Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


How to Melt Lead / Cook / Boil Water etc in Paper Wrappings, Pans or Kettles
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of methods of cooking or boiling water etc in paper pans or kettles. 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 first mention in the historical record that it is possible to cook in a paper pan occurs in the manucript 'De Viribus Quantitatis' by Luca Pacioli which was written in or around 1502. I have not been able to access the original document or an English translation but the dissertation 'Luca Pacioli and his 1500 book De Viribus Quantitatis' (which can be found at http://repositorio.ul.pt/bitstream/10451/18435/1/ulfc113829_tm_Tiago_Hirth.pdf) states that, in a section headed 'Cooking eggs, fish, meat in a paper pan':

'Pacioli describes how paper can be used as a frying pan. The paper is to be folded and closed off with pins or glue, so that it can be used as a pan. Fill it with oil. The food products are carefully placed into that oil. The pan is placed on top of a metal grid. Pacioli recommends careful usage to keep the paper from rupturing.'


The Boy's Own Book' by William Clarke was published by Vizetelly, Branston and Company in London in 1828 contains a section called 'The Paper Furnace' which explains how it is possible to melt a lead ball wrapped in paper without the paper catching fire.