Japanese Tumbler

Japanese Tumbler


This is a combination of ideas - first the original piece of origami, and then quite a few years later the idea to combine a number of these tumblers in a cascading row...

The original tumbler (also known as the 'Ta Rum Te Tum Tum') was invented by the Japanese origamist Seiro Tagekawa. We don't have an exact date, but we know it was quite a few years ago.

The little tumbler, which is folded from a single sheet of origami paper, has one edge that has been folded more times than the other, making it heavier. However this is not apparent to the casual viewer. If you stand the tumbler on edge with the light edge upwards and push it over, it will stop after a quarter turn, i.e. it will just fall over. However if you place the tumbler with the heavy side at the top, then when you push it over, it makes a complete 'tumble'.

You can use this as a little magic trick, or maybe to win a bet in a bar. When you place the tumbler the correct way up, you will be able to make it 'tumble'. You then pick it up and place it the other way up, and invite someone else to do the same - they will find that it just won't perform!

The recent development of the idea was by Mick Guy, a British origamist. He realised that if you placed a number of these tumblers in a row, then when you pushed over the one at the end, it would make the next one tumble, and so on. Rather like a row of dominos, but in this case the whole thing happens in a magical kind of slow motion.

Have a look at the video to see how to fold the tumbler, and also to see the domino effect in action.