A paperfolding paradise
The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell
page attempts to record what is known about the origin
and history of the design known as Don Simon which is
made by adding arms and a hat to a paper cone. 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 this design first appears in the historical record in two drawings by Apeles Mestre which were published in 'Llibre Vert' in Barcelona in 1875.
Similar figures appear in 'Travaux Recreatifs Pour les Enfants de 4 a 10 Ans' by Marie Koenig, which was published by Librairie Hachette et Cie in Paris in 1898. Here the figures are called 'Mesdames Les Cloches' and are made into bells by the addition of a clapper made from a large bead or button on a thread. The figure also appears as a decoration on a Christmas Tree.
The design is first diagrammed, under the name in 'Don Simon', in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939. In this version the arms flap about when the strip projecting from the base of the cone is raised and lowered.
The 'Don Simon' figure also appears as 'Muneco' (Doll) in 'El Plegado y Cartonaje en la Escuela Primaria' by Antonio M Luchia and Corina Luciani de Luchia, which was published by Editorial Kapelusz in Buenos Aires in 1940.