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 as a whole, A Note about the Nature of Paperfolding History and to other more detailed pages and timelines relating to broad themes and specific designs. Unless otherwise stated all the information is drawn from verifiable sources.

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 rather than a comprehensive guide. If you find any errors or inaccuracies in these notes, or are aware of additional information, particularly early information, that I do not know of, or may have overlooked, please let me know.

How to find information on this page
The first two sections provide links to pages about Some Well-Known Designs and Paperfolding and Some Well-Known People and their connection to paperfolding. Looking through a few of these may, I hope, encourage you to dig in a little deeper.

The other sections provide indexes to various broad Categories of Designs, then more specific pages providing timelines for individual designs, or sometimes groups of closely related designs that are hard to deal with separately.

If you want information about, for instance, the history of paper planes in general, you can find this in the Index Pages - Categories of Designs section. If you want to look up the history of one particularly paper plane, say the Paper Dart, you can find this in the section about Specific Designs. Individual designs generally only have their own specific pages if they occur regularly in the literature. Details of designs that only appear once or twice may not have their own page but information about them can often be found in the Index Pages.

There are also sections that provide links to areas of special interest such as Formal and Ceremonial Paperfolding, Paperfolding Games and Manipulative Puzzles and Paperfolding as Political Propaganda.

Finally, right at the foot of this page, there is a section about sources, which provides information about many of the historical documents on which the other pages are based, and, in many cases, provides a link to a full online version.

At present information in the Main Sources pages has only been fully carried over into the other, more specific, pages up until 1951.

Where sources are shown but are not yet linked it means I have information on what they contain but have not yet found time to create the pages.

Where sources are marked 'incomplete information' it means I have not yet been able to obtain a full print copy or find a full electronic copy on line. If you can make up for these deficiences I will be extremely grateful. Thank you.

Where linked pages are marked 'incomplete' it means that I have information that has not yet been added to these pages, in some cases a great deal of information, and that consequently they should not be relied upon to provide a historical narrative at present.

All pages are subject to updating as new information becomes available.

Some Well-Known Designs
Pages about many more specific designs can be found further down this index page.
Paperfolding and Some Well-Known People
Index Pages - Paperfolding Techniques
  Cardboard Modelling / Cartonnage (incomplete)     Macromodular Origami     Pure Origami
  Fold, Cut and Fold Designs (incomplete)     Modular Origami     Quilling / Paper Filigree
  Golden Venture / 3D Origami     Fold and One Cut Designs     Fold and Weave Designs from Paper Strips
Index Pages - Categories of Designs
In many cases material from the Main Sources has not yet been carried over to these pages. You can, however, still use them to locate designs which do not merit a specific page of their own.
  Active Play Designs     Fish     Octopii
  Alphabets and Paper Numbers     Flat Figures from Paper Strips (incomplete)     Peacocks
  The Paper Ball     Plants and Flowers (incomplete)     Penguins
  Paper Bangers     Foxes     Japanese Folding Picture Forms
  Baskets     Simple Froebelian Folds of Life (incomplete)     Pigs and Boars
  Bats     Froebelian Folds of Life from the Double Blintz Basic Form     Paper Pistols
  Bears     Froebelian Folds of Life from the Windmill Base     Paper Planes
  Birds     Froebelian Folds of Life from the the Triple Blintz Basic Form (revision required)     Multiple-Image Pleated Paper Pictures / Falzbilder / Tabulae Striatae
  Boats     Froebelian Folds of Life from the the Blintzed Windmill Base     Purses / Bags / Wallets / Card Holders (incomplete)
  Bookmarks     Frogs     Air Driven Rotating Designs
  Boxes and Bowls     Furniture     Rotationally Symmetric Fold and Cut Designs (incomplete)
  3D Buildings / Structures     Single-Sheet Geometric Ornaments and Decorations (incomplete)     Miscellaneous Sealife
  Bulls and Cows     Giraffes     Seals / Sealions
  Butterflies     Hats and Caps     Snails
  Camels     Human Figures (incomplete)     Spiders
  Cicadas     Inflatable Designs     Spools / Yarn Holders
  Clothing and Personal Accessories     Miscellaneous Insects     Tatos / Flat Paper Pouches
  Concentric Crease Designs / The Hyperbolic Paraboloid / The Saddle     Kangaroos     Tents
  Crabs and Lobsters     Flyable Kites     Tools and Household Equipment
  Crane and Tortoise Designs     Kites (Non-Flying)     Miscellaneous Transport and Vehicles
  Cubes     Lanterns     Turtles / Tortoises
  Stars of David (incomplete)     Letterfolds     Umbrellas and Parasols
  Paper Darts and Flights     Mice and Rats     Wall Mounted Designs (incomplete)
  Miscellaneous Desk Furniture     Monkeys and Apes     Water Absorbing Designs
  Dragonflies     Musical Instruments (non-playing)     Windmills
  Elephants     Noise Making Designs     Windmill Base Patterns and Decorations
  Faces     Octagrams (incomplete)      
Formal and Ceremonial Paperfolding
Formal and Ceremonial Paperfolding
Everyday Practical and Decorative Paperfolding
Some of these pages have very little information. There has got to be a lot more out there ...
  Books     Pleated Paper Fans     Letterfolds
  How to Cover a Book     Paper Filters     Napkin and Serviette Folding (incomplete)
  Paper Cartridges     Paper Fire Lighters     Paper Packets
  Paper Bands, Chains and Garlands     Fold-Outs (incomplete)     Fold and Cut Friezes, Shelf Edgings and Flowerpot Decorations
  Paperclips     Fold and Slit Paper Frills / Ruffles / Manchettes / Candle Decorations / Trees     Paper Spills /Alumettes / Paper Matches
  Paper Cones / Grocer's Cones     Paper Hair Wrappings     Fold and Slit Paper Tinsel / Tassles (incomplete)
  Fold and Cut Stove and Chair Covers     Harlequinades / Metamorphoses / Flap-Books / Turn-up Books     Paper Wicks
  Paper Dunce's Hats and Donkey Ears     Pleated Paper Lampshades      
Paperfolding Games and Manipulative Puzzles
Paperfolding Entertainments and Magical Effects
Paperfolding as Political Propaganda
Paperfolding as Political Propaganda
Paperfolding Mathematics
This section is largely incomplete at present
Paperfolding Science
Paperfolding in Specific Publications
Paperfolding Bibliography
  Robert E Neale - A bibliography            
Pages about Specific Designs

