Troublewit research en Français

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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/17/10 10:20 AM

I am a performer, maker and researcher of all things troublewit and trying to locate the "origin" of this form of entertainment. The earliest reference I can locate in English is 1676 with "J.M." Sports & Pastimes.

There are several references in English to the French origin and the name Pre Mathieu. It also references "papier multiforme". There are also descriptions of this as a "Chinese Fan", but I have been unable to locate any sources that back this origin up (it appears to be used primarily as a presentational device) All of my English research options have dried up including my university library databases.

Does anyone you have any suggestions to follow? Did this Pre Mathieu exist or did Felicien Trewey start the story as a way of claiming origin?

I would appreciate any help you could provide. The Genii PM system is not working fully so feel free to email me at troublewit@absomagic.com...

Thanks again for any help you can provide, I look forward to corresponding with you.

Andrew
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Postby Joe Pecore » 12/17/10 10:59 AM

Doesn't Pre mean "father" in French? Would Pre Mathieu have been a French priest?
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/17/10 11:16 AM

That is what has been asserted in the past, but I haven't been able to locate any documentation that such a person existed. The earliest reference I have found him was Sidney Clarke: Annals of Conjuring...
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Postby Joe Pecore » 12/17/10 11:19 AM

Maybe it was a Pierre Mathieu?
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/17/10 11:55 AM

My last post was inaccurate due to a brain cramp and I couldn't edit it.

The earliest reference I have found for him was Ellis Stanyon writing in Conjuring for Amateurs in 1897.

On page 115 he states:

"For the benefit of those of my readers who like fancy names for their tricks, I must mention that the Paper-Folding is sometimes called 'Le Papier de Pre Mathieu,' after a French priest of that name who introduced the pastime into France some two hundred years ago."

As Stanyon published this in 1897, he would be referring to around 1697 and yet Troublewit was published around 1676 (the title page references 1676, but I have heard that it may have actually been printed after that year; still need to verify this fact), thus predating "Pre Mathieu" by two decades.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/17/10 12:11 PM

Found my reference to the publishing date discrepancy on Sports and Pastimes. Dr. Grossman wrote about Troublewit in MUM in 1957 and referred to Trevor Hall's Bibliography of Books on Conjuring in English 1580-1850.

No. 262 in Hall (page 78) contains a specific reference to "Trouble Wit" and also references that Sports and Pastimes was published in London, "printed [f]or G. Conyers".

Where Hall got that information I don't yet know...
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/17/10 05:21 PM

THIS is sort of a French version of Google Books. Try poking around in it.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/17/10 06:57 PM

Thanks to Joe and Bill for their responses... I spent a while perusing Gallica and, while I found a couple of interesting links, nothing on troublewit, papier multiforme or Pre Mathieu (of any relevance)...

Will keep looking...
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/17/10 07:56 PM

Interesting... Just found a reference to a film by Georges Mlis titled "La fte au pre Mathieu" (1904). Curious coincidence, n'est pas?
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/17/10 08:37 PM

I can't help with Pre Mathieu or cite any sources earlier than "Sports and Pastimes", but I can mention a few references. You've obviously researched this a lot, so this might not all be new to you, but here goes:

Ozanam's "Rcrations mathmatiques et physiques". Not too sure about the various editions, but I think Troublewit first appears in one from around 1723. Camille Gauthier's "Magic without Apparatus" refers to it as the origin of Stanyon and Caroly's "ventail transformation".

"I giochi numerici fatti arcani" (1788) by Giuseppe Antonio Alberti was an Italian translation of Ozanam, which includes Troublewit.

Henry Deans Hocus Pocus The Whole Art of Legerdemain reproduces the explanation in Sports and Pastimes.

An old Davenports book catalogue lists Le papier multiforme by Dhotel and Mayette, from around 1955.

Troublewit has also been researched by historians of origami. Eric Kenneways excellent Complete Origami has a nice entry for it, which casts doubt on the claim that it was of Chinese origin. His earliest source is Sports and Pastimes, and he also mentions Ozanam and Alberti, as well as the early Spanish magic book Engaos a Ojos Vistas by Pablo Minguet (1733). He also mentions Trewey, and Devants method in The Strand Magazine in 1896, which was simpler than earlier versions as it had six panels as opposed to the eight in Ozanams version.

David Lister has an interesting reference to something that might have been Troublewit in a book by John Selden, though Im not sure about his date of around 1660 because the book in question seems to be Table talk: being the discourses of John Selden dated 1786. See http://www.britishorigami.info/academic ... ldeuro.php (item 10) for the quotation.

