Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

 

 
The Junk Box
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design I call the Junk Box, because it is part of the folding sequence which culminates in the Chinese Junk. The Junk Box does, however, sometimes also appear as a design in its own right. 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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1859

The Junk Box first appears, as simply 'La boite' or 'the box' in a list of designs in the 'Manuel Pratique de Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel', which was compiled by J F Jacobs and published in Brussells and Paris in 1859 as part of the folding sequence that culminates in the Chinese Junk.

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1863

'De Kleine Papierwerkers 1: Wat men van een stukje papier al maken kan: Het vouwen' (The Small Paperwork 1: What one can make from a piece of paper: Folding) by Elise Van Calcar, which was published by K H Schadd in Amsterdam in 1863, contains a reference to a design called 'Het messenbakje' (the knife tray) which is developed from the double hulled boat. Although it is not illustrated, it is described as a 'zakje met twee taschjes' (box with two handles) and must therefore be the Junk Box.

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1873

There is reference to 'La boite a double couvercle' (the box with two lids) in a list of designs in 'Exercices et Travaux pour les Enfants Selon la Méthode et les Procédés de Pestalozzi et de Froebel' by Fanny and Charles Delon, which was published by Librairie Hachette in Paris in 1873. Unfortunately there is no illustration to confirm the identification of the design.

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The Junk Box also appears:

As 'Kasten' in 'Die Praxis Des Kindergartens' by Auguste Koehler, which was published by Herman Bohlau in Weimar in 1873.

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1876

In 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley, which was first published in Bielefeld and Leipzig, and the foreword of which is dated October 1876.

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1880

In 'The Kindergarten Principle' by Mary J Lyschinska, published in London in 1880 by Wm Isbister Ltd, as just 'The Box'.

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An illustration of a Junk Box used as a paper pan to boil water in (Ebullition de l’eau dans un vase en papier) was 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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1882

In 'Part two of 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, probably first published by E. Steiger and Company in New York in 1882, as 'The Square Box Having Two 'Lids'.

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1883

In a pictorial story by Apeles Mestres dated 2nd August 1883 found in his Llibre Vert III.

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1889

As 'Boite en papier pour servir des fruits a la campagne' (Paper box for serving country fruits) in 'La Science Pratique' by Gaston Tissandier, which was published by G Masson in Paris in 1889.

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'La Nature' of 28th September 1889 contained an article headed 'Recreation Scientifiques' and subheaded 'La Grenouille Japonaise en Papier' (The Japanese Paper Frog) which includes the words (here in translation) 'In France, it is true, we also know the charming game of folding paper. The classic Cocotte, the box and the galiote etc., are popular here but we must agree that the Japanese have more ingenious models.' The box mentioned here is most probably the Junk Box.

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1891

In 'Pleasant Work for Busy Fingers' by Maggie Browne, which was published by Cassell and Company in London in 1891. This book is an English version of 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' enha

nced by the addition of a few extra designs.

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1893

As 'Serviette D'Avocat' (Lawyer's Box) and 'Boite Carree et Panier a Double Couvercle' (Square Box and Basket with Double Lid) in 'L'Annee Preparatoire de Travail Manuel' by M P Martin, which was published by Armand Collin & Cie in Paris in 1893.

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As 'Boite dile soupiere' (Soup tureen box) in the 30th April 1983 issue of 'Journal des Instituteurs'. This is extracted from the book 'Le Travail Manuel a L'ecole Primaire, by M. Coste et J. Lapassade, which had been published in 1887.

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1899

In 'Le Livre des Amusettes' by Toto was published in Paris by Charles Mendel in 1899. It is not developed into the Chinese Junk in this book.

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1900

In 'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen: Das Falten' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, which was published by Friedrich Brandstetter in Leipzig in 1900.

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1903

In the 6th June 1903 issue of the French children's magazine 'Mon Journal' under the title of 'boite a bonbons'.

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1904

As 'Caja sin Tapa' in 'Guia Practica del Trabajo Manual Educativo' by Ezequiel Solana, which was published by Editorial Magisterio Español in Madrid in 1904.

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1907

As 'Cajon con asas y caja para mantecadas' (Drawer with handles and box for shortbread)in an article titled 'El trabajo manual escolar' by Vicente Casto Legua in the January 1907 issue of the Spanish magazine 'La Escuela Moderna' which was published in Madrid by Los Sucesores de Hernando.

No illustration of this design is given but from the text these boxes appear to be versions of the Junk Box with and without handles. The notes about these designs in the following month's issue say:

Roughly translated the last sentence says, 'The same box, or slightly modified, serves to contain the mantecada of Astorga, as well as to hold other pastes or sweets, ointments, waxes, vaseline etc and to allow them to be heated on the fire without fear of spilling the contents.'

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1908

In the last ever issue of the Catalan satirical magazine 'La Campana Catalana', published in Barcelona on 29th April 1908, in a cartoon by Apeles Mestres which pictures a variety of paperfolding designs. This pictorial story had previously been published in his Llibre Vert III in 1883.

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1920

In 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920, as 'The Pin Tray'.

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1928

'In 'Fun with Paperfolding' by William D Murray and Francis J Rigney was published by the Fleming H Revell Company, New York in 1928 contains a picture of the Junk Box, although it is treated as just an intermediate form rather than a design in its own right.

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1932

In 'Winter Nights Entertainments' by R M Abraham, which was first published by Constable and Constable in London in 1932, under the title of 'A Paper Tray'.

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In Booklet 2 of 'Images a Plier', a series of 6 booklets published by Librairie Larousse in Paris in 1932.

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1939

As 'El molde para mantecadas' (The mold for shortbread) in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.

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1948

As the 'Small Box' in 'The Art of Chinese Paper folding for Young and Old' by Maying Soong, which was published by Harcourt Brace and Company of New York in 1948.

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1956

As 'The Water Dish' in 'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne in London in 1956, as part of the 'Multiform' sequence.

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