Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


A Timeline of Paperfolding History
This timeline is a work in progress. It is reasonably comprehensive for significant events relating to the history of recreational paperfolding between 1440 and 1928. Further significant events in paperfolding history will be added in due course. Suggestions for such significant events, especially early events, that ought to be recorded here are welcomed.

Where I record the earliest mention or illustration of a paperfolding design in the historical record this is to the best of my current knowledge and belief. This information may well change with further research as earlier instances come to light. If you already know of an early instance then please contact me with details of the evidence and I will update the timeline accordingly.

Introductory Notes

By paper in this timeline I mean any flat thin sheet made from cellulose fibres which are held together by chemical bonds between the fibres rather than by an adhesive. Card or cardboard is simply thick paper. The meso-American substance amate, while paper-like, is not a true paper in this sense.

By folding I mean any change of direction induced by any means in the flat plane of the paper. By this definition bending, twisting, rolling, flexing and any kind of distortion of the original flat form of the original sheet constitute folding. It is not, of course, possible to pick up a sheet of paper or remove it from the frame on which it was made without folding it in this sense. Foldability, or flexability, if you prefer is a fundamental quality of paper, although one that is all too frequently ignored or overlooked.

Paper is not, of course, the oldest foldable material. Dough, leaves and plant stems, animal skins and leather, cloth and felt, and metals were all folded long before we have any record of the folding of paper.

Paper, however, folds in a very different way to these other materials. While paper will both roll and take a soft fold, like cloth or leather, it will also take a hard fold, the line of which is retained when the fold is opened out. When a soft fold in paper is completely flattened some of the fibres and/or some of the bonds between the fibres along the resulting folded edge are damaged, or broken, allowing a hard fold to form. If the paper is opened out this line of damage can be seen as a crease. This crease forms a line of weakness which will act as a hinge allowing the paper to be refolded, then opened out again, along the same line of weakness. This folding and opening out can be repeated many times without obvious additional damage occurring and consequently without the paper separating into two parts, as metal, or leaves, for instance would be likely to.

We do not know when, where, or by whom paper was first invented, or whether it was invented accidentally or as the result of a deliberate experimental process. Nor do we know whether, if it was the result of a deliberate experimental process, it was intended to be a medium for writing or painting on, wrapping with, or something else entirely. We do not even know whether paper was invented just once in one place or several times independently in several places. What we do know, however, is that the earliest evidence for the existence and use of paper comes from China, and that we can trace the spread of the knowledge of how to make and use it from there to the rest of the civilised world.

Both paper itself and objects made of paper are ephemeral and the record we have of them at an early date relies largely on their chance survival or their mention or appearance in much less ephemeral sources such as books, fabrics, drawings and paintings. Like paper itself, it is likely that many of the paperfolding ideas and designs featured in this timeline are much older than the earliest evidence for their existence. Unfortunately, of course, we cannot know, even approximately, how much older they might actually be.

Writing the history of paperfolding is complicated by the fact that most historians of paper seem to concentrate almost exclusively on its manufacture and its use as a medium for writing, drawing or printing upon and largely ignore its history as a foldable material.

While this timeline is about the folding of paper I have also included some events relating to the manufacture of paper, the development of papercrafts or toys which do not necessarily involve folding, and the folding of other materials, where these are particularly relevant to the development, particularly the early development, of the story.

In the later part of this timeline I have, unashamedly, concentrated on events which illuminate the way in which paperfolding has, in recent centuries, come to be used for mathematical, scientific, educational and recreational purposes, without, I hope, forgetting that most folding of paper was originally done, and indeed still is done, for purely practical purposes, such as decreasing the size of a sheet or protecting an object from damage.

Sources of information are given on the more specific subject pages to which this timeline links. Where this timeline states that an entry is 'unverified' it indicates that I have not managed to find an online copy of the work to check the statement from.

It is also worth noting here that since I only speak English, and read basic French, this timeline will inevitably tend to be biased towards events recorded in those languages.

