The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Basic Box
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design which, for want of a better name, I call the Basic Box. 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.

There is a separate page for the Collapsible Box, a version of the Basic Box which is folded from a 2x3 rectangle so that the base of the box is a square. It can be collapsed to create a closed pouch or package.

The Junk Box is a form of the Basic Box made from a blintzed square.


In China (and in publications by Chinese authors)


Two versions of the Basic Box appear in 'Xu Zhe zhi tu shuo' (More Illustrated Paperfolding) by Yongxiang Shi, which was published by the Commercial Press in Shanghai in 1917.


In Western Europe and the Americas


As far as I know a version of the Basic Box first appears, as 'Kasten' in 'Die Praxis Des Kindergartens' by Auguste Koehler, which was published by Herman Bohlau in Weimar in 1873.


The design also appears:


In Eleonore Heerwart's 'Course in Paperfolding', which was first published in Dutch in 1895 then in English by Charles and Dible in London and Glasgow in 1896..



As 'Bandeja para pildoras' (Pill Tray) 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 text says, roughly translated, that 'It is a simple construction that can be used for what its name indicates, as well as for a box for mantecadas, rings etc'.



In 'Popular Science Magazine' for May 1921. Information from Josť Tomas Buitrago.



In 'More Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1923. In this instance holes have been cut into the box so that it can be used as a 'Doorway Scoring Game'.