Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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The Bellows
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known as the Bellows. 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 Bellows is an active play design. Compressing the design sends a jet of air out of the hole in the top. It seems to have fallen out of popularity in modern times and is now little known or folded.

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As far as I know the Bellows first appears in the historical record in the book 'De Kleine Papierwerkers' which was written by Elise Van Calcar and published by K H Schadd in Amsterdam in 1863, under the name 'De blassbalk'.

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Diagrams for this design first appear in 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley, which was first published in Bielefeld and Leipzig, and the foreword of which is dated October 1876.

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Diagrams also appear, with no title other than the designation 'Various kinds of 'balloons' can also be made', indicating that the authors regard this as a variation of the Waterbomb design, in part two of 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, which was published by E. Steiger and Company in New York in 1877.

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Diagrams alos appear in:

'Un million de jeux et de plaisirs' by T de Moulidars, which was first published in 1880 and subsequently republished as 'Grande encyclopédie méthodique, universelle, illustrée, des jeux et des divertissements de l'esprit et du corps', under the title 'Le Soufflet'.

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'Cassell's Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes', published in 1882, the paperfolding section of which was based on Moulidars book.

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Eleonore Heerwart's 'Course in Paperfolding', which was first published in Dutch in 1895 then in English by Charles and Dible in London and Glasgow in 1896 (drawing only).

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'Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers' by Maggie Browne, which was published by Cassell and Company in London in 1896. This book is an English version of 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch'.

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'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen: Das Falten' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, which was published by Friedrich Brandstetter in Leipzig in 1900.

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'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth which was published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920, under the title 'Working Bellows'.

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Margaret Campbell's 'Paper Toy Making', first published in London in 1936, under the title 'Bellows'. Notes accompany the diagrams, to the effect that 'These bellows will easily blow out a candle' and 'The blast will be improved by cutting off a small portion with scissors, where the air escapes'.