A paperfolding paradise
The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell
|Designs developed from Rolls of Paper|
page attempts to record what is known about the origin
and history of designs developed from rolls of paper.
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.
The Butterchurn - 1873
This design appears as 'Butterstampfe' in 'Die Praxis Des Kindergartens' by Auguste Koehler, which was published by Herman Bohlau in Weimar in 1873. The text explains how in this action design a strip of paper is first rolled up and then the centre of the roll is pulled out and pushed back in to simulate the action of churning butter.
The Newspaper Ladder - 1881 onwards
Part two of 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, which was probably first published by E. Steiger and Company in New York in 1882, shows how to draw the centre of a paper roll out to form a 'horn' and how to make it into a variety of tools and cutlery by means of additional squashes, cuts and folds.
The Newspaper Tree - 1920 onwards
In 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920, the effect is presented as a way to make a paper sword.
In 'Houdini's Paper Magic', which was published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922, the idea is used as the basis of a magical effect called 'An Effective Finish'
'La Nature' Issue 2853 of 15th March 1931 contains an article by Albers headed 'Pliages de papier' and subheaded 'L'echelle de bambou' which inter alia describes how to make a version of the Newspaper Sword, roughly, 'The rolled paper ... is also used in conjuring to produce a candle from a hat. It uses a strip of strong glossy white paper, ten to twelve centimetres wide and several meters long, which has been rolled up, not very tight, and fixed so as not to unwind. In the center of the roll, a five-minute candle match was fixed in a thin metal tube, protruding a little. It is a game, for a prestidigitateur to introduce without being seen this little roll in a hat. At the desired moment, passing a sandpaper over the match, it ignites it, and, drawing the paper through the center by means of the small tube (fig. 4) carrying the match, it lengthens the candle which reaches a length of two meters and seems to come lit from the hat.'
The Flags - 1939
A somewhat similar design, 'Las banderillas' (The Flags) made from a roll of paper that has been bent in half, appears in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.