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.

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 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 two columns up until 1928.

A Timeline of Paperfolding History

Minor Sources Consulted

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
  'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta, 1584     The Paper Banger     Giuseppe Baggi
  Trattato delle piegature by Mattia Giegher, 1629     The Paper Boat and the Paper Boat Snapper     Paper Baskets
  Deliciae physico mathematicae by Daniel Schwenter, 1636     The Bellows     Paper Boats
  Deliciae physico mathematicae Volume 2 by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, 1651     The Blintz Box / Masu     Paperfolding in the Boy's Own Magazine
  Vollständiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, 1652     The Buddha Papers     Paper Cartridges
  Deliciae physico mathematicae Volume 3 by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, 1653     The Blow-up Bunny     Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) / John Tenniel
  Trenchier-und Plicatur-Büchlein by Andreas Klett, 1657     The Fold and Slit Trellis and Cage     Cut and Fold Designs
  Joco-seriorum naturae et artis by Gaspar Schott, 1664     The Catherine of Cleves Box     Paper Hats and Caps
  Récréations mathématiques et physiques by Jacques Ozanam, 1694     Ceremonial Wrappers / Tsutsumi     Fold and One Cut Designs
  The Whole Art of Legerdemain, or, Hocus Pocus in Perfection by Henry Dean, 1722     Paper Chains     Overview of Froebelian Paperfolding and the Kindergarten
  Onomatologia curiosa artificiosa by Johann Christian Wiegleb, 1759     The Cherries Puzzle     Paper Lanterns
  Die zehenmal hundert und eine Kunst by Albrecht Ernst Friedrich von Crailsheim, 1762     Fold, Slit and Fold Chevron Designs     Was Leonardo da Vinci a Paperfolder?
  Zauberkräfte der Natur by Johann Samuel Halle, 1787     The Chickenwire Letterfold     Macromodular Origami
  The Senbazuru Orikata, 1797     The Gondola / Chinese Junk / Takarabune     Paperfolding in Mad Magazine
  Der magische Jugendfreund Vol. 3 by Johann Heinrich Moritz von Poppe, 1817     Fold and Cut Chinese Lanterns     Modular Origami
  The Boy's Own Book by William Clarke, 1828     The Chinese Wallet / Jacob's Ladder     Robert E Neale - A bibliography
  The Girl's Own Book by Lydia Maria Child, 1833     The Cicada     Paper Packets
  The Kan No Mado, 1845     Big Coin Through Small Hole Magic Trick     How to Cook / Boil Water in Paper Wrappings, Pans or Kettles
  Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel, 1859     Concentric Crease Designs / The Hyperbolic Paraboloid / The Saddle     Paper Planes
  The Boy's Own Toymaker by E Landells, 1859     Paper Cones / Grocer's Cones     Multiple-Image Pleated Paper Pictures / Falzbilder / Tabulae Striatae
  The Girl's Own Toymaker by E Landells and Alice Landells, 1860     Head, Body and Legs, Consequences and Le Cadavre Exquis     Cut and Fold Polyhedral Nets
  De Kleine Papierwerkers, by Elise Van Calcar, 1863     The Cradle     Practical Household Paperfolds
  Spielbuch fur Knaben by Hermann Wagner, 1864     The One-Piece Cube     Quilling / Paper Filigree
  Every Little Boy's Book, 1864     The Paper Cup     Paperfolding in the Rupert Bear Annuals
  Spielbuch für Mädchen by Marie Leske, 1865     The Paper Dart / Arrow     Making Accurate Right Angles by Folding Paper
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1869 First Edition     The Fold and Cut Paper Doily, Ship's Wheel and Paper Flowers     Percy Bysshe Shelley and his paper boats
  Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, 1869     The Chain of Dolls     Paperfolding in St Nicholas magazine
  Hanky Panky by W H Cremer, 1872     Dropping a Strip of Paper to Land on One Edge     Symmetrical Inkblots / Klecksography / Rorschach Test
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1874 Edition     Pleated Paper Fans        
  Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley, 1876     Paper Fire Lighters        
  Tokyo Women's Normal School publication, 1878     The Fifth Pig and other propaganda Fold-Ups        
  Les Récréations Scientifiques by Gaston Tissandier, 1880 and 1883     The Fish and the Double Spool        
  Un million de jeux et de plaisirs by T de Moulidars, 1880     The Flapping Bird        
  The Boy's Own Book (Revised Edition), 1880     Paper Flights        
  The Kindergarten Principle by Mary J Lyschinska, 1880     Paper Frills / Manchettes        
  Part 2 of The Kindergarten Guide by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, 1882     Simple Froebelian Folds of Life        
  Cassell's Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes, 1882     Froebelian Folds of Life from the Double Blintz basic form and the Windmill Base        
  Popular Scientific Recreations, 1882/3     Froebelian Folds of Life from the the Triple Blintz basic form and the Blintzed Windmill Base        
  Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age by Gaston Tissandier, 1884     Paper Rosettes / Froebel Star / German Star / Swedish Star        
  Scientific Amusements by Henry Frith, 1890     The Blow-Up Frog        
  The Boy's Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations by G A Hutchinson, 1890     The Flat Frog        
