Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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The Newspaper Hat
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the Newspaper Hat. 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 evidence I know of for this design occurs in a print in the French magazine 'La Caricature' no 109 of 6 December 1832.

The figure to the immediate left of the central monument at the back of the ring of dancers is wearing a newspaper hat. The print also shows six cocottes on top of the monument. My thanks to Juan Gimeno for this information.

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A newspaper hat also appears in a painting by Antonio Maria Esquivel which is in the Museo del Romanticismo in Madrid and can be dated to 1843. It is a self-portrait with his sons Carlos and Vicente.

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Another early drawing of a newspaper hat appears in an illustration by Vilhelm Pedersen (1820-1859) which was published in the 1849 2nd Edition of Hans Andersen's tales. Information from Juan Gimeno.

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There are diagrams for the newspaper hat (titled 'The General's Hat'), and several illustrations showing these hats being worn by children, in 'Spielbuch fur Knaben' by Hermann Wagner, which was published by Verlag von Otto Spamer in Leipzig in 1864, although the foreword is dated May 1863, which argues that the book was complete at that date.

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A Newspaper Hat is shown in one of the illustrations in 'Every Little Boy's Book', which was published by Routledge, Warne and Routledge in London in 1864, although instructions for making the hat are not included in the book.

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The diagrams (though not the other illustrations) that appeared in 'Spielbuch fur Knaben' by Hermann Wagner also appear in 'Spielbuch fur Madchen' by Maria Leske (a pseudonym of Marina Krebs), which was published by Verlag von Otto Spamer in Leipzig in 1865.

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A Newspaper Hat is found in another John Tenniel illustration, this time for Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There', first published in 1871. The illustration shows Alice in a railway carriage sitting opposite a man wearing a white paper suit and a Newspaper Hat. According to Martin Gardner (in 'The Annotated Alice, 1998, p.218) the fact that the man is dressed in white paper is a political joke. He believes that Tenniel’s illustration shows a cartoon of Benjamin Disraeli and that Tenniel may have had in mind the ‘white papers’ (official documents) with which such statesmen are surrounded. Before he illustrated the Alice books, Tenniel had once portrayed Disraeli in a Government White Paper suit. However, Michael Hancher, writing in 'The Tenniel Illustrations to the ‘Alice’ Books, 1985' disputes this identification as the man in white paper does not have the obvious chin or goatee, which are normally present in Tenniel’s caricatures of Disraeli. Source: http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/resources/analysis/picture-origins/

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A picture of a Newspaper Hat appears in 'Der Kindergarten' by Hermann Goldammer which was published by Carl Babel in Berlin in 1874 under the title of 'Einen Generalehut' (The General's Hat).

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A Newspaper Hat, provided with a pleated cockade, 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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A version of the Newspaper Hat, here titled 'The Soldier's Hat' and made by the unusual method of folding one flap forward and one flap back, the method by which the Mitre is made, appears in part two of 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, which was probably first published by E. Steiger and Company in New York in 1882.

The section from which this picture comes is introduced with the words 'The oblong is also used for paper-folding. Most of the Forms of Life derived from it were known before the days of our grandfathers.'

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The first volume of 'La Science Amusante' by Tom Tit (real name Arthur Good), which was published in Paris by Librairie Larousse in 1890 included an illustration of an optical illusion featuring a Newspaper hat.

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The Newspaper Hat also appears 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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An illustration of a Newspaper Hat appears 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.

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'What Shall We Do Now?, by Edward Verral Lucas and Elizabeth Lucas, which was published by Frederick A Stokes Company in New York in 1900, contains diagranms for the Newspaper Hat under the title 'A Cocked Hat'..

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The Newspaper Hat and a simple variation called 'Le Bonnet de Police' appear in 'Le Livre des Amusettes' by Toto, which was published in Paris by Charles Mendel in 1899.

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A Newspaper Hat is also illustrated in 'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen: Das Falten' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, which was published by Friedrich Brandstetter in Leipzig in 1900.

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A version of the Newspaper Hat with the sides folded up to improve the shape appeared as 'The Soldier's Hat' in 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920. This variation is derived from the folding sequence for the Paper Boat. As far as I know this is the first time it appears in the historical record.

This book also contains a second variation, the Army Forage Cap, in which only part of the corners are turned down after the first fold has been made..

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As 'A Paper Hat' in 'Winter Nights Entertainments' by R M Abraham, which was first published by Constable and Constable in London in 1932

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