The Public Paperfolding History Project

Main Index Page


The Fold and Cut Paper Garland / How to Climb Through a Playing Card

This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the Fold and Cut Paper Garland and the How to Climb Through a Playing Card effect. 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 Fold and Cut Paper garland first appears in the fourth volume of the 1723 edition of Jacques Ozanam's 'Récréations mathématiques et physiques' (which was first published in 1694 by Jombert in Paris but revised and expanded from two to four volumes after his death in 1718) in a rather out-of-place final section, titled 'De Gibeciere', explaining how to perform magical tricks.


The same effect also appears:


In 'I Giochi Numerici Fatti Arcani' by Iuseppe Antonio Alberti, which was published by Bartolomeo Borghi in Bologna in 1747.



In 'Tresor des Jeux' by Carlo Antonio was published in Geneva by Henri-Albert Gosse & Comp and in La Haye, The Netherlands, by Pierre Gosse, Junior, both in 1759.



In 'Die Zehenmal Hundert und Eine Kunst' by Albrecht Ernst Friedrich von Crailsheim, which was brought together / published in 10 volumes in Nurnberg in 1766. The title translates as 'To make a piece of paper so big that a rider can get through with the horse.'



In 'Manuel Complet des Jeux de Société' by Elisabeth Celnart (a pseudonym of Elisabeth Félicie Bayle-Mouillard née Canard) was published by La Librairie Encyclopedique de Roret in Paris in 1827. Here the effect is presented as a forfeit in which a playing card is folded and cut to produce a continuous chain which is long enough to allow two people to climb into the middle and kiss.



In 'De Kleine Papierwerkers: Volume 4: Het Knippen en plakken' (Cutting and Pasting), written by Elise Van Calcar and published by K H Schadd in Amsterdam in 1863, which contains a description, but no illustration, of how to crawl through a square of paper.

Parts of this passage say, roughly, 'Would you be able to crawl through this little sheet? Come, I will teach you this magic, - fold a square in the middle and cut a strip from the open side as if you were removing it but stop so that the strip stays in place. When the whole sheet has been cut with parallel cuts then you make cuts on the fold that divides the sheet in two. Cut all the strips except the bottom ones, they form the edge - and, behold, the sheet ...turned into a chain through which Henri and Ida could easily crawl.'



In 'Spielbuch fur Knaben' by Hermann Wagner, which was published by Verlag von Otto Spamer in Leipzig in 1864.



In 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley, which was first published in Bielefeld and Leipzig. The foreword is dated October 1876.



In 'Het Vlechten' by Elise Van Calcar, which was published by A.W. Sijthoff in Leiden in 1881 and is closely based on the earlier 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley. The illustrations are the same drawings as had been used in the earlier book.



In Volume 1 of 'La Science Amusante' by Tom Tit (real name Arthur Good), which was published in Paris by Librairie Larousse in 1890.



In 'Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers' by Maggie Browne, which 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.



The effect also appears:


In two forms, from a circle folded into quarters and a carte de visite folded in half, under the title 'Moyen de passer au travers d'une carte de visite', in 'Les Petits Secrets Amusants' by Alber-Graves, which was published by Librairie Hachette in Paris in 1908.



As 'Multum Per Parvum' in 'More Paper Magic' by Will Blythe, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1923.

This book also describes how to glue several 'Multum Per Parvums' together to make a garland.



As 'The Big Hole in the Small Piece of Paper' in 'Fun with Paperfolding' by William D Murray and Francis J Rigney was published by the Fleming H Revell Company, New York in 1928.



As 'Cutting A Hole' in 'Winter Nights Entertainments' by R M Abraham was first published by Constable and Constable in London in 1932