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 brief timeline of paperfolding history and other pages collecting together more detailed information about the main historical sources, individual designs and wider themes. There is also a bibliography of the published designs of Robert E Neale.

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 for further research and not as a comprehensive guide. 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 information, particularly early information, that I have overlooked, please let me know. At present information from the Main Sources has only been completely carried over into the relevant pages in the other columns up until 1928.

Where entries in the Main Sources column are marked '(incomplete information)' I have been unable to access a hard copy of the work or find a full copy on-line. If anyone can help fill in the missing information I will be extremely grateful. I will also be grateful to anyone who can supply details of any other important sources I may have overlooked.

A Timeline of Paperfolding History

Minor Sources Consulted

Main Sources   Individual Designs / Effects   Summaries / Topics / Biography
  De Viribus Quantitatis by Luca Pacioli, 1502     Abd-El-Krim     Joseph Albers and Paperfolding at the Bauhaus
  'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta, 1584     The Paper Ball     Paper Alphabets and Paper Numbers
  Trattato delle piegature by Mattia Giegher, 1629     The Paper Banger     Giuseppe Baggi
  Deliciae physico mathematicae by Daniel Schwenter, 1636     The Paper Boat / Paper Boat Hat / Paper Boat Snapper     Paper Baskets
  Deliciae physico mathematicae Volume 2 by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, 1651     The Bellows     Paper Birds
  Vollständiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, 1652     The Blintz Box or Masu / The Winnowing Box     Paper Boats
  Deliciae physico mathematicae Volume 3 by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, 1653     The Boat with Sail     How to Boil Water / Cook Food in Paper Wrappings, Pans or Kettles
  Trenchier-und Plicatur-Büchlein by Andreas Klett, 1657 (incomplete information)     The Newspaper Boat     Paperfolding in the Boy's Own Magazine
  Récréations mathématiques et physiques by Jacques Ozanam, 1723     How to Cover a Book     Paper Butterflies
  Enganos a Ojos Vistas, Y Diversion de Trabajos by Pablo Minguet E Irol, 1733     The Buddha Papers and the Fold and Switch Effect     Paper Cartridges
  I Giochi Numerici Fatti Arcani by Giuseppe Antonio Alberti, 1747     The Blow-up Bunny     Ceremonial Wrappers / Tsutsumi
  Die Zehenmal Hundert und Eine Kunst by Albrecht Ernst Friedrich von Crailsheim, 1762     The Fold and Slit Trellis and Cage     Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) / John Tenniel
  The Senbazuru Orikata, 1797     The Carrier Pigeon / Bird Flies Off Your Hand      
  Orikata Tehon Chushingura, 1797     The Catherine of Cleves Box     Paper Cones / Grocer's Cones
  The Boy's Own Book by William Clarke, 1828     Paper Chains     Crane and Tortoise Designs
  The Girl's Own Book by Lydia Maria Child, 1833     The Cherries Puzzle / The Three Pieces Puzzle / The Card Puzzle / The Liberty Bell     Cut and Fold Designs
  The Kan No Mado, 1845     Fold, Slit and Fold Chevron Designs     Paper Elephants
  Juegos de los Ninos, 1847     The Chickenwire Letterfold     Everyday Practical and Decorative Paperfolds
  Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel, 1859     The Gondola / Chinese Junk / Takarabune     Pleated Paper Fans
  The Boy's Own Toymaker by E Landells, 1859     The Chinese Wallet / Jacob's Ladder     Paper Filters
  The Girl's Own Toymaker by E Landells and Alice Landells, 1860     The Cicada / The Simple Cicada     Paper Fire Lighters
  De Kleine Papierwerkers, by Elise Van Calcar, 1863     Big Coin Through Small Hole Magic Trick     The Fifth Pig and other Propaganda Fold-Ups
  Spielbuch fur Knaben by Hermann Wagner, 1864     Concentric Crease Designs / The Hyperbolic Paraboloid / The Saddle     Paper Flights
  Every Little Boy's Book, 1864     Head, Body and Legs, Consequences and Le Cadavre Exquis     Paper Frills / Manchettes
  Spielbuch für Mädchen by Marie Leske, 1865     The Cradle     Overview of Froebelian Paperfolding and the Kindergarten
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1869 First Edition     The Paper Crane / Orizuru / Sadako Sasaki     Simple Froebelian Folds of Life
  Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, 1869     The Nesting Crane     Froebelian Folds of Life from the Double Blintz basic form and the Windmill Base
  Hanky Panky by W H Cremer, 1872     The Crane Envelope     Froebelian Folds of Life from the the Triple Blintz basic form and the Blintzed Windmill Base
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1874 Edition           Paper Hair Wrappings
  Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley, 1876     The One-Piece Cube     Paper Hats and Caps
  Tokyo Women's Normal School publication, 1878     The Paper Cup      
  Manual Teorico-Practico de Educacion Parvulos by D Pedro de Alcantara Garcia, 1879     The Paper Dart / Arrow     Pleated Paper Lampshades
  Les Récréations Scientifiques by Gaston Tissandier, 1880 and 1883     The Chain of Dolls     Paper Lanterns
  Un million de jeux et de plaisirs by T de Moulidars, 1880     The Double Boat     How to Melt Lead in Paper / The Paper Furnace / Salamander Paper
  The Boy's Own Book (Revised Edition), 1880     Another Double Boat     Letterfolds and Letterlocks
  The Kindergarten Principle by Mary J Lyschinska, 1880     The Double Boat with Sail     Was Leonardo da Vinci a Paperfolder?
  Het Vlechten by Elise Van Calcar, 1881     The Dove     Macromodular Origami
  Part 2 of The Kindergarten Guide by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, 1882     Dropping a Strip of Paper to Land on One Edge     Paperfolding in Mad Magazine
  Cassell's Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes, 1882           Modular Origami
  Popular Scientific Recreations, 1882/3     The Fish and the Double Spool     Robert E Neale - A bibliography
  Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age by Gaston Tissandier, 1884     The Flapping Bird     Fold and One Cut Designs
  Les Cocottes de Mon Grand-Pere by Alfred Delvau, 1884           Paper Packets
  Theoretisches und praktisches Handbuch der Fröbelschen Erziehungslehre by Bertha von Marentholtz-Bülow, 1887 (incomplete information)     The Fox Mask and the Fox Face     Paper Peacocks
  Scientific Amusements by Henry Frith, 1890     The Paper Rosette / Froebel Star / Moravian Star / German Star / Swedish Star     Paper Penguins
  The Boy's Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations by G A Hutchinson, 1890     The Blow-Up Frog     Folded Patenbriefs / Baptismal Certificates
  Serviettes and How to Fold Them, 1890     The Flat Frog     Picture Forms
  La Science Amusante by Tom Tit, 1890-1893     The Jumping Frog     Paper Planes
  Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers by Maggie Browne, 1891     The Hibachi     Multiple-Image Pleated Paper Pictures / Falzbilder / Tabulae Striatae
  Paper Folding and Cutting by Katherine M Ball, 1892     The Fold and Slit Paper Honeycomb     Cut and Fold Polyhedral Nets
  L'Annee Preparatoire de Travail Manuel by M P Martin, 1893     Horses and Riders     Paper Purses / Wallets
  Pour Amuser les Petits by Tom Tit, 1894     The House / Organ     Quilling / Paper Filigree
  Course in Paperfolding by Eleenore Heerwart, 1895     The Japanese House     Paperfolding in the Rupert Bear Annuals
  Froebel's Occupations by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith, 1896     The Jacket / Trousers / Suit of Clothes / Doll     Making Accurate Right Angles by Folding Paper
  Kindergarten Guide by Lois Bates, 1897     The Kabuto / Japanese Helmet / Samurai Helmet / Goldfish / Nagakabuto / The Party Hat     Rotationally Symmetric Fold and Cut Designs
  Le Livre des Amusettes by Toto, 1899     The Kikuzara / Japanese Ornamental Ball     Paper Seals / Sealions
  Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, 1900     The Kimono / The Undershirt     Paperfolding in Scientific American magazine
  What Shall We Do Now? by Edward Verral Lucas and Elizabeth Lucas, 1900     Komoso / Yakko-san     Fold and Cut Friezes, Shelf Edgings and Flowerpot Decorations
  La Recreation en Famille by Tom Tit, 1903     The Fold and One Cut Latin Cross / Altar / Ticket to Heaven / Hell     Percy Bysshe Shelley and his paper boats
  La Ensenanza del Trabajo Manuel by Pedro de Alcántara García and Teodosio Leal y Quiroga, 1903     The Lily / Iris     Paper Spills /Alumettes / Paper Matches
  Les Bon Jeudis by Tom Tit, 1906     The Lotus     Paperfolding in St Nicholas magazine
  Les Petits Secrets Amusants by Alber-Graves, 1908 (incomplete information)     The Love Knot Letterfold     Symmetrical Inkblots / Klecksography / Rorschach Test
  Scientific Amusements by C G Knott, 1918     The Lover's Knot     Fold and Slit Paper Tinsel / Tassles
