Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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The Witch's Ladder / Devil's Staircase / Hexentrappe / Harmonika / Muizentrappe
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known in English as the Witch's Ladder or the Devil's Staircase, in German as Hexentreppe or Harmonika and in Dutch as the Muizentrapje. 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.

As far as I know the first appearance of this design in the historical record is 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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The design also appears in 'Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age' by Gaston Tissandier, which was published by G Masson in Paris in 1884 ...

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