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 and other pages collecting together more detailed information on sources, themes and specific designs / games / novelties / effects. So, for instance, if you want to know what designs are in a particular old book you can find this out in the Main Sources section, if you want to know about the history of paper planes you can find this in the Themes section and if you want to look up one particular paper plane, say the Paper Dart, you can find this in the Specific Designs / Games / Novelties / Effects section.

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.

A Timeline of Paperfolding History

A Brief Outline of Paperfolding History

  Main Sources (Books and Magazine Articles)     Themes     Specific Designs / Games / Novelties / Effects