Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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Paper Cones / Grocer's Cones
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the history of Paper Cones, also known as Grocer's Cones. 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.

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A mention of paper cones occurs in 'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta (1535-1615), which was first published in Latin in Naples in 1558. The first edition contained only four books but this had expanded to twenty books by 1584. The image below is taken from an English translation, of the twenty book version, which was published in London in 1658 under the title 'Natural Magick' and which gave the author's name as John Baptista Porta. I assume this information also appears in the 1584 Latin version.

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A paper cone, which appears to be made from paper that has already been used for some other purpose, can be found in the bottom right corner of the painting 'Children's Games' by Peter Bruegel the Elder which is dated 1560. (Information from Joan Sallas.)

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'Scientific Amusements' by Henry Frith, which was first published by Ward, Locke and Co Ltd in London, New York and Melbourne in 1890, contains instructions showing how to produce coal gas from an open fire using a paper cone.

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