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Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers
'Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers' by Maggie Browne, was published by Cassell and Company in London in 1891. The Preface states that, 'while not a mere translation', the book is based on 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley, which was published in Bielefeld and Leipzig in 1880. The Foreword goes on to say that: 'I have omitted much from the German work that seemed unsuitable, or too difficult, for the boys and girls for whom I have prepared it' and 'I have also added several new designs, some of which have been sent to me by young friends who had read articles by me on a similar subject in "Little Folks". I have not been able to trace the articles referred to here.

A full copy of the 1896 'Cheap Edition' of the work can be accessed at I believe that, apart from its cheapness, this is identical to the 1891 original.

Michel Grand has kindly sent me a review which appeared in the Spectator of 2nd January 1892. I take it that this refers to the 'Paper Shut-Up Box' (Catherine of Cleves Box) though I cannot understand the nature of the alternative box referred to.

Those designs which do not appear in 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' are:

The Love Knot Letterfold


The Flapping Bird


A flat version of the Blow-Up Frog.


Those designs which appear in both 'Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers' and 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' in an identical form are:

The Woven Cross

The Froebel Star

How to cut a square from a rectangle

How to find the centre of a square

The Cross

The Short Jacket (made by folding the Triple Blintz Cross in half) (The Shirt)

The Jacket

The Trousers

The Mitre (which is then used as a head for a doll - or the Human Figure)

The Chair

The Table

The Salt-Cellar

The Boat with Sail.

The (uncut) Windmill.

The Double Hulled Boat.

The Box (The Junk Box) (developed from the blintxed windmill base version of the Double Boat via the Boat with Fish Box and the Portfolio - neither of which are treated as designs in their own right).

The Captain's Hat (The Newspaper Hat)

The Hanging Pocket (The Corner Wall Pocket)

The Magic Pocket (A simple coin vanish trick)

The Paper Boat

The Pencil Case

The Paper Dart

The Bellows

The Paper Sweet Box (The Puzzle Purse)

The Stamp Case (The Wallet)

The Paper Cracker (The Single Barrelled Paper Banger)

The Double Paper Cracker (The Double Barrelled Paper Banger)

The Chickenwire Pattern Letterfold

The Cut and Fold Windmill

The Paper Frill (used as a candle decoration)

The Fold and Slit Chevron Trellis

The Fold and Slit Chevron Cross

The Fold and Cut Paper Cage

Fold and Cut Paper Trellis

How to Climb Through A Playing Card

The 'Paper Shut-Up Box' (The Catherine of Cleves Box)

The Slit and Assemble Sphere

Cutting a Regular Hexagon from a Square