Billiard Production - Shell Load

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Postby Guest » 06/16/06 09:33 AM

Hi Folks,

I'm seeking a citation to the now commonly used strategy of producing a billiard from a shell covered ball, and then loading a solid ball into the shell when the other hand comes over to take and display the newly arrived ball.

Where did this classic strategy appear in print?

Thanks in advance,

Jonathan
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 06/16/06 12:28 PM

Jon,
It can be found in "The Modern Conjurer", by C. Lang Neil, 1902, pg. 199-200. Not sure if there is an earlier reference.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 06/16/06 01:00 PM

Thanks Jim,

I'd like to cite that in an essay for use soon.

Funny how something so often used can be overlooked when it comes time to give thanks for the goodies we learn and use.

Jon
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Postby Guest » 06/16/06 09:21 PM

Hoffmann gives credit to de Kolta in More Magic (ca. 1889??), p. 123....In his later work, Magical Tidbits (1911) during a discussion of the half shell, he makes reference to the More Magic credit to de Kolta to clarify that the ball shell was de Kolta's (Footnote, page 39).

opie
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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 05:35 AM

Originally posted by Opie R.:
Hoffmann gives credit to de Kolta in More Magic (ca. 1889??), p. 123....In his later work, Magical Tidbits (1911) during a discussion of the half shell, he makes reference to the More Magic credit to de Kolta to clarify that the ball shell was de Kolta's (Footnote, page 39).
Thanks Opie. Did Hoffmann mention that strategy for taking the shell and loading it to show as a solid ball? The reachover with the palmed ball and loading under cover of taking the shell ... such a simple and effective thing. :cool:
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/17/06 07:56 AM

The Multiplying Billiard Balls as we know it today was invented by August Roterburg, the magic dealer from Chicago. That is, three separate balls and a shell.
It is based on DeKolta's idea, but I believe the shells were hinged to the ball in the DeKolta trick.
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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 08:49 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The Multiplying Billiard Balls as we know it today was invented by August Roterburg,...
Richard, do you believe the ball into shell load thing is Roterburg's?
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/17/06 09:52 AM

As said by Opie, in More Magic (1890) Hoffmann writes in chapter X111 - Ball Tricks :

"For this (trick), as for so many of the prettiest drawing-room tricks, the conjuring world is indebted to the ingenuity of Mr. Buatier de Kolta."

And he describes the routine of Professor Hellis (who was his teacher). This routine works with two balls and two shells.

Personaly, I haven't a formal proof that Buatier "created" the shell but in France, we know that he used it and not the hinged shells which served for the production of four balls, like the candles.

Hope this help.
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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 10:02 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The Multiplying Billiard Balls as we know it today was invented by August Roterburg, the magic dealer from Chicago. That is, three separate balls and a shell.
It is based on DeKolta's idea, but I believe the shells were hinged to the ball in the DeKolta trick.
According to a very interesting and credible account in John Braun's OF LEGIERDEMAINE AND DIVERSE JUGGLING KNACKS (pages 5 and 6), credit for this version should actually be accorded to George F. Wright, a onetime assistant to Kellar who worked in Roterberg's shop. Braun quotes Wright's first hand account of how the move of rolling the ball out of the shell came about by accident and led naturally to the four ball production, which Roteberg was not too interested in, until Wright demonstrated it for an enthusiastic customer. Wright was not inspired by the DeKolta version, but while playing with the parts of ball vases imported from Germany. Braun gives the following published record, in English, of the effect: The DeKolta hinged shell version in Hoffmann's MORE MAGIC (1890), Roterberg's THE MODERN WIZARD (1895/6) and LATTER DAY TRICKS (1896) both have versions using a single half shell (rather than a hinged shell) and 3 solid balls, but not the modern 1 to 4 multiplication. Braun gives Stanyon's NEW MISCELLANEOUS TRICKS AND MEMORY FEATS (Serial Number 6) in 1900 as the first publication of the modern 1 to 4 version, uncredited there. This is the same version Roterberg sold in his shop (but not described in his books) as "The Excelsior Billiard Ball Trick." No doubt thanks to the many sets sold worldwide by Roterberg, in many northern European countries the trick is still known as the "Chicago" Billiard Ball trick.
This doesn't directly address Jonathan's question, though the answer would probably be found in the sources cited by Braun.

