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 links to a brief Timeline of Origami History and other pages collecting together more detailed historical information about some traditional designs, early manuscripts and books. There is also a bibliography of the published designs of Robert E Neale.

Folk art objects made of paper are ephemeral and the record we have of them at an early date relies largely on their chance survival or appearance in books, fabrics, drawings and paintings. It is likely that many paperfolding designs are much older than the first 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 origami history there are many paperfolders who know much more about the subject than I do and these notes should not be taken as being comprehensive. I have, however, tried to make them as accurate as possible by basing them on verifiable sources rather than myth or imagination.

If you find any errors or inaccuracies in these notes or are aware of important sources I have missed please let me know.

A Timeline of Paperfolding History
Sources   Individual Designs   Topics / Biography
  Trattato delle piegature by Mattia Giegher, 1629     The Paper Banger     Froebelian Paperfolding and the Kindergarten
  The Senbazuru Orikata, 1797     The Paper Boat       Froebelian Windmill Base Designs
  The Kan No Mado, 1845     The Bellows     Modular Origami
  Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel, 1859     The Buddha Papers     Symmetrical Inkblots / Klecksography / Rorschach Test
  De Kleine Papierwerkers, by Elise Van Calcar, 1863     The Catherine of Cleves Box     Robert E Neale - A bibliography
  The Kindergarten Guide by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, 1877     Ceremonial Wrappers / Tsutsumi        
  Les Récréations Scientifiques by Gaston Tissandier, 1880     Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) / John Tenniel        
  Un million de jeux et de plaisirs by T de Moulidars, 1880     The Chinese Junk        
  Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley, 1880     The Cicada        
  The Kindergarten Principle by Mary J Lyschinska, 1880     Consequences and Le Cadavre Exquis        
  Cassell's Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes, 1882     The Paper Cup        
  La Science Amusante by Tom Tit, 1890-1894     The Fifth Pig and other propaganda Fold-Ups        
  Pour Amuser les Petits by Tom Tit, 1894     The Flapping Bird        
  Course in Paperfolding by Eleenore Heerwart, 1895     Paper Flights        
  Froebel's Occupations by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith, 1896     The Blow-Up Frog        
  Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers by Maggie Browne, 1896     Paper Hats        
  Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, 1896     Horses and Riders        
  Kindergarten Guide by Lois Bates, 1897     The Kabuto / Japanese Helmet / Samurai Helmet / Goldfish        
  Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, 1900     Komoso / Yakko-san        
  La Recreation en Famille by Tom Tit, 1903     The Lily / Iris        
  Les Bon Jeudis by Tom Tit, 1905     The Lover's Knot        
  Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1920     The Mitre / Pencil Case        
  Houdini's Paper Magic, 1922     Ocho and Mecho Butterflies        
  More Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1923     The Orizuru or Paper Crane        
  Joujoux en Papier by Tom Tit, 1924     The Pagoda        
  Fun with Paper Folding by Murray and Rigney, 1928     The Pajarita / Cocotte / Krähe / Hobby Horse        
  Winter Nights Entertainment by R M Abrahams, 1932     The Game of Paper, Scissors, Stone        
  Diversions and Pastimes by R M Abrahams, 1933     Folded Patenbriefs / Baptismal Certificates        
  Paper Toy Making by Margaret Campbell, 1936     The Pig        
  Fun with Paper by Joseph Leeming, 1939     Pinwheel / Puzzle Purse / Thread Container / Menko        
  Paper Magic by U F Grant, 1941     Paper Planes        
  The Art of Chinese Paperfolding by Maying Soong, 1948     The Playing Card Cube        
  A Bibliography of Paper folding by Gershon Legman, 1952     The Playing Card Monk / Capuchin        
  Paper Magic by Robert Harbin, 1956     The Salt Cellar / Pepperpot        
  Meditations on a Waterbomb by Kenneth M Kawamura, 1977     The Sampan        
          The Sanbo        
          The Sparrow        
          The Tematebako        
          The Waterbomb and the Kettle        
          Paper Windmills        
          The Witch's Ladder