The Timeline

207BC - China: A fragment of a paper map on which topographical details have been drawn in black ink, and which can be dated to between 221 and 207 BC, was found in 1986 during the excavation of Tomb 5 at Fangmatan. This is the earliest known paper fragment.

87BC - China: Death of the Han Chinese Emperor Wu (postumously known as Wudi). When his tomb complex was excavated, blank paper made from the fibres of hemp was found wrapped around several delicate bronze mirrors, presumably as a protective measure.

8BC - China: Date of another early fragment of paper, approximately 10 centimeters square and made from linen fibres, which was discovered during the restoration of an ancient garrison near the Yumen Pass at Dunhuang in northwest China. It has been written upon and is likely to have been part of a letter.

312-13- Iran: Most likely date of a group of five almost complete letters written on paper in the Sogdian language, each of which had been folded several times, which were found in a ruined watchtower in Iran on the ancient Chinese frontier wall.

751 - Central Asia: Date of the Battle of Talas betwen the Abbasid and Tang Empires after which it is said that Chinese prisoners of war revealed the secret of paper making to their captors. This information is not from a contemporary source but seems to derive from the Persian writer Zakarya Qazvini, otherwise Al Qazvini, who lived from 1203–1280. Quoted in translation as 'Prisoners of war were brought from China. Among these was someone who knew the manufacture of paper and so he practised it. Then it spread until it became a main product for the people of Samarqand, whence it was exported to all countries.' in 'The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation' by John M Hobson, Cambridge, 2004.

988 - Japan: The earliest known reference to a Kawahori, a pleated folding fan made of paper, apperas in “Relationship with Japan of the Song History” which lists gifts given from Japan to the Song Dynasty in China.

1008 - Japan: Written around this date, the Tale of Genji makes frequent references to letters being folded or unfolded, for instance 'The Gosechi dancer, perhaps a little precocious, was delighted with the letter, which was on delicate blue paper very tastefully folded with papers of several colors.'

1100 - Japan: The oldest surviving kawahori, a pleated folding fan made of paper, the remains of which were found in the village of Akitsu in Japan, was made around this date.

1440 -The Netherlands: An Illustration of the surprisingly sophisticated cut-and-fold Catherine of Cleves box appears at the bottom of a page devoted to St Agatha, in the magnificent Flemish illustrated manuscript known as the Hours of Catherine of Cleves.

1490 - Venice: Publication of an edition of the book 'Tractatus de Spaera Mundi' written by John Holywood, an English mathematician and astronomer, who is also known as Johannes de Sacrobosco, which contains a picture illustrating a solar eclipse. The picture shows two Paper Boats floating in a stylised sea.

1502 - Italy: Approximate date of the manuscript De Viribus Quantitates by Luca Pacioli, possibly produced in collaboration with Leonardo da Vinci, which gives the first known descriptions of the Chinese Wallet, the Cherries Puzzle, three methods of sealing a letter without wax, one of which seems to be the Chickenwire Letterfold and another a precursor of the Love Knot Paperfold, explains how to cook in a frying pan made of folded paper and also gives a method of constructing an accurate right angle, without using compasses, by folding a sheet of paper twice.

1520 - Italy: Around this date a child playing with a Chinese Wallet is shown in a painting by the Italian painter Bernadino Luini.

1525 - Germany: The fourth book of Albrecht Durer's 'Underweysung der Messung', published in 1525, contained drawings of foldable polyhedral nets for the five platonic solids and several other polyhedra.

1537 to 1603 - Japan: The oldest known representation of the Orizuru ( or paper crane) on a kosuka, a decorative panel intended to be attached to the hilt or sheath of a sword, can be reliably dated to this period.

1560 - The Netherlands: A Grocer's Cone appears in the bottom right corner of the painting 'Children's Games' by Peter Bruegel the Elder.

1584 - England: Description of the magic trick now normally known as the Buddha Papers in Book 13, chapter xxvi of 'The discoverie of witchcraft' by Reginald Scot, Esquire.

