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Last updated 22/3/2024


Paperfolding in Education in Germany 1852 onwards

This page is being used to collect information about the history of paperfolding in Germany after the death of Froebel in 1852. 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 ban on Froebelian education in Prussia was lifted in 1860.



According to 'Manuel Theorique de la Reform Educative de Frederic Froebel' by Edward Raoux, the kindergartens open in Germany by 1862 were:


Das Frobel'sche Faltblatt, 1862



Der Kindergarten by Hermann Goldammer, 1869



Die Praxis Des Kindergartens, 1873

The second volume of 'Die Praxis Des Kindergartens' by Auguste Koehler, which was published in 1873 states that in Froebel's time only one method of developing a square was known, that of folding the corners inwards (ie blintzing the square). The author says that he developed a second method, that of folding the edges inwards, (ie bookfolding the square) which was published in his earlier work relating to paperfolding. (The footnote identifies this as 'Kindergarten and Elementarklasse. II Jahrang. Weimar. Bohlau 1861', but I have not been able to trace a copy of this work.) To modern folders this may seem an unimportant distinction, but this discovery seems to have led Auguste Koehler to design the Pig, which is first published in this work (or, perhaps, in the earlier work which I cannot find). Modern folders are not generally over-impressed with the Pig design, yet it was revolutionary in its time. In their book 'Froebel's Occupations', published in 1896, Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith call it ‘the crowning glory of the sequence, a star of the purest ray and the first magnitude.' And so it was.


'Bilder aus dem Kindergarten fur Mutter und Erzhieherrinen' by Ernst Barth, 1873.

This book contains instructons for folding a few simple Froebelian designs. The lack of complexity is explained by the author's Foreword, which criticises the current theoy and practice of the kindergarten. The opening part reads, roughly, 'Just as the school is far too removed from the family ... the same is unfortunately true of the kindergarten.' 'children ... required to perform achievements that extend far beyond their age'. The footnotes make it clear that this is a criticiem of Kohler's educational theory and Goldammer's book (see above).



Die Schulwerkstatt by E Barth and W Niederly, 1882



Theoretisches und praktisches Handbuch der Fröbelschen Erziehungslehre by Bertha von Marentholtz-Bülow, 1886/7


'Faltarbeiten aus Papier' by Georg Netzband, 1936

Georg Netzband (1900 to 1984) was a German painter and art educator. He wrote and illustrated two handbooks about paperfolding, 'Faltarbeiten aus Papier' 1 and 2, which were published in 1936 by the Reich Ministry of Education to accompany two short films, known as F57 and F58. They provide folding instructions,and a demonstation of how the folds are actually made, for a small number of traditional models, including the Horse and Rider designs. As far as I know these are the earliest films to show the actual folding method for designs.