|The Public Paperfolding History Project
|A Chronology of Paperfolding History|
chronology is a work in progress. It is reasonably
comprehensive for significant events relating to the
history of recreational paperfolding between 1440 and
1937. Further significant events in paperfolding history
will be added in due course. Suggestions for such
significant events, especially early events, that ought
to be recorded here are welcomed.
Where I record the earliest mention or illustration of a paperfolding design in the historical record this is to the best of my current knowledge and belief. This information may well change with further research as earlier instances come to light. If you already know of an early instance then please contact me with details of the evidence and I will update the chronology accordingly.
Keeping this chronology up to date is a time consuming task and it is also always worth accessing the page for the specific design you are interested in to make sure that information has been correctly carried forward.
By paper in this chronology I mean any flat thin sheet made from cellulose fibres which are held together by chemical bonds. Card or cardboard is simply thick paper.
By folding I mean any change of direction induced by any means in the flat plane of the paper. By this definition rolling is a form of folding. Folding does not necessarily imply the making of a crease.
Paper is not, of course, the oldest foldable material. Foodstuffs such as dough, leaves and plant stems, animal skins and leather, cloth and felt, and metals were all folded long before we have any record of the folding of paper. Paper, however, folds in a very different way to these other materials.
It is not clear to me whether the bark papers from Central and South America and the Far East are paper per se or a form of felt, and I have therefore not included them in this chronology.
While paper will both roll and take a soft fold, like cloth or leather, it will also take a hard fold the line of which is retained when the fold is opened out. When a soft fold in paper is completely flattened, some of the fibres and/or some of the bonds between the fibres along the resulting folded edge are damaged or broken allowing a hard fold to form. If the paper is opened out this line of damage can be seen as a crease. This crease forms a line of weakness which will act as a hinge allowing the paper to be refolded, then opened out again, along the same line of weakness. This folding and opening out can be repeated many times without obvious additional damage occurring and consequently without the paper separating into two parts, as metal, or leaves, for instance, would be likely to.
We do not know when, where, or by whom paper was first invented, or whether it was invented accidentally or as the result of a deliberate experimental process. Nor do we know whether, if it was the result of a deliberate experimental process, it was intended to be a medium for writing or painting on, wrapping with, or something else entirely. We do not even know whether paper was invented just once in one place or several times independently in several places. What we do know, however, is that the earliest evidence for the existence and use of paper comes from China, and that we can trace the spread of the knowledge of how to make and use it from there to the rest of the civilised world.
Both paper itself and objects made of paper are ephemeral and the record we have of them at an early date relies largely on their chance survival or their mention or appearance in much less ephemeral sources such as books, fabrics, drawings and paintings. Like paper itself, it is likely that many of the paperfolding ideas and designs featured in this chronology are much older than the earliest evidence for their existence. Unfortunately, of course, we cannot know, even approximately, how much older they might actually be.
Writing the history of paperfolding is complicated by the fact that most historians of paper seem to concentrate almost exclusively on its manufacture and its use as a medium for writing, drawing or printing upon and largely ignore its history as a foldable material.
It is, however, obvious that paper cannot be folded unless there is a paper to fold and therefore the history of papermaking and paperfolding are inextricably linked. The quality and cost of paper are also factors. Poor quality paper folds badly. If good quality paper is an expensive commodity then it is likely that the folding of paper will largely be restricted to the moneyed class. If good quality paper is cheap then we would expect to see paper used for folding at all levels of society.
While this chronology is about the folding of paper I have also included some events relating to the folding of other materials, particularly cloth, where these are particularly relevant to the development of the story.
The four main reasons why paper has been, and still is, folded are:
1. To wrap other objects in order to protect them.
2. To keep powders, seeds and other small items both separate and together.
3. To reduce the size of a large sheet to make it easier to carry, store or bind together (and subsequently, of course, to thus allow a small folded sheet or object to be opened out to a larger size).
4. To conceal all, or part, of what is written, drawn, painted or printed upon it.
In recent centuries paperfolding has also come to be used for more widespread mathematical, scientific, educational, recreational and artistic purposes. In selecting the events to include in this chronology I have unashamedly concentrated on these more modern uses, without, I hope, forgetting that most folding of paper was originally done, and indeed still is done, for these four much more mundane purposes.
Details of the sources of my information are given on the more specific subject pages to which this timeline links.
Chinese tradition dates the invention of paper to 105CE, but, according to the Wikipedia page on the History of Paper, 'The earliest extant paper fragment was unearthed at Fangmatan in Gansu province, and was likely part of a map, dated to 179141 BCE. Fragments of paper have also been found at Dunhuang dated to 65 BCE and at Yumen pass, dated to 8 BCE. As far as I know none of these fragments shows signs of having been folded.
312-13 - Iran: Most likely date of a group of five almost complete letters written in the Sogdian language, each of which had been folded several times, which were found in a ruined watchtower in Iran on the ancient Chinese frontier wall.
988 - Japan: The earliest known reference to a Kawahori, a pleated folding fan made of paper, appears in Relationship with Japan of the Song History which lists gifts given from Japan to the Song Dynasty in China.
1021 - Japan: Completed around this date, the 'Genji Monogatari' (The Tale of Genji), makes frequent references to letters, some of which, in the English translation by Royall Tyler, are characterised as straight folded, knotted, twisted, or wrapped.
1100 - Japan: The oldest surviving kawahori, a pleated folding fan made of paper, the remains of which were found in the village of Akitsu in Japan, was made around this date.
