Novelties, Toys & Games

Novelties, Toys & Games

Sometimes toys and games can also be considered as puzzles. If you are interested in these, also try searching the Puzzles section.

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Tron 3D Light Disc from Loncraine Broxton, England

The disc has a small ball bearing in the centre of its base. When the disc is spun on a flat surface it therefore spins for a very long time, creating amazing optical images as the prismatic material on the surface catches the light at different angles. With a bright light shining on the spinning disc from one direction a 3D effect is created. Made in England.

Nut Tree magnetic toy made by Loncraine Broxton, England

The magnet in the base allows the nuts to be joined together in strange shapes, apparently defying gravity.

Collection of 36 glass geometric shapes

These shapes were found at Ivydene, the Davenport family home. They clearly came as a set because they were originally stored in a shallow black box, now lost, which was partitioned so that one shape could be kept away from neighbouring shapes to avoid damage. Their purpose is not clear but one possibility is that they were used for artists to develop skills in drawing shapes and reflections.

Place mats by Leslie Cornish

These six mats are a good example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads to the purchase of items covered in emblems, such as cards, beloved of many magicians.

Miniature automaton Valerie

A special edition miniature version of Pierre Mayer’s magic automata. The quick change artist Valerie disappears behind her parasol, and her dress changes from red to black and back again. This was a gift from John & Anne Davenport to Tony Middleton for his 70th birthday. It also recognised all the help Tony had been giving on restoring automata in the Davenport Collection. It is included on this website with Tony's permission.

The Taltos Fortune Telling Teacup, made in England

The cup and saucer came with an instruction booklet, the rear cover of which includes 'Royal Kendall (sic) English Bone China, Hudson & Middleton (Longton) Ltd, Stoke-on-Trent. Copyright H&M(L) Ltd 1985. Note that this cup and saucer is a very close copy of the one that Gus Davenport put out, ref. no. N1077.

Fortune Teller's Cup and Saucer, made in Japan

Made in Japan for Alfred E Knobler & Co Inc, New Jersey. The cup and saucer came with an instruction booklet. Note that this cup and saucer is a close copy of the one that Gus Davenport put out, see ref. no. N1077.

The Taltos Fortune Telling Teacup, made by Jon Anton for A.G. Davenport

The cup and saucer came with an instruction booklet. Also shown is the postal box which Gus used to send the item to John Davenport in 1970. John was involved in the design of the cup and the instruction booklet.

The "Nelros" Cup of Fortune. Cup & saucer with instruction book

Manufactured by Aynsley, England. Registered No. 442928. Gus Davenport used this as the basis for the Taltos Fortune Telling Teacup that he put on the market in the 1970s. See ref. no. N1077 in the EPHEMERA section of this website.

Cup and saucer with a playing card design and gilt details

The Ace of Hearts card on the saucer is inscribed: I. ESTL, WIEN, 817. This item 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.

Ball clock with bird in a cage

As the clock ticks, the bird moves. The sphere has the numbers 1 to 12 around its 'equator'. The clock has one hand which revolves around the sphere, pointing out the hour from 1 to 12. Made in Austria is stamped on the base.

Red demon head match holder with striker on the back of the head

This is a good example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads to the purchase of items, beloved of many magicians, which involve demons or design motifs such as dice or playing cards.

Picture made out of coloured sands in a small glass bottle

The bottle has been filled with sands of different colours to create a picture of a house with palm trees. The probable place of manufacture is Brazil.

Fine bone china 'Cut for Coffee' design by Elizabethan, England

One mug and four small plates with card design, Elizabethan Staffordshire Fine Bone China. These items are a good example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads to the purchase of items covered in emblems, such as cards, beloved of many magicians.

Vessel for drinking the spa waters at Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Bought new by John Davenport when he visited Karlovy Vary for a conference in 1990.

Red box from which a snake emerges when the lid is opened

This example of a well known novelty is made of a painted composite material. The appearance of the snake is quite startling.

China cup and saucer with signs of the Zodiac design

Made by Paragon in fine bone china, England.

Metal box with prismatic rainbow design lid

This is a striking example of how eye catching pictures could be created using prismatic foil.

Small metal box with prismatic lid

Although now common, this example of early prismatic plastic film is quite eye catching. Sticker on base includes: 'AH Prismatic Ltd, Brighton. Made in England'.

Small metal box with prismatic lid

Although now common, this example of early prismatic plastic film is quite eye catching. Sticker on base includes: 'AH Prismatic Ltd, Brighton. Made in England'.

Two small glass tumblers with card design

These items are a good example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads to the purchase of items covered in emblems, such as cards, beloved of many magicians.

Cup and saucer with an anamorphic design on the saucer

The bases of the cup and saucer are marked 'Pylones | Paris | Narcisse'. The design on the saucer is clearly revealed when viewed in the cylindrical mirror surface of the outside of the cup.

Mug with card design

Made by Poole, England. 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.

Small plastic box with pink 'holographic' lid

Made in England. As you tilt the box, the images of the silver balls move sideways and up and down in a striking way.

Small plastic box with gold and red 'holographic' lid

Made in England. As you tilt the box, the images of the red balls move sideways and up and down in a striking way.

Small plastic box with 3D effect 'space ship' lid

The image on the lid shows a spaceship and planets in the foreground, with stars in the background. As the box is tilted in a light, the colours change. Made in England.

Cup and saucer with a lithophane in the base of the cup

A lithophane is a moulded 3D image in very thin translucent porcelain that can be seen clearly only when back lit with a bright light. The design in the base of this cup looks like a Japanese Geisha Girl. Apparently the Chinese characters on the base can be translated as 'Special Make Japan'.

Radiometer Solar Engine Machine

This is a well known but nevertheless intriguing novelty. When placed in the sun the four vanes inside the globe start to spin very quickly on a low friction needle point bearing. Imported from the USA by Loncraine Broxton and Partners Limited.

Witch levitating a gold sphere

This was a gift from good friend Tony Middleton to Anne Davenport on 29 Oct 2013. The figure is by Jenny Kelm from Kastlekelm Miniatures.

Miniature glasses and a glass barrel on a metal stand for dispensing drinks

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. There are 6 glasses, 5 of which are decorated with cards.

Royal Doulton covered dish decorated with Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds and Spade pips

The inside of the lid has a Bridge scoring scheme printed on it. 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.

Pascall's SOS Spring Sugar Tongs Glass Sugar Bowl

This is an interesting design: the lid contains built in lazy tongs with which to pick up sugar lumps. Made in France. The lid is stamped EPNS (electroplated nickel silver).

Ceramic decanter designed to look like a pack of cards

The word 'Foreign' is on the base but the country of origin is not known. 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.

Glass ashtrays with card designs

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.

Glass tumbler with dice in the base and etched decorations

This thick walled tumbler has a sealed compartment at the base in which three dice rattle around. The tumbler has etched designs around the circumference: a playing card, a woman, a bottle and the words '3 EVILS'. This is a good example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads to the purchase of items involving dice or cards, beloved of many magicians.

Glass tumbler with dice in the base and etched decorations

This thick walled tumbler has a sealed compartment at the base in which three dice rattle around. The tumbler has an etched design of two boxers on one side and 'B F | 1795' on the other side. This is a good example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads to the purchase of items involving dice or cards, beloved of many magicians.

Tumblers decorated with a court card design

These came from the home of John Davenport's parents, Gus and Kate 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.

Table place setting at a magical dinner

This was produced by John Palfreyman for his Northern Magic Circle Presidential Dinner/Weekend on 23 and 24 October 1999. This one was for John Davenport.

Music box in a tin containing gingerbread on wafers

Long after the gingerbread has been eaten, the music box can still be enjoyed. This was a product from the German company Haeberlein Metzger, based in Nürnberg, which specialises in biscuits.

Pecking bird novelty noise maker and toy

This is a fine example of a traditional wooden toy and noise maker. Each chicken has a string from its neck down to a ball hanging below. As you hold the toy, with the chickens on top, and gently rotate it, the ball underneath swings round making the chickens loudly peck at the ground.

