The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Jumping Bean
This page attempts to record what is known about the history of the Jumping Bean made by folding paper. 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.


There is a description of a way to make a Jumping Bean out of paper in a section describing curious effects relating to the centre of gravity of objects in the 1883 3rd Edition of 'Les Recreations Scientifiques' by Gaston Tissandier. The original article in 'La Nature' on which this section was based was published on 15th May 1880 so that it is possible that the same section also appeared in the 1880 1st edition and the 1881 2nd Edition. However, the description of how to make a jumping Bean from paper is only in the book not the original article.

In English 'We can replace the puppets with a cylinder made of Bristol paper (or board), closed at both ends and containing a ball, which, when placed upright on an inclined plane descends in the same manner as the puppets.'

Since no other kind of closing is specified I have assumed that the closing of the ends of the cylinder was intended to be done by folding.