1432 - France: A picture in an illustrated version of 'The Decameron' by Boccacio, now held in the library of Arsenal, in Paris, shows a box, which from its date may equally well have been folded from parchment as from paper.
1440 -The Netherlands: Illustration of the surprisingly sophisticated cut-and-fold Catherine of Cleves Box appears at the bottom of a page devoted to St Agatha, in the magnificent Flemish illustrated manuscript known as the Hours of Catherine of Cleves.
1498 - France: Publication of a version of the book 'Tractatus de Sphaera Mundi' written by John Holywood, an English mathematician and astronomer, who is also known as Johannes de Sacrobosco, which contains a picture illustrating a solar eclipse. The picture seems to show two Paper Boats floating in a stylised sea.
1502 - Italy: Approximate date of the manuscript De Viribus Quantitates by Luca Pacioli, possibly produced in collaboration with Leonardo da Vinci, which gives the first known descriptions of the Chinese Wallet, the Cherries Puzzle, three methods of sealing a letter without wax, one of which seems to be the Chickenwire Letterfold and another a precursor of the Love Knot Paperfold, explains how to cook in a frying pan made of folded paper and also gives a method of constructing an accurate right angle, without using compasses, by folding a sheet of paper twice.
1520 - Italy: Around this date a child playing with a Chinese Wallet is shown in a painting by the Italian painter Bernadino Luini.
1548 - England: 'The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancastre and Yorke' by Edward Hall, commonly known as Hall's Chronicle, first published in this year, tells how the dead Richard of York was mocked by having a paper crown placed on his head.
1591/3 - Japan: the oldest known representation of the Orizuru or Paper Crane appears on a kosuka, a decorative panel intended to be attached to the hilt or sheath of a sword.
1596 - France: An uncomplimentary popular song about Marie de Guise (later Queen of Scotland) suggested that she 'loves paper poulets as much as (poulets) in fricasee' - said to be a reference to love notes folded to resemble a chickens wings.
1606 - England: In his tragedy 'Macbeth' Shakespeare wrote of Lady Macbeth 'Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upont, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.' This is the only mention of paperfolding in Skakespeare. It was common practice at that time to fold a sheet of paper in half before beginning to write a document or a letter.
1614 - England: First performance of John Webster's play The Duchess of Malfi, the ms for which contains the words 'Our bodies are weaker than those Paper-prisons boys use to keep flies in ...' We do not know what kind of paper prison John Webster had in mind when he wrote those words. It is sometimes taken to be a reference to the design we now call the Waterbomb, which is folded from a square. This is possible, but in my view, quite unlikely at this early date. While there is evidence from the 19th century, that, at that time, Waterbombs were indeed used as prisons for flies, the paper container amplifying the sound of the fly buzzing, presumably to the amusement of little boys, we also have evidence that other kinds of paper construction were used for similar purposes. In fact, any kind of paper container, such as, for instance, a paper cone twisted shut at its open end, could act as a paper-prison in this way.
1629 - Italy: Publication of 'Trattato delle piegature' by Mattia Giegher, the earliest known work on the folding of complex table decorations from starched paper napkins.
1636 - Germany: Publication of 'Deliciae physico-mathematicae, oder mathematische und philosophische Erquickstunden' by Daniel Schwenter, which contains the earliest known publication of the challenge of finding a way of dropping a strip of paper to land on one edge (which is solved by folding it in half).
1652 - Germany: Publication of 'Vollständiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch' by Georg Philipp Harsdörffer, which is largely a book about the carving of meat but also includes a section on the folding of tablecloths and napkins / serviettes.
1654 - England: In his 'Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charltonia' Walter Charleton wrote 'fold the Cloth, as Boyes do paper for Lanterns.
1657 - Germany: Publication of 'Neues Trenchier-und Plicatur-Büchlein' by Andreas Klett, which contains a chapter on tablecloth and napkin folding.
1658 - England: Publication of 'Natural Magick' by John Baptista Porta, an English translation of 'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta which had first been published in Latin in Naples in 1558. The first edition contained only four books but this had gradually expanded to twenty books by 1584. The English translation contains mention of a Grocer's Cone and describes how to defeat a Letterlock.
1661 - England: In his 'Humane Industry' Thomas Powell wrote 'It is a pretty art that in a pleated paper ...men make one picture to represent several faces ...'
1662 - France: In this year, the book 'L'Escole parfaite des officiers de bouche' was published by J Ribou in Paris. It contains instructions for making various animal, bird and flower forms from serviettes as well as the earliest known instructions for making the Triple Blintz Basic Form and developing it into The Cross.
1663 - England: On 14th May 1663 Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary 'This day we received a baskett from my sister Pall, made by her of paper, which hath a great deal of labour in it for country innocent work.'
1668 - France: Two letters folded into Pentagonal Knots survive from this date.
1676 - England: The earliest known description of Troublewit is published in the book 'Sports and Pastimes: or, Sport for the City, and Pastime for the Country; With a touch of Hocus Pocus, or Leger-demain: Fitted for the delight and recreation of Youth' by John Clark, at the Bible and Harp in West-Smithfield, London.
1680 - Japan: A Haiku by Iharu Saikaku 'Rosei-ga yume-no cho-wa orisue' (which can be translated as 'The butterflies in a beggar's dream would be folded paper'), was published in 'Ittyuya Dokugin Onsenku" (4000 Haikus Recited Alone All Day and Night). The specific design referred to cannot be identified.
1682 - Japan: Iharu Saikaku's novel 'Koshoku Ichidai Otoko' ('The Life of an Amorous Man') refers to the hero, Yonosuke, making 'a pair of birds with folded paper' (identified as Hiyoku-no Tori - a pair of birds, one male and one female) and 'a pair of paper flowers attached to stems'. The specific designs referred to cannot be identified.
