The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Last updated 03/01/2024


The Jumping Bean
This page is being used to collect information about the history of the Jumping Bean made by folding paper. 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.



There is a description of a way to make a Jumping Bean out of paper in a section describing curious effects relating to the centre of gravity of objects in the 1883 3rd Edition of 'Les Recreations Scientifiques' by Gaston Tissandier. The original article in 'La Nature' on which this section was based was published on 15th May 1880 so that it is possible that the same section also appeared in the 1880 1st edition and the 1881 2nd Edition. However, the description of how to make a Jumping Bean from paper is only in the book not the original article.

In English 'We can replace the puppets with a cylinder made of Bristol paper, closed at both ends and containing a ball, which, when placed upright on an inclined plane descends in the same manner as the puppets.'

Since no other kind of closing is specified I have assumed that the closing of the ends of the cylinder was intended to be done by folding.


A similar wording appears in the Spanish translation in 'Recreaciones científicas ó la física y la química sin aparatos ni laboratorio y solo por los juegos de la infancia', which was published in Madrid in 1883.


A similar wording also appears in the English language version, 'Popular Scientific Recreations', which was published by Ward, Lock and Co Ltd in London and New York in 1883, although note that in this case 'papier Bristol' is translated as 'cartridge paper'.