Austrian novelty cigarette box with music and four opening doors

When you press the black button on the top, the music starts and the four doors swing open to allow cigarettes to be taken. After a brief pause, the doors start to close and the music stops when the doors are fully closed. There are two tunes, which play alternately each time the button is pressed. This may have been sent to Davenports as a sample because it was found in a stock room. There is no known evidence that Davenports actually sold them.

Austrian novelty cigarette box from which cigarettes rise from the top, with music

When activated by the catch on the base, the music starts and the cigarettes rise out of the box. After a short delay, the cigarettes drop back and then the music stops. There are two tunes, which play alternately. This may have been sent to Davenports as a sample because it was found in a stock room. There is no known evidence that Davenports actually sold them.

Austrian novelty cigarette box with music and four opening doors

When you press the black button on the top, the music starts and the four doors swing open to allow cigarettes to be taken. After a brief pause, the doors start to close and the music stops when the doors are fully closed. There are two tunes, which play alternately each time the button is pressed. This may have been sent to Davenports as a sample because it was found in a stock room. There is no known evidence that Davenports actually sold them.

Music box from Tobar Ltd, Norfolk

This 'bare bones' music box from Tobar Ltd, England was readily available in the UK. While not very melodious, it has the advantage that it is excellent for explaining to people how a cylinder music box works, if they are not familiar with the mechanism.

'Small Fantasy music box dancer'

Made in Japan. The music box is wound by a circular key on its underside. When it is then placed on the table the Small Fantasy base rotates on this key as the music plays.

Wood turned by David Springett on his rose lathe

David is a skilled woodturner who has written several books containing woodturning projects. John Davenport contributed to his book 'Woodturning Trickery' first published in 2001.

Wood turned by David Springett on his rose lathe

David is a skilled woodturner who has written several books containing woodturning projects. John Davenport contributed to his book 'Woodturning Trickery' first published in 2001.

Card box with a lid which has a woven inset court card

The box contains two packs of cards, pencils and a note pad for scoring card games. 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.

Novelty cigarette box

When the top roller blind is opened to reveal the cigarettes on the top layer, the lower drawer automatically opens forward to reveal the lower level full of cigarettes. The word FOREIGN is stamped on the base. It was probably made in Japan.

Cigarette box with music

The clockwork music box is activated when the hinged lid is opened to reveal the cigarettes.

Jack in the Box

When the lid is hinged open, a spring loaded figure pops up. Handmade by Jack in the Box Company, Melton Constable, Norfolk.

Bakelite novelty cigarette box

This is a Rolinx product, made in England in the 1950s. Each time the roller blind lid is opened, five fingers emerge from the front of the box, each carrying a cigarette.

Novelty cigarette box with a blue painted sailor

Made in Japan. Each time the lid of the wooden box is opened, a painted sailor pops up holding a cigarette.

Pecking bird novelty cigarette box

Made in Japan. Each time the lid of the wooden box is opened, a bird emerges holding a cigarette in its beak.

Rubber band driven sponge rat

This is unusual. To power up the rat you pull a thread which comes out of the back of the rat. This winds up a rubber band inside the body. When the thread is released the rubber band drives a roller which takes the rat forward.

Fluffy wind up hopping chick

Copyright 1988 IWAYA CORP. is embossed on the underside of the chick's feet.

Spring activated bouncing Smiley face, made in China

To make the Smiley face bounce, push it down until the suction pad sticks to the black base, then place it on a table. When the suction pad finally breaks free, the whole item flies up into the air at least 500mm.

Plastic wind up crab, made in China

When wound up the crab does a very convincing sideways walk waving its claws.

Plastic wind up duck, made in China

As the duck moves forward its head moves up and down and its beak opens and closes as it forages for food.

Hans plastic wind up slithering snake

As the snake moves forward it slithers from side to side. Distributed in the UK by Tobar Ltd.

Plastic wind up somersaulting mouse, made in China

This cleverly designed mouse carries out a series of black flips.

Plastic wind up walking monkey, made in China

The monkey walks sideways by swinging on its arms.

Plastic wind up waddling penguin, made in China

As the penguin rocks from side to side, it waddles forward.

Plastic wind up mouse, made in China

The mouse runs forward, then stops and circles around before running off in a different direction. The cycle repeats.

Plastic wind up dancing frog, made in China

The frog dances by stepping sideways and waving its arms.

Plastic Z Wind Up performing seal, made in China

This is a clever design. The seal walks forward balancing a rotating ball on its nose. After a short while it drops forward onto the table so that the ball is on the table. The ball continues to rotate and so drives the seal round in circles until the seal rears up again and starts walking. The cycle then repeats. Copyright 2008 is embossed on the plastic body.

Hans plastic wind up butterfly, made in China

The butterfly glides along flapping its wings. Distributed by Tobar Ltd in the UK. In working order.

Aviva wind up hopping Woodstock

Made by Aviva Ent. Inc., in Hong Kong.

Aviva wind up walking Snoopy

Made by Aviva Ent. Inc., in Hong Kong.

Plastic wind up walking dog

Made in China.

Plastic wind up man on penny farthing, made in China

When wound up the man cycles along in a straight line.

Plastic wind up crab, made in China

When wound up the crab walks sideways moving its claws and eyes.

Wooden soldier collapsing thumb toy

The label on the base tells us it was imported and distributed by Russimco Ltd, Bridgwater, England.

Wooden bird noise maker

The way to make a realistic bird song is to hold the tail and push it towards the body of the bird. When you then twist the tail, the resultant squeaking noise is very like bird song.

Clockwork dancing Donald Duck made by Schuco, Germany

The metal body is stamped 'Schuco'. Complete with label saying 'By arrangement Walt Disney'.

Clockwork pecking bird

The bird is very well made and it has a sample label around one leg with 727 written in pencil on it. The '7s' are written in the continental style with a horizontal line half way up. Although there is no other identification on it, it could well be made by Schuco in Germany.

Clockwork monster novelty with a spinning tail

This little monster runs wild when you wind it up and put it down on the floor. It rolls around at random and needs plenty of space because you will never know where it will go. It will do an excellent job of surprising and scaring your family and friends. This version has pink eyes. Over the years Davenports sold many versions of this novelty under the name 'Bogey Bogey'. See a Davenport advertisement under item ref. no. N1394.

Clockwork monster novelty with two spinning legs

This little monster runs wild when you wind it up and put it down on the floor. It rolls around at random and needs plenty of space because you will never know where it will go. It will do an excellent job of surprising and scaring your family and friends. This version has white eyes and fearsome teeth. Over the years Davenports sold many versions of this novelty under the name 'Bogey Bogey'. See a Davenport advertisement under item ref. no. N1394.

Clockwork tumbling bear

The well dressed tinplate bear has a collar with the word 'Foreign' on it. It is either a bear made by Schuco from Germany, or a very good imitation.

Clockwork dancing adult & baby mouse, made by Schuco, Germany

The adult mouse shuffles around in a circle as it swings the baby mouse up and down. 'Schuco patent' is stamped into the left foot of the adult mouse, and 'Made in Germany' into the right foot.

Clockwork tumbling Mickey Mouse

The word JAPAN is just visible on the mouse's collar. The design is an imitation of a German Schuco mechanical mouse. Note that the Davenport advertisement refers to Mickey Mouse, presumably a good selling point.

Clockwork hopping frog

When wound up this tinplate clockwork frog hops forwards in a lifelike manner. Made by GAMA, Germany.

Origami jumping frog made from a business card, collected by Mick Guy

If you press down on the back of the frog and let go suddenly, the frog jumps forward. It can jump at least 300mm. This was first shown to John Davenport in 2004 by Mick Guy. He is a fan of origami and puzzles, and so this folding of his business card into a jumping frog was appealing. We are grateful to Mick Guy for the following information: sadly, this is one of those models where the designer's name has become lost. It is based upon a traditional frog, has been around for about sixty years and maybe of American origin, but that is as much as is known. The important thing is to use typical business card stock, as this gives it the required springiness.