1682 - Italy: A description of both the Pentagonal Knot and a hexagonal knot appear in 'Trattado della Sfera' by Urban d'Aviso.
1682 - England: An English translation / paraphrase of the 1662 French book 'L'Escole parfaite des officiers de bouche', titled 'A Perfect School of Instructions for the Officers of the Mouth' was published in London by R Bentley and M Magnes. It contained the same information about napkin folding as the original work.
1692 - Japan: Publication of the 'Onna Chohoki' (Women's Treasury) which contains a section devoted to the folding of formal wrappers / tsutsumi contains the earliest known drawing of Ocho and Mecho butterflies and of the Floral Sake Container Cover.
1694 - The Netherlands: an undelivered letter of this date in the form of a Square Letterfold can be found in the Brienne Postal Archive.
1697 - Japan: A scrapbook album of folded paper tsutsumi, including ocho and mecho butterflies, held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, can be dated to the third month of 1697. The album served as the initiation into the art of origata (an early word for origami) for Kikuchi Fujiwara no Takehide by a master of the Ogasawara school of etiquette.
1704 - Japan: Drawing of a kimono decorated with drawings of the takara-bune (similar to the paperfold now known as the Chinese Junk).
1713 - Japan: Paper Boats appears in a print by Nishikawa Sukenobu in 'Shôtoku hinagata' (Kimono Patterns from the Shôtoku Era) aka Shotoku 3.
1717 - Japan: A page from the picture book 'Keisei Ori Tsuru', by an unknown author, shows a child being taught origami in a terakoya (a school for the children of commoners). The child is writing a poem on the wing of one Paper Crane while another Paper Crane and a Komoso lie on the other end of the table.
1719 - Japan: A print from the kosode pattern book 'Hinagata kiku no nae' shows the Thread Container design.
1723 - Japan: A print published in 'Onna Fuhzoku Tama kagami' by Nishikawa Sukenobu, the subject of which is the Hina Doll Festival shows older girls folding paper. One is inflating a Paper Crane. There are also a completed Komoso and Paper Boat lying on the floor. The print also shows two Sake Bottles decorated with folded paper butterflies.
1721 - Japan: Publication of the book 'Wakoku Chiyekurabe' (Mathematical Contests) by Kan Chu Sen which includes the earliest known example of a fold and one cut puzzle.
1734 - Japan: Publication of 'Ranma Zushiki' by Hayato Ohoka which contains prints of decorations intended to enhance sliding room dividers. Among these is a print that shows a group of folded paper objects, including the Orizuru (the Crane), Komoso, the Paper Boat, the Sanbo on Legs, the Tematebako, and the Star-Shaped Box.
1735 - Japan: A print by Nishikawa Sukenobu pictures the Sanbo.
1737 - France: Approximate date of a painting by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin which shows a boy arranging folded playing cards on a table, most probably as a prelude to building a Card Castle / House of Cards using the Column method.
c1750 - France: A box that seems to be made of folded paper appears on a trade card of La Chapelle, a Parisian merchant of luxury goods.
1751 - Japan: An illustration of the Basic Packet appears in 'Onna Shorei Shutaizen' by Tatsunobo Kitao.
1757 - Spain: In a letter sent home to his mother from his school on the Isla Real de Leon, dated 10th July 1757, schoolboy Guillermo Pen wrote 'Con esta estratagema les hago callar; y despues para hacerme amigo de ellas, a unos les hago cometas, a otros barcas, navios, pajaros, y otras muchos cosas, todo de papel.' (With this ploy I silence them; and then to make friends with them, I make kites for some, for other boats, ships, birds, and many other things, all of paper.) His letter can be found in 'Entretenimiento de Los Ninos' by Monsieur Rochon, published in Madrid in both Spanish and French in 1779.
1759 - Germany: Publication of 'Onomatologia curiosa artificiosa et magica oder ganz natürliches Zauber-lexicon' which contains instructions for several paperfolding designs including a primitive form of the Paper Banger.
1760 - France: The Playing Card Monk / Capuchin appears in a watercolour entitled 'Le Petit de Chevilly et Sa Soeur' which can be dated to between 1740 and 1760.
1763 - Germany: By this date square Patenbriefs / Baptismal Certificates were being folded into a double blintz form, possibly to enclose gifts of money from a godparent.
1764 - Japan: Writing of 'Hoketsuki' (wrapping and tying) by Ise Sadatake, also sometimes called the 'Tsutsumi-no Ki', a book about the folding of tsutsumi or ceremonial paper wrappers for food and flowers in the tradition of the Ogasawara school of etiquette.
1765 - England: Publisher John Sayer devised a new kind of fold-out storybook which subsequently became known as Harlequinades.
1766 - Germany: Publication of 'Die Zehenmal Hundert und Eine Kunst' by Albrecht Ernst Friedrich von Crailsheim, which contains the earliest publication of the How to Climb Through a Playing Card effect.
1769 - USA: By this date puzzle purses were being decorated as love letters in Philadelphia (the practice having probably been brought to the USA by German immigrants).
1775 - France: 'Extrait du Journal de Mes Voyages' by M. Pahin de la Blancherie, which was published in this year contains a reference to 'oiseaux de papier' (paper birds) which probably refers to the Cocotte / Pajarita design.
1786 - England: 'Memoirs of Charles Mathews, Comedian', published in 1835, contains the information 'and we shot paper-darts' (of some unidentifiable kind) into the head master's wig so 'that it looked like a fretful porcupine'. This activity is dated to 'about the year 1786' when Mathews would have been 10 years old.
