Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


The Table and the Tablecloth
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the closely related origami designs known as the Table and the Tablecloth. 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 Table


A design called 'La table' appears 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. This is almost certainly the design we now call the Table.



The earliest known illustration of this design is found, as 'De tafel' (the table) in '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.



There is reference to 'La table' in a list of designs in 'Exercices et Travaux pour les Enfants Selon la Méthode et les Procédés de Pestalozzi et de Froebel' by Fanny and Charles Delon, which was published by Librairie Hachette in Paris in 1873. Unfortunately there is no illustration to confirm the identification of the design.


The Table 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.



As 'Table en papier / La petite table' in 'Cours de Travail Manuel (Pour les Garcons) - Premiere Partie - Cours Elementaire' by A Planty, which was published by Gedalge Jeune in Paris in 1887. It is pictured upside down in order to better explain how to fold the windmill and the windmill base



In 'L'Annee Preparatoire de Travail Manuel' by M P Martin, which was published by Armand Collin & Cie in Paris in 1893.


As 'La mesa' in 'Cuestiones de Pedagogía Práctica: Medios de Instruir' by D Vicente Castro Legua, which was published by Libreria de la Viuda de la Hernando y Ca in Madrid in 1893



As 'La table carre' in 'L'enseignement manuel dans les ecoles du degre primaire (garcons)' by Rene Leblanc, which was published by Librairie Larousse in Paris in 1895.


In 'Geometrie, Dessin et Travaux Manuels - Cours Moyen', produced under the direction of M E. Cazes, which was published by Librairie Ch. Delagrave in Paris in 1895, where it is not named but treated as a base from which rosettes can be developed.



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



In 'La Ensenanza del Trabajo Manuel' by Pedro de Alcántara García and Teodosio Leal y Quiroga, which was published in Madrid in 1903, where it is pictured upside down.



In 'Guia Practica del Trabajo Manual Educativo' by Ezequiel Solana, which was published by Editorial Magisterio Español in Madrid in 1904.



As both 'mesa' (table) and 'mesita' (small table) in an article titled 'El trabajo manual escolar' by Vicente Casto Legua in the January 1907 issue of the Spanish magazine 'La Escuela Moderna' which was published in Madrid by Los Sucesores de Hernando.



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.



'Fun with Paperfolding' by William D Murray and Francis J Rigney, which was published by the Fleming H Revell Company, New York in 1928, contains a version of the Table folded from a blintzed windmill base.


The Tablecloth


There is mention of a design called 'The Tablecloth' in 'The Kindergarten Principle' by Mary J Lyschinska, which was published in London in 1880 by Wm Isbister Ltd, but no illustration is given.



An illustration of the Tablecloth appears in part two of 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, which was probably first published in 1882 by E. Steiger and Company in New York.


The Tablecloth 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.



Lois Bates' 'Kindergarten Guide', which was first published by Longmans, Green and Co in London in 1897.



'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.



'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, as 'Mesa Mantel de Cuatro Puntas (Tablecloth with Four Corners).


The same book contains the Tablecloth again, but this time developed from a blintzed windmill base, under the title 'Mesa Cuadrado Doble', as a design from which other blintzed windmill base designs can be developed.