1584 - Italy: Publication of the final twenty book version of 'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta, the english translation of which, published in 1658, under the title 'Natural Magick', contains several references to paperfolding, including a reference to the Grocer's Cone. I hjave not been able to verify that these entries exist in the original version.

1606 - England: In his tragedy 'Macbeth' Shakespeare wrote of Lady Macbeth 'Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.' This is the only mention of paperfolding in Skakespeare. It was common practice at that time to fold a sheet of paper in half before beginning to write a document or a letter.

1614 - England: First performance of John Webster's play The Duchess of Malfi, the ms for which contains the words 'Our bodies are weaker than those Paper-prisons boys use to keep flies in ...' which is often taken as a reference to the Waterbomb but could equally refer to some other, possibly now unknown, design.

1621 - England: In 'The Countesse of Montgomeries Urania', the authoress, Mary Wroth, wrote ‘unguided she was, unrul’d, and unman’d, tumbling up and downe, like the Boates boyes make of paper’.

1627 - England: In his poem 'The Moone-Calfe' Michael Drayton wrote 'and in her lap / A sort of paper Puppets, Gawdes, and Toyes, / Trifles scarce good enough for Girles and Boyes, / Which she had dandled, and with them had playd, / And of this trash her onely God had made.'

1629 - Italy: Publication of 'Trattato delle piegature' by Mattia Giegher, the earliest known work on the folding of complex table decorations from starched paper napkins.

1636 - Germany: Publication of 'Deliciae physico-mathematicae, oder mathematische und philosophische Erquickstunden' by Daniel Schwenter, which, among other things, contains the earliest known description of a tabulae striatae (a forerunner of multiple-image pleated paper pictures made from wooden slats) and the earliest known publication of the challenge of finding a way of dropping a strip of paper to land on edge (which is solved by folding it in half).

1638 - England: In a poem praising William D’Avenant’s 'Madagascar', Endimion Porter wrote 'a childe with Sissors cut, / A folded Paper, unto which was put / More chance, than skill, yet when you open it, /You’d thinke it had beene done, by Art and Wit:'

1639 - In his book 'The mirrour which flatters not' Jean-Puget de la Serre wrote 'To be onely rich then, in aedifices, is to be rich in castles of paper and cards such as little children lodge their pety cares in.'

1652 - Germany: Publication of 'Vollständiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch' by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer which showed how to fold tablecloths and napkins / serviettes into complex and fantastical forms.

1654 - England: In 'Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charltonia' Walter Charleton writes ‘Afterward, fold the Cloth, as Boyes do paper for Lanterns, ...’.

1661 - England: in his 'Humane Industry' Thomas Powell wrote 'It is a pretty Art, that in a pleated paper, and table furrowed or indented, men make one picture to represent several faces'. This is the earliest known reference to multiple-image pictures made using pleated paper, although there are earlier references to similar multiple-image pictures made using wooden slats.

1663 - England: On 14th May of this year Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary 'This day we received a baskett from my sister Pall, made by her of paper, which hath a great deal of labour in it for country innocent work.' Unfortunately the nature of the technique iused to make this paper basket, whether possibly paper filigree, paper weaving or paper-cutting, cannot be reliably inferred from this description.

1668 - England: On 22nd January of this year Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary '... among other things was mightily pleased with the fellow that come to lay the cloth, and fold the napkins, which I like so well, as that I am resolved to give him 40s. to teach my wife to do it.'

1676 - England: The earliest known description of Troublewit is published in the book 'Sports and Pastimes: or, Sport for the City, and Pastime for the Country; With a touch of Hocus Pocus, or Leger-demain: Fitted for the delight and recreation of Youth' by John Clark, at the Bible and Harp in West-Smithfield, London.