Origami 'Umulius Rectangulum' designed by Thoki Yenn

This was made by friend David Hay in 2014. It requires six pieces of paper, two of each colour. The design is by Thoki Yenn, who died in 2004.

Origami demon face

The face was made by friend David Hay sometime in the early 2000s.

Origami linked rings

The linked rings were made by friend David Hay sometime in the early 2000s.

Origami square box

This was made from several pieces of paper. The box contains folded diagonal dividers, giving it four internal compartments.This was made by Roy Heath, a magician and friend. He also demonstrated origami in schools. There is a publicity sticker on the box which includes contact details and 'Magic made for you by ROY the MAGICIAN. For your next party or special occasion'.

Origami triangular box

This was made from several pieces of paper by Roy Heath, a magician and friend. He also demonstrated origami in schools.

Origami triangular box

This was made from several pieces of paper by Roy Heath, a magician and friend. He also demonstrated origami in schools.

Quick Sands novelty

This is a plastic container, with sand inside, which is split into two compartments by a perforated plastic divider. When the container is turned upside down, the sand falls through holes to create the words' I love you' on one side and, when you turn the container over again, a heart design on the other side. Made in Taiwan. Copyright 1988 Trolbourne Ltd.

Pen-Ultimate levitating pen by Loncraine Broxton

The pen and the base contain magnets, allowing the pen to be spun and remain floating. Although the point of the pen is in contact with the clear plastic sheet, the friction is so low that the rotation lasts for a very long time. Made in UK. Copyright 1992, Loncraine Broxton & Partners Ltd.

A box in the design of a die

The inside base of the Bakelite box has the wording: SEAFORTH MADE IN ENGLAND. This is a good example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads to the purchase of items related to dice, or cards, or other symbols beloved of many magicians.

Glass bead snake

This was on display in Gus and Kate Davenport's house in the 1950s, but John Davenport does not know its history. The style of bead snake is like those from the Ottoman Empire, often made by prisoners of war during the First World War.

Hoberman mini sphere transforming globe

This became a very popular toy in the latter part of the 20th century. The sphere consists of jointed pieces of plastic. By pulling outwards the diameter of the sphere can be doubled. Perhaps fewer people realise that, if you roll the sphere along a carpet, it opens up and then folds up again.

Clapping hands noise maker

This came out of a Christmas cracker. When you wave the orange plastic handle backwards and forwards, the blue plastic hands on either side of it create a clapping sound. All three pieces of plastic are held together by a rubber band at the position of the wrist. Made in China.

Wooden croaking frog noise maker

Stroke the stick across the ridges on the frog's back to make the croaking noise.

Twirling frog noise maker

Hold the stick & twirl the frog around to generate the noise.

Japanese bee noise maker

This bee is made from bamboo. Hold the stick & twirl the bee around to generate the noise. Purchased new by John Davenport in Japan.

Small plastic rattle noise maker

This rather basic but effective plastic rattle was made in China.

Sheep noise maker

This noise maker from The National Trust in the UK is of traditional design: turn it upside down, and when it is turned the right way up it makes a loud 'Baa' noise. Made in Taiwan.

Mirage optical illusion

The photograph shows a black dome with a green button on the top. The sign invites you to 'Press button to see illusion', but when you do your finger goes right through the button! This is because what you are looking at is not a button, but the virtual image of the button which is positioned inside, at the bottom of the dome. The illusion is angle sensitive but, if this is taken into account, the effect on an onlooker is one of astonishment and shock. Mirage was made in USA by Opti-Gone Associates Inc, Woodland Hills, California. US Patent 3647284.

Hartley Hare automaton

This simple automaton comes in kit form. As the handle is turned, Hartley repeatedly pulls a carrot out of the ground.

Wave machine automaton by Timber Kits, Wales

This timber kit is assembled with adhesive. As the handle is turned, the ship rides up and down on the waves and the aeroplane circles ahead. For such a simple construction the movement is very impressive.

Anubis, Lord of the Mummy Wrappings, Automatic Scarab Wrapper automaton

When you turn the handle, Anubis raises the pyramid to display a green scarab beetle, before the pyramid drops back on to it. As you continue to turn the handle, the pyramid is lifted again to reveal the scarab beetle on its back - obviously dead. Anubis replaces the pyramid and, as you turn the handle again, the pyramid is lifted to reveal the beetle wrapped in white bandages. The cycle then repeats.

Sheep Shearing Man automaton

This brilliant automaton was designed by Ron Fuller. As the handle is turned, the sheep uses the scissors to try and shear the man's hair. However, each time it tries, the man ducks down below the scissors. Nevertheless, after about ten attempts, the man leaves it too late to duck and his head is chopped off. The cycle then repeats.

Chinaman automaton that performs the vanishing bird cage trick

The figure raises its arms to reveal a bird cage, then lowers its arms to cover the cage with the box, and when its arms are raised again the bird cage has vanished. The cycle then repeats. This was one of the ORBICUS range of ready to assemble press-out models. The clever design allows the Chinaman to be assembled without the need for glue. Manufactured and distributed by Norwin International, Letchworth Garden City. Copyright Derek Read 1993.

Noise making device: drum with spring

To obtain incredible noises from this device, simply hold the outside of the cylinder with the spring at the bottom. When you shake the cylinder from side to side, this makes the spring vibrate, the noise from which is amplified by the membrane on one end of the cylinder. This creates noises that rival the sound of loud thunder.

'Amazing Mazes!' book

This innovative book contains some pop-up mazes. Created, designed and produced by Quarto Children's Books Ltd, London.

Automaton of a nodding magician producing a rabbit from a hat

The Davenport Collection contained an electrically operated window figure in poor condition. The figure was of a man which nodded its head and moved its arms up and down. In 2014-2015 Cambridge magician and engineer Tony Middleton converted the figure so that it produced a rabbit out of a hat each time it nodded its head and raised its arms. One of the photographs shows Tony Middleton with the part-finished automaton.

Coloured hologram of a steel ball

Purchased in the UK in 2014 from Iñaki Beguiristain, who made the hologram.

Hologram of an assembly block puzzle

The puzzle appears to assemble itself when you walk past the hologram, see the photographs.

Hologram of a microscope

All holograms are amazing, but this one is particularly so because, when you place your eye in front of the eyepiece, there is an insect visible on the microscope stage.

Colour hologram of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare smiles and moves his hand as you walk in front of the hologram. Manufactured by Applied Holographics. Made in England.

Rabbit in hat hologram pendant

This was purchased from the USA. The rabbit is clearly visible in the hat when looking directly at the hologram. However, when the pendant is tipped backwards, the rabbit vanishes leaving the image of an empty hat, see photographs. Unfortunately the hologram has degraded as the years have passed.

Lion hologram pendant

This was purchased in the UK.

Pelican automaton

Made by Timberkits, UK. The automaton is a wooden kit for home assembly. Each time the handle is turned the pelican crouches down and opens its mouth to reveal a fish.

A bread sculpture of a witch on a broomstick

It is an example of 'pipitis', the condition which attracts magicians to objects which feature cards, dice, rabbits, witches or other items related to magicians.

'Mommy?' - a pop-up book

First edition published in 2006 by Di Capua Books, Scholastic. Copyrights 2006: for art Maurice Sendak, for scenario Arthur Yorinks, for paper engineering Matthew Reinhart. Purchased new in 2014.

'OCEAN' - a PHOTICULAR Book

This is a moving lenticular book created by Dan Kainen and written by Carol Kaufmann. Published in 2014 by Workman Publishing, New York.

Optical illusion of rotating spiral with crystals

This electrically driven illusion was made in 2014 by Cambridge magician and engineer Tony Middleton for display at the British Magic Museum. As the spiral rotates it appears to move upwards with the two crystals suspended in space. A commercially available spiral illusion was used.

