The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Magazine Cover Box
This page attempts to record what is known about the history of the design known as the Magazine Cover Box. 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.



As far as I know this design first appears in in 'Handbüchlein der Papierfaltekunst. Für Jung und Alt' by Josef Sperl, which was published by Hartleben in Wien and Leipzig in 1904 (although some sources give 1900 as the date of the first edition). Information from Jens-Helge Dahmen and Michel Grand.


Further on in the book the box is used as a way of making the body of a truck and a locomotive.



There is a photograph in an article in Issue 238 of the Buenos Aires edition of the magazine Caras y Caretas', published on 25th March 1905, which shows an open box of otherwise unknown design. It is just possible that this is the Magazine Cover Box, although the reproduction is too grainy to allow for certainty. The box in question is the one on the right.



The design also appears on p623 of the 17th July 1926 issue of 'Journal des Instituteurs'. Information from Michel Grand.



The Magazine Cover Box design also appeared in the 5th edition of 'Das Lustiges Papierfaltbüchlein' by Johanna Huber, which was published in 1940. This was an abbreviated, wartime, version of the original book, reduced from 56 to 39 pages, although in a larger format. Despite this reduction in size the author / editor found room to add the Magazine Cover Box as a new design. Information from Jens-Helge Dahmen.



The same design was published, under the name of the Magazine Cover Box, in 1978 in Vol 13 issue 4 of the Origamian. The diagrams include the information that ‘Emily Rosenthal learned this in her German childhood - from whom she does not remember’.



In 2005, while I was preparing my book ‘Complete Origami’ for publication, I played with these boxes to see whether, and if so how, the design could be enhanced or varied. I found that it was possible to add simple strengtheners to the boxes to make them more practical to use and also that it was possible to combine four of the shorter, broader version of the design to create a modular cuboid, that might be used, perhaps, as a simple gift container.

Diagrams for the original box and these developments can be found at