Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


Bulletin de la Societe de Protection des Apprentis,1891
The 'Bulletin de la Societe de Protection des Apprentis' is an official document issued by the Societe de Protection des Apprentis et des Enfants Employes par les Manufactures in Paris in 1891. The document includes educational syllabuses which make use of paperfolding. This document was drawn to my attention by Michel Grand.

The exercises and designs mentioned in these programmes are similar to the material found in 'Le Travail Manuel a L'ecole Primaire' by Jully & Rocheron, which was published by Librairie Classique Eugene Belin in Paris in 1892, and which can therefore be used to identify them with some certainty, even in the absence of illustrations.

A full copy of the work can be viewed at Bulletin / Société de protection des apprentis et des enfants des manufactures | 1891 | Gallica (bnf.fr)



The last half sentence on page 210 and the first half sentence on page 211 read, roughly, 'These programmes, in both normal schools and primary schools include elementary exercises using paper and cardboard, weaving, folding, cardboard modelling, cutting, modelmaking and moulding.' Footnote 1 refers to three annexes which give details of such programmes in a normal school and in primary schools for boys and girls. Annex 5 does not, however, contain any reference to paperfolding. Relevant details from these programmes are given below.


The relevant detail from Annexe 3, the programme for the normal school, is:

The section on paperfolding refers to: 'Folds parallel, perpendicular, oblique at 45 degrees: folding of the square, angles at the centre, filter, various rosettes, prismatic boxes, cube. Folds at 60 and 30 degrees: equilateral triangle, regular hexagon, rosettes which derive from these two figures.'


The relevant detail from Annexe 4, the programme for the boy's primary school, is:

This programme not only refers to geometric folding exercises but also to some recognisable designs ie la boite de patissier (Patisserie Box), bonnet de magicien (Magic Hat), rosaces diverse a 6 pointes (Patterns from Hexagons) and grenouille japonaise (Blow-up Frog).


Annexe 7 gives details of the programme of the Ecole Nationale Professionelle de Voiron, Ecole Maternelle annexe.

Some of the designs referred to are recognisable, while others cannot be identified either at all or with any certainty. The exercises / designs listed are:

Escalier de souris (Mouse stair - possibly the Witch's Ladder), salieres (salt cellars - the Salt Cellar), oiseaux (bird - not identifiable), eventails (fans - not identifiable)

Bateaux (boats - not identifiable), culotte (pants - not identifiable), veste (jacket - not identifiable), glace (probably mirror - not identifiable), moulins a vent (windmills - probably the Windmill).


Diviser une feuille en 2, 4 parties egales (Divide a sheet into 2, 4 equal parts)

Dans un rectangle former un losange, trouver un carre (In a rectangle form a rhombus, find a square)

Dans un carre trouver un hexagone, construire une etoile dans l'hexagone (Find a hexagon in a square, construct a star in the hexagon) - methods of doing this are given in Jully & Rocheron op cit.

Avec un hexagone construire un dodecagone (Construct a dodecagon from a hexagon) - method unknown.

Avec un carre obtenir un carre moitie moins grand (From a square find a square half as large)

Pliage du rectangle (Folding the rectangle): portfeuille en papier (paper wallet - not identifiable), chapeau de gendarme (police hat, probably the Newspaper Hat), boite de patissier (the Patisserie Box)

Pliage du carre (Folding the square): un toit ou une tente (a roof or a tent - not identifiable) - un cornet (a cone, probably the basic paper cone), une enveloppe (an envelope, not identifiable), cocotte (the Cocotte / Pajarita), petite table (small table, probably the Table from a windmill base), Rosaces (Rosettes, Windmill Base Patterns), Carres superposes (superimposed squares - not identifiable), boite cubique (cubic box - probably the Waterbomb), bateau (boat - not identifiable)

Pliage de Bandelettes (Strip Folds): Scie (saw - not identifiable), filet grec (greek filet - probably a Greek Key pattern), lettres (letters), chiffres (figures - probably numbers), ornements divers (various ornaments - unidentifiable), encadrements (frames - unidentifiable)


Chapeau de gendarme (police hat, probably the Newspaper Hat)

Pliage du carre et du rectangle (Folding the square and the rectangle) - Bateaux (Boats - not identifiable) - Cocotte (the Cocotte / Pajarita) - Moulinets (Reels or bobbins - not identifiable) - 6 Rosaces (Rosettes, Windmill Base Patterns) - Hexagones (hexagons) - Octogones (Octagons - methods of folding octagons from a square are given in Jully & Rocheron op cit) - Polygones etoiles (polygon stars - not identifiable).

Pliage (de bandelettes) (Strip folding) - Pliage a 45 et 90 (Folding at 45 and 90 degrees) - Exercises varies (various exercises) - Carre (Square) - Rectangles (Rectangles) - Etoiles (Stars) - Lettres capitales (capital letters) - Croix de Malte (Maltese Cross - not identifiable) - Encadrements (frames - not identifiable) - Filtre et abat-jour (Filter and lampshade - not identifiable)



Boite de patissier (the Patisserie Box) - Bonnet (Hat - not identifiable) - Bateaux (Boats - not identifiable) - Rosace (4 types) (Rosettes - not identifiable) - Boites carrees, rectangulaires (Square and rectangular boxes - not identifiable) - Gondoles (Gondolas - possibly the Chinese Junk?) - Portefeuille (Wallet - not identifiable) - Grenouille japonaise (Japanese frog - the Blow-up Frog) - Chapeau japonais (Japanese hat - not identifiable).