Optical illusion of three revolving rings on a turntable

This is the well known optical illusion of three rings rotating and apparently balancing on one another. This electrically driven illusion was made in 2014 by Cambridge magician and engineer Tony Middleton for display at the British Magic Museum.

Automaton of a demon levitating a playing card

This is an electrically powered automaton. A card magically rises out of the pack while the demon waves the long pole around to show that there are no wires holding it in space. The card then descends back to the pack and the cycle repeats. The automaton was not in working order until Cambridge magician and engineer Tony Middleton repaired and upgraded it in 2014-2016. The original age of the automaton is probably mid 20th century. We do not know if the automaton was ever on display at Davenports shop.

'If You Love a Magical Tale'. Moveable book by Saviour Pirotta.

This well produced book tells the stories of 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Aladdin' illustrated with many moveable pictures. Each picture is visible through an aperture in the adjacent page and, when this page is opened, the pictures transform. Copyright 2010 Quarto Children's Books. www.barronseduc.com.

'The Think Tank' by Ivan Moscovich. A collection of 3D and pop-up games and puzzles

This book contains pop-ups and moveable pieces. This edition published for Dealerfield Ltd, 1997.

'The Magic Show' by Richard Fowler & David Wood

This is a pop-up book that does tricks. Copyright 1995. Published by Hazar Publishing, London.

'Changing Pages'. An exhibition catalogue on moveable and pop-up books

This book has itself an interesting design feature. The book was the catalogue for a touring exhibition from The Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. The tour started in Glasgow on 10 October 1998 and finished in Cheltenham in November 2000. The catalogue includes a brief but good introduction to moveable and pop-up books over the centuries.

Mickey Mouse figure made by Wyn Davenport

Lewis Davenport's daughter Wyn made this from a cut-out book from the British company Dean's Rag Book Co. in the 1930s. Around this time Lewis was featuring a Mickey Mouse illusion in his stage show.

Tumbling clown toy

The clown's head and body contain a ball bearing. The figure will tumble down a slope if it is at a suitable angle. The figure is made from cloth and cardboard.

Wooden plank for supporting a gravity defying bottle

This novelty amazes people who see it for the first time. Made in unpolished oak by Barrowdale Marketing, England.

Demon Snapper in original box

The snapper has rightly been a popular novelty for decades. You demonstrate that, when you pull the plunger out of the tube, it snaps back as though attached to a rubber band. Hand it to somebody else and they will fail to get the plunger to snap back. However, as soon as you take it back you can repeat the effect. This snapper from Davenports is made from quality plastic and is particularly smart. Complete with original instructions.

Plastic snapper novelty

The snapper has rightly been a popular novelty for decades. You demonstrate that, when you pull the plunger out of the tube, it snaps back as though attached to a rubber band. Hand it to somebody else and they will fail to get the plunger to snap back. However, as soon as you take it back you can repeat the effect. This snapper is particularly smart and is probably one of the type supplied by Davenports.

The genuine HOOKITON snapper novelty

The snapper has rightly been a popular novelty for decades. You demonstrate that, when you pull the plunger out of the tube, it snaps back as though attached to a rubber band. Hand it to somebody else and they will fail to get the plunger to snap back. However, as soon as you take it back you can repeat the effect.

Four wood versions of the snapper novelty

The snapper has rightly been a popular novelty for decades. You demonstrate that, when you pull the plunger out of the tube, it snaps back as though attached to a rubber band. Hand it to somebody else and they will fail to get the plunger to snap back. However, as soon as you take it back you can repeat the effect.

Novelty Christmas card from design agency Optimus

The novelty is that the box contains a strip of paper with the letters of the alphabet on it, except for L. This makes the message Noel. Optimus was a design company based in Cambridge, England.

Plastic egg which converts into two egg cups

When the egg is unscrewed to separate it into two halves, it reveals the two bases for the egg cups.

Novelty pencil with rabbit in a hat on the end

The rabbit is supported on a spring so that it will move when the pencil is used. Written on the pencil is ABRACADABRA TAIWAN D56. This is an example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads magicians to collect items associated with cards, dice, top hats, rabbits etc.

Rabbit in hat fridge magnet, by BEARS'N'BOXES

The rabbit is supported on a spring so that it will move when the fridge door is shut. This is an example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads magicians to collect items associated with cards, dice, top hats, rabbits etc.

Harry Hall the tailor book matches in a gold coloured metal case

This is an advertising piece from a well known tailor in London. The company was recognised for its novel approach to advertising and promotional items.

Bile Beans tin

The novelty here is the list of ailments that Bile Beans are said to help to cure: biliousness, headache, indigestion, constipation, piles, debility, female weakness, dizziness, sallow complexions, pimples, impure blood and liver, stomach and bowel troubles. The tin is empty - one can only hope that the beans were used wisely.

Magic Surprise chocolate egg with skull key chain inside

The skull key chain is well made in plastic with a spring loaded lower jaw so that a piece of paper could be held in the jaws of the skull. This is a product from Walter Schwind KG, Germany.

Miniature model of magician's table

This is an example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads magicians to collect items associated with cards, dice, top hats, rabbits etc.

Monster finger puppet

Manufactured in flexible plastic, so that the arms wave in a menacing way when your finger is waggled backwards and forwards.

Laughin' Tissues novelty "Old Mother Goosie Rimes"

The outer wrap for the roll of toilet tissues says 'Printed with Non-Irritating Ink'. Produced by AH Theuer Co., New York.

Jacobs Ladder toy

This well known toy consists of six blocks of wood taped together in a special way. The instructions on the packaging explain how to have fun and watch a block apparently flip from the top of the ladder all the way down to the bottom. Made by John Millman, Great Britain.

Temperature sensitive label for a bottle of Croft sherry

Place the label on the bottle in the fridge. As it cools there is a message 'Chilling Nicely' which changes to 'Ready to Serve' when the correct temperature is reached.

The Pen Plank novelty

The novelty is that the pen apparently defies gravity, by balancing on the angled plank. Made by Chuft Toys and Gifts Ltd.

Hearty Greeting joke ATOMIC SHOCK card

When the card is taken out of the envelope a ring revolves making a noise which frightens the person opening it. The ring is on rubber bands that need to be wound up before the card is put in the envelope. Inside is a picture of Chad and the message 'Wot! Hav'yer been had?'. A BRITISH NJ PRODUCT. Unfortunately the ring and rubber bands are missing, but take a look at Ref. No. N1371 to see what should be there.

The Deck of Cards, copyright 1979 Andrew Jones Art

Fifty-six well-known British artists were specially commissioned to contribute to this unique pack of playing cards, each card representing the original work of a different artist. The pack is of visual interest but it would be a nightmare trying to use it for a game of cards. Published by Andrew Jones Art.

Joke teeth

The teeth are made out of thin celluloid or an early plastic which can be curved around your mouth. The word JAPAN has been embossed into the pink gum and the word JAPAN is also printed on the white back.

Novelty miniature pants

The pants are printed with amusing messages.

TI Chesterfield advertising item: 4 ball point pens packaged in an interesting way

The novelty of this business gift made by Parker is that the four ball point pens, each of a different colour, clip together to make a small tower that can stand upright on a table. Parker call this pack MULTY.

Wooden segmented snake novelty

The snake consists of many short segments of wood, joined together by two cords - one running along the top of the snake and the other running along its bottom. This means that when the snake is held at any point, the rest of the snake remains horizontal but wriggles in a very realistic way as it moves from side to side. A Davenports advertisement for this item is also illustrated.

Appearing wand novelty

This long narrow strip of polymeric material has interesting properties. It can be rolled up to produce a tight coil which, when released, instantaneously unrolls to create a long wand. Printed on the wand is www.magicpro.co.il.

Gypsy fortune telling automaton created by Tony Middleton

In 2016 a Cambridge magician and family friend, Tony Middleton, took an existing automaton of Snow White, which was part of the Davenport family collection, and converted it to this gypsy with a plasma ball. The original age of the electrically operated figure is not known, but is probably mid to late 20th century. One photograph shows Tony Middleton with the figure.

