Dental Dam Coin Penetration

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Bill Mullins » 02/10/03 11:12 AM

I've always heard that the Dental Dam coin penetration was invented by Lubor Fiedler. Can anyone confirm this? Can anyone put a date on it?

The reason that I ask is that William Gewirtz obtained U.S. Patent #4,288,072 in 1981 on this trick.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/10/03 11:44 AM

The trick was invented by Lubor Fiedler in the mid to late 1950s. Davenport's bought the UK rights and has been selling it since then.
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 02/10/03 05:50 PM

Does anyone remember the old ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR episode "The Magic Shop" (1964)?

Didn't the shopkeeper perform Lubor's dam trick in that episode? I remember the boy he did it for exclaimed afterwards, "But I wanna see REAL magic!".

The kid was obviously insane.
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Postby Guest » 02/10/03 06:46 PM

Craig:

I remember it very well. It was a great episode, and the dental dam trick looked terrific. I did not think it was a real trick at the time, it seemed to me that it must have been a camera trick. When I found out later that the thing actually worked, and looked even better in real life, I was delighted. I still think it is one of the most powerful tricks in close-up magic. Especially when the spectator has a choice of coins, and pushes the quarter through by himself.
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Postby Jeff Eline » 02/10/03 07:17 PM

Would someone give a quick recap of the Dental Dam Coin Penetration? Thank you.
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Postby Guest » 02/10/03 07:33 PM

A six inch square of black or brown dental dam (the thin rubber sheet that dentists use to isolate a section of teeth) is stretched tight across the mouth of an empty glass, and held in place by encircling rubber bands. Resting on top of the rubber are two coins, a dime or penny and a quarter. One coin is selected, say the quarter. The spectator is asked to place his finger on the quarter. He pushes down and the quarter penetrates through the dam and into the glass. Everything can be examined. The rubber dam is completely solid, not so much as a pin hole. The only way to remove the quarter from the glass is to remove the rubber bands and rubber dam.
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Postby David Regal » 02/10/03 07:42 PM

Jeff -

The effect is simple:

The magician displays a shot glass which has a sheet of rubber stretched over its top. The rubber sheet is secured to the rim of the glass with rubber bands. Two different coins sit on the sheet of rubber. The spectator selects a coin, then pushes down on it with a finger. The coin visibly penetrates the rubber and falls into the glass. There is no hole in the sheet of rubber and all can be examined.

I first saw this trick when I was about twelve years old, and I still remember the feeling.
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Postby David Regal » 02/10/03 07:42 PM

We now have proof that Whit can type faster than me.
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Postby Guest » 02/10/03 07:55 PM

I first saw this trick when I was about twelve years old, and I still remember the feeling.

I was around 6 or 7 when I first saw it. Shari Lewis did it on T.V. Next day Gene Gordon sold enough of them to retire ;) !

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Postby Jeff Eline » 02/10/03 08:17 PM

Ahhh that one... thank you both for the explanation. :)
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Postby Jeff Eline » 02/10/03 08:19 PM

Has this effect recently been revisited in one of the periodicals? I remember reading this not that long ago, but I've also been going through my library for older stuff... (scratching head....)
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/10/03 08:48 PM

Visting the "Foxes Den" magic shop in Detroit, MI, about 58 years ago... Roy Kissell demod it for me and blew my brains out with it.

Still can't find all my brain matter, and can't find the dental dam either. :D
Stay tooned.
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 02/10/03 09:12 PM

Originally posted by bill mullins:
William Gewirtz obtained U.S. Patent #4,288,072 in 1981 on this trick.
The patent examiner must have been feeling awfully lazy that day.

Must have been the same guy who issued the hyperlinking and Amazon 1-Click patents.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/10/03 09:36 PM

There is a "plussed" handling of the Dental Dam trick in one of the later issues of IBIDEM. In the third book of the series that Minch just published (I think). It's quite clever because it enables you to cause BOTH coins to penetrate. Can't remember whose idea it is, though, and it is buried in print with nary a soul to perform it.
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Postby John Smetana » 02/11/03 01:45 PM

I seem to recall that this really great effect was included with 'The Klutz Book of Magic" Too bad...would have been nice if it had stayed underground.

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Postby Guest » 10/03/05 02:15 PM

I use two sheets of the dental damn to do the `penetrating' routine. I force the spectator to choose the coin I have prepared (two on top). I then let them push the coin which becomes trapped between the two sheets. This seems to have a neater response than letting it fall into the glass. I always pass it off as the magic in the room wasn't as strong as it needed to be. This leads into the next trick where I explain I need mental help from the spectators or only half the `coin - card - scarf - object' will dissappear. Kids love this routine because they each feel they are helping and a part of the show.