1787 - The Netherlands: Around this date pamphlets which fold to reveal alternative images were produced as propaganda in support of the Pattriottentijd rebellion.
1790 - Spain: Around this date Juan González del Castillo (1763-1800) premiered the sainete 'Los cómicos de la legua', a work in which the character Pasqual says 'although I went to school more than three years and a half, I only learned how to make monteras and birds of paper'.
1793 - Italy: On October 1st 1793 the Spanish playwright Leandro Fernández de Moratín wrote a description in his diary of a Venetian street entertainer who he had seen cutting designs from paper, possibly paper that had first been folded in half.
1797 - Japan: Publication of the 'Senbazuru Orikata', a book of origami designs, woodcuts and poetry. The designs are created by cutting slits in large squares to divide them into several, or many, smaller, but not completely separate, squares and then folding each of these smaller squares into a paper crane. The cranes remain connected by beak, legs, or wingtip when the design is complete.
1797 - Japan: Publication of the 'Orikata Tehon Chushingura' a two page manuscript which shows how to fold and display characters for the famous Japanese story called the Chushingura (Treasury of Loyal Retainers) which relates how the forty-seven ronin attempt to avenge the death of their master, Asano Naganori.
1800 - France: A painting by an unknown artist, said to be of the 18th Century French School, so dated 1800 or earlier, shows both the Playing Card Cube and how such cubes can be joined together by interlocking their external flaps. This is the earliest known illustration of a macromodular origami design.
1800 - England: A painting by John Hill shows two carpenters in a workshop wearing Carpenters Hats created by folding paper.
1800 - Germany: A Jacob's Ladder toy with six folding panels of somewhere around this date is held in collection of the Winterthur Museum.
1801 - France: The Cocotte / Pajarita appears in a painting by Jeanne-Elisabeth Chaudet-Husson (1767 to 1832) titled 'Un enfant qui montre les images dun livre'.
1803 - USA: Date on the earliest known surviving Hexagonal Packet which was discovered in the attic of The Woodlands, a historic estate in Philadelphia, once owned by the botanist William Hamilton.
1806 - The Netherlands: The earliest known illustration in The West of the paperfold now known as the Chinese Junk occurs in the Dutch picture book "Hanenpoot" which Willem Bilderchijk wrote and illustrated for his young son Julius Willem.
1819 - Germany: Publication of 'Leichte Künsteleien zum Vergnügen und zum Nutzen für Kinder und Richtfinder' by Heinrich Rockstroh which contains the earliest known diagrams for the Puzzle Purse.
1820 - England: According to his friend and biographer Thomas Jefferson Hogg, the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) had a passion for folding and sailing paper boats. There is no direct evidence that these were traditional Paper Boats but it seems likely that this must have been the case. In 1820 Shelley wrote 'Letter to Lady Gisborne', a poem which included the lines: 'And in this bowl of quicksilver - for I / Yield to the impulse of an infancy / Outlasting manhood - I have made to float / A rude idealism of a paper boat:'
1826 - Germany: Mention in Friedrich Froebel's book 'The Education of Man' of two children folding a dwelling house from a large sheet of cardboard, while others are busy folding from smaller sheets of paper all kinds of furniture - tables, chairs, sofas, beds, writing-desk, picture-frames, looking-glasses, etc.
1827 - France: Publication of 'Manuel Complet des Jeux de Société' by Elisabeth Celnart, which contains the earliest written instructions for folding / assembling the Cocotte / Pajarita, the Playing Card Cube and the Playing Card Monk, and the earliest known descriptions of the write and fold games 'L'Histoire' and L'Histoire en vers'.
1832 - France: A cartoon in the French satirical magazine 'La Caricature' issue 63 of 12 January 1832 includes an image of a Newspaper Hat.
1833 - USA: Publication of 'The Girl's Own Book' by Lydia Marie Child which contains the earliest known mention of / diagrams for the Fold and Cut Latin Cross, the Fold and Cut Paper Honeycomb, a Paper Flower (called a Candle Ornament), fancy Paper Spills and the Froebel / German Star and advises that 'There are a variety of things made for the amusement of small children by cutting and folding paper; such as boats, soldiers' hats, birds, chairs, tables, baskets, &c. but they are very difficult to describe; and any little girl who wishes to make them, can learn of some obliging friend in a very few moments.'
1836 - USA: Mention of paper salt-cellars in the November 1836 issue of The Lady's Book (otherwise known as Godey's Lady Book), a women's magazine published in Philadelphia, USA, in a story entitled 'The Officers'.
1837 - Ukraine: The Playing Card Cube appears in the historical record in a painting by K. Pavlov (1792 - 1852).
1838 - Denmark: Publication of Hans Christian Anderson's children's fantasy story 'Den standhaftige soldat' (in English 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier') which includes reference to a paper boat, the design of which is not identified.
1841 - Japan: A print by an unknown author shows a crab (of an unidentifiable design) and mon (Japanese crests) being created by folding and cutting paper.
1843 - Japan: A print by Kunisada Utagawa shows chrysanthemun leaves being stored in a Basic Box.
1845 - Japan: Writing of the Kan No Mado, a 63 page hand drawn ms containing diagrams for 48 varied paperfolded designs, including Ocho and Mecho butterflies, the Cicada, the Iris and the Blow-up Frog.
1845 - France: A painting of the Countess of Haussonville by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres incidentally shows two visiting cards which have their corners folded over, probably to signify that a visit had been made in person.