1680 - Japan: Date of a short poem by Iharu Saikaku 'Rosei-ga yume-no cho-wa orisue' in the 'Ittyuya Dokugin Onsenku" (4000 Haikus Recited Alone All Day and Night) which can be translated as 'The butterflies in a beggar's dream would be folded paper.' This is often taken as a reference to the Ocho and Mecho - female and male butterflies - made from folded paper - which are used to decorate sake kettles or containers during traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies.

1682 - Japan: Iharu Saikaku's book 'The Life of an Amorous Man' refers to the hero, Yonosuke, making 'a pair of birds with folded paper' and 'a pair of paper flowers attached to stems'. The specific designs referred to cannot be identified.

1682 - Italy: The earliest description of how to fold a strip of paper into a pentagonal knot appears in 'Prattische Astronomonische. Intorno all circoli della Sfera' by Urban d'Aviso.

1689 - England: Publication of 'Table Talk', a selection of sayings attributed to John Selden by his amanuensis, Richard Milward, which included the words 'Religion is made a Juggler's paper; now 'tis a Horse; now 'tis a Lanthorn; now 'tis a Boat; now 'tis a Man. To serve Ends, Religion is turned into all Shapes' which sounds very like a reference to Troublewit, or at least, a reference to Troublewit somewhat enhanced by imagination.

1697 - Japan: A scrapbook album of folded paper tsutsumi, including ocho and mecho butterflies, held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, can be dated to the third month of 1697. The album served as the initiation into the art of origata (an early word for origami) for Kikuchi Fujiwara no Takehide by a master of the Ogasawara school of etiquette.

1704 - Japan: Drawing of a kimono decorated with drawings of the takara-bune (similar to the paperfold now known as the Chinese Junk).

1720 - Japan: Around this date Nishikawa Sukenobu (1671-1750) produced two prints showing ladies folding paper which show the Paper Boat, the Blow-Up Frog, Komoso, the Sanbo and an otherwise unknown One-Piece Cube.

1721 - Japan: Publication of the book 'Wakoku Chiyekurabe' (Mathematical Contests) by Kan Chu Sen which includes the earliest known example of a fold and one cut puzzle.

1734 - Japan: Publication of 'Ranma Zushiki' by Hayato Ohoka which contains prints of decorations intended to enhance sliding room dividers. Among these is a print that shows a group of folded paper objects, including the Orizuru (the Crane), Komoso, the Paper Boat, the Sanbo on Legs and the Tematebako, a modular cube developed from six Menko.

1759 - Germany: Publication of 'Onomatologia curiosa artificiosa et magica oder ganz natürliches Zauber-lexicon' which contains instructions for several paperfolding designs including a primitive form of the Paper Banger.

1763 - Germany: By this date square Patenbriefs / Baptismal Certificates were being folded into a double blintz form, possibly to enclose gifts of money from a godparent.

1764 - Japan: Writing of 'Hoketsuki' (wrapping and tying) by Ise Sadatake, also sometimes called the 'Tsutsumi-no Ki', a book about the folding of tsutsumi or ceremonial paper wrappers for food and flowers in the tradition of the Ogasawara school of etiquette.

1769 - USA: By this date puzzle purses were being decorated as love letters in Philadelphia (the practice having probably been brought to the USA by German immigrants).

1796 - England: On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th of January of this year Jane Austen wrote a letter to her sister Cassandra , which includes the words 'We have trimmed up and given away all the old paper hats of Mamma's manufacture; I hope you will not regret the loss of yours.'

1797 - Japan: Publication of the Senbazuru Orikata, a book of origami designs, woodcuts and poetry. The designs are created by cutting slits in large squares to divide them into several, or many, smaller, but not completely separate, squares and then folding each of these smaller squares into a paper crane. The cranes remain connected by beak, legs, or wingtip when the design is complete.

1800 - England: A painting by John Hill shows two carpenters in a workshop wearing Carpenters Hats created by folding paper.

1803 - USA: Date on a Hexagonal Packet containing seeds found in a trove of similar packets in the attic of The Woodlands, a historic estate in Philadelphia, once owned by the botanist William Hamilton.

