de Kolta vanishing birdcage

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Postby Guest » 11/20/05 10:49 PM

I don't know if it is the right section to open this topic..
but..hoping it is the right one, i'd like to ask you a question.
I've bought the Peter Warlock book about de Kolta 2 weeks ago, and i can't understand some things.
For example there is a description by Will Goldston about the mechanics of the de Kolta round birdcage.
But i think there are some discrepancies.
For example Goldston doesn't mention at all the bird.
Was it a real bird or a fake bird?
And if it was real, i suppose he died, since the cage became flat, when it went up the sleeve!
Another thing that i don't understand, is that Goldston says that de Kolta , in order to make the cage reappear, had to go outside the stage..
but..some pages earlier, the 23 december 1886 London newspaper reports that de Kolta produced the birdcage in an istant, without going outside..and more:permitting the audience to examine his coat.
So i would be very pleased if someone will help me to understand better these discrepancies about the bird and the reappearance of the cage!
Hoping for an answer of yours..

Postby Pete Biro » 11/21/05 12:40 PM

I would say the most important thing to understand is the Will Goldston often GUESSED at what the methods were. He was known for writing things that were not accurate (sadly).

I would think maybe some research in the Sphinx or some other early British magazines would get you closer to the real answer.
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Postby David Alexander » 11/23/05 12:17 PM

Having more than a little experience with round cages, I agree with Pete.

Goldston claimed that the cage was in front of him as he wrote what was later reproduced in the Warlock book, originally in the Magician Annual of 1909-10. I have problems with the physics of Goldston's explanation. I think Goldston sold "secrets" to a gullible magic public who were in no position to determine the truth of what Goldston sold them.

For example, there doesn't seem to be any clear indication in the drawing how de Kolta actually operated the pull....and I think the cage would not close as readily as explained, once the springy-ness lessened in the top and bottom of the cage. The hook that supposedly holds it shut would be a problem going up the sleeve.and the size seems unlikely given that de Kolta would have a stiff arm and would have to leave the stage to remove the cage if he were to continue performing.etc.

These problems were resolved by Jon Martin, working on a cage he made for Frakson, who perfected the Vanish and Reproduction of a large, domed cage. This cage is being replicated by Master Magic Mechanic James Riser and will be available in limited release next year, complete with a DVD by me on how to perform the entire effect as presented by Frakson many years ago.

It won't be cheap.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 11/25/05 08:56 AM

Goldston was the Pinetti of his time. His descriptions often lacked one ingredient -- facts.
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Postby Guest » 11/25/05 04:35 PM

So Mr.Palmer..
you are aying that the descriptions that Goldston made about the de Kolta effects are not reliable?
I am very interested in the de Kolta illusions.. and i don't know if the Goldston explanations are based on facts or are in some way guessed by Goldston.
Another thing i wanted to know is if the Goldston Locked books are worth buying or if they are full of false explanations.

Postby Pete Biro » 11/25/05 06:25 PM

Re-read my post above. The locked books are good as collectables, but not for their accuracy. They look nice on the shelf and are fun to look through, but again, Goldston just wrote how the THOUGHT most of the illusions were done not knowing the details most of the time.
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Postby David Alexander » 11/26/05 10:36 AM

Goldston's books are collected mostly as artifacts, not for their accurate information, although I know of one performer who spent good money to aquire one Goldston volume to get what he believed was the "real work" on Okito's Floating Ball. Maybe Goldston got it right that time.

Certainly my own experience with various types of Vanishing Bird Cages leads me to reject the nonsense proffered by Goldston in his "explanation" of de Kolta's large, double ended cage. His explanation of the pull is pure blather. Despite his claims to have had the apparatus in front of him as he wrote, the effect could not be worked the way he described. The best you could say is that, if accurate, Goldston's explanation of the cage and pull are woefully incomplete.

Goldston published at a time when information about magic was closely held and little published. This was information about theatrical attractions that permitted professionals to earn their livings performing. Goldston exploited the curious by passing on his guesses....some educated and others, not even that.

If you want information on old illusions, you'd be far better off searching out patents. I remember as a kid reading through the Patent Gazette in my public library. Jim Wobensmith, a patent attorney and amateur magician, compliled a list. I believe his book is relatively scarce. Chuck Kirkham hustled the magic public in the 1960s with his "Locked Book of Screts," little more than a scanty listing of illusion patents.

Also, today you have access to building techniques and materials the Old Masters never dreamed of.
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Postby Guest » 11/29/05 03:32 AM

which book of patent is the best to search in?
What do you think about the Peter Warlock book?

Postby David Alexander » 11/29/05 01:21 PM

You pose a typical question in that you want the "best" book to look in. There are few "bests" in anything. There are sources and most have a degree of value, one way or the other. The better educated you are in your chosen field, the better you will be at determining the degree of value of any given source.

The Warlock book on De Kolta has its pluses and minuses. Warlock reproduces Goldstons nonsense on the double-ended bird cage apparently without doing any analysis of the method presented and its obvious impracticality.