1847 - Spain: Publication of 'Juegos de los Ninos' which includes the first clear mention of the Cocotte / Pajarita from a Spanish source and also, probably, the first mention of the Wagon / El Carro.
1850 - Germany: Around this date Friedrich Froebel included paper folding as an occupation in his Kindergarten syllabus.
1850 - Japan: Around this date the Simple Crane is depicted in a print by Insuitei Shozan.
1854 - Japan: The Kabuto is pictured in a print by Utagawa Kunishiro.
1855 - England: Publication of 'The practical housewife, forming a complete Encyclopedia of domestic economy" by R. K. Philp which included diagrams showing hgow to fold the Pipe Cap from a napkin.
1857 - Germany: Writing of 'Klecksographien', a collection of poetry and inkblot images, by Justinus Kerner. Although written in this year the book was not published until 1890.
1858 - Discovery of the Mobius Strip by both Johann Benedict Listing and August Ferdinand Möbius.
1859 - Belgium / France: Publication of 'Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel' which included a list, though unfortunately not illustrations, of 55 recreational paperfolding designs. Not all these designs can be definitively identified, but many that can appear here in the historical record for the first time. These include the Salt Cellar, the Pepperpot, the Travel Bag, the Windmill, the Table, the Cigar Case, the Vase, the Boat with Fishbox, the Double Fishbox, the Large Box, the Solid Box (an un-unfoldable design of surprising sophistication), the Frame, the Mirror, the Gondola (the simpler form of the Chinese Junk developed from the windmill base), the Muff, the Jacket and Trousers, the Double Hulled Boat, the Junk Box, the Picture Frame, the Looking Glass and, possibly, the Corner Cabinet.
1859 - England / USA: Publication of 'The Boy's Own Toymaker' by Ebenezer Landells which includes the earliest known diagrams for the Paper Boat, the Pyramidal Hat, the Catherine of Cleves Box, and the Fold and Cut Paper Parachute.
1860 - England / USA: Publication of 'The Girl's Own Toymaker' by Ebenezer and Alice Landells which includes the earliest appearance in the historical record of the Chain of Dolls and the Paper Doily.
1863 - The Netherlands: Publication of 'De Kleine Papierwerkers' by Elise Van Calcar, in four volumes. The first volume, on folding, includes the earliest known diagrams for the Waterbomb (together with its variant the Hot Air Balloon), and the Paper Banger, the first known reference to/illustrations of the Squid, the Cup and Saucer, the Steamship, the first instructions for making the Talking Fish, the first illustrations of many of the designs mentioned in the earlier 'Manuel Pratique des Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel' and designs for 25 of the letters of the alphabet (Q is omitted). The second volume, on the weaving of paper strips, contains the earliest known instructions for making Fold, Slit and Fold Chrevron Designs and the earliest known illustration of the Witch's Ladder. The fourth volume, on cutting and pasting, contains the earliest known instructions for making the Fold and Slit Cage.
1863/4 - Germany: Publication of 'Spielbuch fur Knaben' by Hermann Wagner which also contains diagrams for the Bellows and the Newspaper Hat, the Cut and Fold Windmill, the Wind Wheel and what are probably the earliest known illustration of what would now be considered a true paper plane, the Paper Dart.
1864 - England: The earliest published instructions for making the Paper Dart, are published in 'Every Little Boy's Book'. This book also contains the first explanation of the paperfolding game 'Head, Body and Legs' which inspired the surrealist game 'Le Cadavre Exquis'.
1865 - Germany: Publication of 'Spielbuch für Mädchen' by Marie Leske.
1868/9 - France: A drawing of the Paper Crane / Orizuru appears on a membership card for a Parisian drinking club called the 'Societe de Jing-lar'. This is the earliest known appearance of this design in the West.
1869 - Germany: Publication of 'Der Kindergarten' by Hermann Goldammer.
1869 - England: Publication of 'Paradise of Childhood' by Edward Wiebe.
1870 - USA: William J. Canby read a paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania entitled 'The History of the Flag of the United States' in which he describes the upholsterer, and later flag-maker, Betsy Ross cutting a pentagram from folded paper using just a single cut, during an otherwise unsubstantiated, and probably apocryphal, visit to her home by George Washington in 1776.
1871/2 - France: Printed sheets for a paperfolding game called 'Jeu de Cameleonien' (The Chameleon Game) were sold during the Siege of Paris.
1872 - England: Publication of 'Hanky Panky' by W H Cremer, Jun.
1873 - France: Publication of Exercices et Travaux pour les Enfants Selon la Méthode et les Procédés de Pestalozzi et de Froebel by Fanny and Charles Delon, which contains a list of 22 Folds of Life paperfolds, many of which cannot be identified.
1873 - England: Publication of 'The Popular Recreator', which contains the earliest known description of the games of Consequences, which depends on paperfolding, the game of 'Dart and Target', which uses darts made of wooden dowel with a pin at one end and a paper flight in the form of a waterbomb base at the other,and the earliest known diagrams for the Chinese Junk.
1874 - Germany: Publication of a revised edition of 'Der Kindergarten' by Hermann Goldammer.
1875 - Spain: The Pajarita with Pockets and Don Simon designs appears in drawings in 'Llibre Vert' by Apeles Mestre.
1876 - Japan: The first Japanese kindergarten was established at the Tokyo Womens Normal School (now Ochanomizu University) by Clara Zitelmann. As a result of the establishment of Kindergarten in Japan some European paperfolds became known to the Japanese.