1806 - The Netherlands: The earliest known illustration in The West of the paperfold now known as the Chinese Junk occurs in the Dutch picture book "Hanenpoot" which Willem Bilderchijk wrote and illustrated for his young son Julius Willem.

1806 - France: The Cocotte or Pajarita and the Playing Card Monk appear in a painting by Jeanne Elisabeth Chaudet Husson (1767 to 1832) entitled 'Marie-Laetitia Murat portant le buste de Napolean'.

1808 - England: On October 24th of this year Jane Austen wrote a letter to her sister Cassandra which included two references to paper ships, which were most probably traditional Paper Boats.

1811 - England: Jane Austen's novel 'Sense and Sensibility', published anonymously, features the making of a paper filigree basket.

1812 - Germany: Folding by Carl Adolf Senff of Horse and Rider designs (adapted from Cocottes or Pajaritas) which still survive.

1820 - England: According to his friend and biographer Thomas Jefferson Hogg, the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) had a passion for folding and sailing paper boats. There is no direct evidence that these boats were traditional Paper Boats but it seems likely that this must have been the case. In 1820 Shelley wrote 'Letter to Lady Gisborne', a poem which included the lines: 'And in this bowl of quicksilver - for I / Yield to the impulse of an infancy / Outlasting manhood - I have made to float / A rude idealism of a paper boat:'

1826 - Germany: Mention in Friedrich Froebel's book 'The Education of Man' of two children folding a dwelling house from a large sheet of cardboard, while others are busy folding from smaller sheets of paper all kinds of furniture - tables, chairs, sofas, beds, writing-desk, picture-frames, looking-glasses, etc.

1826 - England: In his 'The Everyday Book and Table Book', William Hone writes of seeing a blind man demonstrate Troublewit in Greenwich Park.

1828 - England: Publication of 'The Boy's Own Book' by William Clarke which contains instructions for the rather dangerous paperfolding effect known as the 'Paper Furnace'.

1831 - Instructions for making a pleated paper hand-held screen (of a construction similar to a pleated circular fan) appeared in the American periodical Godey's Lady Book.

1832 - France: A print in the French magazine 'La Caricature' no 109 of 6 December 1832 shows a dancing politician wearing a Newspaper Hat (as well as several Cocottes sitting on a plinth).

1833 - USA: Publication of 'The Girl's Own Book' by Lydia Marie Child which contains the earliest known mention of / diagrams for the Fold and Cut Latin Cross, the Fold and Cut Paper Honeycomb, a Paper Flower (called a Candle Ornament), fancy Paper Spills and the Froebel / German Star and advises that 'There are a variety of things made for the amusement of small children by cutting and folding paper; such as boats, soldiers' hats, birds, chairs, tables, baskets, &c. but they are very difficult to describe; and any little girl who wishes to make them, can learn of some obliging friend in a very few moments.'

1836 - USA: A story in 'The Lady's Book', a monthly women's magazine, contains the words 'we made paper salt-cellars'.

1837 - Ukraine: The Playing Card Cube first appears in the historical record in a painting by K. Pavlov (1792 - 1852).

1838 - Denmark: Publication of Hans Christian Anderson's children's fantasy story 'Den standhaftige soldat' (in English 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier') which includes reference to a paper boat, the design of which is not identified.

1845 - Japan: Writing of the Kan No Mado, a 63 page hand drawn ms containing diagrams for 48 varied paperfolded designs, including Ocho and Mecho butterflies, the Cicada and the Blow-up Frog.

1850 - Germany: Around this date Friedrich Froebel included paper folding as an occupation in his Kindergarten syllabus.

1855 - England: Publication of 'The practical housewife, forming a complete Encyclopedia of domestic economy" by R. K. Philp which included diagrams showing how to fold the Pipe Cap from a napkin.

1858 - Discovery of the Mobius Strip, independently, by both Johann Benedict Listing and August Ferdinand Möbius.

