My Great Grandfather's Box of Tricks

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My Great Grandfather's Box of Tricks

Postby SeeNoEvil » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:51 am



I'm not a magician as such, but a love of Magic tricks as a child, lead me on to special effects, and film & TV special effects is what I now do for a living.

I inherited a cardboard box from my grandfather passed on from my mother about 6 years ago. It contained the some total of his father's (my great grandfather's) magic collection. For the most part, it's little magic tricks from around 1934 to the early 1950s, but only some of the material has dates on. So much of the paper material is falling apart now, but I'm storing it as best I can. As far as I can tell, the oldest thing in there is a wooden handled rubber stamp, with Arrowsmith on, dated 1892. As far as I recall, my great grandfather and his parents ran a shop, and this would have been passed on from that.

I remember playing with much of this stuff as a child, along with new magic tricks I bought at the time, which is why they were passed on to me. I also remember as a child in the 80's, buying some new tricks, which were virtually identical in technique, but updated versions of some of these. I specifically recall having the money maker roller trick which was made of red plastic, rather than the wooden one here, and a fake thumb cover with a handkerchief in it, which was rubber rather than metal, and of course the set of magic rings. It just goes to show, a good magic trick in the 1930's is still a good magic trick today. I did the Mystery Coin Box trick over Christmas for my Girlfriend's parents, along with catching them out with the fake box-camera with the springy snake inside!

When I was originally given the collection, they were just in a plain cardboard box. I wanted to finally give them a more fitting permanent home which I made just before Christmas; a wooden chest. Anyway I've taken photos of everything I have laid out, including all the paperwork. I've figured out what most of the stuff is over the years, but there is still about 20% or so, is either incomplete or unfathomable. Most of the stuff is magic related, but some items are exactly as they appear, like the pocket watches & pipe paraphernalia. Most of the paper material is ranging up to pretty tatty, so I'm keeping all that in a protective display book so I can still look through it easily. There is some stuff I know is missing, I have only two of the magic rings for instance.

There are a few items I'm hoping people might know what they are. The silver pieces of metal in front of the money maker roller on the top right. I think that the two silver halves go together and fit inside the shorter sleeve, and would spring apart on removal, but what that would be I have no idea. Maybe there is some part I'm missing. Also the three silver hip-flask bottle things on the far left above the ball puzzles. No idea what they might be either, or the square aluminium tube to the left of the pipe cleaners in the middle. Various misc bits & pieces look like they would fit nicely inside it, and that has some writing printed on it, but it's too faded to make out. Anyone any ideas?

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SeeNoEvil
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Re: My Great Grandfather's Box of Tricks

Postby Mandrake » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:11 am

Hi, welcome to TM. I can't help with any info but that looks like a truly superb collection of stuff! If there's a magic club local to you they might be able to identify some of the mystery items. In any event they would probably relish the oportunity to see such old time magic.

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Re: My Great Grandfather's Box of Tricks

Postby SeeNoEvil » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:15 pm

If there's a magic club local to you they might be able to identify some of the mystery items. In any event they would probably relish the opportunity to see such old time magic.


I'm in Twickenham, London. How would I found out where my nearest Magic club is?

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Re: My Great Grandfather's Box of Tricks

Postby Mandrake » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:19 pm

Google is your friend in this respect, as I don't know that part of the globe I can't offer specific answers but you could start with https://lsmmagic.magicandweb.com/ and ask if they know of closer clubs to where you live. Alternatively ask the Magic Circle - see https://themagiccircle.co.uk/contact-us

Best of luck, let us know how you get on!!

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Re: My Great Grandfather's Box of Tricks

Postby mr invisible » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:12 pm

SeeNoEvil wrote:I'm not a magician as such, but a love of Magic tricks as a child, lead me on to special effects, and film & TV special effects is what I now do for a living.

I inherited a cardboard box from my grandfather passed on from my mother about 6 years ago. It contained the some total of his father's (my great grandfather's) magic collection. For the most part, it's little magic tricks from around 1934 to the early 1950s, but only some of the material has dates on. So much of the paper material is falling apart now, but I'm storing it as best I can. As far as I can tell, the oldest thing in there is a wooden handled rubber stamp, with Arrowsmith on, dated 1892. As far as I recall, my great grandfather and his parents ran a shop, and this would have been passed on from that.

I remember playing with much of this stuff as a child, along with new magic tricks I bought at the time, which is why they were passed on to me. I also remember as a child in the 80's, buying some new tricks, which were virtually identical in technique, but updated versions of some of these. I specifically recall having the money maker roller trick which was made of red plastic, rather than the wooden one here, and a fake thumb cover with a handkerchief in it, which was rubber rather than metal, and of course the set of magic rings. It just goes to show, a good magic trick in the 1930's is still a good magic trick today. I did the Mystery Coin Box trick over Christmas for my Girlfriend's parents, along with catching them out with the fake box-camera with the springy snake inside!

When I was originally given the collection, they were just in a plain cardboard box. I wanted to finally give them a more fitting permanent home which I made just before Christmas; a wooden chest. Anyway I've taken photos of everything I have laid out, including all the paperwork. I've figured out what most of the stuff is over the years, but there is still about 20% or so, is either incomplete or unfathomable. Most of the stuff is magic related, but some items are exactly as they appear, like the pocket watches & pipe paraphernalia. Most of the paper material is ranging up to pretty tatty, so I'm keeping all that in a protective display book so I can still look through it easily. There is some stuff I know is missing, I have only two of the magic rings for instance.

There are a few items I'm hoping people might know what they are. The silver pieces of metal in front of the money maker roller on the top right. I think that the two silver halves go together and fit inside the shorter sleeve, and would spring apart on removal, but what that would be I have no idea. Maybe there is some part I'm missing. Also the three silver hip-flask bottle things on the far left above the ball puzzles. No idea what they might be either, or the square aluminium tube to the left of the pipe cleaners in the middle. Various misc bits & pieces look like they would fit nicely inside it, and that has some writing printed on it, but it's too faded to make out. Anyone any ideas?

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Magnificent collection, here. Just wow !!!! :shock: Been waiting 20 years for something like this. 8)

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