The Public Paperfolding History Project

Main Index Page


Tablecloth, Napkin and Serviette Folding
I have not created Individual Design Pages for napkin and serviette folds unless like the Cross, the Bishop's Mitre (the Pipe Cap) or the Lotus they also occur as paperfolds. This Index Page, however, records where napkin and serviette designs appear in the sources so that you could, if you wish, construct the relevant chronologies for yourself.


In Japan


Several napkin folds appear in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was first published in Japan in 1931. The names appear in the original text in English as well as Japanese, suggesting that the author learned these folds during his time in the West.


In Western Europe / the USA


The 'Trattato delle piegature', by Mattia Giegher, which was first published in 1629 contains a section about the folding of napkins.



'Vollständiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch' by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer was published in Nurnberg in 1652. It is largely a book about the carving of meat but also includes a section on the folding of tablecloths and napkins / serviettes.



Volume 3 of 'Deliciae physico mathematicae' was a follow up to Daniel Schwenter's 1636 book written by Georg Phillip Harsdorffer, and published in 1653. Pages 189 to 190 contain information about the folding of tablecloths.



'Neues Trenchier-und Plicatur-Büchlein' by Andreas Klett, which was first published in 1657, contains a chapter on tablecloth and napkin folding.



'L'Escole parfaite des officiers de bouche; contenant le vray maistre-d'hotel, le grand escuyer tranchant, le sommelier royal, le confituriern royal, le cuisinier royal et le patissier royal', which was published by J Ribou in Paris in 1662, contains information about serviette folding.



'A Perfect School of Instructions for the Officers of the Mouth: Shewing the whole art of A Master of the Houshold, A Master Carver, A Master Butler, A Master Confectioner, A Master Cook, A Master Pastryman' by Giles Rose, published by R Bentley and M Magnes in London in 1682, is an English translation / paraphrase of 'L'Escole parfaite des officiers de bouche'.



'Aanhangzel volmaakte Hollandsche keuken-meid' (the perfect Dutch kitchen-maid) by Jan Willem Claus van Laar was published in Amsterdam in 1746. It contains some pages about napkin folding.



'The Practical Housewife' by Robert Kemp Philp, published by Ward and Lock in London in 1855 contains a section on napkin folding.



A Book about the Table' by John Cordy Jeaffreson, which was published by Hurst and Blackett in London in 1875 contains information about the history of napkins, an intriguing theory as to why the ornate folding of napkins arose, and refers in some detail to 'A Perfect School of Instructions for the Officers of the Mouth' by Giles Rose.



'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley contains a section about serviette folding.



'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, which was first published in single volume form by E. Steiger and Company in New York in 1882, contains a short section about napkin folds. None of these folds are named.



The Napkin Mouse appears in 'Jeux et Jouets du Jeune Age' by Gaston Tissandier was published by G Masson in Paris in 1884.



'Serviettes and How to Fold Them' was published in 1890 by Robinson and Cleaver of Belfast to promote their range of household linens.



'L'Art de Plier les Serviettes de Table' by Agnes Verboom was published in 1899. I have not yet found time to add details of the contents of this book to this resource.



The 1907 edition of 'Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management' included a chapter on serviette folding.



'More Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1923 contains diagrams for several serviette folds.