The Pentacle Club: 100 Years of Cambridge Magic

A book by Michael Colley

The Cambridge Pentacle Club was founded in 1919. Michael Colley has written the story of its first 100 years, making extensive use of the Pentacle Club archive and his own research. Until the 1960s the Pentacle Club was solely a university club. In the magic world its best-known undergraduate member was Alex Elmsley.
Michael’s book covers not just members, but also the well-known magical personalities who came to lecture at the club or perform in shows. Download the PDF and join Michael on his journey through time.

Catalogues & Advertising Leaflets

Catalogues & Advertising Leaflets

The collection is rich in items from Davenports and other magic suppliers, as well as catalogues from novelty wholesalers and retailers.

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Hamleys Book of Magic and Mystery catalogue, probably dated just before World War 1.

The catalogue also contains a few pages of novelties, puzzles and jokes. A sticker has been pasted onto the front cover pointing out that prices cannot be guaranteed owing to the War. The catalogue has been dated on this basis. The back cover is also illustrated because it gives their various addresses in London at the time, as well as noting their presence in Paris and Nuremberg.

Gamagic catalogue from Gamages, London, circa 1913

The cover shows David Devant in the costume worn by him at the Royal Command Performance at The Palace Theatre, 1 July 1912. The catalogue covers magic and its allied arts, juggling, puzzles, novelties and jokes. This catalogue also contains an order form which is a sheet of paper, folded into 4 pages, all of which are printed.

F.W. Conradi-Horster export catalogue circa 1922

This catalogue has an interesting double-sided insert. One side of the insert consists of purchasing instructions, including the fact that postage in Germany will be raised from 1 October 1922. The other side is a price list in American Dollars and Pounds Sterling.

S.S. Adams Company catalogue, 1930

16 pages crammed full with jokes, novelties, puzzles and magic. According to the cover this illustrated catalogue features jokers' novelties, magic, puzzles, table decorations and favors, and funny banquet novelties. Manufactured by S.S. Adams Company, Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Ellisdons catalogue, 1969

60 pages crammed full with jokes, novelties, puzzles, magic and gifts. At one time Ellisdons had a large retail shop in Holborn, London. By 1969 they had become fully mail order, operating from Bedford in England.

De Vere Prestidigitation catalogue from 17 Rue Saulnier, Paris

This pre-1910 De Vere catalogue carries an ink stamp for Horace Hurm & Prévost, who took over the business in c1910. According to Jacques Voignier in the Voignier and Albo book 'Magic of France', Hurm & Prévost took over De Vere's business around 1910. This explains the presence of the ink stamp on the cover and title page, as can be seen in the images. A typical page is also illustrated.

Horace Hurm & Prévost catalogue from 17 Rue Saulnier, Paris.

Hurm & Prévost took over De Vere's business and published this catalogue in 1910. The catalogue highlights De Vere's name. According to Jacques Voignier in the Voignier and Albo book 'Magic of France', Hurm & Prévost published two small catalogues. This 8 page catalogue in 1910, and a 24 page one in 1911. They were effectively lists of corrections to De Vere's general catalogue. Around 1914 Charles De Vere resumed management of his shop.

L. Davenport & Co. wholesale catalogue from 13 New Oxford Street

This 1915 catalogue includes novelties, jokes, puzzles and magic. The catalogue includes Joke Corsets described as "the latest 1915 joke". Since Davenports moved from 13 New Oxford Street in August 1915, the date of this catalogue must therefore be 1915.

"Demon Silk Tricks" Davenport catalogue, from 15 New Oxford Street

This catalogue from Davenports was devoted to silk tricks. It was unusual in that some of the inside pages were in colour. Based on clues from the contents of the catalogue, the likely date is 1935. The Gussie the Duck silk was named after Gus Davenport. Also illustrated in the catalogue is Gilly the Hound (named after Gilly Davenport) and Wally the Wolf (named after Wally Davenport).

L. Davenport & Co. catalogue, from 15 New Oxford Street

The Demon Sand Trick is advertised on the front cover in colour. The catalogue has 20 pages. The business address, and the fact that the telephone number is Holborn 9012, allow us to date the catalogue between 1927 and 1937. The style of the catalogue suggests the 1930s. Also shown is the inside page which advertises the trick on the cover.

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