The French origami magazine Le Pli had some articles on lventail magique. The earliest one I have is issue 6 (1981), which refers back to issue 5 in which there was evidently a discussion of the history and a mention of Ozanam.

Akira Yoshizawas version of Troublewit (different from the usual method) appears in his classic Origami Dokuhon (1957), though unfortunately he doesnt explain it in much depth.

I havent made a detailed study of the above references, or of any of the more recent books on Troublewit. A number of the old magic books mentioned above are available through Google Books.

Hope this is of some interest.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/17/10 09:46 PM

Edwin:

Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

I was aware of Ozanam, Dean, Alberti, Kenneway and Minguet. Going to see if I can chase down the Dhotel and Mayette right away. Lister and Selden will take a while and I am really looking forward to seeing Yoshizawa's troublewit...

I currently have a bibliographical list that includes about 47 entries (excluding periodical references that only refer to performances), but I am sure that I am still missing some significant entries.

I am grateful for your assistance.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/18/10 01:28 AM

Engaos ojos vistas by Pablo Minguet is online
HERE
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/18/10 09:50 AM

Thanks Bill for the reference... Yet another tool for research...
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/18/10 11:48 AM

Andrew Pinard wrote:Edwin:

Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

Lister and Selden will take a while and I am really looking forward to seeing Yoshizawa's troublewit...



The Selden book can be viewed here (see page 137 for the reference to "juggler's paper"):

http://books.google.com/books?id=6mUlAA ... &q&f=false

Origami Dokuhon I (there's also a volume 2) is out of print and not easy to find, but you can see the cover here:

http://vntopic.com/origami/2010/10/orig ... yoshizawa/
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/18/10 01:41 PM

Edwin:

Thanks again for your help... With the help of you and Bill I have tracked down everything except Yoshizawa (which I hope to get on Interlibrary Loan), "Le Pli" Issue 5, and still digging through Dhotel, although it may be in the volumes that have not yet been translated from French...

This has been extremely helpful!
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/18/10 02:49 PM

it's seems that "Le Papier du Pre Mathieu" is a title created by Tom Tit (Arthur Wood) in his book La Science amusante in 3 volumes.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/18/10 05:08 PM

Andrew Pinard wrote:still digging through Dhotel, although it may be in the volumes that have not yet been translated from French...


"Le papier multiforme" was listed in the catalogue as a booklet with around 38 pages. I don't know if it was included in the eight volumes of "La prestidigitation sans bagages" - maybe Philippe can help on this.

I have most of the old issues of "Le Pli" but unfortunately not No. 5. I can try asking around to see if anyone has it and can scan the article, though it'll have to be after Christmas. Otherwise the library of the British Origami Society or the Mouvement Francais des Plieurs de Papier (MFPP) would be sure to have copies.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 12/18/10 06:20 PM

Here is the section from La Prestidigitation Sans Bagages Volume 6 by Jules Dhotel (I can't help much with the translation though):

LE PAPIER MULTIFORME
Voici une rcration faite avec du papier, qui ne date pas d'aujourd'hui, puisqu'on la trouve dans les livres trs anciens comme celui d'Ozanam (1735) o l'on peut lire la manire de ployer un papier dont on fait un grand nombre de figures .
On l'appelait le papier du Pre Mathieu ou du Pre Thomas . Trewey l'a baptis Le papier multiforme et a crit sur lui une plaquette actuellement difficile trouver.

Enfin sous le nom de L'ventail transformations Caroly I l'a modernis et il a publi sur ce sujet dans l'Illusionniste (N 77, page 49) un amusant boniment qui enchane d'une faon trs plaisante les diffrentes figures qu'on peut faire avec lui.

II m'a aimablement autoris le -publier in extenso clans cet ouvrage et, aprs en avoir fait leur profit, mes lecteurs souhaiteront sans aucun cloute avec moi que le livre de boniments que cet minent illusionniste a en prparation depuis un certain temps, voie bientt le jour.
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Postby Nick » 12/18/10 08:06 PM

There are 16 pages in Volume 6 of Dhotel's La Prestidigitation Sans Bagages devoted to Le Papier Multiforme, with detailed instructions, diagrams, and patter. Here is a loose translation of the paragraphs quoted by Joe Pecore.

