Gus and John Davenport built an OO gauge model railway in the 1960s. Once built, they tired of watching the trains go round, and so looked for other things to add to the layout. On one side of the layout was a cliff covered in nothing other than clumps of grass on the cliff face. This seemed the ideal spot to build a funicular, and that is what they did. I have included it on this website for personal reasons, and on the basis that a home made funicular is certainly a novelty! A film of the layout made by magician Harry Baron is also in the collection.
Growing up in the Davenport family, Gus was surrounded by magic performances and the manufacture and sale of magic. Fortunately, he embraced it. This short article describes Gus the man and the personality and skills that led him to particular styles of performing.
The subject matter is mainly puzzles, optical illusions or magic. Two illustrative pages are shown, along with the album itself.
The book has an optically intriguing cover which produces multiple 3D images of the person looking at it, one image in each of the circular shapes on the cover. The book is full of well presented items, including a pop-up page to illustrate a particular type of optical illusion. Published by Dorling Kindersley, London in 2013.
John Davenport believes that these were probably owned by his father Gus Davenport. This is a good example of ‘pipitis’, the condition which leads to the purchase of items covered in emblems, such as cards, beloved of many magicians.
First published in Great Britain in 1998 by Orchard Books, London. Illustrations copyright Nick Sharratt 1998.
Binkie has been in the Davenport family, probably since the 1930s or 1940s. Binkie lived at Ivydene, Lewis and Wynne Davenport’s family home. The photograph shows him sitting on the piano (which came from Maskelyne’s) at Ivydene in 1971 when Wynne Davenport was playing the piano for a young Roy Davenport in the drawing room. Binkie’s arms and legs are jointed and, in his youth, he used to growl. As a young child John Davenport was frightened of him – he was too loud and scary!
Carlton was a successful comedy magician in the early part of the 20th century. This novelty is most unusual in that Carlton’s head has been printed in colour on the flat side of a coil of paper. The round coil is housed in a square cardboard container which has partial openings at the front and back. By moving the picture with thumb and forefinger the coil can be twisted, so distorting the face. This was clearly commissioned from the manufacturer by Davenports because the words on the container are ‘CARLTON. Zetes-Patent. Demon Series No. 45 L. D. London’. According to the illustrated advertisement from a contemporary Davenport catalogue over 30 different designs can be supplied. This might have been true, but now we are only aware of three. The other two do not show magicians. For further information on the other two, go to N1315 and N1316.
The book was presented with ‘The Wizard’ comic and has all the cards in it. The cards describe catches, tricks, optical illusions etc. Illustrated are two of the pages and the cover of the book.