Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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Active Play Paperfolds / Action Designs
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of origami Active Play Designs (designs which change their shape when played with). 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.

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The Talking Fish - 1863

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The Butterchurn - 1873

This design appears as 'Butterstampfe' in 'Die Praxis Des Kindergartens' by Auguste Koehler, which was published by Herman Bohlau in Weimar in 1873. The text explains how in this action design a strip of paper is first rolled up and then the centre of the roll is pulled out and pushed back in to simulate the action of churning butter.

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The Flapping Bird - 1883 onwards

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The Monster Fish - 1883 onwards

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The Flapping Dove - 1932

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A Pair of Sugar Tongs - 1932

As far as I know this design first appears in 'Winter Nights Entertainments' by R M Abraham, which was first published by Constable and Constable in London in 1932.

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The Laughing Man - 1932

As far as I know this design first appears in 'Winter Nights Entertainments' by R M Abraham, which was first published by Constable and Constable in London in 1932.

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The Flapping Butterfly - 1932 onwards

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The Accordion - 1932

A design for 'L'Accordeon' (The Accordion) appears in Booklet 6 of 'Images a Plier', a series of 6 booklets published by Librairie Larousse in Paris in 1932.

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The Jumping Spiral - 1939

As far as I know this novelty first appears in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.

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1956

'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne in London in 1956 contains diagrams for Harbin's 'Shy Tortoise'.

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1978

The 1978 Rupert Annual contains instructions for folding 'Rupert's Seagull', a design by John Smith. The instructions say that this is a flapping bird.

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