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.
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 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
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 the Main Sources and the
Design pages are synchronised up to 1928.