  Paper Tricks by Will Goldston, 1919 (incomplete information)     The Magic Hat / Bonnete de Magico     Paper Turtles / Tortoises
  Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1920     The Mitre / Pencil Case / Doll     Undated Images
  Houdini's Paper Magic, 1922     The Mobius Band / The Afghan Bands / Les Anneaux Mysterieuse     Paper Wicks
  More Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1923     The Cut and Fold Model Aeroplane     Paper Windmills
  Joujoux en Papier by Tom Tit, 1924     The Morning Glory        
  Papiergestaltung by Paul Engelhardt and Adolf Lillack, 1926 (incomplete information)     The Newspaper Hat        
  Ein Lustiges Faltbuchlein by Johanna Huber, 1927 (incomplete information)     The Newspaper Sword, Ladder and Tree        
  Fun with Paper Folding by Murray and Rigney, 1928     The Noisemaker / Flute        
  Article in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1928     Ocho and Mecho Butterflies        
  Article in Modern Mechanix magazine, 1929     The Pagoda        
  Origami Part 1 by Isao Honda, 1931     The Pajarita / Cocotte / Krähe / Sprinkhaan / Hobby Horse        
  Origami Part 2 by Isao Honda, 1932 (incomplete information)     The Game of Paper, Scissors, Stone        
  Winter Nights Entertainments by R M Abraham, 1932     The Fold and Cut Paper Parachute        
  Images A Plier by M R Chasles, 1932     The Patisserie Box / Patisserie Box Boat / Patisserie Box Hat        
  Diversions and Pastimes by R M Abraham, 1933     The Pentagonal Knot and the See-Through Pentagram        
  Paper Toy Making by Margaret Campbell, 1936     The Fold and One Cut Pentagram / Five-pointed Star / Betsy Ross Star        
  Fun with Paper by Joseph Leeming, 1939 (incomplete information)     The Pig and the Corner Cabinet        
  El Mundo de Papel by Nemesio Montero, 1939     The Pinwheel / Puzzle Purse / Thread Container / Menko        
  At Home Tonight by Herbert McKay, 1940     The Pipe Cap / Bishop's Mitre / Bishop's Crown / Traditional Ingot        
  After The Dessert by Martin Gardner, 1941     The Plaster Holder        
  Paper Magic by U F Grant, 1941 (incomplete information)     How to Climb Through a Playing Card Fold and Slit Effect        
  Article in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1946     The Playing Card Cube        
  El Plegado y Cartonaje en la Escuela Primaria by Corina Luciani de Luchia and Antonia M Luchia, 1946     The Playing Card Monk / Capuchin        
  The Art of Chinese Paperfolding by Maying Soong, 1948     The Postman        
  Au Pays des Mains Agiles, 1949     The Propellor / Helice        
  A Bibliography of Paper Folding by Gershon Legman, 1952 (incomplete information)     The Pyramidal Hat        
  Paper Magic by Robert Harbin, 1956     The Salt Cellar / Pepperpot and derivative designs        
  Origami Dokuhon 1 by Akira Yoshizawa, 1957 (incomplete information)     The Sampan and the Rainy Day Sampan        
  Origami Zukan by Okimasa Uchiyama, 1958 (incomplete information)     The Sanbo and the Sanbo on Legs        
  Plane Geometry and Fancy Figures Exhibition Catalogue, 1959     The Sedan Chair / Kago / Palanquin        
  The Art of Origami by Samuel Randlett, 1961     The Ship's Wheel Magical Effect        
  Folding Paper Puppets by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1962     The Shovel        
  Secrets of Origami by Robert Harbin, 1963     The Snapdragon        
  Folding Paper Toys by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1963     The Sparrow / Fat Sparrow        
  The Best of Origami by Samuel Randlett, 1964     The One-Piece Star of David        
  Lampen Aus Papier by Brigitte Schussler, 1964     The Star-Shaped Box        
  Folding Paper Masks by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1965 (incomplete information)     The Swallow (paper plane)        
  The World of Origami by Isao Honda, 1965     The Tematebako        
  Meditations on a Waterbomb by Kenneth M Kawamura, 1977     Tetrahedron from a Tube or Envelope        
          The Three Scrolls        
          The Train        
          The Wagon / El Carro        
          The Waterbomb / Kettle / Hot Air Balloon / Soldier's Cap / Mushikago        
          The Cut and Fold Windmill        
          The Wind Wheel        
          The Witch's Ladder / Devil's Staircase / Hexentrappe / Harmonika        
          The Workman's Hat ( aka The Carpenter's, Printer's or Pressman's Hat)        
          The Woven Cross        
          XYZ and the XYZ Ball