Friday, August 13, 2010
This was the smallest, most folded set of instructions I have come across. The scan makes it readable, but in reality the print is so small it is nearly microscopic!
I'm going to have to go through my sets of random cards and see if I can find that 6/7 of spades!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Read the rest of this letter. It should not take you more than two minutes and if it will only save you one dollar, that will make your time worth while.I've always wondered what my time was worth. Thanks, Thayer Manufacturing!
We also have the offhand reference to a printer's strike. I can't find any specific mention of a printer's strike going on in the US in 1921, with the exception of this small paragraph from Workday Minnesota:
The weekly newspaper of the Catholic archdiocese had been produced at a scab shop since the start of a printers’ strike in 1921. The printers had learned from Archbishop Dowling that he would prefer it be produced by union labor -- if they could find a suitable place to handle the job.The second page has this cut panel taped over the top of the letter, reestablishing the time frame the receipt has to answer the ad, and I love the closing line:
Act now and you will make some real money- otherwise the other fellow wins.Ominous!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Once in a while I read message boards & such where they are debating about giving up magic trick secrets, and how it was always very hush hush. Apparently no one told that to this journalist (probably from the 1920's), who decided to disclose the secret behind one of Thurston's tricks. I wonder if Thurston minded.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Here is a pale little flier from Ovette. It appears to have been taped to something else, but I did not find a second page of similar size anywhere near it.
I looked up a few of the apparatus items with little luck, except for the first two, which kind of opened an interesting can-of-magic-worms on a magician I have not yet touched on: Harry Kellar. Kellar is one of those magicians I have made a mental connection with to the occult- probably in large because of his posters. That classic Faustian imagery is why I love vintage magic posters, and hope to one day collect a few of my own.
Something that was also of complete interest to me was learning about Kellar, Houdini, Thurston, and others being Masons. As my Grandfather was a Mason, I have high regard for the order. You can read more about this "Magical Brotherhood" via this article.
I was also interested in "Germain's Original Rose Bush Production," and was able to find this write up on it (and rose tricks in general) via ClassicMagic.net:
A real improvement on the trick was devised by that graceful and brilliant performer, Mr. Karl Germain, whose retirement from the stage is regretted by all who have had the pleasure of witnessing his performance.
In his version, a single uncovered flower pot stood on a table. Standing near it Germain began to fan the pot, when gradually there appeared to spring from it a few leaves. These were followed by buds, and then the plant increased in height until it was fifteen to eighteen inches above the top of the pot. That the flowers on it were real there could be no doubt, for the performer cut them off and distributed them to the ladies in the audience.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
While you're sitting at the table eating breakfast (or maybe dinner, depending on your time zone) challenge your table mate to this little trick. This clip made me smile- everyone had that one teacher of substitute who knew all of the brain-teasers and would challenge the class all day long and no one would ever get them. I would have loved to have taken this one into class!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
This is a great addition to my growing Coulon collection. If you've never heard of Johnny Coulon, try reading my previous posts on the subject here and here!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I think all shopping should revert immediately to the method described on this form: "Just check what you want and pin a one dollar bill to this letter." I wonder if Amazon.com would go for this idea.
I had never heard of any of the authors listed on this form. The name I decided to search for was Louis F. Christianer. While Louis was a prolific author of tricks, and seemed well regarded among his peers- in the 1920 book The Magic Art, author Donald Holmes said Christianer's, "fertile brain has contributed many good things to magic." Yet for all of the wonderful things people say, and how inspiring and lasting his impact in magic seemed to be, no one mentions anything about the actual man or his past. Did he go by a different name maybe?
Anyhow, if you would like to see a copy of his New Magical Conceptions, you can view it while it is still on sale via ebay.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
I thought we'd start the beginning of the week by ending last week's scan collection. This wraps up our look into the curious little booklet about a coin act!
I love this illustration on the back....but still no date. You'd think with the trouble they went through publishing this with multiple fonts, decorated page numbers, etc, that they would have thought to include a date. Since I have seen items in the box as "new" as the 1940's, I think I am going to date this around that time. Compared with the items from the 1910-1920's, this paper feels much younger- fresh in a way. I am going to file this last page under mystery item until I get a definitive date.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
We're already at the center to the booklet, and the more I look at the type and such, I am thinking this is much younger than the first edition I found on ebay. I am going to have to do some digging and see if anyone is still performing a trick like this!
Friday, July 30, 2010
This is a huge list of items needed for a coin trick! The words that stuck out to me were "Obedient Coins." Since they were capitalized, I assumed it was the name of a trick, and I was right (once you get through the ads, it is an interesting science experiment):
Uploaded by RobertKrampf. - Videos of the latest science discoveries and tech.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I was curious about the "ala Miser's Dream" statement, so I started looking around and found it was still a common trick! Below was my favorite version, via MagicGeek.com:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This is my 100th scanned item! I know there aren't any balloons coming down from the ceiling, but I was really excited to hit this milestone, and there is still more stuff to be scanned & cataloged!