For an adult show (girls stag) I use this routine to explain `safety'....he he he he I also use condoms which works the same way and really sets back this type of spectators... I also use the `Vitamin-M pill' for a fun illusion, of which really gets them going.

And yes, I always take my wife for these `girls' parties.. ;-)

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Postby Van » 10/03/05 04:28 PM

In Johnny Brown's first book "Isn't That Good?!" on page 21 is a version with 3 coins that penetrate in the order named by the spectator.

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Postby Guest » 10/03/05 05:30 PM

Here's a link to the patent Bill Mullins invented.

I seem to remember reading that Al Cohen bought all rights to that trick for an absurdly small sum of money, from a guy who was sellling "all rights" to it to several different magic dealers.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/03/05 05:33 PM

Yes, this was Lubor Fieldler. He sold the rights to different dealers!
I'm sure that he knew he was going to get screwed and QUICKLY, so he tried to make as much money as he could up front.
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Postby Doomo » 10/03/05 09:35 PM

Don't forget the version through the rubber glove as a conlusion to coins across. By Don Wayne I think.
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Postby Spellbinder » 10/03/05 10:16 PM

Gewirtz wasted his money on a useless patent. All he got were bragging rights in dark corners of the world where no one knows the history of the effect.

Anyway, I wanted to comment on the effect appearing in "The Klutz Book of Magic." Some tricks are killed by such exposure, but this isn't one of them.

When I first had the trick done to me, back in the '60s, I was totally floored, and I can still recreate that feeling in the people I perform it for today, even if they begin by saying "Oh, I know that one." They really don't, and the people who buy books and just read the secrets still have no clue how it works because they never tried to SET IT UP.

Just stay away from dentists and the trick is as good as ever.
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Postby Guest » 10/03/05 11:49 PM

I have only used balloons for this trick. Use a balloon and you still may be able to fool dentists too! --Mitch Dutton
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Postby JD. » 10/04/05 08:42 AM

Back in 1991 I moved to London, Ontario to complete a two-year post-grad degree.

Looking for things to do, I joined the local IBM ring and became a regular performer.

One night, somebody brings out a little rubber sheet and does this absolutely staggering coin penetration. At that point, I had been into magic for about 14 years and pretty much concluded I had seen it all. Yet, even up close and after repeated performances, I still couldn't figure out what was going on.

I love that.

What surprised me, in particular, was that the principle had apparently been around for ages.

Great little trick. Still - or at least when I remember - find occasion to use it. Allowing the spectator to do the pushing really slays.

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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/04/05 04:22 PM

If you want to fool people who memorized the Klutz book of Magic, borrow a dime, and do a shuttle-pass-style switch as you (apparently) put it down on the dam. Then hand them the glass, let them press the coin through, and to remove their borrowed coin from the cup, they have to remove the dam.

The old adage is true: the best way to deal with the increased "exposure" of magic methods in your audiences is to combine two different methods in one trick.
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Postby Michael Kamen » 10/04/05 08:06 PM

Switching out the borrowed dime is a nice touch. Substituting the borrowed dime for the one that tinkled down into the glass, so the spectator can remove the dam and find it there herself is a very good trick indeed.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/04/05 11:07 PM

Or, get two of those clear plastic film cannisters (any photo processing place has buckets of used ones). Cut a circular hole through each of the tops, so all that's left is a rim. Cut two identical pieces of dental dam big enough to cover the cannister.

Take one piece of dam, load the dime, then put it over the cannister and seal it with the lid/rim. Put this in your left pocket.

Put the duplicate cannister, lid, dam, and dime, in your right pocket.

Bring out the cannister, lid, and dam. Show them around, and snap the lid over the dam, matching the preset cannister in the pocket.. Now remove the dime, but do Tamariz's Double Crossing the Gaze switch, changing in the prepped cannister as you (apparently) search for the dime in your pockets.

Show the dime, put it on the dam, etc.

I know, it's a bit of effort and not quickly resettable, but seriously -- who would that not kill?
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/04/05 11:38 PM

I don't know if any of you have ever actually set the trick up a long time in advance, say 30 minutes to an hour, but the coin starts to look abnormal after awhile.
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Postby Lee » 10/18/05 06:26 PM

I tried to think of some kind of device that could be used to quickly reset, but never really had any good ideas.

