Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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The Newspaper Sword, Ladder and Tree
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami designs usually rolled and cut from newspaper known as the Newspaper Ladder, Tree and Sword. 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 Newspaper Sword

As far as I know the idea of drawing out a spiral of paper into a long sword-like object first ocurrs 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, although here it is initially presented as a Horn and then made into a number of other objects by means of additional squashes, cuts and folds.

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The idea of using the design as a sword first appears in 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920.

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The same idea is used for a much bolder effect, called 'An Effective Finish' in 'Houdini's Paper Magic', which was published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922.

The Newspaper Ladder

As far as I know this design first appears in 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920.

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This effect also appears in:

'Houdini's Paper Magic', which was published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922, under the title of 'Jacob's Ladder'. The same book also includes a variant of the effect which Houdini calls the Trellis (pictured on the right below)

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

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The Newspaper Tree

As far as I know this design first appears in 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920.

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This effect also appears in:

'Houdini's Paper Magic', which was published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922.

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'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 Pine Tree'.

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