For the rest of this week I will be focusing on this little book. The cover is made of very heavy textured paper, but the actual booklet only holds a few thin pages, and the entire thing is bound with string. I love the little lion emblem on the wrap-around flap!
I googled this title immediately, but only found this one for sale on ebay. Obviously these are not the same book. I will have to take note and see if I can find any dates in my copy to see if mine is the older or younger version.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
You can see that it has dual, inset trays that slide out from the right:
When you stick an object (try not to use a real giraffe) in the top tray..............
.......and pinch the left side so that you move the end piece, so it shifts like this (see how there is a notch sticking out at the end?):
The object will magically vanish!You can repeat the process to make the object reappear.
I was hoping there would be some kind of branding on the box somewhere, but so far I have not found anything. There are many card changing trays around, but none with this unique artwork on them- most are plain or too modern.
Monday, July 26, 2010
AirbrushMagic.com has instructions on how to make a ladder from a newspaper:
This ladder also got me thinking of one of my favorite childhood toys, the Jacob's Ladder (not the electrical one). I had one of these toys when I was around 3 or 4, and I remember looking at it often. Mine was pink on one side and yellow on the other, and I remember that I thought of lemonade when I played with it because of the colors. I guess I enjoyed visual illusions from a young age! Unplggd.com has a video on how to make one out of cassette tapes (you might turn down the sound though- the music is a little annoying):
Happy Monday! Regular posts will resume tomorrow :)
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This is a fun little article, basically debunking pendulums. It would seem that chick sexing is barley a science (and a really gross, sad job), much less looking at the egg and taking a guess!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I love this Ovette advertisement. The phrasing begins almost modern and dissolves into that strange magician-speak. As for the trick he is selling? I have no clue. I looked for Ovette tricks referencing tissue paper, wands, and ladders and came up empty. Looks like another item for the mystery file!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
It was interesting to me that someone took the time to meticulously rip and flatten this box for preservation, but did not bother to save the handkerchief that it once housed. I have seen a red small cloth in one of the boxes, but it didn't really look "handkerchief" size.
As for the Japanese Puzzle Co, I am guessing their patent didn't go through. I could not find even a mention of them having ever existed in St. Louis.
Via Google Books, I was able to find a chapter from Hoffman's "More Magic" in which he describes several handkerchief tricks:
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I have really hit the mystery pile the weekend! I am sure this packet is from the Mysto Set I wrote about earlier this month. Unfortunately I cannot find a listing of what was included in the set, so figuring out the title of this trick package is a little tough.
I was able to find a lot of glass magic tricks videos via you tube, but the one below reminded me the most of the illustration:
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
What a strange thing to save! I can only assume this is part of a trick in some way. I am filing it under mystery items, because I could not find exactly what kind of trick this facilitates. What I did notice is that the "burnt" end of the cigarette contains red metal foil and slightly appears lit from far away. I also noticed that it does not smell like a cigarette.
There are a ton of cigar and cigarette trick instructions online. The video below was one of my favorites:
Thursday, July 15, 2010
The only other illustration in this book is on this page, almost at the end. The adjacent page and chapter describes all manners of cheating at gambling- be it with mirrors, trick decks, or even contraptions mounted inside a long shirt sleeve!
As someone who was raised in Las Vegas, this section reminded me of all of the various "cheater" stories I heard growing up. Beyond the famous MIT scandal, there were always storied of people rigging coins to trick slot machines, or trying any number of ways to "beat the dealer." For further reading, I recommend this website's poker and casino cheats hall of fame for a brief history of those who tried to beat the house.
Here is a cropped & turned scan of the illustration:
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Obviously a book with the words, "animal tricks," in the title will include pages of animal tricks. Mostly the guide gives many different kinds of tricks you can teach an animal to do. It was interesting to see animal training written about so plainly when today it is considered a very contoversial subject, and you have entire nations banning the use of any animals in the circus.
Today's scan features a quote from Mr. Bostock, and I am thinking that would be the Bostock from Bostock and Wombwell's Menagerie. I read a little about what a menagerie was via this article at the Fairground Heritage Trust. The Bonstock & Wombwell show was unique in that they had such a diverse and large amount of animals, and were willing to haul their traveling zoo all over the earth.
I was able to find this youtube video with actual footage of the Bostock farm:
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The center of the book focuses on the secrets of "sideshow freaks". While there have been many people who were born with deformities and made a living (sometimes willingly and other times unwillingly) traveling with the circus, this book gives you a practical guide to producing the illusion without the reality.
I have always felt kind of uncomfortable looking at pictures of "freaks" because it seems so horrible to give money just to point and stare at someone, so I admit that this part of the book was a little hard to research. You can find a list of the top ten circus sideshow freaks here...but it is slightly NSFW.