Also, though the glass has advantages, you can do it with spectators holding the corners of the rubber sheet.
-- yikes!
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Postby Joe Mckay » 10/19/05 09:50 AM

This is a great trick, one of Lubor's very best...However, I seem to remember a version advertised a few years ago in which the rubber/dental dam was coloured black. To my mind, this makes the trick look even better. Perhaps this version is very common, but the only one I have been able to find online and at the local magic shop is the traditional 'latex' one...

So, if this makes any sense to anyone, could they mention whether they have seen the 'black' version for sale anywhere?

Thanks!

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Postby Edwin Corrie » 10/19/05 12:54 PM

Tenyo used to sell this as "Coin and Glass", and I believe the rubber square in it was black. Must have been in the early 70's.

http://www.tenyoworld.co.uk/

http://www.chez.com/michelmagie/T-033.htm

A UK dealer is currently advertising a version called "Pena Coin" with black rubber. See http://zebweb.com/weblinks/index.php?ac ... t&catid=13

There was also a book called "The Best Dam Tricks" which seems to be still available.
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Postby Joe Mckay » 10/19/05 03:47 PM

Thanks for the link...'Penacoin' looks like the one...The black rubber should help fool any dentists watching as well...

Time to start a religion...
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Postby Bill Palmer » 11/06/05 03:05 PM

During the 1950's and 1960's the dental dam we got from the supply houses was dark gray.
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Postby Guest » 11/06/05 03:28 PM

In the early sixties -- before the Magic Castle had regular scheduled shows, I was sitting in
one room with a magician from South America (due to a senior moment of unusual
duration I can not remember hs name). Dai Vernon was in another room with other folk.
He came bouncing in to show us a trick he had just learned -- it was what later became
known as the dam trick. Having amazed and floored us he went back to the other group
and the two of us tried to figure out the working. We concluded that it was the same
method that was used in fighter planes to create the self-sealing fuel tanks that could
withstand gunfire.

I hoped fervently that I would never learn how it was done so that it would not be so
exposed that everyone knew it. Ha!! In a short time it was marketed and indeed everyone
knew it.

Such has been the path of every trick that I have seen and wished kept secret. I didnt feel
that I had to know every working as I enjoyed being fooled, too. Although you might not
believe it, Albert Goshman shared this idea that it would be nice if there were some tricks
that we could look at with the eyes of the layman.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 11/06/05 06:26 PM

Yes, it is in The Klutz Book of Magic (page 26, "Beam Down This Quarter, Scotty." The book calls this "serious magic. In some ways, it is the best close-up effect alive."

It goes on to state: "When Martin Gardner first saw it, he took it to the world-famous Bell Laboratories and shut the place down for a day while the researchers tried to figure it out."

The guy who patented this age old trick in 1981 was a fellow by the name of William Gewirtz. By coincidence, guess the name of a fellow who used to work for Bell Labs? William Gewirtz.

Will wonders ever cease.

John
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Postby Bill Mullins » 11/07/05 10:26 PM

Originally posted by John W. LeBlanc:
The guy who patented this age old trick in 1981 was a fellow by the name of William Gewirtz. By coincidence, guess the name of a fellow who used to work for Bell Labs? William Gewirtz.
I emailed the Bell Labs Gewirtz -- he said that the Dental Dam Gewirtz is a different guy -- even though they both are William Lawrence Gewirtz.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 11/10/05 11:31 PM

Originally posted by Doomo:
Don't forget the version through the rubber glove as a conlusion to coins across. By Don Wayne I think.
I believe that was by Derek Lever.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 11/11/05 01:16 PM

Originally posted by Bill Palmer:
Originally posted by Doomo:
[b] Don't forget the version through the rubber glove as a conlusion to coins across. By Don Wayne I think.
I believe that was by Derek Lever. [/b]
Bill, wasn't that glove thing Doug Bennet's?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/11/05 01:50 PM

Originally posted by John W. LeBlanc:
...The guy who patented this age old trick in 1981 was a fellow by the name of William Gewirtz. By coincidence, guess the name of a fellow who used to work for Bell Labs? William Gewirtz...
Prior art indeed.

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Postby Reinhard Mueller » 11/13/05 06:15 AM

Lubor Fiedler's effect was first published in the German Magazine ZAUBERKUNST No.6/ 1958, and it was reprinted in the magazine of German Magic Circle MAGIE No.2, 1959, p.55.
Fiedler,living still living in Brnn (Czech Republic) at that time, wrote that he found this trick in working with rubber gloves in his laboratory.
The title of the effect is "Eine fast unmgliche Mnzenwanderung" Original(=original!!!!) von (=by) Lubomir Fiedler, Brnn.
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