"Troublewit
"Here is an entertainment from bygone years done with a sheet of paper. We know it is not modern, because we find it in various old books such as the one by Ozanam (1735), where we read about "the method of folding a piece of paper to make a great many shapes." It is called the paper of "Pre Mathieu" or of "Pre Thomas." Trewey baptized it "The Paper of Many Forms" and wrote a pamphlet about it, which is quite hard to find. Finally, Caroly 1 brought it up to date under the name "The Transforming Fan," and in "L'Illusioniste" (#77, page 49) he published a clever routine with an amusing sequence of different shapes which the performer can make.

"He kindly authorized me to publish the complete routine in this work, and after learning it to their profit, my readers will surely join their hopes to mine that the book of routines upon which this well-known illusionist has been working for some time will soon see the light of day." [Now, that's a convoluted sentence!]

In a footnote, Dhotel gives credit to Mme. Georgette Leroux, "one of our best lady magicians, who regularly performs troublewit," for collaborating in the writing of the section on le papier multiforme.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/18/10 10:28 PM

Thanks again gents (and welcome to Philippe and Nick)!

I have "Magical Experiments or Science in Play" by Arthur Good (an English translation of Series 1) in my library but it contains no troublewit references that I can find. I downloaded four PDF files of "La Science Amusante" in the hopes that I can find the specific citation which Philippe refers to but they all appear to be the first volume and do not appear to contain the "Pre Mathieu" reference. I have not been able to find the second (1892) or third (1893) volumes online. If this reference is in any of the volumes then it certainly seems to predate Stanyon and it may indicate that this mysterious character is the invention of Arthur Good (unless we find an earlier reference). I did find a wonderfully-illustrated work online some time ago titled "Joujoux en Papier" by Tom Tit (published circa 1924) that had the chapter title "Le Papier de Pre Mathieu" but as it postdated the Stanyon reference I didn't follow it any further. It can be downloaded here (around 20MB): http://zorigami.free.fr/Tom_Tit/Joujoux ... om_Tit.pdf. Perhaps I stopped too soon?

Edwin: If you could ask around for "Le Pli" Issue 5 it would be appreciated (no rush especially with the holidays coming up). I will try the other sources you suggest as well.

Joe & Nick: I hope to track down a copy of the Trewey pamphlet, but it will require some arm twisting of a few collector friends. I may have to order the Miracle Factory CD on French History as it includes the complete "L'Illussionniste" issues (I can't seem to locate those online)..

Looks like I have at least two pamphlets to chase down: Dhotel/Mayette (although this may be the material in volume 6) & Trewey. I wonder: did Caroly ever publish his routine?

Ultimately, was "Pre Mathieu" nothing more than a pleasant fiction? A hook for a presentation? Still digging for earlier references...

Andrew
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/18/10 10:42 PM

I have all three volumes, Andrew, and if Philippe can give you some page numbers (and which volume) I can make a photocopy for you.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/19/10 04:31 AM

Unfortunatly, I haven't the 3 Tom Tit but I know it's not in the first volume.

Pre Mathieu (or Pre Franois) is a character who represent the peasantry, a countryman.

Now, why this character is associated with troublewit, I have no idea.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/19/10 04:43 AM

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the Tom Tit link. Im quite heavily into origami but for some reason have never gone into Troublewit in any detail. There are several people who have done a lot of research into the history of paperfolding in both Europe and Asia, and I know of one who has made an extensive collection of old European books on the subject. David Lister is one of the foremost researchers, and I will see if I can contact him about this. Also the missing issue of Le Pli, although I suspect it may only have the references already mentioned since Eric Kenneway will have used it for his ABC of Origami that later became Complete Origami.

There seems to be no shortage of secondhand copies of the various Tom Tit books, though most of them are fairly pricey (see http://www.bookfinder.com/ , see the language to French and try Tom Tit as author or title). I havent had time to check Google Books properly, though it might have something. They certainly have full views of quite a few old magic books (Ozanam, Alberti, Minguet and others), which you can also have printed on demand.

