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Last updated 9/1/2024


Neale's Skeletal Octahedron

This page attempts to record what is known about the history of Neale's Skeletal Octahedron. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

Note that I call this design 'Neale's Skeletal Octahedron' here to avoid confusion with another Neale's 'Octahedron', which is made in 2-parts and has solid faces.

Many other paperfolders have independently discovered this design, but I believe that Robert Neale was the first to do so. In 1995 I wrote to him about this question and received the following reply (extracted from a letter dated 13th August 1995, now held in the Public Paperfolding History Project archive).

Note that although he does not give a date for this discovery, it must have been prior to 1968 when a decorative variant was published in 'The Flapping Bird'. The statement that Kasahara discovered it at a later date is confirmed by the fact that Kasahara has given credit to Neale when publishing the design in his own books.



The earliest publication of this design in any form that I am aware of, is the inclusion of Robert Neale's colour-change variation, 'Sixfold Ornament' in issue 1 of 'The Flapping Bird: An Origami Monthly', edited by Samuel Randlett and published by Jay Marshall of Magic Inc, in 1968



As far as I know the original six waterbomb base design first appeared, as 'Blowing Top', in 'Origami for Fun' by Toshie Takahama, which was published by Japan Publications Trading Co Ltd in Tokyo in 1973. No acknowledgement of authorship is given.



'The Magic of Origami', edited by Alice Gray & Kunihiko Kasahara, and published by Japan Publications in Tokyo in 1977 contained diagrams for this design under the title 'Six Waterbomb Base Ornament'. This is the earliest publication I know of where Neale is credited as the designer.



The design also appears, without a title, in British Origami Society Booklet 20, 'Origami Christmas Tree Decorations' edited by Paul Jackson. The design is attributed to Seiryo Takegawa in error.



'Origami Omnibus' by Kunihiko Kasahara, which was published by Japan Publications in Tokyo in 1988, contains Neale's 'Skeletal Octahedron' under the name 'Ornament'.


The design also appears:


As 'Skeletal Octahedron' in Mathematical Origami' by David Mitchell, published by Tarquin publications in 1997.



In 'Learning Mathematics with Origami' by Tung Ken Lam and Sue Pope, published by the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in 2016.