1876 - Germany: Publication of Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley which contains the earliest known illustrations of, and instructions for making, the Mitre and the Pencil Case, the Chair, the Shirt, the Lotus (as a napkin fold), the Wallet, the Cut and Fold Windmill, the Woven Cross, the Puff Ball and the earliest known illustration of the Chickenwire Letterfold.
1878 - Japan: A publication of kindergarten material issued in 1878 by Tokyo Women's Normal School contains pictures of several paperfolds including the earliest known illustrations of the Kago (Sedan Chair), the Lily and the Kikuzara.
1878 - England: Political propaganda fold-ins in the form of printed handkerchiefs are on sale to suggest that it is Disraeli who can best solve the 'Eastern Question'.
1879 - Japan: Publication of 'Yochien Ho Niju Yuki' by Seki Shinzo which contains drawings of children sitting at a table engaged in various kindergarten occupations.
1879 - Spain: Publication of 'Manual Teorico-Practico de Educacion Parvulos' by D Pedro de Alcantara Garcia.
1880 - France: Publication of 'Un million de jeux et de plaisirs' by T de Moulidars.
1880 - France: Publication of 'Les Récréations Scientifiques' by Gaston Tissandier.
1881- England: Publication of 'Cassell's Book of Indoor Amusements, Card Games and Fireside Fun', which contains the earliest instructions for the paperfolding dependant games of Capping Verses, Reviews and Original Sketches and the Immovable Card magical effect.
1881 - The Netherlands: Publication of 'Het Vlechten' by Elise Van Calcar, a Dutch version of Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch by E Barth and W Niederley.
1882 - France: The 'Arręté du 27 juillet 1882' (Decree of 27 July 1882) made it mandatory for French primary schools to include the development of manual skills in their curricula. This eventually lead to the inclusion of paperfolding in many school curricula in France.
1882 - USA: Probable date of first publication of Part 2 of 'The Kindergarten Guide' by Maria Kraus-Boelte and John Kraus which includes the earliest known illustrations of, and instructions for making, among others, the King's Crown, the Duck, the Pig, the House and the Sofa, the Soldier's Cap, the Interwoven Star of David and Paper Chains.
1882 - England: Publication of 'Popular Scientific Recreations', an expanded English version of 'Les Récréations Scientifiques' by Gaston Tissandier.
1883 - Sicily: Publication of 'Giuochi Fanciulleschi Siciliani' by Giuseppe Pitri.
1883 - Spain: On 2nd August of this year the Catalan illustrator Apeles Mestres drew a pictorial story which contains the earliest known illustrations of the Flapping Bird, the Monster Fish, and the Wagon / El Carro.
1884 - France: Publication of 'Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age' by Gaston Tissandier.
1885 - France: Publication of the earliest known diagrams for the traditional Flapping Bird on page 336 of issue 661 of the French magazine La Nature.
1885 - Japan: Publication of 'Kindergarten Shoho' by Iijima Hanjuro, which contains the earliest known publication of crease patterns / instructions for making the Fox Face, the Flat Lantern and the Kago (Sedan Chair).
1886 - USA: Publication of the first diagrams for an early version of the Cut and Fold Model Aeroplane in an article titled 'About Flying Machines' in the April 1886 issue of the American children's magazine St Nicholas.
1887 - France: The first explanation of the Afghan Bands magical effect, under the name 'Les Anneaux Mysterieuse' appeared in 'La Nature' 709 of 1st January 1887.
1887 - Germany: Publication of 'Theoretisches und praktisches Handbuch der Fröbelschen Erziehungslehre' by Bertha von Marentholtz-Bülow.
1887 - USA: Mention of 'paper in the form of a drinking-cup' in T T Tiimayensis' 'A History of Magic' published in this year.
1887 - USA: The earliest known diagrams for the Lily (the four-petalled version of the Iris) and the Sanbo on Legs, under the somewhat surprising name of 'Nantucket Sinks', appear in the American children's magazine St Nicholas.
1888 - Spain: Publication of a memoir written by Miguel de Unamuno account entitled 'Historia de Unas Pajaritas de Papel', which describes how, in 1874, when he would have been 10, he and his cousin folded and played with paper pajaritas and other toys during the bombing of Bilbao during the Third Carlist War.
1889 - France: According to 'La Nature' of 28th September 1889 the Japanese exhibits at the Paris Exposition held in this year included paperfolding designs folded by the children of the Azabu private school in Tokyo. The designs mentioned include flowers, butterflies, marquetry designs, the crab, the junk (probably not the Chinese Junk) and the hat of Daimios (a demon), the parrot and the Blow-up Frog. Diagrams for the Blow-up Frog, which are the earliest known in the West, were also included in this issue.
1889 - USA: The first known publication of details of the Jacob's Ladder toy, derived from the Chinese Wallet, in the magazine Scientific American.
1890 - England: Publication of 'Scientific Amusements' by Henry Frith.
1890/3 - France: Publication of 'La Science Amusante' by Tom Tit (real name Arthur Good).
1891 - France: Publication of the 'Bulletin de la Societe de Protection des Apprentis' which includes educational syllabii which make use of paperfolding. The Magic Hat is mentioned here for the first time.
1891 - England: Earliest publication of diagrams for the Kettle variant of the Waterbomb in the Boy's Own Paper issue 628 of 24th January 1891.
1891 - France: Publication of diagrams for the Newspaper Ladder fold and cut effect in L'Illustration 2505 of 28th February 1891.
1892 - USA: Publication of 'Paper Folding and Cutting, by Katherine M Ball.
1892 - France: Publication of 'Le Travail Manuel a L'ecole Primaire' by Jully & Rocheron which contains the earliest mention of Le Bonnet Carre, the Flat Bottomed Boat and the first indisputable reference to the Waterbomb as a prison for flies.