Richard ("loves to pick at the minor factual errors in others' works") Hatch
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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 10:48 AM

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
...credit for this version should actually be accorded to George F. Wright, a onetime assistant to Kellar who worked in Roterberg's shop. Braun quotes Wright's first hand account of how the move of rolling the ball out of the shell came about by accident and led naturally to the four ball production...
Thanks Richard. Another magic moment from a magic shop.

This sounds closer to getting the citation sought. Rolling the ball out of a shell to make one appear is the setup for the move that comes next. It sounds likely that this magic moment also happened at the magic shop.

Any guesses as to whether the load was first done right or left handed?
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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 11:57 AM

I am curious about whether Hoffmann is claiming credit for first rolling a ball in and out of a single shell. He does imply that HIS shell/ball move ...was considerably earlier than (de Kolta's) invention of the same expedient...The following information is quoted from Hoffmann's Magical Tidbits, page 39:

...(With a wave of the left hand, he brings the black ball behind the shell and shows them as one only).

Footnote (p.39):

11 As a matter of magical chronology, I may mention that my use of a shell ball, as above, was considerably earlier than the invention of the same expedient, in connection with his billiard ball trick, by Bautier de Kolta. I failed, however, to realise the very extensive developments of which the idea was susceptible.

Any thoughts on that???

opie
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Postby Bo Jonsson » 06/17/06 01:12 PM

On the internet can be found a very interesting magic paper called "The Gimmick" vol 17 No 1 January 20, 2003. Page 4-7 has a very good article on Multiplaying billiard balls. Look at:

http://www.tacomamagicclub.com/images/jan03.pdf

On page 6 the whole story of George F Wright who worked for Roteberg is told.
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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 04:52 PM

Originally posted by Bo Jonsson:
On the internet can be found a very interesting magic paper called "The Gimmick" vol 17 No 1 January 20, 2003. Page 4-7 has a very good article on Multiplaying billiard balls. Look at:
...
Thanks for the pointer. It's a wondeful article. Who wrote it? Who can I ask about the research behind it?
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Postby Tom Stone » 06/17/06 05:42 PM

I did a piece on the Multiplying Balls for the swedish magazine "Trollkarlen" a couple of years ago. It was around 16 pages, so I can't post it here. But a few of the details:

"The history of the Multiplying Ball effect isnt as ancient as one might believe, but it is all the more messy. The origin has been tracked back to Buatier de Kolta, who in 1875, for the first time ever, performed an effect where one ball magically was produced, and then multiplied into three balls. However, the choreography was quite different from what is considered standard today. In de Koltas original, the balls were held together in one hand, from underneath the hand acting almost as a basket for the balls, while all the magic was performed with the other hand. As noted by Tommy Wonder, the original effect was more elegant than the versions known today. But where has todays standard handling appeared from? The history here gets trickier to follow.

"In Hoffmans book More Magic (1889), Hoffman describes, with credits to de Kolta, a small variation. But the choreography and effect is still basically the same.

"The first time a version similar to the modern handling is published is in the August issue 1900 of a German magazine, Carl Willmanns Zauberwelt. There are no credits in the description, but it isnt claimed as a new piece either. And the piece has the somewhat odd title (in translation) The Chicago Balls.

"So, the origin of the modern standard choreography seems to have appeared between the publication of Hoffmans book in 1889 and the published effect in Zauberwelt 1900. And in the latter, there is an odd reference to Chicago. Going through the records, it turns out that the only connection Willmann had to Chicago, was that he was doing business with a German-born dealer of magic props named August Roterberg.

"During this period, August Roterberg published two books, both containing effects with balls: The Modern Wizard (1894) and Latter Day Tricks (1896). Curiously enough, these pieces make use of the same props as todays standard routines, but the choreography is still an emulation of de Koltas.

"But it still seems like Roterberg is the creator of todays standard version, because soon after the publication of Latter Day Tricks, he published a small manuscript (together with the props) titled: Excelsior Ball Trick, and here all the pieces in the puzzle is in place. Both the props and the choreography is the same as what is known as standard today, and the balls are produced between the fingers."

