Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

 

 
Air / Breath Driven Rotating Designs
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of folded paper designs that rotate as a result of the action of air moving past or through them. 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.

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The Cut and Fold Windmill - 1863 onwards

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The Propellor / Helice - 1893 onwards

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El cucurucho volador - The Flying Cone - 1907

As far as I know this design first appears as 'molinete' (windmill) in an article titled 'El trabajo manual escolar' by Vicente Casto Legua in issue 191 of the Spanish magazine 'La Escuela Moderna' for February 1907, which was published in Madrid by Los Sucesores de Hernando.

The instructions say, roughly translated, 'It is built by cutting the upper edge of the cone and then folding out perpendicular teeth ... Inside the cone a small stone, a piece of bread, and even a little saliva is enough to provide weight. If it is thrown from a high place such as from a balcony to the street it will fall spinning, which produces great joy in children ...'

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The same design also appears in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.

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El molino misterioso - The Mysterious Windmill - 1939

As far as I know this design first appears in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.

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La helice del avion (The plane propellor) - The Whizzer - 1939

As far as I know this design first appears in the extended version of 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1951.

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1956

Harbin's 'Merry - Go - Round' appears in 'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne in London in 1956. The text says, 'Origin: Japanese', although this appears to be the same design which had appeared as Ornament No 4 in 'At Home Tonight' by Herbert McKay, which was published by Oxford University Press in London, New York and Toronto in 1940.

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