For a thorough history and collection of circus performers & sideshow folk check out ShowHistory.com.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Here is a scan of the inside pages. You'll see it is a list of who was who in circus attractions at the time this was written. The mention that caught my attention was of Jumbo the elephant. Jumbo was P.T. Barnum's prize creature. Jumbo had already traveled a lot- starting in Mali, then going to Paris, and becoming a hit in London zoos before arriving in the states.
Jumbo was extremely popular in life, but in death his story took several bizarre turns. He died after being hit by a train, and from what I've read, why the train hit him depended upon who you asked at the time. Barnum swore Jumbo protected a baby elephant. Others said he charged the train in anger. There are also stories that suggested Jumbo was drunk at the time! You can read eyewitness accounts via this article in Tufts Magazine.
Jumbo's story did not end after he died. Barnum, always quick to take advantage of a situation, had him stuffed and put on display at the Tufts museum. What happened next was the subject of a recent short documentary that was also a tribute to the filmmaker Chelsea Spear's father. You can read more about her work on the project via this Boston.com article.
Below is the doc, titled, Jumbo in a Jar.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Upon opening the book I immediately spotted the dedication to Thurston. I learned all about him back in May. You will also notice he thanks Thurston again on the introduction. Wanting to learn more about their connection, I was able to find this little story about the pair (and fellow dedicated Harry Kellar) and their meeting and investigation of real psychic phenomena.
Here is a close up of the illustration:
Saturday, July 10, 2010
This is an interesting little book. The cover is actually in a lot better shape than the scan would suggest- I was surprised how washed out it looks, when it is actually a very solid shade of dark blue. I was also suprised when I started looking up information about this book and finding it being sold for $175.00! It is honestly just a few pages with a card stock cover.
The first inner page:The author, Hereward Carrington, was a prolific writer. He published over 100 books on psychic phenomenon, magic acts, and 'alternative health issues'. You can buy reprints of his books around the web- the one I recognized first from the inner flap was The Boys Book of Magic.
We will be looking at this book and at Carrington for most of this week!
Friday, July 9, 2010
I wanted to show you the most visually interesting box in the collection. The other two boxes that house the hundreds of clippings are cigar boxes from Chicago, but this one actually has something to do with magic!
According to Magicpedia, the Mysto company, founded by A. C. Gilbert and John Petrie, produced these sets. Ideafinder.com has an interesting article on Gilbert, where I learned:
But Gilbert was also a brilliant student, and soon went on to Yale Medical School. He helped pay his tuition by performing as a magician, and founded a company, Mysto Manufacturing, which sold magic kits for kids. In 1908, he took time out to compete in the IV. Olympiad in London, England, and came home with the gold medal in the pole vault --- thanks in part to a new, spike-less bamboo pole that he was the first Olympian to use.This man was busy! He also went on to create the Erector sets- the first advertised toy and one of the most popular toys of all time. You can read about the Erector sets via Girders and Gears.
There are hundreds of examples of Mysto sets online. You can view a few (including the one I have) in the online collection of the Eli Whitney museum.
LiveAuctioneers has a ton to look at, and I was even able to find someone selling a complete set with my box lid!I recognize a few of the card trick packets from my collection, but I do not see the rest- especially the little balls & cups.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I've discussed Johnny Coulon in a previous post, but I was intrigued to find another clipping. While most of this article repeats what we already learned, I found this paragraph amusing:
Coulon's performance will probably start another craze, for in every place where two or more people come together they will be waiting to try to do the "bet-you-can't-lift-me" stunt.The trend that could have been.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
What a random list of things! I was able to figure out that this is a list from Thayer.
I had a great time looking these items up! If you find any more on this list, please let me know!
- The Spirit Paintings with easel.
- I could not find Thayer/Holmes specific nest of boxes, but Martin's Magic Galley has many to look at.
- I'm not 100% positive, but I think the Eggs of Columbus trick stems from Tesla. There was also this video (although done with a coin) that I think operates on the same principal.
- Atlantis Magic has a great picture of the Thayer Raping Hand
- You can read all about Ching Ling on Travelanche, and here is what they have to say about his "foo" can specifically:
From his mysterious “Foo Can” he would pour an endless stream of water. He could also blow smoke from his mouth that turned into streamers and even a nine foot pole, introduced “torn and restored paper” and conjured up his 3 year old daughter Chee Toy.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Yet while the article held up to time, the rest of it is a bit of a mystery. This is the first time I have ever seen a specific TO: on a document. I am going to have to start digging to see who this Griffiths person is, because it is not my Grandfather's last name. His (or her) address in Chicago is now a building full of businesses.
This is also a curiously written letter. Did they forget to include an advertisement in with a mailer? Did Griffiths request information on something which they forgot to send?
Also worth noting is this signature:
It is in pencil and looks like an 'S' to me, but Magicpedia is telling me the founder's name was Floyd, so I will also have to investigate who the 'S' is!
Monday, July 5, 2010
I don't know where my "closed for the weekend" post went, so I am very sorry!
I decided to take a weekend with the rest of the country. I still have more scans, which will resume tomorrow. Hope you all had a happy & safe 4th of July!