Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

 

 
The Junk Box
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design I call the Junk Box, because it is part of the folding sequence which culminates in the Chinese Junk. The Junk Box does, however, sometimes also appear as a design in its own right. 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 Junk Box first appears, as simply 'La boite' or 'the box' in a list of designs in the 'Manuel Pratique de Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel', which was compiled by J F Jacobs and published in Brussells and Paris in 1859 as part of the folding sequence that culminates in the Chinese Junk.

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The Junk Box also appears:

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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In 'The Kindergarten Principle' by Mary J Lyschinska, published in London in 1880 by Wm Isbister Ltd, as just 'The Box'.

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An illustration of a Junk Box used as a paper pan to boil water in (Ebullition de l’eau dans un vase en papier) was published in 'La Nature' 370 of July 3rd, 1880 on p. 71-72, in an article headed 'Les Physiques Sans Appareils' written by Gaston Tissandier. The box is described as 'une petite boite rectangulaire, comme les ecoliers savent en confectionner' or, in English, 'a small rectangular box, which schoolchildren know how to make'. It was subsequently included in the 1883 3rd Edition of Gaston Tissandier's 'Les Recreations Scientifique' and was probably also included in the 1880 1st and 1881 2nd editions.

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In 'Part two of 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, probably first published by E. Steiger and Company in New York in 1882, as 'The Square Box Having Two 'Lids'.

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As 'Boite en papier pour servir des fruits a la campagne' (Paper box for serving country fruits) in 'La Science Pratique' by Gaston Tissandier, which was published by G Masson in Paris in 1889.

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'La Nature' of 28th September 1889 contained an article headed 'Recreation Scientifiques' and subheaded 'La Grenouille Japonaise en Papier' (The Japanese Paper Frog) which includes the words (here in translation) 'In France, it is true, we also know the charming game of folding paper. The classic Cocotte, the box and the galiote etc., are popular here but we must agree that the Japanese have more ingenious models.' The box mentioned here is most probably the Junk Box.

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In 'Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers' by Maggie Browne, which was published by Cassell and Company in London in 1891. This book is an English version of 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' enhanced by the addition of a few extra designs.

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As 'Serviette D'Avocat' (Lawyer's Box) and 'Boite Carree et Panier a Double Couvercle' (Square Box and Basket with Double Lid) in 'L'Annee Preparatoire de Travail Manuel' by M P Martin, which was published by Armand Collin & Cie in Paris in 1893.

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In 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. The Junk Box is pictured but not named. It is not developed into the Chinese Junk in this book.

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In 'Le Livre des Amusettes' by Toto was published in Paris by Charles Mendel in 1899. It is not developed into the Chinese Junk in this book.

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

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As 'Caja sin Tapa' in 'Guia Practica del Trabajo Manual Educativo' by Ezequiel Solana, which was published by Editorial Magisterio Espaņol in Madrid in 1904.

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In the last ever issue of the Catalan satirical magazine 'La Campana Catalana', published in Barcelona on 29th April 1908, in a cartoon by Apeles Mestres which pictures a variety of paperfolding designs.

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In 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920, as 'The Pin Tray'.

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'In 'Fun with Paperfolding' by William D Murray and Francis J Rigney was published by the Fleming H Revell Company, New York in 1928 contains a picture of the Junk Box, although it is treated as just an intermediate form rather than a design in its own right.

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In 'Winter Nights Entertainments' by R M Abraham, which was first published by Constable and Constable in London in 1932, under the title of 'A Paper Tray'.

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In Booklet 2 of 'Images a Plier', a series of 6 booklets published by Librairie Larousse in Paris in 1932.

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As 'El molde para mantecadas' (The mold for shortbread) in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.

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As the 'Small Box' in 'The Art of Chinese Paper folding for Young and Old' by Maying Soong, which was published by Harcourt Brace and Company of New York in 1948.

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