The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Index Page Some Broad Overviews Individual Designs Topics and Indexes Paperfolding People Sources

The 1885 engraving of the Flapping Bird


About the Public Paperfolding History Project

Information about the history of paperfolding found on the internet, and, indeed, in many published sources, is often based more on myth and imagination than on fact and scholarship. The Public Paperfolding History Project aims to collect information from verifiable historical sources from which a more reliable narrative of the development of recreational paperfolding as a whole, and of individual paperfolding styles and designs, can be shaped, and to make this information publicly available for everyone to study and enjoy.

It is my intention to record everything I can discover about paperfolding history up to and including 1970 in these pages. After that date, designs and publications proliferate so fast that it would be impossible to record them all.

Some of the information I have recorded comes from my own original research. Much of it, however, is drawn from the research of other people that has kindly been provided to me. I would particularly like to acknowledge the assistance of Juan Gimeno, Michel Grand, Masatsugu Tsutsumi, Edwin Corrie, Jaume Coll Guerrero, Koshiro Hatori, Joan Sallas, Laura Rozenberg and Coral Roma, but many other people have helped as well. It goes without saying that the late David Lister's writings on paperfolding history have also been invaluable, although they are no longer sufficiently up to date to be relied upon in detail.

If you are new to the study of paperfolding history you will probably be most interested in Some Broad Overviews, reading which will give you a good idea of what the parameters of this project are and where the study of paperfolding history now stands.

If your interest goes beyond this, you can get a feel for the kind of information you will find on this site by Dipping a Toe in the Water, which I hope will then encourage you to wade further in and to interest yourself in finding more specific information in the other sections of the project.

There is much to discover and explore:

The Individual Design pages contain information about individual designs (or in some cases a number of closely related designs that it is sensible to record together)

The Topics and Indexes pages contain information about different design styles, folding methods and subjects. They also act as indexes to help you find information about any particular individual design you may be interested in.

The Paperfolding People pages contain information about some historically important paperfolders.

Finally, the Sources pages contain information relating to books, articles in newspapers and magazines, illustrations, exhibitions, and historical survivals, that are the raw material of paperfolding history, and from which the other pages have been compiled.

The information I have recorded is drawn from texts in Japanese, Spanish, German, Dutch, French, English and several other languages. I am only fluent in English and rely on on-line translation tools such as Google Lens for assistance. This will necessarily mean that I have made mistakes (and also that some important information may have been accidentally omitted.) If you find any errors or inaccuracies in these pages, or are aware of additional information, particularly early information, that I do not know of, or may have overlooked, please let me know.

Some omissions have occurred because the range of information I am recording has expanded as the project has developed. I have, for instance, not generally recorded information about the use of rolled or folded paper in making fireworks or paper flowers (although, with hindsight, I clearly ought to have done so).

These errors and omissions will be corrected as time permits.

David Mitchell