Closely connected designs may share the same page.

Some designs, mostly those which only occur once in the literature (or in multiple books by the same author) are not recorded separately in this section. You can, however, look them up in the Category Pages section above.

  Abd-El-Krim     The Flat Bottomed Boat     The Pipe Cap / Bishop's Mitre / Bishop's Crown / Traditional Ingot
  The Air Force Cap     The Frame and the Picture Frame     The Plaited Belt
  The Bellows     The Paper Rosette / Froebel Star / Moravian Star / German Star / Swedish Star     The Playing Card Cube
  The Blintz Box or Masu / The Winnowing Box     The Blow-Up Frog     The Playing Card Monk / Capuchin
  The Blotting Paper Holder / Le Sous-Main Buvard     The Jumping Frog     Le Porte-Allumettes / La Violetera
  The Blowpipe and Darts     The Fold, Cut and Fold Paper Garland / How to Climb Through a Playing Card Effect     The Propellor / Helice
  The Paper Boat / Paper Boat Hat / Paper Boat Snapper     The Walking Giraffe / Le Girafe Marchant (incomplete)     The Slit and Assemble Cube and Sphere / The Puff Ball
  The Boat with Fishbox     The Hibachi     The Puzzle Purse / Pinwheel / Thread Container / Menko
  The Boat with Sail / Cradle with Hood / Oil Lamp     Horses and Riders     The Pyramidal Hat
  The Square Hat / Le Bonnet Carre     The House / Sofa / Organ / Piano / Chair / Dustpan / Papel y Sobre     The Salt Cellar / The Pepperpot
  The Box with Handles / La Boite a Anses     The Japanese House     The Inside Out Boat / The Sampan / The Rainy Day Sampan
  The Blow-up Bunny     The Jacket / The Trousers / The Suit of Clothes / The Doll / The Dog     The Sanbo
  The Fold and Slit Trellis and the Fold and Slit Cage     The Junk Box     The Sanbo on Legs and its derivative designs
  The Cake Box     The Kabuto / Japanese Helmet / Samurai Helmet / Goldfish / Nagakabuto / The Party Hat     The Sedan Chair / Kago / Palanquin
  The Carrier Pigeon / Bird Flies Off Your Hand     The Kettle and the Open Top Box     The Snapdragon
  The Catherine of Cleves Box     The Kikuzara / The Japanese Ornamental Ball     The Soldier's Cap / The Poke Bonnet
  Fold, Slit and Fold Chevron Designs     The King's Crown / The Battleship     The Solid Box / The Firm Box
  The Chickenwire Letterfold     Komoso / Yakko-san     The Sou'wester / Gorro de Aguas
  The Gondola / Chinese Junk / Takarabune     The Large Box     The Fat Sparrow
  The Cigar Case     The Fold and One Cut Latin Cross / Altar / Ticket to Heaven / Hell     The Square Letterfold
  The Cocotte / Pajarita / Krähe / Sprinkhaan / Hobby Horse     The Lily / Iris     The Squid / Drachen / Pez Raya
  The Cradle     The Lotus     The Interwoven Star of David
  The Paper Crane / Orizuru / Sadako Sasaki     The Love Knot Letterfold     The Star-Shaped Box
  The Nesting Crane     The Lover's Knot     The Steamship / Well / Battleship
  The Crane Envelope     The Magic Hat / Bonnete de Magico     The Swallow (paper plane)
  Le Cri du Veau / Trumpet / Flute     The Mirror and the Looking Glass     The Table and the Tablecloth
  The Paper Cup     The Mitre / Pencil Case / Doll / Turban     The Tematebako
  The Cup and Saucer     The Cut and Fold Model Aeroplane     Tetrahedron from a Tube or Envelope
  The Paper Dart / Arrow     Le Moineau (The Sparrow)     The Three Scrolls
  The Paper Doily     The Monster Fish     The Vase / The Cravat
  The Chain of Dolls     The Mushikago     The Wagon / El Carro
  The Donkey with Panniers     The Newspaper Hat     The Waterbomb / The Hot Air Balloon
  The Double Boat and the Double Hulled Boat     The Newspaper Sword, Newspaper Ladder, Newspaper Tree and the Flags     The Wild Man From Borneo / Le Diablotin / El Gatito
  Another Double Boat     The Pagoda     The Windmill
  The Double Fishbox / The Portfolio     The Fold and Cut Paper Parachute     The Cut and Fold Windmill
  The Dove     The Patisserie Box     The Wind Wheel
  The Drinking Bird     La Peniche / Le Bateau Ponte     The Witch's Ladder / Devil's Staircase / Hexentrappe / Harmonika
  The Duck     The Pentagonal Knot and the See-Through Pentagram     The Workman's Hat ( aka The Carpenter's, Printer's or Pressman's Hat)
  The Flapping Bird     The Fold and One Cut Pentagram / Five-pointed Star / Betsy Ross Star     The Woven Cross
  The Flapping Butterfly     The Pig / The Corner Cabinet / The Shelf (L'Etagere) / The Trough (La Artesa)      
  The Flapping Dove            
Main and Subsidiary Sources
Subsidiary Sources Consulted / Searched

