Some history about paper models


Paper models have got ancient and vague origins whose trace can be found in every culture, both in Western and Eastern societies.

In Europe, the first examples of tables to cut with scissors and paste with flour or fish glue go back to the end of the 17th century. At the beginning, they showed religious figures and nativity images; later on, the spread of puppets and military figures led to the construction of the volumes within which they could "perform": puppet theatres and battle scenery (the first military tents were simple paper rectangles folded in the middle).

The first models, not very different from the modern ones, go back to the second half of the 19th century; these were in fact tridimensional object prints made of detached single pieces to cut and paste following specific instructions. These issues, at first intended for children, soon became real model works meant for adults particularly fond of modelling, the Paris Opera or Tour Eiffel models being an example of the new trend. They were issued by the French publisher Pellerin while their brick and iron originals were being completed respectively in 1875 and 1889 - the year of the Universal Expo in Paris -; in fact that period was marked by a widespread issue of paper models in many European countries (France, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Denmark). They were used for different purposes: game purposes - by issuing simple miniatures of aircraft, ships, cars and so on - ; advertising purposes that prompted several companies to issue promotional miniatures of their own products and to spread their image through reproductions of their factories and shops.

The beginning of mechanical construction in the first years of the 20th century as well as the advent of plastic in the sixties, suddenly diminished the interest in paper models as a toy, focusing on its "grown-up" aspects. During the following years, production became more specialised and was particularly meant for all those art-lovers who had never lost the pleasure of using scissors and glue. Architecture became the main subject of the new trend in paper model development. Throughout the 80's several models meticulously reproducing works of modern and contemporary classic architecture were printed.

soldatini da ritagliare,1853