Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

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Joe Mckay
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Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Joe Mckay » July 2nd, 2014, 9:03 pm

I have focused on close-up magic my whole life. So - I am sure I am revealing a terrible lack of knowledge when asking about this simple cabaret trick.

But I am wondering if somebody could fill me in on who invented the cylinder trick? It is the trick where an empty cylinder is shown and then ribbons and knotted handkerchiefs are produced from it.

Recently I became interested in magic tricks which make use of optical principles. And I came across the secret to this trick on a website and was impressed by the clever use of perspective in the secret. It is one of those principles in which you are staring at the secret in full view without even being aware of it.

You can find the website I came across this trick here - if you are unfamiliar with the trick/method.

http://magic.about.com/od/science-magic ... s-Tube.htm

I know this is a very famous trick - and I am probably the only magician to have never known the secret until now. But- since I find the principle so novel - I want to research its history a bit more.

So - I would appreciate any pointers in that direction.

Also - does anyone know if there were any uses for this idea which were more impressive than simply producing ribbons and handkerchiefs?

Thanks!

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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby hugmagic » July 2nd, 2014, 9:56 pm

It is called a Phantom or Ghost tube. It has been used to produce silks, birdcages and almost anything you can think of for eons.
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Joe Mckay
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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Joe Mckay » July 2nd, 2014, 10:16 pm

Thanks for the pointer.

I feel like such a newbie!

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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Philippe Billot » July 3rd, 2014, 2:05 am


Joe Mckay
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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Joe Mckay » July 3rd, 2014, 2:22 am

Am I the only one who thinks it is a brilliant idea?

If Tenyo came up with it today - everyone would be praising the remarkable ingenuity behind the principle.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Q. Kumber » July 3rd, 2014, 8:05 am

When I started getting magic catalogues (from age 10/11) and reading magic books from the library or from bookshops (Norman Hunter, Bruce Elliott, Jean Hugard), I developed an awareness of different kinds of magic and its principles. Hunter had props to make, and I made many of them. But the point is that I, and many of my age at that time, developed basic magical knowledge, even of tricks we would probably never use.

The Will Dexter books (2/6) gave a great background to the secret world of magicians, magic clubs, magazines and eccentric characters. One of Dexter's books had tricks with chemicals and I remember going to my local chemist, aged 12 with a list, and him, Mr Cullen refusing to sell me most of them. Very disappointing.

The point is, as Joe has pointed out that many modern magicians have a narrow perspective of magic, focused solely on their own interest (usually cards) and are blissfully ignorant of other fields.

I've recently developed a four ring (ninja style) routine for close-up work. The response of some younger magicians I've shown it to really surprised me as their reactions were often stronger than those of laymen. The reason being they had no idea how the rings work. They only know card tricks.

I've been using a ghost tube since my teens in my children's shows, so I'm very familiar with the prop and its cousins (Genii tube etc). And yet, when one comes up at a magic auction most of the magicians have no idea what it is.

And as Joe says, it is a brilliant principle.

There is a goldmine to be found in old magic books and catalogues. Just look at the guy who has brought out Okito's Voodoo Doll under a different name.

Incidentally I was in Bulgaria last week and found a great key for the Haunted Key. It turns over twice. Never had one before that did that.

Joe Mckay
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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Joe Mckay » July 3rd, 2014, 5:20 pm

Hey Quentin,

I went to university in Manchester. Lovely place!

I really enjoyed your post. To add to the excellent advice you gave - I will say that Charles Waller is my go to guy if I am looking for a creative old-school inventor.

It is amazing the stuff he was publishing in the 1920s!

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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Edwin Corrie » July 4th, 2014, 11:32 am

The Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians (T.A. Waters) has an entry for Phantom Tube and gives the inventor's name as Curtis Dressen (I'm writing this from work, so I hope I'm remembering the name right). It also mentions the Genii Tube, a version with two half tubes hinged together so you can open them up.

Interesting information on the origin of the principle:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=186223&forum=130

It seems to be in Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic too (Vol. 1, Chapter 7):

http://magicref.tripod.com/booksjr/riceharoldencyclosilkmagic1.htm

I don't have the above, but according to this the inventor of the "Breakaway Phantom Tube" was Francis Martineau:

http://www.magicnook.com/forum/project.htm

And finally:

The Phantom Tube. By George DeMott. Sphinx Magazine, June 1946
http://www.lybrary.com/the-sphinx-volume-45-p-5710.html

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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby JimAlfredson » July 4th, 2014, 12:02 pm

Perhaps Eddie Dawes or some other British magical scholar can help on this, but I have always understood that the ghost/phantom tube was the invention of one George LeWalke of the UK, but I have no reference other than a note telling me no more than this on either the trick or LeWalke. Pity such a crafty principle should go uncredited.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Q. Kumber » July 4th, 2014, 12:12 pm

There are two types of Ghost Tube and they each have a technical name and I'm not sure which is which. The old style inner tube tapers and is attached to the inner side of the outer tube, usually along a seam. This allows you to cram in silks and ribbons for later production.

