In his book Illusion Show, David Bamberg recalled an interesting story about Houdini's needles. As a teenager he was a given a quarter by his father, Okito, to deliver a gadget to Houdini's brownstone at 278 W. 113th Street. The quarter covered the streetcar and subway fare from David's residence in Flatbush, Brooklyn, with five cents left for an ice cream cone.
When David arrived at Houdini's home, the escape artist was wearing a sloppy pair of pants and was shirtless (no AC in those days). He gave the young David a lecture on the benefits of exercise and on the harmful effects of smoking. He then offered David some chewing gum and pointed to a nearby desk and told him to open a drawer. When David opened the drawer to get the gum, he saw Houdini's prepared needle loads neatly arranged in a row. At the time, Bamberg wanted the secret to this effect, and it hit him in the face when he opened that drawer.