According to Wikipedia, Japanese origami began sometime after Buddhist monks carried paper to Japan during the 6th century. The first Japanese origami is dated from this period and was used for religious ceremonial purposes only, due to the high price of paper.
In the 19th Century the founder of kindergartens, Friedrich Frobel, used paper folding as a teaching aid for child development. In the 1920’s conjurors and magicians such as Houdini started folding paper money as part of their act. Houdini even published a book on it in America titled Magic Paper.
During WWII, dollar bill folding became a way for troops to pass the time and distract themselves between battles. Soon after, bartenders began to amuse their customers with the bill folding presentation. Customers would place their bill on the bar top and ask the bartender to fold it for their girl.
Here’s to George Washington & the other Presidents whose faces adorn American paper money.