Orbit clock

This is a magnetic orbiting planet novelty clock. Instead of having hands like a normal clock face, the face has three concentric circular depressions on it. Travelling round in each depression is a small coloured ball ('planet'). The balls roll round the circle apparently of their own accord, but actually because they are following the movement of magnets within the clock. The three balls display hours, minutes and seconds. Imported to the UK by The Source, Hull, England. Made in China.

'Mind Benders' - a book of brain-boggling tricks, puzzles and illusions

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.

'Chung Ling Soo': the Chinese magician automaton created by Tony Middleton

In 2015 the bare mechanism of this electrically operated window figure was found in a Davenport store in very bad condition. The figure turned its head from side to side and raised and lowered its arms. In 2016 a Cambridge magician and family friend, Tony Middleton, had the vision to strip it down and re-engineer the figure, to convert it into a Chinese magician performing a magic trick. With the help of John Davenport, the figure now levitates a Chinese lantern up and down in the air, passing a ring over it to show there is nothing but magic holding the lantern suspended. Tony christened the magician Chung Ling Soo from the outset. The figure has been on display in the family's magic museum in Norfolk, England. One of the photographs here shows Roy Davenport on the left and Tony Middleton on the right.

Plate lifter joke

Before a meal, the small rubber bulb is placed underneath the tablecloth, directly below a plate to be used by an unsuspecting diner. All the joker has to do is secretly press the larger bulb on the other end of the rubber tube and the plate will suddenly bounce around, causing much astonishment.

Balancing Butterfly novelty

Made by Tobar Limited, Norfolk, England. This is a well known novelty, with an additional benefit: the weights on the wing tips are magnets, so the item can be used as a fridge magnet when it is not being balanced. Tobar also had several other designs based on different butterflies.

Collapsing cloth demon doll with springs inside

This demon has been very well made, but its purpose is not clear. It was possibly made as a one off to be used for a production by a magician.

Exploding lavatory chain pull joke

This joke, from the first half of the 20th century, comes from the time when toilets were flushed by pulling a chain to release the water from an overhead cistern. When the unsuspecting person tugs on this pull, it comes right off the chain and there is a loud bang from the exploding cap device hidden within the rubber pull.

i-TOP spin to win electronic top

The spinning top can be used for playing four games. This is a good example of a turn of the century game that exploits electronics and modern design to appeal to children. Copyright 2003 Nextoy LLC. Distributed under licence from itoy Inc.

Joke bread roll with exploding mouse underneath

When you pick up the roll, which has been hollowed out, there is a mouse underneath. When you pick up the mouse a spring loaded banger goes off. German, in its original box. A tag on the mouse has on it #1155/B. The outside of the box has in pencil: Brötchen m/ Knallmaus (Roll with bang mouse).

Card with a frog paper sculpture on the front

A Happy Birthday card with a frog paper sculpture on the front, with original box.

The Platypus, one of the Bathtime Buddies water winders

Wind up the clockwork motor and the water winder keeps swimming until the mechanism winds down.

Nitinol wire in the shape of the word HOT

When the wire is cold, you can bend it into any shape you like. When you then heat the wire above about 40 degrees Celsius, for example in fairly hot water, the wire will spring back into the position that has been set in its memory, so spelling the word HOT. To repeat the trick, just put the wire in cold water, or hold it under a cold running tap, and you can then bend it into whatever shape you wish. John Davenport bought this from Grand Illusions Ltd (www.grand-illusions.com) in 2008.

Spectacles which surround bright lights with six pointed stars

Printed on the spectacles is U.S. Patent 5,546,198. Purchased by John Davenport from David Goodman (goldavid@netvision.net.il) at the International Puzzle Party 28 in Prague in 2008 for 5 Euro.

Bogey Man clockwork novelty, KLIMAX SERIES

This monster runs wild when you wind it up and put it down on the floor. It rolls around at random and needs plenty of space because you will never know where it will go. It will do an excellent job of surprising and scaring your family and friends. Foreign made. With original key and box. Over the years Davenports sold many versions of this novelty under the name 'Bogey Bogey'. See a Davenport advertisement under item ref. no. N1394.

Bestmaid Spooky Spider with box

This 'spider' runs wild when you wind it up and put it down on the floor. It rolls around at random and needs plenty of space because you will never know where it will go. It will do an excellent job of surprising and scaring your family and friends. Made in Japan. Over the years Davenports sold many versions of this novelty under the name 'Bogey Bogey'. See a Davenport advertisement under item ref. no. N1394.

Clockwork monster novelty with a spinning tail

This little monster runs wild when you wind it up and put it down on the floor. It rolls around at random and needs plenty of space because you will never know where it will go. It will do an excellent job of surprising and scaring your family and friends. Made in Germany is written on the eyes. Over the years Davenports sold many versions of this novelty under the name 'Bogey Bogey'. See a Davenport advertisement under item ref. no. N1394. However, this one is rather different in that it has a spring loaded clip on the back so that, presumably, you can clip it to someone's cloths, creating additional mayhem.

Clockwork monster novelty with a spinning tail

This little monster runs wild when you wind it up and put it down on the floor. It rolls around at random and needs plenty of space because you will never know where it will go. It will do an excellent job of surprising and scaring your family and friends. This one has a grey streak of fur between its eyes. Over the years Davenports sold many versions of this novelty under the name 'Bogey Bogey'. See a Davenport advertisement illustrated here.

Clockwork monster novelty with two spinning legs

This little monster runs wild when you wind it up and put it down on the floor. It rolls around at random and needs plenty of space because you will never know where it will go. It will do an excellent job of surprising and scaring your family and friends. This version has orange eyes and a red mouth. Over the years Davenports sold many versions of this novelty under the name 'Bogey Bogey'. See a Davenport advertisement under item ref. no. N1394.

Animal head noise maker

Unfortunately the bamboo spring which activates the lower jaw has broken. However, when it is operating correctly, the mouth opens and shuts with a click every time the bamboo spring is compressed and released. The manufacturer is unknown but, because of the use of bamboo, the origin is probably Japan.

Works for joke sparking matchboxes

The works differ in detail. The sparking matchbox joke consists of an innocent looking matchbox inside of which is one of these works. When wound up with a key and placed on the table, the motor is unable to rotate because of a protruding piece of metal on the base of the matchbox which is forced against the motor to prevent its movement. As soon as the matchbox is picked up, the motor starts turning and sparks fly out from a flint within the matchbox.

Miniature lock and key

Made in Germany.

Rubber tipped pencil jokes from Davenports

The full-length pencils have a rubber tip at one end. Words on the side of the pencil are: DEMON SERIES L.D. LONDON FOREIGN.

Rubber tipped pencil jokes from Davenports

The half-length pencils have a rubber tip at one end. Words on the side of the pencil are: DEMON SERIES L.D. LONDON FOREIGN.

'Magic Hat' rabbit in hat plastic novelty

The white glove swivels so that, when the spring mounted rabbit is pushed into the hat, the glove can be rotated to trap the rabbit out of sight. To make the rabbit appear simply rotate the glove out of the way and up it comes. Made in USA by Commonwealth Plastics Corp. This is an example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads magicians to purchase items covered in cards, dice, top hats, rabbits etc.

Rabbit in hat plastic novelty

Although the brim of this plastic hat has warped, the idea is that the rabbit pops out of the hat when slight pressure is applied to the sides of the hat. Made in England. Regd. Design 860429. This is an example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads magicians to purchase items covered in cards, dice, top hats, rabbits etc.

Joke matchbox with a clockwork hopping frog inside

When you lift the matchbox off the table a frog hops away from underneath it. Made in Germany. Complete with key and original box.

Stanhope ring with tasteful picture of three naked ladies

The ring contains a Stanhope lens. When held very close to the eye, and looking towards a bright light, the image becomes visible. Details of Stanhope lenses can be found on the web.

Joke nose bubble

This unpleasant but life-like joke is made of glass. We are lucky enough to have two of them in the collection!

