Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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The Chickenwire Letterfold
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design which I call the Chicken Wire Letterfold in lieu of any more established name (after the pattern of creases visible in the paper when it is unfolded). 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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The first appearance of the Chickenwire Letterfold in the historical record is 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 according to 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) the manuscript contains a section on sealing letters without wax which says, inter alia:

'Another method is to have the letter wrapped around a round piece of leather. It is closed. The way it is closed is not to clear. However, Pacioli, stresses that there are special tongues with rounded tips to crease the letter shut. Upon opening the crease marks will be obvious making it a hard task to restore the letter to shut state.'

It seems to me that this is a good descrip[tion of the Chickenwire Letterfold.

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As far as I know the design next appears in the historical record in 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley which was published in Bielefeld and Leipzig in 1880, although the foreword is dated 1876.