all the best known 'traditional' designs (and some that you may never have heard of before).

If you want information about, for instance, the history of paper planes in general, you can find this in the Index Pages - Categories of Designs section. If you want to look up the history of one particularly paper plane, say the Paper Dart or the Swallow, you can find this in the section about Specific Designs. Individual designs generally only have their own specific pages if they occur regularly in the literature. Details of designs that only appear once or twice may not have their own page but information about them will appear in the Index Pages.

Below this are other sections that provide links to areas of special interest such as Formal and Ceremonial Paperfolding, Paperfolding Games and Manipulative Puzzles and Paperfolding as Political Propaganda.

Finally, right at the foot of this page, there is a section about sources, which provides information about many of the historical documents on which the other pages are based, and, in many cases, provides a link to a full online version of the document the information is drawn from. At present information in the Main Sources pages has only been fully carried over into the Specific Design pages up until 1951. If you know of any other significant sources of information that I have overlooked please let me know.

Where sources are shown but are not yet linked to pages it means I have information on what they contain but have not yet found time to write up the information.

Where sources are marked 'incomplete information' it means I have not yet been able to obtain a full print copy or find a full electronic copy on line. If you can make up for these deficiences I will be extremely grateful.

Where linked pages are marked 'incomplete' it means that I have information that has not yet been added to these pages, in some cases a great deal of information, and that consequently they should not , at present, be relied upon to provide a historical narrative.

All pages are subject to updating as new information becomes available.

 
Some Well-Known Designs
 
Pages about many more specific designs can be found further down this index page.
 
 
Paperfolding and Some Well-Known People
 
 
Index Pages - Categories of Designs
 
These index pages are a relatively new addition to the site and in some cases material from the Main Sources has not yet been carried forward to them. You can, however, still use them to locate designs which do not merit a specific page of their own.
 
  Active Play Designs     Flat Figures from Paper Strips (incomplete)     Peacocks
                     
  Alphabets and Paper Numbers     Plants and Flowers (incomplete)     Penguins
                     
  The Paper Ball     Foxes     Japanese Folding Picture Forms
                     
  Paper Bangers     Fold and Cut Friezes     Pigs and Boars
                     
  Baskets     Simple Froebelian Folds of Life (incomplete)     Paper Pistols
                     
  Bats     Froebelian Folds of Life from the Double Blintz Basic Form     Paper Planes
                     
  Bears     Froebelian Folds of Life from the Windmill Base     Designs folded from Playing Cards
                     
  Birds     Froebelian Folds of Life from the the Triple Blintz Basic Form (revision required)     Multiple-Image Pleated Paper Pictures / Falzbilder / Tabulae Striatae
                     
  Boats     Froebelian Folds of Life from the the Blintzed Windmill Base     Purses / Bags / Wallets / Card Holders (incomplete)
                     
  Bookmarks     Frogs     Air Driven Rotating Designs
                     
  Boxes and Bowls     Furniture     Rotationally Symmetric Fold and Cut Designs (incomplete)
                     
  3D Buildings / Structures     Single-Sheet Geometric Ornaments and Decorations (incomplete)     Miscellaneous Sealife
                     
  Bulls and Cows     Giraffes     Seals / Sealions
                     
  Butterflies     Hats and Caps     Snails
                     
  Camels     Human Figures (incomplete)     Spiders
                     
  Cicadas     Inflatable Designs     Spools / Yarn Holders
                     
  Clothing and Personal Accessories     Miscellaneous Insects     Tatos / Flat Paper Pouches
                     
  Concentric Crease Designs / The Hyperbolic Paraboloid / The Saddle     Kangaroos     Tents
                     
  Crabs and Lobsters     Flyable Kites     Tools and Household Equipment
                     
  Crane and Tortoise Designs     Kites (Non-Flying)     Miscellaneous Transport and Vehicles
                     
  Cubes     Lanterns     Turtles / Tortoises
                     
  Stars of David (incomplete)     Letterfolds and Letterlocks     Umbrellas and Parasols
                     
  Paper Darts and Flights     Mice and Rats     Wall Mounted Designs (incomplete)
                     
  Miscellaneous Desk Furniture     Monkeys and Apes     Water Absorbing Designs
                     
  Dragonflies     Musical Instruments (non-playing)     Windmills
                     
  Elephants     Noise Making Designs     Windmill Base Patterns and Decorations
                     
  Faces     Octagrams (incomplete)      
                     
  Fish     Octopii      
 
Index Pages - Paperfolding Techniques
 
  Cardboard Modelling / Cartonnage (incomplete)     Macromodular Origami     Pure Origami
                     
  Fold, Cut and Fold Designs (incomplete)     Modular Origami     Quilling / Paper Filigree
                     
  Golden Venture / 3D Origami     Fold and One Cut Designs     Fold and Weave Designs from Paper Strips
 
Pages about Specific Designs
 

Closely connected designs may share the same page.