Joke nose drop

This unpleasant but life-like joke is made of glass.

Imitation spider joke

Very high quality and beautifully painted.

Imitation wasp joke

Very high quality and beautifully painted.

Joke squirting 5 cents

The coin has been expertly modified so that it can be filled with water, which the joker can then squirt out on demand. Both sides of the coin are illustrated.

Joke squirting penny

The penny has been expertly modified so that it can be filled with water, which the joker can then squirt out on demand. Both sides of the coin are illustrated.

Two novelty elongated pennies

One possible use for elongated coins, such as these, is for a magic trick. A skilful magician could use one in the trick of stretching a coin.

Joke china cup

When you try to pick up the cup from the table, the cup doesn't move but the handle comes away in your fingers. Printed on the base of the cup is 'Germany DRGM'.

Joke patent alarm candle

This is rather rude, so those of a sensitive disposition should perhaps not read the instructions.

Advertising piece from Hargrave Design Associates, Leicester, England

This item consists of a tea bag in a CD case with words about how their company can come up with good ideas for you. I will leave it to individuals to decide whether this promotional approach would work for you.

Hearty Greeting card joke

When you take the card out of the envelope a metal ring revolves, powered by rubber bands, and makes you jump. Made by Klawvana, England.

Continuo game

Produced by Hiron Games. Copyright Maureen Hiron 1982.

Nail clippers in a box with the compliments of Bass-Worthington

This promotional piece is of unknown date, but is probably mid 20th century. The nail clippers are stamped 'Bantam SHEFFIELD ENG'.

'Tipsy Joe' the Baffling Pocket Novelty

Tipsy Joe can stand up, but only if you know how. Made by Fairylite, England. Complete with box and instructions (illustrated). A Davenport advertisement is also illustrated. Registered Design No. 865022, patent applied for.

Paper and wood fan

The design is pink flowers on a green background. Found in a Davenport storeroom, so it would have been either a sample or unsold stock.

Paper and wood fan

The design is purple flowers on a blueish background. Found in a Davenport storeroom, so it would have been either a sample or unsold stock.

Ornamental brass top hat

This was probably for use as an ashtray. This is an example of 'pipitis', the condition which leads to the purchase of items covered in emblems, such as cards, dice, top hats etc, beloved of many magicians.

Joke matchbox which traps your fingers when you pick it up

Before the match box is placed on the table, the joker folds a spring loaded piece of metal under the box. When the box is picked up this piece of metal flies out from underneath, catching the person's fingers. Complete with its original box. The manufacturer is not named, but the label says 'Germany' and the metal is stamped DRGM, confirming manufacture in Germany. The box is made of metal with a printed cardboard label.

Extendable toasting fork

Toasting fork of unknown origin, probably sent to Davenports as a sample.

Novelty spinning colour wheel

As the wheel is spun using the knob at the back, the colours on the wheel change.

Novelty spinning sparking wheel

The wheel is made to revolve by pushing in a plunger between thumb and fingers against a spring. As the wheel revolves flints produce sparks which are visible through the coloured filters and the gaps in the wheel.

Demon Tantalising Comb

The comb has a piece of clear plastic (?celluloid?) between the teeth of the comb, making it impossible to comb with it. The clear piece is well camouflaged by the teeth, so it comes as a surprise when the comb does not work. The Davenport advertisement is from the 1930s.

Pop-up book 'Welcome to the NeighbourWood' by Shawn Sheehy

First published 2015 by Walker Books Ltd, London. This was a gift from author Sally Christie and her family when they visited Davenports magic museum.

Collection of various cigarette cards and related information

The subject matter is mainly puzzles, optical illusions or magic. Two illustrative pages are shown, along with the album itself.

Spadger's Monster Collection of Spoofs

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.

Album for Wild Flowers (Series 2). Brooke Bond picture cards

The book is filled with a complete set of cards. Illustrated and described by CF Tunnicliffe, published by Brooke Bond.

A gag coat hanger

The coat hanger has a long metal section, so it can be used by short people to reach the coat hook.

Large hand gag

John Davenport recalls that this was a gag used by his father Gus. Gus would say something like 'I usually get a big hand for this trick.' This hand is the one that Gus used.

M. C. Escher Book of Boxes

This book is full of pre-punched cardboard pages, printed in colour, from which the box shapes can be pressed out and folded. Published in 1998 by Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH.

Pocket watch size dice game

When a small spring-loaded arm on the side of the 'watch' is moved, and then released, the inside rapidly spins round, so the five dice inside are shaken up and the numbers on their tops change. Stamped MADE IN GERMANY on the back.

The Amazing Magical Mug 'Illusions'

The image changes when hot water is added. You can guess what happens. Designed by Little Designs Limited, Watford. Made in England.

Ornamental pot: a witch on top of a pumpkin

There are no identification marks on the ornament.

Novelty printed paper coil showing the magician Carlton's head

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: this one and items ref. no. N1315 and N1316.

Novelty printed paper coil showing boxers

This novelty is most unusual in that the boxers have 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 boxers. The words on the cardboard container are 'Zetes-Patent'. This is one of a number of designs of this novelty - see also ref. no. N1314 and N1316.

Novelty printed paper coil showing a tipsy man

This novelty is most unusual in that the tipsy man 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 man. The words on the cardboard container are 'Zetes-Patent'. This is one of a number of designs of this novelty - see also ref. no. N1314 and N1315.

Holey spoon joke

The spoon is in the sugar basin but when you try to take out a spoonful, the sugar pours out through the hole in the spoon's bowl.

Bending spoon joke

When you pick the spoon up off the table, or out of the sugar basin, the spoon bends. The metal hinge that allows the spoon to bend is neatly manufactured.

Unfillable spoon joke

This well made spoon has an 'invisible' clear plastic layer over the bowl of the spoon. It is therefore impossible to fill it.

Japanese novelty cigarette box with roll top lid

There is a picture of a windmill on the roll top. The word FOREIGN is printed on the base.

Novelty glass with joke markings

The glass has measures on it for ladies, gentlemen and small and large pigs.

Novelty plastic ball - the beetle stays on top when you roll the ball

Immediately inside the clear surface of the ball is a thin layer of clear liquid. This allows the internal ball, which has the printing on it, to float inside. However, this ball is weighted inside, so that no matter which way the outer clear ball is turned, the beetle image always stays on top. The effect is quite magical for anyone seeing it for the first time. The words printed on the inner ball are: 'Harlequin Cabbage Beetle. Copyright 1992. Club Earth. Taiwan'.

Japanese novelty cigarette box with roll top lid and drawer underneath

The drawer underneath automatically opens when the roll top is opened.

Soot whistle joke

The joker challenges someone to blow the whistle louder than they can. When they try it, they get soot squirted into their face from the whistle. This never happens when the joker blows into it.

Soot whistle joke

The joker challenges someone to blow the whistle louder than they can. When they try it, they get soot squirted into their face from the whistle. This never happens when the joker blows into it. This particular whistle is well made from a fine grained wood and carefully decorated.

Novelty propelling pencil with twisted fluted design for writing long letters

This metal propelling pencil extends like a telescope, the joke being that it can be used for 'writing LONG letters'. There are no markings on the pencil, but it will have been made in Germany.

Novelty pencil for writing long letters

This metal pencil extends like a telescope, the joke being that it can be used for 'writing LONG letters'. The pencil is stamped 'D.R.G.M. GERMANY'.

Glass pig novelty which responds to a warm hand

When the pig is held vertically the air inside it expands, pushing up liquid into the glass bulb and making the coloured shapes inside jiggle up and down as the air bubbles through the liquid. Made in Japan. According to the label on the pig, it is Sample No. 4254 from Ohnishiya Honten.

