The Public Paperfolding History Project

Index Page


The Spiral Snake
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the air-driven rotating design known as the Spiral Snake. 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.

While the Spiral Snake is not creased, the paper of which it is made does fold, in the broadest sense, due to the effect of gravity, when the spiral is hung on it's support.



As far as I know the first mention of this design is in 'Onomatologia curiosa artificiosa et magica oder ganz natürliches Zauber-lexicon', which was published in 1759. In fact the design is mentioned twice in separate sections of the encyclopaedia.

Column 1231 - Schlangen von Pappier zu machen (Making paper snakes)

Two paper snakes are mentioned here. The first is just a just a flat piece of paper which wriggles when put near an oven, the second is the familiar spiral snake.


The spiral version is also mentioned in columns 143/4


The design also appears:


In 'The School Boy's Holiday Companion' by T Kentish, which was published by Relfe and Fletcher in London in 1840.



In 'Ciencia Recreativa' by Jose Estralella, which was published by Gustavo Gili in Barcelona in 1918.