... Then, thanks to Richard Hatch, I continued with the story of George F. Wright, from John Braun's column in Linking Ring.
Don't know if this is of any use, and my research might be flawed, as I've relied a lot on second hand information.
-Tom Stone
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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 08:53 PM

There seems to be two components to the move in question: the rollout production and the take/load. Ill leave it for others to determine ownership of the rollout. Of greater interest is the take/load portion, for its a perfect example of synergism.

Before we give the nod to Wright, are we certain that the trick Roterberg marketed includes the take/loading move? That idea isnt mentioned in Brauns article. Indeed, the only claim Wright makes is for a one-handed rollout. He says he produced four balls with the technique, so one can reasonably assume a take/load would inevitably develop in pursuit of that goal.

The only way to remove any doubt is to examine the original instruction sheets for Latest Billiard Ball Trick and The Excelsior Billiard Ball Trick, both issued by Roterberg. Does anyone have access to copies of these?

Brauns article appears to indicate that this all happened on Illinois Street. If thats correct, then a best guess as to the date of inception would be the years between 1898 and 1902 when Roterbergs shop was at 145 Illinois Street. Wright would have been working there. That harmonizes with Tom Stones 1900 reference to Zauberwelt. Its perhaps too much of a coincidence that the Germans were calling it Chicago Balls.

Heres one more reference to add to the confusion. Excelsior was also published in Camille Gaultiers Magic Without Apparatus (1914) where you can find the take/load move explained on page 447 with a clarifying illustration.
"The usual manner of persuading the audience that the ball which has just appeared is really solid consists of (1) taking it between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, and at this moment introducing into the shell (from behind) the ball that has hitherto been palmed in this hand (Fig. 176); (2) moving the right hand away, carrying the upper ball and showing it on all sides; and (3) bringing the right hand close to the left (which at the moment is turned palm outward) and knocking the two balls together to prove their solidity, beyond all shadow of doubt, by the sound."

Image

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Postby Guest » 06/17/06 10:31 PM

Originally posted by Craig Matsuoka:
...published in Camille Gaultiers Magic Without Apparatus (1914) where you can find the take/load move explained on page 447 with a clarifying illustration....
Thanks Craig, that illustration brings back memories from Tannen's and their shelves of classic books including that and even The Magic of Rezvani.

I remain eager to find out who gets the nod and credit for the thing as it has become so well liked as to become integral to our basic lore and almost invisible for its genius.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/18/06 01:45 AM

Excerpt from L'Illusionniste, Vol. 1, N 5, May 1902, page 7 :

LES BOULES EXCELSIOR
(N 646, Catalogue CAROLY)

this trick is very new and much more seizing that the old experiment, however extremely pretty, of the three billiard balls. Here, the operator produces, only with one hand, four billiard balls, held between the fingers as the figure indicates it.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/18/06 03:01 PM

Philippe, if the "operator" is producing four balls with only one hand, then he has to have multiple hinged shells like a set of Multiplying Candles.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/18/06 03:21 PM

No, it just the advertising because he need his other hand to load the balls in the shell.

Caroly want just to say that before, even with a single shell, you have to mask with one hand the ball held INTO the other hand before producing another ball and now, with the new handling, you can produce a ball at the fingertip without cover, ergo "with one hand"

I hope my explainations (or my english) are clear!
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Postby Guest » 06/18/06 06:34 PM

Originally posted by Philippe Billot:
... Here, the operator produces, only with one hand, four billiard balls, held between the fingers as the figure indicates it.
I have not seen the figure. One interpretation of this text is that one hand does the production sleight and palms the ball while the other hand first produces the gaff (as ball one) then un-nests the gaff one "ball" at a time.

The secret production side of this handling would be done under cover of supposedly taking the just produced ball to the fingertips of the other hand.

Is this close?
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Postby Philippe Billot » 06/19/06 12:50 AM

Jonathan,

I haven't the time to translate the excerpt but, if you (or one of your friends) can read french, and if you agree, I can send you the scan of the trick.
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