Yes, I realize I have posted on this before. I started a new post in hopes of catching the eye of someone with more to the story. Kathy Daniel believes that John got this prop from Dante, which I would love to believe as it would make for a great story to tell the audience, especially at the Magic Castle. Dante was Bill Larsen's favorite magician, he named his son Dante, we have a Dante room at the Castle. Dante died in 1955. I think the prop I have is one of Bob Kline's and the dates work, just. Dante didn't retire until the late 40s, that works too, just.
It's my OCD, I research a thing to death and this one has been problematic because of the tight timeline. The Jack Hughes prop looks different, I have seen one in person. I was born in 1953 and got interested in magic circa 60 - 61. As stated, my first memories of the effect are images seen in catalogs in that decade. The storyline of a prop being handed down from magician to magician is a wonderful trope and this would be Dante to John to me, again, of importance in the frame of the Magic Castle history: Irene Larsen was once married to John, I am married to Tom Glover's granddaughter, Bill Larsen was one of my closest friends, it's family. Of course, none of that will be said, only the part about the prop being passed from Dante to John to me, but backstory tends to drive my presentations even if they are unspoken. That my presentation involves a magician I mentor, Crow Garrett, continues the theme.
I don't need to know it's true, only that it was possible, verisimilitude is a wonderful thing when used correctly.