This origami book is the oldest, known origami book in Danish and is a small piece of cultural history. Originating in the hospital world, the preface says: This collection of paper models is intended as a therapeutical pastime for patients. We also hope that it may find use for enjoying children of all ages. (translated from Danish)
Printed by Dansk Lyskopi A/S, there is no indication of author or publisher (see below).
The first edition from 1944 is published while Denmark was occupied by the Germans during World War II. It contains 28 models, has 54 pages, and with the book's 14 mm they are cardboard rather than paper. Rather than a traditional binding, the front, back and pages are held together with two coarsely made rings, but which makes it very suitable to put open and follow instructions.
The second edition from 1945 is likely published after World War II ended as the paper is thinner and better. The contents and binding is the same as for the 1944 edition.
The third edition from 1947 has the same paper, but with a real metal coil binding. Also, the contents has been extended with three new models: An American pocket battle ship, a clicking bird beak, and the traditional napkin lotus fold. The battle ship could of course not be in the 1944 edition as the Americans then were in open war with the Germans.
The two authors are Bent Hammer Barfod (* 16/5 1918, ✝ 26/7 1995), chief physician, and Lass Mahler Sonne (* 17/1 1917, ✝ 29/4 1992), chief psychiatrist.
Barfod often illustrated his publications, e.g. the paper on sprained ankles (Journal for doctors, 1948) and the textbook 'Primær behandling af håndlæsioner' (several editions in the 70'es). The drawing talent was exploited already during his studies for the medical journal 'Bugpressen' where the signature - as always when not strictly professional - was a naked foot (the literal translation of "bar fod").
Barfod became candidate January 1944. As a young doctor he worked at a Copenhagen hospital where childen were placed side by side with adult patients (at that time there were no paediatric departments). He became frustrated that there was nothing to keep the children occupied, and thus he and Sonne decided to write a book on paper folding. Tbey paid for the printing themselves.
The book is anonymous. The preface is unsigned, though there is a vignette displaying a smiling sun with a naked boot ("Sonne" is literally German for "sun"). Barfod told his children that the reason for the anonymity was not modesty, but that the chief doctors would not be happy with the employees wasting their time on such foolishness!
It is unknown from where the two authors had knowledge about and interest in origami.
The book contains 31 models (*only 1947): Troll cat, dice (water bomb), glider, swallow plane, buzzer, flapping bird, frog, hat, boat, airplane, airplane nose, box, bag, wind mill, Tunesian wallet, trucker wallet, ladder, cataran, box, gondola, banger, mitre, salt cellar, ferry, war ship, American pocket battle ship*, bird beak*, water lily*, Chinese junk, Fröbel star.
Several of these models are neither in Harbin's Origami 1 nor in David Petty's Model of the Month list of traditional models. However, with the exception of a couple of models (the American pocket batttle ship and maybe the air plane nose), the rest of the models look traditional.
The diagrams are hand drawn, with hatching to indicate 3D shape. They are pretty clear, with supplementary text as needed, and surprisingly modern in their expression.
Of course the notation predates the Yoshizawa-Harbin-Randlet system of today. In fact, they are more like before/after images. However, dashed lines indicate valley folds, and full lines mountain folds, a distinction that would be immediately understood in today's diagramming.
Surely, lots of people now in their 60's, 70's and 80's learned origami from this book. However, we do not know how many. What we do know, is that the next book with some origami is Jensen1956, and not until Harbin1970 did we get a qualified origami book again.
What I do know, is that the first time I saw the book, I wondered why so many of the models were so well-known to me from my earliest childhood. Of course, the flapping bird is a classic, but what about e.g. the buzzer, the swallow plane, and the ladder? Turns out that my father, Ole Dybkjær, used the book during 3 weeks at Ålborg Hospital in November 1947, the first fortnight with the leg fixated.
Thus this book indirectly caused me to learn origami as a child, and hence later the creation of papirfoldning.dk in 2006 and the society foldning.dk in 2010!
Sverre Barfod, Mikael Sonne, Jesper Corneliussen, and Ole Dybkjær for contributing to the above. If the reader knows more about the book, please contact me.