The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Paper Banger
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of paper bangers. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other important information that should be added. Thank you.

There are two closely related forms of the Paper Banger which produce either one or two bangs. For this reason I call them the Single-barrelled Paper Banger and the Double-Barrelled Paper Banger. I have not separated their occurrences into separate chronologies.

There is, however, a separate page about the simpler, and earlier, design I call the Primitive Paper Banger.

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Lewis Carroll's diary mentions paperfolding on several occasions. The entry for October 8th 1890 includes the words '... and the little boy Francis Epipharius (Piffy), a very bright little creature, who taught me how to fold paper pistols ...' There are three other subsequent entries which record Lewis Carroll teaching these paper pistols to other children. Unfortunately we have no evidence to tell us what these paper pistols were. It is possible that they were paper bangers, either of the primitive or more sophisticated varieties, or one of the designs on the paper pistols page, or something else entirely.

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In Japan (and in publications by Japanese authors)

1965

The dpuble-barrelled design appears, as the 'Paper Cracker', in 'The World of Origami' by Isao Honda, which was published in the USA by Japan Publications Trading Company in 1965.

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In Western Europe / The USA

1863

'De Kleine Papierwerkers 1: Wat men van een stukje papier al maken kan: Het vouwen' (The Small Paperwork 1: What one can make from a piece of paper: Folding) by Elise Van Calcar, which was published by K H Schadd in Amsterdam in 1863, contains diagrams for the double-barrelled version of the banger, under the title of 'De klapper' (the clapper).

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1876

Diagrams for both versions appear 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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1891

This version of the banger 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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1900

A rather oversized picture of the double-barrelled version of the Paper Banger also appears in 'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen: Das Falten' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, which was published by Friedrich Brandstetter in Leipzig in 1900.

It is interesting to note that in these instructions, and those in 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' pictured above, the diagonal creases are not diagonals of the central single layer, as they might be in a modern version of the design. Widening the diagonals increases the ease with which the banger can be made to fire.

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This version of the banger also appears:

1891

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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1904

As 'Tronadora' (Thunder) in 'Guia Practica del Trabajo Manual Educativo' by Ezequiel Solana, which was published by Editorial Magisterio Espańol in Madrid in 1904.

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1907

As 'Trueno (Thunder), but also variously el tronera or tronador, in an article titled 'El trabajo manual escolar' by Vicente Casto Legua in issue 191 of the Spanish magazine 'La Escuela Moderna' for February 1907, which was published in Madrid by Los Sucesores de Hernando.

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1918

Desigs for both versions of the Paper Banger appear in 'Ciencia Recreativa' by Jose Estralella, which was published by Gustavo Gili in Barcelona in 1918.

Pistola - The Single-Barrelled Paper Banger

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Pistola con dos canones - The Double-Barrelled Paper Banger

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1937

As the 'Paper 'Bomb'', in 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell, which was first published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd in London, probably in 1937, although both the Foreword and Preface are dated 1936, which argues that the book was complete at that date.

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1939

A version of the single-barrelled design, made from a square, which inhibits its effective operation, appears in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.

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1940

The single-barrelled design appears as 'Petardo' in 'El Plegado y Cartonaje en la Escuela Primaria' by Antonio M Luchia and Corina Luciani de Luchia, which was published by Editorial Kapelusz in Buenos Aires in 1940.

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1952

The single-barrelled design appears in the January 1952 issue of the American magazine 'Children's Digest'.

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1956

The single-barrelled design appears as 'The Banger' in 'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne in London in 1956.

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