Klein bottle

The Klein bottle was first described by Felix Klein in 1882. It can be enjoyed simply as an unusual shape, but it also has unusual properties. It is a one-sided surface which, if travelled upon, could be followed back to the point of origin while flipping the traveller upside down. It might be helpful to think about a Möbius strip. Whereas a Möbius strip is a single surface with a boundary, a Klein bottle has no boundary. Should you want the full details please check out the web. Purchased by John Davenport from Ray Bathke of Village Games, Camden Lock, London.

Japanese novelty cigarette box with roll top lid

This box was made in Japan, although the bottom of the box is simply stamped FOREIGN. The box has a sample label on it with the number 1882. This was clearly a sample sent to Davenports, but we do not know from which Japanese supplier it came.

Novelty perfume bottle in the shape of a candle and candle-holder

Words on the label on the base read: Refill with any of 50 exquisite perfumes de Graf London.

Novelty exploding bread roll with its original box

Underneath this hollowed out roll is fitted an exploding cap mechanism. When the roll is picked up the cap explodes. The roll is very realistic because it is a real roll treated in some way to make it durable. Made in Germany. The box has on it 'DRGM' and '1254'. The roll has a sample label on it: #1254. This was clearly a sample sent to Davenports, but we do not know from which German supplier it came.

"Magico Rub-it" novelty

This is a novelty based on static electricity. Under the transparent top is depicted a circus ring. Rattling around inside are two clowns and a ball. When a finger is rubbed quickly over the top surface, the static electricity generated causes the clowns and ball to leap around. Made in England.

Green wooden bottle which contains a wiggly snake

The label on the bottle says 'Rye Whiskey. My old pal waiting for you. Made in Germany.' The snake that is curled up inside is very delicate.

Laughing sailor automaton

This automaton in the Davenport Collection was in very poor condition and Tony Middleton repaired it in 2016. The automaton does not, and according to Betty Davenport never did, make a laughing noise. Nevertheless, when switched on, the sailor rocks from side to side as though something very funny has got to him. Davenports used to hire out this sailor to TV and theatre companies. In the photograph Roy Davenport is on the left and Tony Middleton on the right.

Prototype 3D rabbit in hat cut-out optical illusion

In 2015 John Davenport had the thought that the 'hollow face' optical illusion could be used to help promote Davenports magic museum. The prototypes were based on a rabbit in a hat which apparently turned to face you as you moved around it. Despite various options being trialled and some design work by Robin Krats in England, the idea was not taken forward. This item shows the development of John's idea.

Exhibition sized revolving optical illusion

Although the observer is simply looking at a 2D rotating image, the impression is one of looking down into the crater of a 3D rotating volcano. Cambridge magician and engineer Tony Middleton made this in 2016 for display at Davenports magic museum in North Walsham, England.

Exhibition sized revolving spiral optical illusion

This is a well known illusion. Staring at the centre of the revolving spiral for 20 or 30 seconds and then looking at the back of one's hand creates a sensation of creeping flesh. Cambridge magician and engineer Tony Middleton made this in 2016 for display at Davenports magic museum in North Walsham, England.

A drinks mat with an image of Alice and the flying cards

This was a gift to attendees at the John Salisse Luncheon Club (a group of people interested in magic history) on 14 December 2015, held at The Savage Club in London. These drink mats were widely available at the time.

Z MORPH Wind Up: The Amazing Morphing Vehicle

When wound up, the truck rolls along and then stops and morphs into Dawson the dog which then walks, before morphing back to the truck. Made in China for California Creations, Tustin, California.

Cutting a woman in half coin-operated machine

When a penny is placed in the slot, a young lady appears in the horizontal box on the right of the photograph, at which point the magician slices her through many times with a vicious looking sword. After a while the lady vanishes from the box and appears in the gold cage on the left. The illusion operates on the principle of Pepper's Ghost. This machine, part of the Davenport Collection, was in extremely poor condition. It was renovated by engineer and magician Tony Middleton of Cambridge, with help from John Davenport and other friends in 2015. It is the belief of the restoration team that the coin-op was a prototype because of various design faults that would have made it unsuitable for commercial use. These faults have now been rectified. Roy Davenport is on the left and Tony Middleton on the right of the photograph.

MOVA 45 Jupiter globe

The globe, which is a representation of the planet Jupiter, rests on a perspex stand and inexplicably appears to rotate on the stand. The secret is very clever in that the movement you see is of a globe contained within the outer clear globe. The rotation is powered by the energy of room light acting on internal solar cells and by the force of the earth's magnetic field. Purchased by John Davenport in 2015. See www.movaglobes.com for more information on these amazing globes.

This decanter by Humphrey Taylor, London has each of the quarters engraved with a different drink: 'Starboard Light' Crème de Menthe, Apricot Brandy, Kümmel and Curaçao. It is also engraved with: By Special Appointment to H.M. The King. Unfortunately the four stoppers are missing.

LD & Co Nine Assorted Boxes of Funny Match Jokes - label only

This is an unused label from Davenports stock. Ref. N1155 shows the actual box with a similar label on the front.

Demon Series Parlour Fire Fun - label only

The label is for a Demon Series box of drawing room fireworks put out by Davenports, probably in the 1920s.

The Carnival Novelty Box - label only

The artwork is signed WD for W Dodds, but no date is given. The probable date is early 1920s. Note the words Demon Series in the bottom left corner of the label confirming that it is for a Davenports product. The likely date is early 1920s because we believe that Davenports introduced the Demon Series in the early 1920s.

The Gamage [Box] of Harmless Practical Jokes - label only

The artwork is signed W Dodds 1921. These would have been supplied by Davenports or The Windsor Novelties.

The Windsor Box of Harmless Practical Jokes - label only

The artwork is signed W Dodds 1921. Dodds artwork was used by Davenports and The Windsor Novelties company, which was subsequently bought by Davenports.

The Windsor [Box] of Harmless Practical Jokes - label only

The artwork is signed W Dodds 1921. Dodds artwork was used by Davenports and The Windsor Novelties company, which was subsequently bought by Davenports.

Fireside Fireworks - label only

Found in a Davenport store, but it is not clear whether this was a label for a Davenport product or whether it came with the purchase of The Windsor Novelties company.

Davenports Six Assorted Boxes of Funny Match-Box Jokes

Found in a Davenport storeroom, unfortunately with no contents. Circa 1930s.

Box set containing Nine Assorted Boxes of Funny Match Jokes

Put out by Davenports circa 1920s to1930s, the box contained a variety of matchbox jokes and novelties. For example, a matchbox that will not open, one that squeaks when you pick it up, and one containing small coloured wooden blocks from which patterns can be made. Some of the matchboxes have on their labels the demon head trademark of Davenports and the initials LD.

Useless Box by MSRaynsford.co.uk

This is a wonderful battery operated novelty for those with a sense of humour. Flick the switch on the top of the box to the ON position. Immediately the box opens and a wooden finger comes out to push the switch back to the OFF position, before vanishing back into the box. A box that doesn't want to be opened - how useless is that? The box, made out of laser cut wood, comes in kit form.

Zero Gravity Flat Clock

Copyright Kikkerland Design. The battery powered design is most unusual. The long minute hand functions in the normal way. However the short hour hand is printed on the white circular background, which itself rotates once every twelve hours.

Animal Gallery pop-up book by David Pelham

First published in 2014 by Tango Books Ltd, London.

Spots & Stripes pop-up book by David Pelham

First published in 2014 by Tango Books Ltd, London.

Demon on unicycle shop display

This was once on display in Davenport's retail shop. The demon on the unicycle rides up and down on the wire, as a result of one end of the wire slowly moving up and down driven by an electric motor. It was renovated by engineer and magician Tony Middleton of Cambridge with help from John Davenport in 2014/2015. Tony Middleton is on the right of the photograph and Roy Davenport on the left.

Indian Rope Trick coin operated machine

When a penny is placed in the slot, the rope rises up in the air and a small boy climbs up the rope, before vanishing at the top. It operates on the principle of Pepper's Ghost. This machine, part of the Davenport Collection, was in extremely poor condition. It was renovated by engineer and magician Tony Middleton of Cambridge, with help from John Davenport and other friends in 2015. The body of the cabinet has a label saying Samson Novelty Co Ltd, London. They were manufacturers of coin operated machines. Tony Middleton is on the right of the photograph and Roy Davenport on the left.