According to the chapter on Troublewit in Volume 6 of Dhotel (by the way: nice translation, Nick, you beat me to it), Caroly did publish his routine in LIllusioniste #77. The Miracle Factory CD on French history has this and would certainly be worth getting for all the other material it contains as well.
Im going away over Christmas but will try to follow up when I get back. Thanks to Andrew and everyone else for a most interesting thread.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/19/10 06:35 AM

A couple more things to add (I couldnt resist doing some more checking):

Manuel pratique dorigami by Dominique Buisson has a short chapter on Lventail magique that mentions most of the references weve seen in this thread (Ozanam, Sports & Pastimes, Minguet, Alberti). Apparently Troublewit was included in the Grand dictionnaire national of 1845 and in the Grande encyclopdie mthodique illustre de jeux of 1888 in an article by Thodore de Moulidars. He also talks a bit about Trewey, Treweys book Le papier uniforme describing 64 different figures, Caroly in LIllusioniste for May 1908, and Dhotel. And he says Pre Mathieu was a priest who was purported to have brought Troublewit back from China in the 18th century. So nothing really new here, though if you are interested in the book you can find it via Bookfinder.com or Amazon France.

Another book is Eric Hawkesworth's "Pleated Paper Folding" (1975), though I dont think it was to do with Troublewit.

Im sure Troublewit appears in a lot of 19th century books on games and amusements. One I remember having from the library as a child was Cassell's Book of In-Door Amusements, Card Games, and Fireside Fun, which I think had a section on Troublewit and is available via print on demand. Theres also William Clarkes Boys Own Book. Houdinis Paper Magic mentions it too and refers readers to Lang Neil, The Magicians Own Book and Robertson Keenes More Novel Notions. But Im sure you knew this already...
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/19/10 10:20 AM

Thanks again Edwin...

I had all of the references except Cassell and Buisson (and have since downloaded Cassell; isn't the internet wonderful!).

Have to run now, but later I will email (those of you I have email for) my Bibliography of Troublewit. This document (59 entries so far) is changing even more rapidly now that I have such great help!

For those of you who might want to see my folded troublewits, you can find them at http://www.troublewit.net

More later, thanks again for all your help...

Andrew
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/19/10 12:35 PM

Andrew, I don't know if this will interest you, but I have seen French magic sets from the period of about 1860 to 1890 that, in their large incarnations, contain a folded paper for troublewit.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/19/10 04:39 PM

Richard:

Thanks for the information on 19th-century French magic sets and offering to copy the pertinent information from "La science amusante". Once I get more information I will get back to you on the books.

Robert A. Olson (of "Potter" and other fame) has clued me in to a couple of sets he has purchased over the years and provided at least one set of instructions... I hope to find more when I go to Chicago in May... Do you have any recommendations of collectors of French (and other) magic sets I might contact?

Happy holidays (Bonnes ftes) ...

Andrew
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/19/10 04:55 PM

For French magic sets: Volker Huber and Jacques Voignier.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/19/10 06:28 PM

THIS EDITIONof one of the Lemony Snicket includes a reprint of "The Paper Magician" by Morley Adams from The British Boys' Annual London: Cassell and Co., Ltd. 1914, which includes some troublewit material.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/19/10 06:37 PM

Richard: Thanks again! I should have talked with Volker about it back in November... Will try to contact Jacques...

Bill: Just stumbled on that. I own all of the hard-bound versions of "Unfortunate Events", this gives me a reason to pick up the paperback of volume 1. Funny, Potter (of Potter's Bar) listed Morley Adams in his index of troublewit not for the title you list, but for The Boy's Own Book of Indoor Games (1912). Still trying to get a copy of this...
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/21/10 02:29 AM

THISillustration is from a 1657 book from Germany. The subject is folding napkins for a fancy dinner.

While not, strictly speaking, troublewit, the similarities are obvious.

It is from Vollstndiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch by Georg Philipp Harsdrffer.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/21/10 08:53 AM

Ask Reinhard Mller. I think he can help you.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/21/10 05:01 PM

Thanks once again gentlemen...
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/28/10 06:10 PM

Add to your bibliography:

J. H. Vincent. _The Home Book for Very Little People, Their Brothers and Sisters, Their Mothers and Teachers_ NY: Phillips & Hunt, 1887 p. 295 297 "Magic Fan"

HERE

An old issue of Electronic Grymoire (boy, that used to be a good email list) says:

Two other sources to consider are:
"Sid Lorraine's Scrapbook", and,
"A Magic Variety Show" by Eric Hawkesworth.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 12/29/10 04:21 AM

Mr. Pinard,

Could you pardon me?

There is absolutly no troublewit in La Science amusante by Tom Tit.

I'm very sorry.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/29/10 05:23 AM

Bill Mullins wrote:THISillustration is from a 1657 book from Germany. The subject is folding napkins for a fancy dinner.

While not, strictly speaking, troublewit, the similarities are obvious.

It is from Vollstndiges und von neuem vermehrtes Trincir-Buch by Georg Philipp Harsdrffer.