Undated Postcards / Undated Trade Cards / Undated Drawings, Prints and Paintings

Japanese sources are marked with pink squares.
  De Viribus Quantitatis by Luca Pacioli, 1502     Les Récréations Scientifiques by Gaston Tissandier, 1880 and 1883     Houdini's Paper Magic, 1922
  'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta, 1584     Un million de jeux et de plaisirs by T de Moulidars, 1880     More Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1923
  Trattato delle piegature by Mattia Giegher, 1629     The Boy's Own Book (Revised Edition), 1880     Joujoux en Papier by Tom Tit, 1924
  Deliciae physico mathematicae by Daniel Schwenter, 1636     The Kindergarten Principle by Mary J Lyschinska, 1880     Papiergestaltung by Paul Engelhardt and Adolf Lillack, 1926 (incomplete information)
  Deliciae physico mathematicae Volume 2 by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, 1651     Cassell's Book of Indoor Amusements, Card Games and Fireside Fun, 1881     Ein Lustiges Faltbuchlein by Johanna Huber, 1927 (incomplete information)
  Vollständiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, 1652     Het Vlechten by Elise Van Calcar, 1881     Fun with Paper Folding by Murray and Rigney, 1928
  Deliciae physico mathematicae Volume 3 by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, 1653     Part 2 of The Kindergarten Guide by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, 1882     Article in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1928
  Trenchier-und Plicatur-Büchlein by Andreas Klett, 1657 (incomplete information)     Popular Scientific Recreations, 1882/3     Article in Modern Mechanix magazine, 1929
  Onna Chohoki, 1692 (and 1847)     Giuochi Fanciulleschi Siciliani by Giuseppe Pitri, 1883     Origami Part 1 by Isao Honda, 1931
  Origata Tehon of Kikuchi Fujiwara no Takehide, 1697     Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age by Gaston Tissandier, 1884     Origami Part 2 by Isao Honda, 1932 (incomplete information)
  Récréations mathématiques et physiques by Jacques Ozanam, 1723     Les Cocottes de Mon Grand-Pere by Alfred Delvau, 1884     Winter Nights Entertainments by R M Abraham, 1932
  Enganos a Ojos Vistas, Y Diversion de Trabajos by Pablo Minguet E Irol, 1733     Kindergarten Shoho by Iijima Hanjuro, 1885     Images A Plier by M R Chasles, 1932
  I Giochi Numerici Fatti Arcani by Giuseppe Antonio Alberti, 1747     Theoretisches und praktisches Handbuch der Fröbelschen Erziehungslehre by Bertha von Marentholtz-Bülow, 1887 (incomplete information)     Figuras de Papel, 1932 (incomplete information)
  Tresor des Jeux by Carlo Antonio, 1759     La Science Pratique by Gaston Tissandier, 1889     Diversions and Pastimes by R M Abraham, 1933
  Die Zehenmal Hundert und Eine Kunst by Albrecht Ernst Friedrich von Crailsheim, 1762     Scientific Amusements by Henry Frith, 1890     Paper Toy Making by Margaret Campbell, 1937
  Hoketsuki by Sadatake Ise, 1764     The Boy's Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations by G A Hutchinson, 1890     Fun with Paper by Joseph Leeming, 1939 (incomplete information)
  The Senbazuru Orikata, 1797     Serviettes and How to Fold Them, 1890     El Mundo de Papel by Dr Nemesio Montero, 1939
  Orikata Tehon Chushingura, 1797     La Science Amusante by Tom Tit, 1890-1893     At Home Tonight by Herbert McKay, 1940
  The Boy's Own Book by William Clarke, 1828     Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers by Maggie Browne, 1891     El Plegado y Cartonaje en la Escuela Primaria by Antonio M Luchia and Corina Luciani de Luchia, 1940
