Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


The Newspaper Sword
This page attempts to record what is known about the design known as the Newspaper Sword. 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.



As far as I know this design first appears, as the 'Horn' in 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus Boelte and John Kraus, which was first published in single volume form by E. Steiger and Company in New York in 1882.



In 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920, the effect is presented as a way to make a paper sword.



In 'Houdini's Paper Magic', which was published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922, the idea is used as the basis of a magical effect called 'An Effective Finish'



'La Nature' Issue 2853 of 15th March 1931 contains an article by Albers headed 'Pliages de papier' and subheaded 'L'echelle de bambou' which also describes how to make a version of the Newspaper Sword, roughly, 'The rolled paper ... is also used in conjuring to produce a candle from a hat. It uses a strip of strong glossy white paper, ten to twelve centimetres wide and several meters long, which has been rolled up, not very tight, and fixed so as not to unwind. In the center of the roll, a five-minute candle match was fixed in a thin metal tube, protruding a little. It is a game, for a prestidigitateur to introduce without being seen this little roll in a hat. At the desired moment, passing a sandpaper over the match, it ignites it, and, drawing the paper through the center by means of the small tube (fig. 4) carrying the match, it lengthens the candle which reaches a length of two meters and seems to come lit from the hat.'