  Serviettes and How to Fold Them, 1890     The Jumping Frog        
  La Science Amusante by Tom Tit, 1890-1893     The Paper Furnace /How to Melt Lead in Paper / Salamander Paper        
  Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers by Maggie Browne, 1891     Paper Hair Wrappings        
  Paper Folding and Cutting by Katherine M Ball, 1892     The Fold and Slit Paper Honeycomb        
  Pour Amuser les Petits by Tom Tit, 1894     Horses and Riders        
  Course in Paperfolding by Eleenore Heerwart, 1895     The House / Organ        
  Froebel's Occupations by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith, 1896     The Jacket / Trousers / Suit of Clothes / Doll        
  Kindergarten Guide by Lois Bates, 1897     The Kikuzara / Japanese Ornamental Ball        
  Le Livre des Amusettes by Toto, 1899     The Kabuto / Japanese Helmet / Samurai Helmet / Goldfish        
  Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, 1900     Komoso / Yakko-san        
  What Shall We Do Now? by Edward Verral Lucas and Elizabeth Lucas, 1900     Pleated Paper Lampshades        
  La Recreation en Famille by Tom Tit, 1903     The Fold and One Cut Latin Cross / Altar / Ticket to Heaven / Hell        
  Les Bon Jeudis by Tom Tit, 1906     Letterfolds and Letterlocks        
  Scientific Amusements by C G Knott, 1918     The Lily / Iris        
  Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1920     The Lotus        
  Houdini's Paper Magic, 1922     The Love Knot Letterfold        
  More Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1923     The Lover's Knot      
  Joujoux en Papier by Tom Tit, 1924     The Mitre / Pencil Case / Doll        
  Papiergestaltung by Paul Engelhardt and Adolf Lillack, 1926     The Mobius Band / The Afghan Bands / Les Anneaux Mysterieuse        
  Ein Lustiges Faltbuchlein by Johanna Huber, 1927     The Cut and Fold Model Aeroplane        
  Fun with Paper Folding by Murray and Rigney, 1928     Cut and Fold Polyhedral Nets        
  Article in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1928     The Newspaper Hat        
  Article in Modern Mechanix magazine, 1929     The Newspaper Sword, Ladder and Tree        
  Origami Part 1 by Isao Honda, 1931     The Noisemaker / Flute        
  Origami Part 2 by Isao Honda, 1931     Ocho and Mecho Butterflies        
  Winter Nights Entertainments by R M Abraham, 1932     The Orizuru or Paper Crane        
  Images A Plier by M R Chasles, 1932     The Pagoda        
  Diversions and Pastimes by R M Abraham, 1933     The Pajarita / Cocotte / Krähe / Sprinkhaan / Hobby Horse        
  Paper Toy Making by Margaret Campbell, 1936     The Game of Paper, Scissors, Stone        
  Fun with Paper by Joseph Leeming, 1939     The Fold and Cut Paper Parachute        
  El Mundo de Papel by Nemesio Montero, 1939     Folded Patenbriefs / Baptismal Certificates        
  At Home Tonight by Herbert McKay, 1940     The Pentagonal Knot and the See-Through Pentagram        
  After The Dessert by Martin Gardner, 1941     The Fold and One Cut Pentagram / Five-pointed Star / Betsy Ross Star        
  Paper Magic by U F Grant, 1941     The Pig and the Corner Cabinet        
  Article in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1946     The Pinwheel / Puzzle Purse / Thread Container / Menko        
  The Art of Chinese Paperfolding by Maying Soong, 1948     The Pipe Cap / Bishop's Mitre / Traditional Ingot        
  A Bibliography of Paper folding by Gershon Legman, 1952     The Plaster Holder        
  Paper Magic by Robert Harbin, 1956     How to Climb Through a Playing Card Fold and Slit Effect        
  Origami Dokuhon 1 by Akira Yoshizawa, 1957     The Playing Card Cube        
  Origami Zukan by Okimasa Uchiyama, 1958     The Playing Card Monk / Capuchin        
  Plane Geometry and Fancy Figures Exhibition Catalogue, 1959     The Propellor / Helice        
  The Art of Origami by Samuel Randlett, 1961     The Pyramidal Hat        
  Folding Paper Puppets by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1962     The Salt Cellar / Pepperpot and derivative designs        
  Secrets of Origami by Robert Harbin, 1963     The Sampan and the Rainy Day Sampan        
  Folding Paper Toys by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1963     The Sanbo and the Sanbo on Legs        
  The Best of Origami by Samuel Randlett, 1964     Fold and Cut Friezes, Shelf Edgings and Flowerpot Decorations        
  Lampen Aus Papier by Brigitte Schussler, 1964     The Shovel        
  Folding Paper Masks by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1965     The Snapdragon        
  The World of Origami by Isao Honda, 1965     The Sparrow        
  Meditations on a Waterbomb by Kenneth M Kawamura, 1977     Paper Spills /Alumettes / Paper Matches        
          The One-Piece Star of David        
          The Swallow (paper plane)        
          The Tematebako        
          Tetrahedron from a Tube or Envelope        
          Fold and Slit Paper Tassles / Tinsel        
          The Three Scrolls        
          The Waterbomb / Kettle / Hot Air Balloon / Soldier's Cap        
          Paper Wicks        
          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