  The Girl's Own Book by Lydia Maria Child, 1833     Paper Folding and Cutting by Katherine M Ball, 1892     After The Dessert by Martin Gardner, 1941
  The Kan No Mado, 1845     L'Annee Preparatoire de Travail Manuel by M P Martin, 1893     Paper Magic by U F Grant, 1941 (incomplete information)
  Juegos de los Ninos, 1847     Pour Amuser les Petits by Tom Tit, 1894     Article in Popular Mechanics magazine, 1946
  Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel, 1859     Course in Paperfolding by Eleenore Heerwart, 1895     The Art of Chinese Paperfolding by Maying Soong, 1948
  The Boy's Own Toymaker by E Landells, 1859     Froebel's Occupations by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith, 1896     Au Pays des Mains Agiles, 1949
  The Girl's Own Toymaker by E Landells and Alice Landells, 1860     Article about Troublewit in The Strand Magazine, 1896     El Mundo de Papel by Dr Nemesio Montero, 1951 extended edition.
  De Kleine Papierwerkers, by Elise Van Calcar, 1863     Kindergarten Guide by Lois Bates, 1897     A Bibliography of Paper Folding by Gershon Legman, 1952 (incomplete information)
  Spielbuch fur Knaben by Hermann Wagner, 1864     Le Livre des Amusettes by Toto, 1899     Paper Magic by Robert Harbin, 1956
  Every Little Boy's Book, 1864     What Shall We Do Now? by Edward Verral Lucas and Elizabeth Lucas, 1900     Origami Dokuhon 1 by Akira Yoshizawa, 1957 (incomplete information)
  Spielbuch für Mädchen by Marie Leske, 1865     La Recreation en Famille by Tom Tit, 1903     Origami Zukan by Okimasa Uchiyama, 1958 (incomplete information)
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1869 First Edition     La Ensenanza del Trabajo Manuel by Pedro de Alcántara García and Teodosio Leal y Quiroga, 1903     Plane Geometry and Fancy Figures Exhibition Catalogue, 1959
  Paradise of Childhood by Edward Wiebe, 1869     Guia Practica del Trabajo Manual Educativo by Ezequiel Solana, 1904     Paperfolding Fun by Robert Harbin, 1961
  Hanky Panky by W H Cremer, 1872     Les Bon Jeudis by Tom Tit, 1906     The Art of Origami by Samuel Randlett, 1961
  The Popular Recreator, 1873     Les Petits Secrets Amusants by Alber-Graves, 1908 (incomplete information)     Folding Paper Puppets by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1962
  Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1874 Edition     Handicraft Teaching Materials and Teaching Methods by Hideyoshi Okayama, 1909 (incomplete information)     Secrets of Origami by Robert Harbin, 1963
  Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley, 1876     Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, 1910     Folding Paper Toys by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1963
  Tokyo Women's Normal School publication, 1878 (incomplete information)     El Trabajo Manual en la Escuela by Félix Martí Alpera, 1914     The Best of Origami by Samuel Randlett, 1964
  Yochien Ho Niju Yuki by Seki Shinzo, 1879     Scientific Amusements by C G Knott, 1918     Lampen Aus Papier by Brigitte Schussler, 1964
  Manual Teorico-Practico de Educacion Parvulos by D Pedro de Alcantara Garcia, 1879     Paper Tricks by Will Goldston, 1919 (incomplete information)     Folding Paper Masks by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, 1965 (incomplete information)
        Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1920     The World of Origami by Isao Honda, 1965, unabridged version (incomplete information)
              Meditations on a Waterbomb by Kenneth M Kawamura, 1977