Some designs, mostly those which only occur once in the literature (or in multiple books by the same author) are not recorded separately in this section. You can, however, look them up in the Category Pages section above.

 
  Abd-El-Krim     The Flapping Dove     The Pipe Cap / Bishop's Mitre / Bishop's Crown / Traditional Ingot
                     
  The Afghan Bands / Les Anneaux Mysterieuse     The Flat Bottomed Boat     The Plaited Belt
                     
  The Air Force Cap     The Frame and the Picture Frame     The Playing Card Cube
                     
  The Bellows     The Paper Rosette / Froebel Star / Moravian Star / German Star / Swedish Star     The Playing Card Monk / Capuchin
                     
  The Blintz Box or Masu / The Winnowing Box     The Blow-Up Frog     Le Porte-Allumettes / La Violetera
                     
  The Blotting Paper Holder / Le Sous-Main Buvard     The Jumping Frog     The Propellor / Helice
                     
  The Blowpipe and Darts     The Fold, Cut and Fold Paper Garland / How to Climb Through a Playing Card Effect     The Slit and Assemble Cube and Sphere / The Puff Ball
                     
  The Paper Boat / Paper Boat Hat / Paper Boat Snapper     The Walking Giraffe / Le Girafe Marchant (incomplete)     The Puzzle Purse / Pinwheel / Thread Container / Menko
                     
  The Boat with Fishbox     The Hibachi     The Pyramidal Hat
                     
  The Boat with Sail / Cradle with Hood / Oil Lamp     Horses and Riders     The Salt Cellar / The Pepperpot
                     
  The Square Hat / Le Bonnet Carre     The House / Sofa / Organ / Piano / Chair / Dustpan / Papel y Sobre     The Inside Out Boat / The Sampan / The Rainy Day Sampan
                     
  The Box with Handles / La Boite a Anses     The Japanese House     The Sanbo
                     
  The Blow-up Bunny     The Jacket / The Trousers / The Suit of Clothes / The Doll / The Dog     The Sanbo on Legs and its derivative designs
                     
  The Fold and Slit Trellis and the Fold and Slit Cage     The Jumping Bean     The Sedan Chair / Kago / Palanquin
                     
  The Cake Box     The Junk Box     The Snapdragon
                     
  The Carrier Pigeon / Bird Flies Off Your Hand     The Kabuto / Japanese Helmet / Samurai Helmet / Goldfish / Nagakabuto / The Party Hat     The Soldier's Cap / The Poke Bonnet
                     
  The Catherine of Cleves Box     The Kettle and the Open Top Box     The Solid Box / The Firm Box
                     
  Fold, Slit and Fold Chevron Designs     The Kikuzara / The Japanese Ornamental Ball     The Sou'wester / Gorro de Aguas
                     
  The Chrysanthemum Box     The King's Crown / The Battleship     The Fat Sparrow
                     
  The Chickenwire Letterfold     Komoso / Yakko-san     The Square Letterfold
                     
  The Gondola / Chinese Junk / Takarabune     The Large Box     The Squid / Drachen / Pez Raya
                     
  The Cigar Case     The Fold and One Cut Latin Cross / Altar / Ticket to Heaven / Hell     The Interwoven Star of David
                     
  The Cocotte / Pajarita     The Lily / Iris     The Star-Shaped Box
                     
  The Cocotte / Pajarita in a Boat     The Lotus     The Steamship / Well / Battleship
                     
  The Cradle     The Love Knot Letterfold     The Swallow (paper plane)
                     
  The Paper Crane / Orizuru / Sadako Sasaki     The Lover's Knot     The Table and the Tablecloth
                     
  The Nesting Crane     The Magic Hat / Bonnete de Magico     The Tematebako
                     
  The Crane Envelope     The Mirror and the Looking Glass     Tetrahedron from a Tube or Envelope
                     
