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 the main historical sources, individual designs and wider themes. 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 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 origami 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 sources I have overlooked please let me know.

 
 
 
A Timeline of Paperfolding History
 
 
 
Main Sources   Individual Designs / Effects   Summaries /Topics / Biography
                     
  De Viribus Quantitatis by Luca Pacioli, 1502     The Paper Ball     Joseph Albers and Paperfolding at the Bauhaus
                     
  Trattato delle piegature by Mattia Giegher, 1629     The Paper Banger     Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) / John Tenniel
                     
  The Senbazuru Orikata, 1797     The Paper Boat     Cut and Fold Designs
                     
  The Boy's Own Book by William Clarke, 1828     The Bellows     Fold and Cut Designs
                     
  The Girl's Own Book by Lydia Maria Child, 1833     The Buddha Papers     Overview of Froebelian Paperfolding and the Kindergarten
                     
  The Kan No Mado, 1845     The Fold and Cut Paper Cage     Modular Origami
                     
  Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel, 1859     The Catherine of Cleves Box     Robert E Neale - A bibliography
                     
  The Boy's Own Toymaker by E Landells, 1859     Ceremonial Wrappers / Tsutsumi     How to Melt Lead / Cook / Boil Water in Paper Wrappings,Pans or Kettles
                     
  The Girl's Own Toymaker by E Landells and Alice Landells, 1860     The Cherries Puzzle     Making Accurate Right Angles by Folding Paper
                     
  De Kleine Papierwerkers, by Elise Van Calcar, 1863     The Chickenwire Letterfold     Percy Bysshe Shelley and his paper boats
                     
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1869     The Gondola / Chinese Junk / Takarabune     Quilling
                     
  Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, 1869     Fold and Cut Chinese Lanterns       Symmetrical Inkblots / Klecksography / Rorschach Test
                     
  Hanky Panky by W H Cremer, 1872     The Chinese Wallet / Jacob's Ladder        
                     
  Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley, 1877     The Cicada        
                     
  The Kindergarten Guide by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, 1877     Concentric Crease Designs / The Hyperbolic Paraboloid / The Saddle        
                     
  Les Récréations Scientifiques by Gaston Tissandier, 1880     Consequences and Le Cadavre Exquis        
                     
  Un million de jeux et de plaisirs by T de Moulidars, 1880     The One-Piece Cube        
                     
  The Boy's Own Book (Revised Edition), 1880     The Paper Cup        
                     
  The Kindergarten Principle by Mary J Lyschinska, 1880     The Fold and Cut Paper Doily and Paper Flowers        
                     
  Cassell's Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes, 1882     The Chain of Dolls        
                     
  Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age by Gaston Tissandier, 1884     Pleated Paper Fans        
                     
  La Science Amusante by Tom Tit, 1890-1894     Paper Fire Lighters        
                     
  Paper Folding and Cutting by Katherine M Ball, 1892     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     Paper Frills / Manchettes        
                     
  Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers by Maggie Browne, 1896     Simple Froebelian Folds of Life        
                     
  Kindergarten Guide by Lois Bates, 1897     Froebelian Folds of Life from the Double Blintz basic form and the Windmill Base        
                     
  Le Livre des Amusettes by Toto, 1899     Froebelian Folds of Life from the the Triple Blintz basic form and the Blintzed Windmill Base        
                     
  Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, 1900     Other designs found in the Froebelian literature        
                     
  La Recreation en Famille by Tom Tit, 1903     Paper Rosettes / Froebel Star / German Star / Swedish Star        
                     
  Les Bon Jeudis by Tom Tit, 1905     The Blow-Up Frog        
                     
  Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1920     Paper Hats        
                     
  Houdini's Paper Magic, 1922     The Fold and Cut Paper Honeycomb        
                     
  More Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1923     Horses and Riders        
                     
  Joujoux en Papier by Tom Tit, 1924     The House / Organ        
                     
  Fun with Paper Folding by Murray and Rigney, 1928     The Kabuto / Japanese Helmet / Samurai Helmet / Goldfish        
                     
  Winter Nights Entertainment by R M Abrahams, 1932     Komoso / Yakko-san        
                     
  Diversions and Pastimes by R M Abrahams, 1933     The Newspaper Ladder and Fir Tree        
                     
  Paper Toy Making by Margaret Campbell, 1936     The Fold and One Cut Latin Cross / Altar / Ticket to Heaven / Hell        
                     
  Fun with Paper by Joseph Leeming, 1939     Letterfolds and Letterlocks        
                     
  Paper Magic by U F Grant, 1941     The Lily / Iris        
                     
  The Art of Chinese Paperfolding by Maying Soong, 1948     The Love Knot Letterfold        
                     
  A Bibliography of Paper folding by Gershon Legman, 1952     The Lover's Knot        
                     
  Paper Magic by Robert Harbin, 1956     The Mitre / Pencil Case        
                     
  Meditations on a Waterbomb by Kenneth M Kawamura, 1977     Cut and Fold Polyhedral Nets        
                     
          Ocho and Mecho Butterflies        
                     
          The Orizuru or Paper Crane        
                     
          The Pagoda        
                     
          The Pajarita / Cocotte / Krähe / Sprinkhaan / Hobby Horse        
                     
          The Game of Paper, Scissors, Stone        
                     
          The Fold and Cut Paper Parachute        
                     
          Folded Patenbriefs / Baptismal Certificates        
                     
          The Pentagonal Knot        
                     
          The Fold and One Cut Pentagram        
                     
          The Pig        
                     
          Pinwheel / Puzzle Purse / Thread Container / Menko        
                     
          The Pipe Cap / Bishop's Mitre / Traditional Ingot        
                     
          Paper Planes        
                     
          'How to Climb Through a Playing Card' Fold and Cut Effect        
                     
          The Playing Card Cube        
                     
          The Playing Card Monk / Capuchin        
                     
          The Salt Cellar / Pepperpot / Travel Bag / Flower        
                     
          The Sampan        
                     
          The Sanbo and the Sanbo on Legs        
                     
          Fold and Cut Friezes and Shelf Edgings        
                     
          The Shovel        
                     
          The Sparrow        
                     
          Paper Spills        
                     
          The One-Piece Star of David        
                     
          The Tematebako        
                     
          Fold and Slit Paper Tinsel        
                     
          Troublewit        
                     
          The Waterbomb / Kettle / Hot Air Balloon        
                     
          The Cut and Fold Windmill        
                     
          The Witch's Ladder / Devil's Staircase / Hexentrappe / Harmonika