Pinetti - Decremps

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 10/28/07 02:39 AM

I am so apologize. I ask this question many times, but nobody answered me.

We all "know" that Decremps wrote his books for reveal Pinetti tricks. I write "know" because it is written on all books on magic. But... What prove?

The name Pinetti never appear on books of Decremps. Peoples tell me "He call him Pilferer". But if you have book by Fechner "Magic of Robert-Houdin" you can see engrave of "The Famous Pilferer" and this is not Pinetti. All tricks (almost all) was made by another magicians of that period. Everybody can go to special shop and buy that equipments. So, Decremps reveal only popular tricks of that time... nothing more... And if he reveal one trick what do just only Pinetti, with same power he reveal some of tricks what made only another magicians...

Who first SUPPOSE Decremps reveal Pinetti tricks? Is there any proves except story by Robert-Houdin how Pinetti revenge Decremps? Who can help me by facts?

Postby Guest » 10/28/07 05:54 AM

Stephen Forrester examined the relationship of Decremps, Pinetti, and their published works in an article in Yankee Magic Collector #12 still available here:

You might also contact Stephen directly.

Hope this helps,


Postby Guest » 10/28/07 08:37 AM

Thanks. I will try use it.

Postby Guest » 10/28/07 01:03 PM

It will be complicate to afford in the few lines of a post the Pinetti-Decremps relationships.
It is true that Decremps never named his rival: this was the typical style of his time literary tradition of the caustic and satyric pamphlets; also to avoid legal problems or give free publicity to his target.
The evidence of Pinetti is however given by the textual and precisely allusive coincidences in the chronology between Decremps' Magie Blanche Devoile (1784), Pinetti's Amusements Phisiques (May 1784) and Decremps' subsequent Supplement a la Magie Blanche Devoile (1785). And is only in this latter work that Decremps uses the Pilserer character. In his first text, Decremps just speaks about "a famous italian having glory everywhere". Anyway, f you read carefully the three books (especially in French), you understands clearly how Pinetti is clearly Decremps' target. Other proofs are in the contemporary press and playbills.
I'm not sure about Robert-Houdin's sources about Pinetti: but at his times allusions and reference were in the sources of early Paris theatrical life, in some dictionary, or scarce books about magic, especially in the ones agains charlatanism. For exemple, Pinetti is among the subjects of Abb Fiard two books of 1803 (La France tromp par les magiciens) and 1815 (Le mystre des magnetizerurs....). It is also possible that Robert-Houdin found other sources about Pinetti when performing in London, where Pinetti left quite some traces (his Haymarket playbill and programs are still remaining).
If you read French, I consider interesting two books with references about Pinetti and Decremps: Campardon's seminal Les Spectacle de la Foire (1877) and recently reprinted) and Fournel's Le Vieux Paris (1865).
I briefly afford the subyect in my book Illusionismi (2002) that is in Italian language, and some most extensive recent French sources are available too.
I hope having been helpful



If you like magic history, you can find amusing my blog:

Postby Philippe Billot » 10/28/07 01:31 PM

Hi Stepanov,

You can read also :

Magie blanche & amusements physiques, published par Joker Deluxe in 1998.

In this book you have an analysis of the conflict by Philippe St. Laurent.

The story was known because newspapers like Journal de Paris or l'Anne littraire related the matter.

And for the name "Pilferer", Decremps, who liked coded message, found this greek word which begins by PI (like PInetti)and means light-fingered or petty thief or... pilferer !!!
Philippe Billot
Posts: 1003
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: PARIS - FRANCE

Postby Guest » 10/28/07 02:36 PM

Originally posted by Philippe Billot:
Magie blanche & amusements physiques, published par Joker Deluxe in 1998.

Philippe, do you know if this is still available? I've been looking for it for some time, but it seems to be out of print.

Postby Guest » 10/28/07 03:50 PM

It is unfortunately out of print, and the introduction is one of the recent French text I alluded at, maybe the best analysis about the subject. You can try your chance sometimes in some internet auction...

Postby Guest » 10/29/07 01:16 AM

Thanks, I'll have to keep looking for a secondhand copy.

Postby Guest » 10/29/07 01:41 PM

Thanks for all.

I will try get all books what was suggested. But...

King of History is FACT. Not "I suppose", not "analysis of the conflict" and not "I read books and understands clearly..."

Looks here
This is picture from Simon Blocquel's book "Les Mille et un Tours...", 1850. This is fact.

Robert-Houdin on his manuscript "Feuilleton du Cagliostro..." call Pelfirer "saltimbanque" and "plutot de charlatan Bohemien", so he supposed Pinetti and Pilferer were two person. This is fact too.

Both facts not prove that Pilferer was not Pinetti, but show SOMEONE SUPPOSE THIS. Looks like it was old view on history. Interesting - who was first genius who loudly tell "I guess Pilferer was Pinetti"? And how he prove it? Just "I read a book and I understand..."?

Apologize if I wrote something not correct on English. I am just Russian with questions. I am mathematician with clear mind. I believe nobody. I made so many suppositions on my life, but facts broke a most of them that I began doubt on my intellect.

Postby Philippe Billot » 10/29/07 03:03 PM

Hi Stepanov,

It's not a supposition, it's a fact related by newspapers in 1784 and 1785.
Even in England, the Evening Post knows that Pinetti was Pilferer.
Philippe Billot
Posts: 1003
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: PARIS - FRANCE

Postby Guest » 10/29/07 03:56 PM

Ops. Apologize.

So I need that newspapers. I will try get it. Unfortunately I read a lot of books about history but never see newspapers inside.

What about Robert-Houdin? He mean another Pilferer?

Postby Philippe Billot » 10/30/07 01:10 AM

It's because PILFERER is not a name but a word (greek origin). In France, the translation is CHAPARDEUR (thief in english) but the word Pilferer is (was)also used in english.

If a magician was named Pilferer, it's ironic. We can say he had a strange sense of humour.
Philippe Billot
Posts: 1003
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: PARIS - FRANCE

Postby Guest » 10/30/07 02:10 AM

I understand. Like Worousky. On Russian it means thief too. Together with Dr. Oslof, what means Donkey, it looks like strange company.

Postby Guest » 10/30/07 03:31 AM

I don't know the person behind this, but it contains a bit of information about Pinetti and Decremps: ... juring.htm

Postby Guest » 10/30/07 07:03 AM

This book possible get on ... W1pEGq0EeQ with pictures.

Looks like author Dr. C. Matthew McMahon. he made wery bad scan. Some of words not correct.

Probably just now I understand problem. I can not understood WHY on first book Pinetti not Pilferer, but on second - Pilferer? Not Decremps take tricks from Pinetti, but Pinetti take tricks from first book of Decremps. And on second book Decremps give him this name... Uff. I am so slow thinking. Apologize...

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