  Le Cri du Veau / Trumpet / Flute     The Mitre / Pencil Case / Doll / Turban     The Three Scrolls
                     
  The Paper Cup     The Mobius Band / Flattening a Mobius Band into a Regular Hexagon     The Vase / The Cravat
                     
  The Cup and Saucer     The Cut and Fold Model Aeroplane     The Wagon / El Carro
                     
  The Paper Dart / Arrow     Le Moineau (The Sparrow)     The Waterbomb / The Hot Air Balloon
                     
  The Paper Doily     The Monster Fish     The Wild Man From Borneo / Le Diablotin / El Gatito
                     
  The Chain of Dolls     The Mushikago     The Windmill
                     
  The Donkey with Panniers     The Newspaper Hat     The Cut and Fold Windmill
                     
  The Double Boat and the Double Hulled Boat     The Newspaper Sword, Newspaper Ladder, Newspaper Tree and the Flags     The Wind Wheel
                     
  Another Double Boat     The Pagoda     The Witch's Ladder / Devil's Staircase / Hexentrappe / Harmonika
                     
  The Double Fishbox / The Portfolio     The Fold and Cut Paper Parachute     The Workman's Hat ( aka The Carpenter's, Printer's or Pressman's Hat)
                     
  Don Simon     The Patisserie Box     The Woven Cross
                     
  The Dove     La Peniche / Le Bateau Ponte      
                     
  The Drinking Bird     The Pentagonal Knot and the See-Through Pentagram      
                     
  The Duck     The Fold and One Cut Pentagram / Five-pointed Star / Betsy Ross Star      
                     
  The Flapping Bird     The Pig / The Corner Cabinet / The Shelf (L'Etagere) / The Trough (La Artesa)      
    The Flapping Butterfly                
               
 
Formal and Ceremonial Paperfolding
 
Formal and Ceremonial Paperfolding
 
  Ceremonial Wrappers / Tsutsumi     Folded Patenbriefs / Sponsorship Letters     The Folding of Visiting / Calling Cards
                     
  Corporals     The Floral Sake Container Cover      
                     
  Ocho and Mecho Butterflies     Valentines, Proposals and Love Tokens      
 
Everyday Practical and Decorative Paperfolding
 
This section is largely incomplete at present. Because of this, information about the first appearance of some practical paperfolds has not yet been added to the Timeline.
 
  Books     Pleated Paper Fans     Letterfolds and Letterlocks (incomplete)
                     
  How to Cover a Book     Paper Filters     Napkin and Serviette Folding (incomplete)
                     
  Paper Cartridges     Paper Fire Lighters     Paper Packets
                     
  Paper Bands, Chains and Garlands     Fold-Outs (incomplete)     Fold and Cut Shelf Edgings and Flowerpot Decorations
                     
  Paperclips     Fold and Slit Paper Frills / Ruffles / Manchettes / Candle Decorations / Trees     Paper Spills /Alumettes / Paper Matches
                     
  Paper Cones / Grocer's Cones     Paper Hair Wrappings     Fold and Slit Paper Tinsel / Tassles (incomplete)
                     
  Fold and Cut Stove and Chair Covers     Harlequinades / Metamorphoses / Flap-Books / Turn-up Books     Paper Wicks
                     
  Paper Dunce's Hats and Donkey Ears     Pleated Paper Lampshades      
 
Themes and Ideas
 
  Opportunities for Interfusion between East and West     The Concept of Pure Origami     Strands of Paperfolding in Western Europe and the USA
 
Paperfolding Games and Manipulative Puzzles
 
 
Paperfolding Entertainments and Magical Effects
 
 
Paperfolding as Political Propaganda
 
Paperfolding as Political Propaganda
 
 
Paperfolding Mathematics
 
This section is largely incomplete at present. Because of this, information information about the first appearance of some mathematical paperfolds has not yet been added to the Timeline.
 