1859 - Belgium / France: Publication of 'Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel' which included a list, though unfortunately not illustrations, of 55 recreational paperfolding designs. Not all these designs can be definitively identified, but many that can appear here in the historical record for the first time. These designs include the Salt Cellar, the Pepperpot, the Travel Bag, the Kite, the Windmill, the Table, the Cigar Case, the Boat with Sail, the Vase, the Double Boat, the Boat with Fishbox, the Portfolio, the Open Box, the Solid Box (an un-unfoldable design of surprising sophistication), the Frame, the Mirror, the Gondola (the simpler form of the Chinese Junk developed from the windmill base), the Muff, the Jacket and Trousers, the Cross, the Double Hulled Boat, the Junk Box, the Picture Frame, the Looking Glass and, possibly, the Corner Cabinet.

1859 - England / USA: Publication of 'The Boy's Own Toymaker' by Ebenezer Landells which includes the earliest known diagrams for the Paper Boat, the Pyramidal Hat, the Catherine of Cleves Box, the Fold and Cut Paper Parachute and the fold and cut effect sometimes known as How to Climb Through a Playing Card.

1860 - England / USA: Publication of 'The Girl's Own Toymaker' by Ebenezer and Alice Landells which includes the earliest appearance in the historical record of the Chain of Dolls and the Paper Doily.

1863 - Germany: Writing of 'Spielbuch fur Knaben' by Hermann Wagner which contains the earliest known illustration of a true paper plane, in this case the traditional paper dart, and of the Wind Wheel, and the earliest known illustrations of / diagrams for the Bellows and the Cut and Fold Windmill.

1863 - The Netherlands: Publication of 'De Kleine Papierwerkers' by Elise Van Calcar which includes the earliest known diagrams for the Waterbomb (together with its variant the Hot Air Balloon), the Paper Banger and the Puzzle Purse, the first known reference to/illustrations of the Flat Flower, the Squid, the Cup and Saucer, and the Steamship, the first illustrations of many of the designs mentioned in the earlier 'Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel' and designs for 25 of the letters of the alphabet (Q is omitted).

1864 - England: The earliest published instructions for making a true paper plane, in this case the traditional paper dart, are published by Routledge, Warne and Routledge in 'Every Little Boy's Book'. This book also contains the first known explanation of the paperfolding game 'Head, Body and Legs' which inspired the surrealist game 'Le Cadavre Exquis'.

1868 - France: Membership cards for the 'Societe de Jing-lar' are illustrated with drawings of what appear to be Orizuru.

1870 - USA: William J. Canby read a paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania entitled 'The History of the Flag of the United States' in which he describes the upholsterer, and later flag-maker, Betsy Ross cutting a pentagram from folded paper using just a single cut, during an otherwise unsubstantiated, and probably apocryphal, visit to her home by George Washington in 1776.

1876 - Japan: The first Japanese kindergarten was established at the Tokyo Women’s Normal School (now Ochanomizu University) by Clara Zitelmann. As a result of the establishment of Kindergarten in Japan some European paperfolds became known to the Japanese.

1876 - Germany: Publication of Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley which contains the earliest known illustrations of, and instructions for making, the Mitre and the Pencil Case, the Chair, the Shirt, the Fold and Slit Trellis / Paper Cage, the Fold and Slit Chevron Trellis /Cross, the Lotus (as a napkin fold), the Wallet, the Woven Cross, the XYZ Ball, the Witch's Ladder and the earliest known illustration of the Chickenwire Letterfold.

1880 - England: Publication of 'The Kindergarten Principle' by Mary J Lyschinska which includes the first illustrations of the Scent Bottle and the Pair of Boots.

1881 - USA: Publication of the first known diagrams for the Newspaper Ladder fold and cut effect in the children's magazine St Nicholas.

1882 - USA: Probable date of first publication of Part 2 of 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus-Boelte and John Kraus which includes the earliest known illustrations of, and instructions for making, among others, the Crown, the Duck, the Small Vase, the Pig, the House and the Organ, the Soldier's Cap, the Shovel, the One-Piece Star of David and Paper Chains.