Thanks for the link. I'd seen pages from this book but didn't know the whole thing was available online.

The whole of the first section is on how to fold napkins and whole tablecloths into the various shapes shown in the various illustrations in the first 50 pages. Napkin folding is still common enough, but the art of tablecloth folding is largely forgotten and known only from this book and passing references in other texts (e.g. "Onomatologia Curiosa Artificiosa et Magica oder ganz natürliches Zauber-Lexicon", Gotthard Hafner, 1759). In fact it goes back even further than Harsdrffer - the introduction mentions older Italian books, though it says they did not explain the folding process very clearly. As the other illustrations show, the whole thing is based on pleating and cross-pleating. The thing that looks like Troublewit on page 27 (page 43 of the digital version) is described on the previous page as a Peacock's Tail, and could well be the forerunner of Troublewit.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 12/29/10 08:58 AM

Edwin: I was very intrigued when Bill posted the link to the napkin/table-cloth folding. The illustrations look extremely similar to those used in making Troublewit. I don't speak/read German. Could you clarify the material they are working in? I presume cloth, but the number of pleats would seem to need paper to hold properly (unless deeply starched napkins). It is highly unlikely they had disposable napkins... :o)

Philippe: Thanks for being thorough and checking for me. I truly appreciate the time you took going through the volumes. I have another person going through them and he hasn't found anything either. No loss though as it reminded me of <i>Joujoux en Papier</i> published in Paris in 1924 (I had it on my hard drive but couldn't locate it). The pertinent section was titled Le Papier du Pre Mathieu. The author: Tom Tit. This volume referenced other works by the author and included La science amusante and three other works: Les bons jeudis, Pour amuser les petits ou les joujoux qu'on peut faire soi-mme and La rcration en famille. Perhaps you were thinking of one of those volumes (or a later edition of La science amusante)? I will try to track down the other titles and see if there is an earlier reference...

Bill: as always, I am impressed by your research capabilities! Others are sure to appreciate (and benefit from) your posting of other title with their TS designations...

Stanyon (1897) still appears to be the earliest reference to Pre Mathieu... Looking for an earlier French reference that was Stanyon's source and also more precursors to the 1676 Sports and Pastimes reference (en Franais s'il vous plait)...

More references coming in...
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/29/10 09:31 AM

The author refers to starched and unstarched linen, though he also suggests practising with paper first. For the complex animal shapes he says you need a needle and thread. In recent years there has been a lot of interest in origami tessellations, and several people have created masks in a way that probably reflects the techniques used for these old tablecloth and napkin folds (see, for example, http://www.origamitessellations.com/200 ... el-cooper/ ). It's not really Troublewit, but it's interesting to think that pleated linen folding may have been a source of inspiration.

I haven't had a chance to read the whole of the introduction properly (the old Black Letter script is a bit heavy-going at times), but if you're pursuing the French connection there is a passing reference to the fact that tablecloth folding was practised in France as well as Italy.

I'm off again for a week or so from tomorrow but will try to follow up when I get back.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 12/29/10 01:58 PM

OK, just a few more references:

"Attractions visuelles de complment" by Jean de Merry
http://www.magix.fr/pub/scans/lmx-021.jpg

Maybe you know it already. I don't have it and can't say whether it contains any "new" information, but it might be one for the collection anyway.

Also this with a reference to Hofzinser:
http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display ... rnal_id=34

And this:
http://www.origami-resource-center.com/paper-magic.html

And this:
http://www.vanishingincmagic.com/clog/p ... roublewit/
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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/29/10 03:40 PM

More:


Berg, Albert Ellery (ed.) The universal self-instructor and manual of general reference, including many valuable vocabularies and carefully compiled tables Melbourne, AU: McCardel, 1884? p. 374-375 "The Magic Fan"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonze/302025347/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonze/302024208/

Another edition, with (I believe) the same pagination: NY: T. Kelly, 1891

There is a 1970 facsimile edition as well:
Berg, Albert Ellery and Annette Kar Baxter.The Universal self-instructor and manual of general reference. NY: Winter House, 1970. p 374-375 "The Magic Fan"

Source unknown:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonze/412283750/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonze/412283749/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonze/412283747/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonze/412283746/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonze/412283743/

Apparently this book has some troublewit material.


And a Danish Book:
Erslev, Anna. Illustreret Legebog [Illustrated Games] Includes illustrations of folds. There appears to be editions from ~1897 or so, and also 1978 or so.
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