  Summing the Angles of a Triangle     Cut and Fold Polyhedral Nets (incomplete)     Division into Thirds and Fifths (incomplete)
                     
  Constructing 60 Degree Angles (incomplete)     Mathematical Puzzles     Tetrahedron from a Tube or Envelope
                     
  Constructing Polygons by Folding Paper (incomplete)     Demonstrating / Proving Pythagoras' Theorem (incomplete)      
                     
  Constructing Polyhedra by Folding Paper     Constructing Accurate Right Angles by Folding Paper      
 
Paperfolding Science
 
 
Paperfolding in Specific Publications
 
 
Paperfolding Bibliography
 
  Robert E Neale - A bibliography            
                     
               
 
Sources
 
A Note about the Nature of Paperfolding History

Subsidiary Sources Consulted / Searched

Undated Postcards / Undated Trade Cards / Undated Drawings, Prints and Paintings

 
Japanese sources are marked with pink squares.
 
  De Viribus Quantitatis by Luca Pacioli, 1502     The Kindergarten Principle by Mary J Lyschinska, 1880     Houdini's Paper Magic, 1922
                     
  'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta, 1584     Cassell's Book of Indoor Amusements, Card Games and Fireside Fun, 1881     More Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1923
                     
  Trattato delle piegature by Mattia Giegher, 1629     Het Vlechten by Elise Van Calcar, 1881     Joujoux en Papier by Tom Tit, 1924
                     
  Deliciae physico mathematicae by Daniel Schwenter, 1636     Part 2 of The Kindergarten Guide by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, 1882     Papiergestaltung by Paul Engelhardt and Adolf Lillack, 1926 (incomplete information)
                     
  Deliciae physico mathematicae Volume 2 by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, 1651     Popular Scientific Recreations, 1883     Ein Lustiges Faltbuchlein by Johanna Huber, 1927 (incomplete information)
                     
  Vollständiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, 1652     Giuochi Fanciulleschi Siciliani by Giuseppe Pitri, 1883     Fun with Paper Folding by Murray and Rigney, 1928
                     
  Deliciae physico mathematicae Volume 3 by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, 1653     Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age by Gaston Tissandier, 1884     Article in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1928
                     
  Trenchier-und Plicatur-Büchlein by Andreas Klett, 1657 (incomplete information)     Les Cocottes de Mon Grand-Pere by Alfred Delvau, 1884     Article in Modern Mechanix magazine, 1929
                     
  Onna Chohoki, 1692 (and 1847)     Kindergarten Shoho by Iijima Hanjuro, 1885     Origami Part 1 by Isao Honda, 1931
                     
  Origata Tehon of Kikuchi Fujiwara no Takehide, 1697     Theoretisches und praktisches Handbuch der Fröbelschen Erziehungslehre by Bertha von Marentholtz-Bülow, 1887 (incomplete information)     Origami Part 2 by Isao Honda, 1932 (incomplete information)
                     
  Récréations mathématiques et physiques by Jacques Ozanam, 1723     La Science Pratique by Gaston Tissandier, 1889     Winter Nights Entertainments by R M Abraham, 1932
                     
  Enganos a Ojos Vistas, Y Diversion de Trabajos by Pablo Minguet E Irol, 1733     Scientific Amusements by Henry Frith, 1890     Images A Plier by M R Chasles, 1932
                     
  I Giochi Numerici Fatti Arcani by Giuseppe Antonio Alberti, 1747     The Boy's Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations by G A Hutchinson, 1890     Figuras de Papel, 1932 (incomplete information)
                     
  Tresor des Jeux by Carlo Antonio, 1759     Serviettes and How to Fold Them, 1890     Diversions and Pastimes by R M Abraham, 1933
                     
  Die Zehenmal Hundert und Eine Kunst by Albrecht Ernst Friedrich von Crailsheim, 1762     La Science Amusante by Tom Tit, 1890-1893     Paper Toy Making by Margaret Campbell, 1937
                     
  Hoketsuki by Sadatake Ise, 1764     Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers by Maggie Browne, 1891     Fun with Paper by Joseph Leeming, 1939 (incomplete information)
                     
  The Senbazuru Orikata, 1797     Paper Folding and Cutting by Katherine M Ball, 1892     El Mundo de Papel by Dr Nemesio Montero, 1939
                     
  Orikata Tehon Chushingura, 1797     Geometrical Exercises in Paperfolding by Tandalam Sundara Rao, 1893     At Home Tonight by Herbert McKay, 1940
                     
  Manuel Complet des Jeux de Société by Elisabeth Celnart, 1827     Cuestiones de Pedagogía Práctica: Medios de Instruir by D Vicente Castro Legua, 1893     El Plegado y Cartonaje en la Escuela Primaria by Antonio M Luchia and Corina Luciani de Luchia, 1940
                     
