A paperfolding paradise
The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell
|The Paper Furnace / Melting Lead in Paper / Salamander Paper|
page attempts to record what is known about the origin
and history of the scientific effect known as the Paper
Furnace. 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.
The Boy's Own Book' by William Clarke was published by Vizetelly, Branston and Company in London in 1828 contains a section called 'The Paper Furnace' which explains how it is possible to melt a lead ball wrapped in paper without the paper catching fire.
There is a section on how to melt lead in paper in 'Spielbuch fur Knaben' by Hermann Wagner, which was published by Verlag von Otto Spamer in Leipzig in 1864, although the foreword is dated May 1863, which argues that the book was complete at that date.
The effect also appears in 'Every Little Boy's Book', which was published by Routledge, Warne and Routledge in London and New York in 1864.
A similar effect, although in this case the metal is not lead and so does not therefore melt, can be found in 'Hanky Panky', a book of magical effects, puzzles, recreational mathematics and other amusements, by W H Cremer, Jun, was published by John Camden Hotten in London in 1872. (I believe that the same effect also occurs in Cremer's earlier work 'The Secret Out' which was first published in the USA by Dick and Fitzgerald in 1859.)