Paul Daniels had the idea (if you use a large tube) of showing it empty and reaching through to the other end, clipping the end of a silk and drawing it through towards yourself, making it look as though the silk is materialising as you pull it out.

Al Baker put tissue paper over each end holding the tissue in place with an elastic band. He then shone a torch from the gimmicked end, the light being apparent to the audience, and the tube obviously being still empty.

The other style of tube is used to vanish a bottomless glass and is used in the Sucker Beaker Vanish effect. I believe this style first appeared in The Magic Wand magazine. Here the tapered tube does not touch the edge of the outer tube, so the glass is snug between the inner and outer tubes.

British post-war dealer Burtini sold a version of the ghost tube where you put tissue over each end which was held in place with a metal band. After producing silks from the gimmicked end you could now produce a lot more from the other end as you had secretly loaded a drumhead type container which also had matching tissue over its opening. I've only seen Burtini versions but I'm sure other dealers sold similar and probably long before Burtini.

Joe, Charles Waller is indeed a name to conjure with. If you don't have it, track down a copy of Magical Nights at the Theatre, published by Gerald Taylor in 1980. It is largely Charles Waller's notes on all the magicians and variety acts that appeared in Melbourne over a sixty year period.

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Matthew Field
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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Matthew Field » July 4th, 2014, 12:38 pm

From Bart Whaley's Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic --

Ghost Tube [Brit.] n. Type of large dye tube with an eccentric tunnel; Phantom Tube (U.S.). [common in Britain; rare in U.S.] Phantom TubeFor history see under . Coined originally as commercial jargon title (because of the ghost-like image seen when the tube is closed at one end with transparent paper) by Stanley Norton of the Norton-Bretma Company when they first marketed this device by 1920, which was soon after its invention by Jules Danby and initial publication in 1919. Thence 1929 Waller; 1931 Holden in Sphinx; 1935 Goldston; 1948 Rice; 1956 Dexter; 1965/1988 Bamberg; 1972 Adair; 1973 Alain; 1973 Albo who notes its "European" preference; 1973 Dalal in Swami; 1976 Page; 1977 Kaye; 1979 Lamb; 1982 MacMillan

and

Phantom Tube; phantom tube [U.S.] n. Type of large metal or plastic dye tube fitted with an eccentric conical load chamber; Phanto Tube; Ghost Tube [Brit.]. [common in USA; not in British English] Invented by Jules Danby (sometimes miscredited to George le Walke) and first published in Magic Wand (Apr 1919). First made and marketed in Britain as the "Ghost Tube" by the Norton-Bretma Company. Then made and marketed in the USA as the "Phantom Tube" by Thayer's by 1921 and the Petrie-Lewis Company in Jan 1922. In 1926 The Great Raymond debuted it in South America where it became known as El Tubo Raymond. REF: Magic Wand (1934), 155-158; Bamberg (1988), 113. See also Stenman (1952-53), 171. Coined as commercial term in 1921 by Thayer's cat #5. Thence increasingly in USA as a generic; 1923 Linking Ring; 1924 Felsman cat #18; 1924 Heaney cat #25; 1926 Lohrey cat; 1931 Holden in Sphinx; 1932 Ultra Magical Review; 1935 Abbott cat #3; 1939 Douglas cat; 1939 Kanter cat; 1941 Baker; 1945 Robbins cat #10; 1946 Ripley; 1948 Christopher in HMM; 1948 Rice; 1949 Tannen cat #1; 1950 Hay; 1963 Lawston cat; 1971 Tannen cat #9; 1973 Albo; 1977 Schindler; 1977 Kaye; 1978 Flosso-Hornmann in Feinman; 1979 Lamb; 1988 Waters; 1988 Magic City price list; 1990 Wedler; 1990 Salwak in Australian Magic Monthly; 1992 Morrissey ad in MUM; 1997 Abbott cat #25. Phanto Tube Also marketed as the in 1950 Robbins cat #15 (as a small version); 1963 Lawston cat (small); 1974 Guaranteed cat #1; 1975 Lee cat [#1]; 1987 Hollywood Magic cat #16; 1997 Lee cat #11.

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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby lybrary » July 4th, 2014, 1:50 pm

Folks, if you reproduce entire entries from the Bart Whaley books, which BTW I don't mind here on the Genii forum, it would be great to spread a little bit of love by including a link to the current publisher where it can be purchased. The PDF version of the Encyclopedic Dictionary can be purchased here http://www.lybrary.com/encyclopedic-dic ... p-441.html
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Matthew Field
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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Matthew Field » July 4th, 2014, 2:51 pm

Kudos to Chris and lybrary.com for the Encyclopedic Dictionary and Bart Whaley's invaluable Who's Who in Magic, both of which are highly recommended.

Matt Field

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Re: Inventor of this old trick? - Tube magic

Postby Andrew Pinard » July 4th, 2014, 4:10 pm

I was going to point out Whaley, but the inestimable Matt Field beat me to it.

Back to stuffing my Ghost Tube...


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