The Public Paperfolding History Project

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How to Cook Food / Boil Water / Melt Tin etc in Paper Pans
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of methods of cooking or boiling water etc in paper pans or kettles. 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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Information about the Kettle and how to boil water inside it can be found here.

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1502

The first mention in the historical record that it is possible to cook in a paper pan that I know of occurs in the manucript 'De Viribus Quantitatis' by Luca Pacioli which was written in or around 1502. I have not been able to access the original document or an English translation but the dissertation 'Luca Pacioli and his 1500 book De Viribus Quantitatis' (which can be found at http://repositorio.ul.pt/bitstream/10451/18435/1/ulfc113829_tm_Tiago_Hirth.pdf) states that, in a section headed 'Cooking eggs, fish, meat in a paper pan':

'Pacioli describes how paper can be used as a frying pan. The paper is to be folded and closed off with pins or glue, so that it can be used as a pan. Fill it with oil. The food products are carefully placed into that oil. The pan is placed on top of a metal grid. Pacioli recommends careful usage to keep the paper from rupturing.'

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1584

A frying pan made with plain paper is mentioned in 'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta (1535-1615), which was first published in Latin in Naples in 1558. The first edition contained only four books but this had expanded to twenty books by 1584. The image below is taken from an English translation, of the twenty book version, which was published in London in 1658 under the title 'Natural Magick' and which gave the author's name as John Baptista Porta. I assume this information also appears in the 1584 Latin version.

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1654

'Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charltonia' by Walter Charleton, published in 1654, also mentions boiling water in a simple pan made of paper.

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1864

'Spielbuch fur Knaben' by Hermann Wagner, which was published by Verlag von Otto Spamer in Leipzig in 1864, although the foreword is dated May 1863, which argues that the book was complete at that date, contains a section on boiling water in paper.

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1880

Fusion de l’étain dans une carte ŕ jour - Melting tin in a playing card

This effect was first published in 'La Nature' 366 of June 5th, 1880 on p. 9-10, in an article headed 'Les Physiques Sans Appareils' written by Gaston Tissandier. It was subsequently included in the 1883 3rd Edition of Gaston Tissandier's 'Les Recreations Scientifique' and was probably also included in the 1880 1st and 1881 2nd editions.

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Ebullition de l’eau dans un vase en papier - Boiling water in a paper vase (a Junk Box)

This effect was first published in 'La Nature' 370 of July 3rd, 1880 on p. 71-72, in an article headed 'Les Physiques Sans Appareils' written by Gaston Tissandier. The box is described as 'une petite boite rectangulaire, comme les ecoliers savent en confectionner' or, in English, 'a small rectangular box, which schoolchildren know how to make'. It was subsequently included in the 1883 3rd Edition of Gaston Tissandier's 'Les Recreations Scientifique' and was probably also included in the 1880 1st and 1881 2nd editions.

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1920

'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920, also shows how the Junk Box can be used as a saucepan to boil water over a candle.

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