One of the more interesting parts of the Warlock book is the publishing of a short memoir by de Koltas widow, Alice Mumford. In it she comments that the famous Vanishing Cage was sold to Kellar not by de Kolta himself, but by the cousin, behind de Koltas back. She also observes that de Kolta came backstage at Kellars show and saw a Cocoon. Kellar, seeing their surprise, said that hed bought it from Maskelyne when he was last in England. This strongly suggests that, as Ive written elsewhere, Kellar and Maskelyne had a business arrangement that stretched over many years and that Kellar was not a thief as has been put forward by others.

Most illusions require the use of a stage, curtains and lights for their proper presentation. This is why the most popular and often-seen illusions used by working magicians are the Sub Trunk/Canvas Covered Box, the Broom Suspension, the Lester Lake Guillotine, the Sword Basket, and the Zig Zag. All of these illusions can be presented in circumstances that most working pros find floors, small risers, and places without a proper stage. Few, if any of de Koltas illusions meet these practical criteria.
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Postby Guest » 12/02/05 09:32 AM

But i've read in the de Kolta book that he performed his big illusions also in other theatres.
I've other 2 questions.
1)I've read on the book that the lenght of Buatier show was sometimes 28 minutes.
Isn't it too short for a theatre show?
Was it usual in that period
to do so short shows?
2)The book of Peter Warlock asserts that Goldston owned some of the de Kolta props.
Is it real?
If it is so, not many of his descriptions about Buatier should be wrong.
Waiting for an answer of some enlighted soul...
my best regards.

Postby David Alexander » 12/02/05 11:45 AM

Just because Goldston said he had the props doesn't mean he was telling the truth. Many of Goldston's explanations are nonsense that knowledgeable people, then and now, well understand.

Again, anyone with any experience with vanishing cages will tell you that the explanation for the large, double-ended cage vanish is nonsense, regardless of Goldston claiming to have the prop in front of him as he wrote. A tiny bit of thinking about the description of the pull, regardless of Goldston claiming how wonderful it is, will show that the pull, as described, can't work. There's no place to apply force to make it work. Either deliberately or unintentionally, Goldston explains nothing.

On length of performance: There is a difference between doing an act and doing a full show. De Kolta would have done both in his career. It depends on where he was booked, what the theatrical facilities were and how much he was being paid.
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Postby Guest » 12/03/05 07:18 AM

only one thing i don't understand.
Did Mr.Goldston really owned some of Buatier's props or is just an invention?
How can we know?
By the way i find Goldston explanations very strange..
In Warlock book at page 118, Warlock says that it is a fact that Goldston owned the Soup Plates of de Kolta.
And in the preface of the book, Peter Warlock praises Goldston articles and books.
So i must suppose that Warlock research is not so to the point.

Postby Richard Hatch » 12/03/05 08:18 AM

Goldston did own a DeKolta expanding die, so it is quite possible, even likely, that he owned other of DeKolta's properties.
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Postby David Alexander » 12/03/05 12:52 PM

Well, as I previously posted, so what? Just because he owned the prop doesn't mean he knew how it worked, how to present it, or the various details of setting it up.

Goldston claimed he was writing about the de Kolta's large Vanishing Bird Cage as he wrote it up in the early 1900s, with "special" illustrations. What he "explained" was nonsense. So, even giving him the benefit of the doubt that the owned "other" de Kolta props, doesn't automatically mean he knew much about what he owned.

There are collectors all over the world who own props they couldn't perform if their lives depended on it.

I'm not knocking collectors, but simply owning a prop, understanding how it works, and how to present it are far different things.
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Postby Guest » 12/04/05 03:50 AM

Now i don't want to be repetitive.
It's really a matter of understanding.
Now i must be honest..i didn't know Goldston Locked books existence before buying the Peter Warlock book about Buatier.
But since i like understanding things i'd like to ask this:
In the preface of the Peter Warlock book on de Kolta,both Mike Caveney praises Goldston work on de Kolta.Bit there is more:in fact he says that a lot of material for this book was taken from Will Goldston articles and books.
Then in Peter Warlock preface, he says that a lot of people loves the locked books but also a lot of people don't like it.For what i know it seems Mr.Warlock trusts a lot Goldston material.
Now my questions:
1)How come intelligent people like Peter Warlock and Mike Caveney, who are not(well, Mr.Warlock passed away) magician amateurs, would choose to publish a wonderful book like that, basing it most exclusively on Goldston material?Didn't they know that most of its explanations were just nonesense(if so it is, i don't know).Didn't they know that Goldston material was not trusty?
2)Now as a you think the PETER WARLOCK BOOK ON DE KOLTA is reliable material?
3)Why some people think that Goldston material is trusty and other people think it is not trusty?Is it a recent issue, or also when the LOCKED BOOKS where published, its material wasn't take seriously by magicians?

Hoping for debate and enlighted answers from you..
my best regards!

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