1892 - France: Publication of the Big Coin Through Small Hole magical effect in L'Illustration 2571 of 4th June 1892.
1893 - India: Publication of Tandalam Sundara Rao's book 'Geometrical Exercises in Paperfolding' which took the Froebelian concept of mathematical / geometrical paperfolds to a new level.
1893 - France: Publication of the Propellor / Helice design in L'Illustration 2608 of 18th February 1893 and of the method of folding a tube into a tetrahedron in L'Illustration 2643 of 21st October 1893.
1894 - England: Publication of diagams for a 'Chinese Love-Letter', a complex version of the design now known as the Lover's Knot, in the Boy's Own Paper.
1894 - France: Publication of 'Pour Amuser les Petits' by Tom Tit.
1894 - Spain: Publication of the article 'Pajaritologia' written by Senesio Delgado in the Spanish satirical magazine 'Madrid Comico, which may have influenced Miguel de Unamuno's later writings on Cocotologia.
1895 - The Netherlands: Publication of the Froebelian 'Course in Paperfolding', by Eleenore Heerwart.
1895 - France: Publication of 'L'Enseignement Manuel' by Rene Leblanc and 'Geometrie, Dessin et Travaux Manuels - Cours Moyen' by M E. Cazes.
1896 - Russia: Leo Tolstoy taught the ten year old F D Polenov (who grew up to become a famous painter) to fold a Flapping Bird while travelling on a train. The paper bird folded by Tolstoy on this journey still survives in the Polenov museum in Russia.
1896 - USA: Publication of 'Froebel's Occupations' by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith.
1897 - England: Publication of Lois Bates' 'Kindergarten Guide', which contains the first known diagrams for the Blintz Box or Masu. This is also the earliest instance I know of where folding diagrams are presented in the form of a photo montage.
1899 - France: Publication of 'Le Livre des Amusettes' by Toto.
1900 - USA: Publication of 'What Shall We Do Now?' by Edward Verral Lucas and Elizabeth Lucas.
1902 - Argentina: Publication of a letter to the editor from Miguel de Unamuno in the Buenos Aires edition of 'Caras y Caretas' which was illustrated by a picture of his Perfect Paper Pajarita, an early version of the Avechucho.
1902 - Spain: Publication of 'Amor y pedagogía' by Miguel de Unamuno which was lengthened by the addition of a whimsical treatise on the Cocotte / Pajarita design titled 'Apuntes para un tratado de cocotología'.
1903 - Spain: Publication of 'La Ensenanza del Trabajo Manuel' by Pedro de Alcántara García and Teodosio Leal y Quiroga which contains the earliest known diagrams for the Magic Hat and the Rectangular Packet.
1904 - England: Earliest known publication of the Newspaper Tree effect in the conjuring magazine 'The Magician' Volume 1 No. 1 of December this year.
1905 - Argentina: The Buenos Aires edition of the magazine 'Caras y Caretas' carried an article containing diagrams for / explaining how to fold the Flapping Bird, the Blow-up Frog and the Newspaper Ladder. Photos in the article also show a set of household items made by rolling and twisting paper, which are otherwise unknown.
1906 - France: Publication of 'Les Bon Jeudis' by Tom Tit.
1909 - Japan: Publication of 'Handicraft Teaching Materials and Teaching Methods' by Hideyoshi Okayama.4
1910 - Germany: Publication of 'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich.
1910 - France: Publication of 'Distractions Enfantines' by Marie Koenig.
1912 - Japan: A monozukushi-e print, by an unknown artist, but said to be from the Meiji era, contains drawing of 49 paperfolds, including the earliest known representation of the Sampan and the earliest representation of the Waterbomb from Japan.
1914 - Spain: Publication of 'El Trabajo Manual en la Escuela' by Félix Martí Alpera.
1914 - The Netherlands: Around this date propaganda fold-ins are printed to show Kaiser William 2 as the Fifth Pig.
1914 - China: Publication of 'Illustrated Paperfolding' by Shaolie Gui which contains the earliest known diagrams for the Chrysanthemum Box.
1917 - USA: Diagrams for the Swallow paper plane appeared in the November 1917 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine.
1918 - England: Publication of 'Scientific Amusements' by C G Knott.
1919 - England: Publicaton of 'Paper Tricks' by Will Goldston.
1922 - Spain: Publication of 'Varaciones' by Ramon Gomez de la Serna containing an essay titled 'Unamuno, Venegas y la cocotologia' which is mostly an account of an interview with Miguel de Unamuno about cocotologia.
1922 - Germany: Joseph Albers begins to teach experimental paperfolding and cutting at the Bauhaus, with an emphasis on the development of three-dimensional structures, as part of the introductory Volkurs course, which was mandatory for all new students.
1923 - England: Publication of 'More Paper Magic' by Will Blyth.
1925 - France: According to Andre Breton the surrealist game 'Le Cadavre Exquis' or 'The Exquisite Corpse' was first used as a means to attempt to express subconscious thoughts in pictures at 54 rue du Chateau, Paris.
1926 - Germany: Publication of 'Papiergestaltung' by Paul Engelhardt and Adolf Lillack.
1927 - Germany: Publication of 'Ein Lustiges Faltbuchlein' by Johanna Huber.
1927/8 - Germany: Zig-zag corrugated surfaces and two concentric crease designs, the Hyperbolic Paraboloid and the Saddle, first appear in photographs taken at the Bauhaus by Erich Consemüller.