  The Boy's Own Book by William Clarke, 1828     L'Annee Preparatoire de Travail Manuel by M P Martin, 1893     After The Dessert by Martin Gardner, 1941
                     
  Manual Completo de Juegos de Sociedad o Tertulia y la Prendas by Mariano de Rementería y Fica, 1831     Pour Amuser les Petits by Tom Tit, 1894     Paper Magic by U F Grant, 1941 (incomplete information)
                     
  The Girl's Own Book by Lydia Maria Child, 1833     Course in Paperfolding by Eleenore Heerwart, 1895     Article in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1946
                     
  The Kan No Mado, 1845     Froebel's Occupations by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith, 1896     The Art of Chinese Paperfolding by Maying Soong, 1948
                     
  Juegos de los Ninos, 1847     Article about Troublewit in The Strand Magazine, 1896     Au Pays des Mains Agiles, 1949
                     
  Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel, 1859     Kindergarten Guide by Lois Bates, 1897     El Mundo de Papel by Dr Nemesio Montero, 1951 extended edition.
                     
  The Boy's Own Toymaker by E Landells, 1859     Le Livre des Amusettes by Toto, 1899     A Bibliography of Paper Folding by Gershon Legman, 1952 (incomplete information)
                     
  The Girl's Own Toymaker by E Landells and Alice Landells, 1860     What Shall We Do Now? by Edward Verral Lucas and Elizabeth Lucas, 1900     Paper Magic by Robert Harbin, 1956
                     
  De Kleine Papierwerkers, by Elise Van Calcar, 1863     Apuntes Para un Tratado de Cocotologia by Miguel de Unamuno, 1902     Origami Dokuhon 1 by Akira Yoshizawa, 1957 (incomplete information)
                     
  Spielbuch fur Knaben by Hermann Wagner, 1864     La Recreation en Famille by Tom Tit, 1903     Origami Zukan by Okimasa Uchiyama, 1958 (incomplete information)
                     
  Every Little Boy's Book, 1864     La Ensenanza del Trabajo Manuel by Pedro de Alcántara García and Teodosio Leal y Quiroga, 1903     Plane Geometry and Fancy Figures Exhibition Catalogue, 1959
                     
  Spielbuch für Mädchen by Marie Leske, 1865     Guia Practica del Trabajo Manual Educativo by Ezequiel Solana, 1904     Paperfolding Fun by Robert Harbin, 1961
                     
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1869 First Edition     Les Bon Jeudis by Tom Tit, 1906     The Art of Origami by Samuel Randlett, 1961
                     
  Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, 1869     Les Petits Secrets Amusants by Alber-Graves, 1908 (incomplete information)     Folding Paper Puppets by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1962
                     
  Hanky Panky by W H Cremer, 1872     Cartoon in La Campana Catalana by Apeles Mestres, 1908     Secrets of Origami by Robert Harbin, 1963
                     
  The Popular Recreator, 1873     Handicraft Teaching Materials and Teaching Methods by Hideyoshi Okayama, 1909 (incomplete information)     Folding Paper Toys by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1963
                     
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1874 Edition     Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, 1910     The Best of Origami by Samuel Randlett, 1964
                     
  Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley, 1876     El Trabajo Manual en la Escuela by Félix Martí Alpera, 1914     Lampen Aus Papier by Brigitte Schussler, 1964
                     
  Tokyo Women's Normal School publication, 1878 (incomplete information)     Illustrated Paperfolding by Shaolie Gui, 1914 (incomplete information)     Noshi - Classic Origami in Japan by Isao Honda, 1964
                     
  Yochien Ho Niju Yuki by Seki Shinzo, 1879     Scientific Amusements by C G Knott, 1918     Folding Paper Masks by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1965 (incomplete information)
                     
  Manual Teorico-Practico de Educacion Parvulos by D Pedro de Alcantara Garcia, 1879     Paper Tricks by Will Goldston, 1919 (incomplete information)     The World of Origami by Isao Honda, 1965, unabridged version (incomplete information)
                     
  Les Récréations Scientifiques by Gaston Tissandier, 1880 to 1888     Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1920     Meditations on a Waterbomb by Kenneth M Kawamura, 1977
                     
  Un million de jeux et de plaisirs by T de Moulidars, 1880            
                     
  The Boy's Own Book (Revised Edition), 1880