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

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 and the Paper Boat Snapper     Cut and Fold Designs
  The Boy's Own Book by William Clarke, 1828     The Bellows     Fold and One Cut Designs
  The Girl's Own Book by Lydia Maria Child, 1833     The Blintz Box / Masu     Overview of Froebelian Paperfolding and the Kindergarten
  The Kan No Mado, 1845     The Blintzed Bird Base Kusudama     Macromodular Origami
  Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel, 1859     The Buddha Papers     Modular Origami
  The Boy's Own Toymaker by E Landells, 1859     The Blow-up Bunny     Robert E Neale - A bibliography
  The Girl's Own Toymaker by E Landells and Alice Landells, 1860     The Fold and Slit Trellis and Cage     How to Cook / Boil Water in Paper Wrappings, Pans or Kettles
  De Kleine Papierwerkers, by Elise Van Calcar, 1863     The Catherine of Cleves Box     Paper Planes
  Every Little Boy's Book, 1864     Ceremonial Wrappers / Tsutsumi     Cut and Fold Polyhedral Nets
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1869     The Cherries Puzzle     Making Accurate Right Angles by Folding Paper
  Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, 1869     The Fold and Slit Chevron Trellis and Cross     Percy Bysshe Shelley and his paper boats
  Hanky Panky by W H Cremer, 1872     The Chickenwire Letterfold     Quilling
  Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley, 1876     The Gondola / Chinese Junk / Takarabune     Symmetrical Inkblots / Klecksography / Rorschach Test
  Les Récréations Scientifiques by Gaston Tissandier, 1880     Fold and Cut Chinese Lanterns        
  Un million de jeux et de plaisirs by T de Moulidars, 1880     The Chinese Wallet / Jacob's Ladder        
  The Boy's Own Book (Revised Edition), 1880     The Cicada        
  The Kindergarten Principle by Mary J Lyschinska, 1880     Concentric Crease Designs / The Hyperbolic Paraboloid / The Saddle        
  Part 2 of The Kindergarten Guide by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, 1882     Head, Body and Legs, Consequences and Le Cadavre Exquis        
  Cassell's Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes, 1882     The Cradle        
  Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age by Gaston Tissandier, 1884     The One-Piece Cube        
  La Science Amusante by Tom Tit, 1890-1894     The Paper Cup        
  Paper Folding and Cutting by Katherine M Ball, 1892     The Paper Dart / Arrow        
  Pour Amuser les Petits by Tom Tit, 1894     The Fold and Cut Paper Doily, Ship's Wheel and Paper Flowers        
  Course in Paperfolding by Eleenore Heerwart, 1895     The Chain of Dolls        
  Froebel's Occupations by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith, 1896     Pleated Paper Fans        
  Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers by Maggie Browne, 1896     Paper Fire Lighters        
  Kindergarten Guide by Lois Bates, 1897     The Fifth Pig and other propaganda Fold-Ups        
  Le Livre des Amusettes by Toto, 1899     The Fish        
  Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, 1900     The Flapping Bird        
  What Shall We Do Now? by Edward Verral Lucas and Elizabeth Lucas, 1900     Paper Flights        
  La Recreation en Famille by Tom Tit, 1903     Paper Frill / Manchette        
  Les Bon Jeudis by Tom Tit, 1905     Simple Froebelian Folds of Life        
  Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1920     Froebelian Folds of Life from the Double Blintz basic form and the Windmill Base        
  Houdini's Paper Magic, 1922     Froebelian Folds of Life from the the Triple Blintz basic form and the Blintzed Windmill Base        
  More Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1923     Paper Rosettes / Froebel Star / German Star / Swedish Star        
  Joujoux en Papier by Tom Tit, 1924     The Blow-Up Frog        
  Ein Lustiges Faltbuchlein by Johanna Huber, 1927     The Flat Frog        
  Fun with Paper Folding by Murray and Rigney, 1928     The Paper Furnace        
  Winter Nights Entertainments by R M Abraham, 1932     Paper Hats        
  Diversions and Pastimes by R M Abraham, 1933     The Fold and Cut Paper Honeycomb        
  Paper Toy Making by Margaret Campbell, 1936     Horses and Riders        
  Fun with Paper by Joseph Leeming, 1939     The House / Organ        
  At Home Tonight by Herbert McKay, 1940     The Kabuto / Japanese Helmet / Samurai Helmet / Goldfish        
  Paper Magic by U F Grant, 1941     Komoso / Yakko-san        
  The Art of Chinese Paperfolding by Maying Soong, 1948     Pleated Paper Lampshades        
  A Bibliography of Paper folding by Gershon Legman, 1952     The Fold and One Cut Latin Cross / Altar / Ticket to Heaven / Hell        
  Paper Magic by Robert Harbin, 1956     Letterfolds and Letterlocks        
  Meditations on a Waterbomb by Kenneth M Kawamura, 1977     The Lily / Iris        
          The Lotus        
          The Love Knot Letterfold        
          The Lover's Knot        
          The Mitre / Pencil Case / Doll        
          The Mobius Strip / The Afghan Bands / Les Anneaux Mysterieuse        
          The Cut and Fold Model Aeroplane        
          Cut and Fold Polyhedral Nets        
          The Newspaper Ladder, Tree and Sword        
          The Noisemaker / Flute        
          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 / Five-pointed Star / Betsy Ross Star        
          The Pig and the Corner Cabinet        
          The Pinwheel / Puzzle Purse / Thread Container / Menko        
          The Pipe Cap / Bishop's Mitre / Traditional Ingot        
          How to Climb Through a Playing Card Fold and Slit Effect        
          The Playing Card Cube        
          The Playing Card Monk / Capuchin        
          The Salt Cellar / Pepperpot        
          The Sampan and the ainy Day Sampan        
          The Sanbo and the Sanbo on Legs        
          Fold and Cut Friezes, Shelf Edgings and Flowerpot Decorations        
          The Shovel        
          The Snapdragon        
          The Sparrow        
          Paper Spills        
          The One-Piece Star of David        
          The Swallow        
          The Tematebako        
          Fold and Slit Paper Tinsel        
          The Wallet        
          The Waterbomb / Kettle / Hot Air Balloon / Soldier's Cap        
          The Cut and Fold Windmill        
          The Witch's Ladder / Devil's Staircase / Hexentrappe / Harmonika        
          The Woven Cross        
          XYZ and the XYZ Ball