Multiplying Balls - origin?

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Postby Tom Stone » 01/05/03 06:19 PM

What is the origin of the Multiplying Balls effect?
I would be grateful for any information at all.

Sincerely,
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/05/03 06:25 PM

It's Buatier DeKolta's. I'm not sure if he called it "The Excelsior Ball Trick," or if that was the name given to it when only one shell was used later on. DeKolta used (I think) two or three shells hinged together and only one loose ball.
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/05/03 09:18 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
It's Buatier DeKolta's. I'm not sure if he called it "The Excelsior Ball Trick," or if that was the name given to it when only one shell was used later on. DeKolta used (I think) two or three shells hinged together and only one loose ball.
Thanks Richard. I think that I can get my hands on a copy of the DeKolta book.
Any ideas on whom might be resposible for the single shell method that are the basis for most of the standard routines?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/05/03 09:51 PM

It might be Roterberg.
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/05/03 10:02 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
It might be Roterberg.
Seems so. "The Chicago Ball trick"...

Are there any biographies about Roterberg? Would be interesting to see if he had any comments regarding his version compared with DeKolta's.
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/05/03 11:49 PM

My dad was on the bill with someone that did billiard balls in the 1020s, and he said the magician had a steal where the ball sprung up out of his outer jacket handkerchief pocket.

I do know the DeKolta had a gaff under his coat around chest high that shot balls out. He may have been the act my dad worked with.

I saw the DeKolta gimmicks in England and I think Jon Martin was the maker.
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/06/03 08:36 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
[QB]My dad was on the bill with someone that did billiard balls in the 1020s,
46 years before the battle at Hastings? Damn, you're older than I thought ;)

Thanks for the information, Pete!
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Postby CHRIS » 01/06/03 09:01 AM

Originally posted by Tom Stone:
[QBAre there any biographies about Roterberg? Would be interesting to see if he had any comments regarding his version compared with DeKolta's.[/QB]
Richard Hatch has done research on Roterberg. He is currently writing an introduction to my ebook republication of Roterberg's "New Era Card Tricks". I don't know if he will address the multiplying ball trick, but I will ask him if he has some information and perhaps to include it in his write up.

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Postby Tom Stone » 01/06/03 09:34 AM

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
Richard Hatch has done research on Roterberg.
Thanks Chris. I'll talk to Richard Hatch.

Also, a question for Richard Kaufman:
One of your first books was about balls; "Lessons in sidearm snookery" if I remember correcly. I have not read it yet, but I think that I can get hold of a copy. Is there anything in that book that you are especially satisfied with? Like, if you had published that book today, what would have been the featured item?
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/08/03 09:53 PM

Hi Tom-I have more information for you on the origin of "The Multiplying Billiard Balls." I recently purchased a wonderful text published by Ken Klosterman titled Of Legierdemane and Diverse Juggling Knacks. This book is a compilation of John Braun's Linking Ring columns from 1949 to 1966. In short-it's a treasure trove of magic's history meticulously researched by Mr. Braun that should not be ignored by magic historians.

Mr. Braun notes that it is credited to de Kolta in Professor Hoffmann's More Magic (1890) and subsequently appears in Roterberg's Latter Day Tricks (1896). Here is the interesting part: Mr. Braun writes that a fellow by the name of George F. Wright believes he invented the singlehanded multiplication of billiard balls. Mr. Wright, according to Braun, worked in Gus Roterberg's magic shop on Illinois Street, Chicago handling a variety of day to day tasks-including sweeping the place. While repairing warped shells from the ball vase trick that Roterberg was importing from Austria, Mr. Wright developed the idea of multiplying them in one hand.

Mr. Roterberg apparently wasn't interested in Wright's idea, believing that it wasn't marketable, but eventually saw the light. It should be noted that Mr. Braun does not endorse Mr. Wright's claim. He included it in the text because he believed that it warranted documentation.

By the way Tom, I own a copy of the de Kolta book. It's marvelously written by the late Peter Warlock, and well worth your efforts to seek out. I purchased my copy from Mike Caveney, who published it. He might still have them in stock-or you can try H&R Magic Books in Texas. :)
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/09/03 06:54 AM

Originally posted by Leonard Hevia:
Mr. Braun notes that it is credited to de Kolta in Professor Hoffmann's More Magic (1890) and subsequently appears in Roterberg's Latter Day Tricks (1896). Here is the interesting part: Mr. Braun writes that a fellow by the name of George F. Wright believes he invented the singlehanded multiplication of billiard balls.
Thanks Leonard.
Is it the double hinged shell method that is described in "More Magic" and in "Latter Day Tricks"? Or is there an earlier source for the single shell method than August Roterberg's "Chicago Ball Trick"?
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/09/03 04:08 PM

I'll take a peek at the book tonight Tom and will try to answer your question. :)
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/13/03 06:31 PM

Forgive my tardiness Tom. Your answer is as follows: According to Mr. Braun, it is de Kolta's "hinged shell" that appears in More Magic (1890) and the half shell "enamelled red" that appears in Roterberg's Latter Day Tricks (1896). In an earlier Roterberg book titled The Modern Wizard [1895/96], the half shell is also utilized for a multiplying billiard ball trick. Is there an earlier source for the single half shell? Roterberg's earlier text is all that Mr. Braun wrote.

George F. Wright must have worked for Gus Roterberg around or before 1895, assuming he was truthful about his claim. By the way, Mr. Wright was also an assistant for Harry Kellar at some point-as noted by Mr. Braun. :)
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/13/03 07:43 PM

Thank you, Leonard. I'll check out the Latter Day Tricks book.

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Postby Guest » 01/19/03 10:03 AM

I have some Roterberg original hand written notes on the chicago ball trick and will dig them up. I will then post them here. It may take me a while things have been crazy since returning from WMS this week.
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Postby Guest » 02/28/03 09:57 AM

I don't want to go too far off topic, but where on the web can I find a really good set of silicone multiplying balls? I bumped on to a site once but have since lost the location.

Thanks for the help
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/28/03 10:10 AM

Nelson, you want to purchase the one and only Fakini multiplying balls: and you can get them from Denny and Lee. Just look on the back cover of any issue of Genii for the phone number.
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