A paperfolding paradise
The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell
|The Lover's Knot|
page attempts to record what is known about the origin
and history of the design known as the Lover's Knot.
Please contact me if you know any of this information is
incorrect or if you have any other important information
that should be added. Thank you.
The Lover's Knot is developed from the form known as the Seedpod (which in turn is developed from the Salt Cellar). It is characterised by the final move in which a waterbomb base is flattened to a square, trapping other layers of the design behind it.
A design of this kind first, which we can think of as a complex form of the Lover's Knot, appears on page 731 of issue 814 of the Boys Own Paper published on Aug 18th 1894 under the title 'How to Fold a Chinese Love-Letter'. (This does not necessarily mean that the design is of Chinese origin since it was commonplace to ascribe an oriental origin to magic tricks and other novelties at that time in order to make them seem more exotic.)
(Pictures from Michel Grand)
The result of following these instructions is a many layered square, with a smaller square at the centre, on either side of which are two triangular flaps (marked A figure 8 above). The address - presumably the lover's name - is to be written in the central square. The instructions say that the letter is opened by pulling the flaps marked A outwards. This does begin to release the layers of the design but it is still somewhat difficult to unfold completely.
The Lover's Knot can be opened, much more effectively, in a similar way.
As far as I know, the rather simpler design we now call the Lover's Knot first appears in 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell, which was first published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd in London, probably in 1937, although both the Foreword and Preface are dated 1936, which argues that the book was complete at that date.
This simpler version of the Lover's Knot also appears in 'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne in London in 1956
The same book also contains a design for a Bow Tie folded from a ten shilling note (or a dollar). The text says, 'This excellent variation of the Lover's Knot was shown by Mr Cy Endfield to Mr Gershon Legman.'