1927 - Japan: Publication of an illustration showing various paperfolding designs in the Japanese children's magazine 'Kodomo No Kuni'. The Postman, the Simple Crow, the Lantern, the Tachibana and the Plump Crane all appear here in the historical record for the first time.
1928 - USA: Publication of 'Fun with Paperfolding' by William D Murray and Francis J Rigney which includes the earliest known appearance in the historical record of the Pagoda, The Paper Boat Snapper and the Cradle, and the earliest known diagrams for the Sanbo on Legs.
1931 - Japan: Publication of 'Origami Part One' by Isao Honda which includes the earliest known publication of the Carrier Pigeon, the Crane Envelope, the Dove, the Hibachi, the Fat Sparrow, the Japanese House, the Goldfish, the Mushikago, the Nagakabuto, the Nesting Crane,and the earliest known publication of the Western paperfold the Pig in Japan.
1932 - Spain: The magazine 'Estampa' carried a two page article about Miguel de Unamuno's paperfolding which included photographs of several of his original designs.
1932 - France: Publication of 'Images A Plier', a series of six booklets by M R Chasles, which contains the earliest known diagrams for the Flapping Butterfly and Le Moineau, the Shelf, Le Porte-Allumettes and the earliest known publication in the West of diagrams for the the Fat Sparrow, the Paper Crane / Orizuru and the Mushikago.
1932 - Spain: Publication of 'Figuras de Papel'.
1933 - Argentina: The Buenos Aires edition of 'Caras y Caretas' carried an article about the paperfolding of Miguel de Unamuno.
1933 - England: Publication of 'Diversions and Pastimes' by R M Abraham.
1934 - Spain: Publication of the second edition of Miguel de Unamuno's 'Amor y pedagogía' which contained an 'Apendice' to his 'Apuntes para un tratado de cocotología' which contained new Cocotte / Pajarita variations.
1937 - England: Publication of 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell which contains the earliest known diagrams for the Lover's Knot, the Plaited Belt, the Fold and Slit Paper Lantern, the Fat Sparrow, the Sampan,and the Blintzed Bird Base Kusudama, some of which are possibly traditional Japanese rather than Western designs.
1939 - USA: Discovery of hexaflexagons by Arthur Stone, an English graduate student at Princeton.
1939 - Spain: Publication of 'El Mundo de Papel' by Nemesio Montero, which includes the first publication of the Donkey with Panniers, the Mysterious Windmill, La pistola de dos canones, the Sou'wester, the Trough and the Whizzer.
1940 - England: Publication of 'At Home Tonight' by Herbert McKay.
1940 - Argentina: Publication of 'El Plegado y Cartonaje en la Escuela Primaria' by Antonio M Luchia and Corina Luciani de Luchia.
1946 - England: First publication of folding instructions for any paperfolding design, in this case the Flapping Bird, in the Rupert Bear Annual.
1949 - France: Publication of 'Au Pays des Mains Agiles'.
1951 - Spain: Publication of a revised and expanded edition of 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero.
1952 - France: Publication of 'Bibliography of Paper Folding' by Gershon Legman.
1955 - The Netherlands: Exhibition of paperfolds designed and folded by Akira Yoshizawa held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
1956 - USA: Publication of an article titled 'Flexagons', written by Martin Gardner, in the december 1956 issue of Scientific American which explained how to make and flex some basic straight strip hexaflexagons and gave details of their origin.
1956 - England: Publication of 'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin.
1957 - Japan: Publication of 'Origami Dokuhon 1' by Akira Yoshizawa.
1958 - Japan: Publication of 'Origami Zukan' by Okimasa Uchiyama.
1958 - USA: Publication of an article titled 'About Tetraflexagons and Tetraflexigation' by Martin Gardner in the May 1958 issue of 'Scientific American' which explained how to make and flex several tetraflexagons.
1958 - USA: Founding of The Origami Centre in New York by Lillian Oppenheimer. The first meeting of the centre was held at the Japan Society in October 1958 and the first issue of the Origamian was published in the same month.
1959: On February 2nd 1959 the New York Times published an article about Giuseppe Baggi which included mention of origami and Lillian Oppenheimer.
1959 - USA: Publication of an article titled 'About origami, the Japanese art of folding objects out of paper' by Martin Gardner in the July 1959 issue of Scientific American which explained how to fold the pentagonal knot and pentagram, a parabola, a calculus problem and the Flapping Bird.
1959 - USA: Exhibition entitled 'Plane Geometry and Fancy Figures: The Art and Technique of Paper Folding' held at the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration in New York in Summer 1959.
1961 - England: Publication of 'Paperfolding Fun' by Robert Harbin.
1961 - USA: Publication of 'The Art of Origami' by Samuel Randlett.
1962 - USA: Publication of 'Folding Paper Puppets' by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer.
1963 - England: Publication of 'Secrets of Origami' by Robert Harbin.
1964 - USA: First publication of Fold-Ins in Mad Magazine.
1965 - Japan: Publication of 'The World of Origami' by Isao Honda.
1965 - USA: Publication of 'Folding Paper Masks' by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer.
1966 - The First British Origami Convention was held on 30th April 1966 at the home of Rosaly Evnine.
1967 - USA: Publication of subscription adverts in Mad Magazine featuring origami by Giuseppi Baggi. Possibly the earliest adverts to use paperfolding to promote something that was not itself paperfolding related.
1971 - USA: Publication of an article titled 'The Combinatorial Richness of Folding a Piece of Paper' by Martin Gardner, in the May 1971 issue of 'Scientific American' which explained Robert E Neale's Beelzebub and Sheep and Goats puzzles and his Cross Flexagon.