1882 - England: Publication of Cassell's Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes which contains the earliest known written description of the game of Consequences.

1884 - France: Publication of 'Les Cocottes de Mon Grand-Pere' by Albert Delvau which mentions 'that little toy that all children know, - alternately galliot (galiote), bellows (soufflet), double boat (double bateau), police cap (bonnet de police), and finally cocotte.'

1885 - France: Publication of the earliest known diagrams for the traditional Flapping Bird, and also the earliest known reference to this design of any kind, on page 336 of issue 661 of the French magazine La Nature.

1887 - USA: Publication of the earliest known diagrams for the Sanbo on Legs in the August 1887 issue of the American children's magazine St Nicholas under the somewhat surprising name of 'Nantucket Sinks'. The introduction to this design also mentions 'three-cornered notes that old English ladies fold' and states 'I have seen people with their skillful fingers make a wonderful outfit (possibly a version of the Doll), raised to dignity by the great name of Napoleon. How enchanting it was to see Napoleon's 'breast-pin' (possibly the Cross) transformed in an instant into his 'steamboat' (possibly the Steamship), his 'chapeau' made into his 'dust-pan' and so through all the magic changes!'

1889 - England: Lewis Carroll recorded in his diary that on June 7th 1889 he folded a 'fishing boat' - probably a Chinese Junk - for the young Princess Alice and her brother, Duke of Albany.

1889 - USA: The first known publication of the Jacob's Ladder toy, derived from the Chinese Wallet, in the magazine Scientific American.

1890 - France: Publication of the first volume of 'La Science Amusante' by Tom Tit (real name Arthur Good), which contained a drawing showing a dart made from a pen nib equipped with Paper Flights made from a waterbomb base.

1891 - England: Publication of 'Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers' by Maggie Browne which includes the earliest diagrams published in the West for a version of the Blow-Up Frog (although, oddly, the final blow-up move is not included in the author's instructions) and for the Love Knot Letterfold.

1891 - England: Publication of diagrams for the Kettle in the Boy's Own Paper issue 628 of 24th January 1891.

1892 - USA: Publication of fold and one cut methods for making many polygonal shapes in 'Paper Folding and Cutting' by Katherine M Ball.

1893 - India: Publication of Tandalam Sundara Rao's book 'Geometrical Exercises in Paperfolding' which took the Froebelian concept of mathematical / geometrical paperfolds to a new level.

1893 - France: Publication of the method of folding a tube into a tetrahedron in L'Illustration 2643 of 21st October 1893.

1894 - England: Publication of diagams for a 'Chinese Love-Letter', a complex version of the design now known as the Lover's Knot, in the Boy's Own Paper.

1895 - The Netherlands: Publication of the Froebelian 'Course of Paperfolding', by Eleenore Heerwart which contains the first known illustrations of the Fish, the and XYZ from three slit squares.

1896 - Russia: Leo Tolstoy taught the ten year old F D Polenov (who grew up to become a famous painter) to fold a Flapping Bird while travelling on a train. The paper bird folded by Tolstoy on this journey still survives in the Polenov museum in Russia.

1897 - England: Publication of Lois Bates' 'Kindergarten Guide', which contains the first known diagrams for the Blintz Box or Masu. This is also the earliest instance I know of where folding diagrams are presented in the form of a photo montage.

1899 - France: Publication of 'Le Livre des Amusettes' by Toto which includes the first known publicaton of the Double Cross and the Afghan Bands.

1900 - Germany: Publication of 'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen: Das Falten' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich which contains the earliest known illustrations of the Flat Frog and the Paper Cup

1906 - France: Publication of 'Les Bon Jeudis' by Tom Tit which includes the earliest known example of a macromodular origami design.

1913/14 - USA: Diagrams for the the Lily appear in volume 41 part 1 of the children's magazine St Nicholas.

1917 - USA: The earliest known diagrams for the Swallow paper plane are published in the November 1917 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine.

1920 - England: Publication of 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth which includes the earliest known diagrams for the Newspaper Tree, and Sword, the Ship's Wheel, and the Easter Cross made from seven Froebel Stars.

1922 - USA: Publication of 'Houdini's Paper Magic' which includes the earliest known diagrams for the Tematebako and the Kabuto or Samurai Helmet.

1922 - Germany: Joseph Albers begins to teach experimental paperfolding and cutting at the Bauhaus, with an emphasis on the development of three-dimensional structures, as part of the introductory Volkurs course, which was mandatory for all new students.

1924 - France: First known appearance of the Noisemaker design as 'Le Cri Du Veau' in 'Joujoux En Papier' by Tom Tit.

1925 - France: According to Andre Breton the surrealist game 'Le Cadavre Exquis' or 'The Exquisite Corpse' was first used as a means to attempt to express subconscious thoughts in pictures at 54 rue du Chateau, Paris.

1927 - Germany: Publication of 'Ein Lustiges Faltbuchlein' by Johanna Huber.

1927/8 - Germany: Zig-zag corrugated surfaces and two concentric crease designs, the Hyperbolic Paraboloid and the Saddle, first appear in photographs taken at the Bauhaus by Erich Consemüller.

1928 - USA: Publication of 'Fun with Paperfolding' by William D Murray and Francis J Rigney which includes the earliest known appearance in the historical record of the Pagoda and the Paper Boat Snapper.

1931 - Japan: Publication of 'Origami Part 1' by Isao Honda which contained a mix of traditional Japanese designs, designs from the Froebelian tradition and, possibly, Isao Honda's own creations. Unfortunately it is not always possible to know which are which. Many designs appear here for the first time, among them the Goldfish, the Dove, the Nesting Crane, the Crane Envelope, the Morning Glory and the Star-shaped Box.

1932 - England: Publication of 'Winter Nights Entertainments' by R M Abraham which includes the earliest known appearance in the historical record of the Snapdragon.

1937 - England: Publication of 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell which contains diagrams for the Lover's Knot, the Orizuru or Paper Crane, the Sparrow, the Sampan, the Cicada and the Blintzed Bird Base Kusudama, all of which are possibly traditional Japanese designs, and many, possibly all, published here for the first time.

1939 - USA: Discovery of the hexaflexagon by Arthur Stone, an English graduate student at Princeton.

1939 - USA: Publication of 'Fun with Paper' by Joseph Leeming.

1939 - Spain: Publication of 'El Mundo de Papel' by Nemesio Montero.

1940 - England: Publication of 'At Home Tonight' by Herbert McKay.

1941 - USA: Publication of 'Paper Magic' by U F Grant.

1946 - England: First publication of folding instructions for a paperfolding design, in this case the Flapping Bird, in the Rupert Bear Annual.

1948 - USA: Publication of 'The Art of Chinese Paperfolding' by Maying Soong.

1952 - France: Publication of 'Bibliography of Paper Folding' by Gershon Legman.

1955 - The Netherlands: Exhibition of paperfolds designed and folded by Akira Yoshizawa held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

1956 - England: Publication of 'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin.

1958 - USA: Founding of The Origami Centre in New York by Lillian Oppenheimer which eventually became OrigamiUSA.

1959 - USA: Exhibition entitled 'Plane Geometry and Fancy Figures: The Art and Technique of Paper Folding' held at the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration in New York.

1962 - USA: Publication of 'Folding Paper Puppets' by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer.

1963 - England: Publication of 'Secrets of Origami' by Robert Harbin.

1963 - USA: Publication of 'Folding Paper Toys' by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer.

1964 - USA: First publication of Fold-Ins in Mad Magazine.

1965 - USA: Publication of Folding Paper Masks by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer.

1967 - USA: Publication of subscription adverts in Mad Magazine featuring origami by Giuseppi Baggi. Possibly the earliest adverts to use paperfolding to promote something that was not paperfolding related.