Sleight of Hand hologram by Ian Ginn

This was created by Ian Ginn in 1984. As you view the hologram from different angles four billiard balls appear between the fingers of the hand. Look at both photographs to see the effect.

A wobbly turned wooden top

This was turned by Stephen Chin, Australia. The top is unusual because of the off-centre turning on the spindle and the fact that the top of the spindle incorporates a whistle. The top came with a turned wooden stand, as illustrated.

Japanese novelty cigarette box

Each time the top of the box is rolled open, a cigarette comes out of the lower draw and is held in place in the dog's mouth. A store of cigarettes is held within the box.

Cuckoo clock

This clock was on the wall of Gus and Kate Davenport's family home in Tonbridge, Kent in the 1950s. It has since been restored. The two birds at the bottom of the clock rotate backwards and forwards each time the cuckoo comes out on the hour and half hour.

Two people on a magic carpet ornament

This was purchased by Tony Middleton off the web. He kindly gave it to John Davenport in 2017.

A wizard on a throne ornament

The crystal ball can be lit by pressing the red toggle button on the side of the base. This was a gift from Tony Middleton to John Davenport in 2017.

Quirkology Mind Games, Marvin’s Magic

As it says on the box, this is full of interactive tricks, stunts and experiments that will bamboozle your brain! Copyright 2016 Marvin's Magic.

A Chinese inside painted glass snuff bottle, with stopper

This is a modern example purchased from The British Museum shop in 2017. It was said to be painted by a Chinese painter. The stopper is probably agate. Both sides of the bottle are shown in the photographs. These objects are often referred to as 'impossible objects' because it is hard to understand how such detailed painting can be achieved on the inside of the bottle.

Ship in a bottle

When purchased in 2017 a typed note with the bottle said: 'A ship in a bottle, vintage, a schooner in full sail, the bottle stopper unusually with a fouled anchor and Turk's head binding. The underside of the bottle with the legend Liquor Bottle, Perth, Scotland'. Ships in bottles are often referred to as 'impossible objects' because it is hard to understand how the ship can be got into the bottle.

Hotel Chocolat novelty rabbit box for Easter 2017 chocolate

This eye catching novelty design was used by the UK company Hotel Chocolat to contain some of their Easter 2017 chocolate.

Hotel Chocolat novelty rabbit box for Easter 2016 chocolate

This eye catching novelty design was used by the UK company Hotel Chocolat to contain some of their Easter 2016 chocolate

Novelty spiral clock

The short hand is the minute hand. The long curved hand sweeps out the hours. The current hour is at the position where the curved hand intersects the vertical hour numbers. A sticker on the box says it was designed and made in the UK by Robert Darwen www.ideasintime.co.uk.

Roses pop-up card

Copyright Up With Paper LLC. www.upwithpapercom.

A 3-Dimensional Card of Wilton's Music Hall, London

Produced by Pollock's Toyshop, in support of the Wilton's restoration fund, the diorama card is an illustrated peepshow of Wilton's in the 1850s. With an illustrated backplate on which to write a message, the card folds down flat and comes with an envelope. Bought from Pollock's toyshop in Covent Garden in 2016.

Pop-up card of the London skyline

Purchased in a Muji shop in London.

Novelty wooden postcard with a joke on one side

The joke on one side is: "Weather is here, wish you were lovely". Made in Margate by www.lasercraftcreations.co.uk.

Yoyo made out of sixpenny pieces

Date unknown, from a Davenport storeroom. The date on one of the coins is 1931, so the date of the yoyo must be 1930s or later.

Emotion Teller Fish

When the fish is placed on your hand, the heat causes it to move and curl. The instructions tell you the emotion linked to each type of movement. This was in a Christmas cracker opened in 2015.

Pop-up card of a rose

Purchased from a Muji shop in London in 2011.

Bunny Bill origami item

This is from page 130 of Robert E Neale's book 'Folding Money Fooling'. The book is Copyright 1997 by Robert Neale. Published by Kaufman and Company. John Davenport folded this bunny from a £10 note. See the book for the folding details and how you can make the rabbit apparently appear in the hat.

'Heart Homily' origami item by Robert E Neale

This is from page 46 of Robert E Neale's book 'Folding Money Fooling'. The book is Copyright 1997 by Robert Neale and published by Kaufman and Company. John Davenport folded this heart from a £10 note. See the book for the folding details and the story which this heart allows you to tell, as you make it change it's orientation.

Snake Card Puzzle from Windsor Novelties

This is basically a soot card joke. The instructions on the envelope say: "Hold in a good light and see if you can read correctly the words on this card". As the reader twists the card around to read the message they get their fingers covered in soot from the back of the card. The Windsor Novelties operated around the start of the 20th century. This particular item is shown in their catalogue of 1914. The business was subsequently bought by Davenports.

Perpetual calendar from Ivydene

This perpetual calendar stood on the mantelpiece in the dining room at Ivydene, the home of Lewis and Wynne Davenport, for years. The various knobs allow three things to be changed. Once a month, the knob on the base is used to change the position of the dates in the week. The other knobs control the month which shows in the top window, as well as the red line which is moved as dates are passed.

Snake Charmer Saving Bank automaton

After winding the yellow key on the left, when a coin is placed in the bowl on the right and the button is pressed, the snake charmer bends forward and the snake rises out of the basket. At the same time the coin drops into the bank. Two batteries in the base should also activate some music, but unfortunately this is not working on this example. Made in plastic by Everlast Toys, Hong Kong. Copyright 1998 Everlast.

The Black Box Money Grabber

When a coin is placed in the slot on the top of the box, the battery operated box starts juddering and the 'thing' inside puts out a hand and grabs the coin.

Alice Melvin's Cut Out and Make Menagerie

Twelve cardboard animals to cut out and make. Tate Enterprises Ltd, Millbank, London. Illustrated and designed by Alice Melvin. Copyright 2007.

Foldable binoculars

These plastic binoculars are something of a novelty because of the way they fold.

Magic 'marble pencil' from Kooh-i-Noor Hardmuth

The pencil 'lead' is a mixture of red, yellow and blue colours, so it can be used to produce a marble effect.

"Consul" the Educated Monkey

Made by www.dbs-blechspielwaren.de. This clever monkey made of tin can multiply two numbers together. Set the monkey's feet to point at two numbers. The monkey's fingers then point to their product. The photograph shows the monkey multiplying 5 and 9 to make 45.

Flyte levitating light bulb

Flyte is a levitating light bulb which hovers by magnetic levitation and is powered through the air. As the bulb slowly rotates in midair, the LED lights inside can be on or off, depending on the setting. Designed in Sweden, made in China. Www.flyte.se.

Plastic jumping frog toy

To make the frog leap forward simply press down on the tab between its hind legs. Found in a Christmas cracker in 2019.

Die containing LEDs which light up when the die is bounced on the floor

The source of this item was not recorded, but it entered the collection circa 2000 - 2010.

Novelty Happy Birthday hat

Made in China for Out of the Blue www.ootb.de. The hat is made from soft fabric so that it can be folded for storage.

Novelty die within a see-through die

This was a gift from Tim Rowett to John Davenport at James Dalgety's Puzzle Party in 2001.

Tinplate Piranha wind-up toy

Made in India and imported to the UK by House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey, Devon. This is one of a series of nostalgia tin toys. The description of the toy on a website is quite true: 'Our most terrifying tin toy, the Piranha! This little monster fish runs wild when you wind him up. Our very ugly red eyed fish tin toy flips his black “fins” to roll randomly on any surface. Give the piranha some space, because you will never know where he will go. Guaranteed to surprise and scare your family and friends.' John Davenport was keen to add one of these to the Davenport Collection because it has the same motion as a novelty sold in its thousands by Davenports in the 1930s.

Tinplate Clockwork Jumping Frog

Made in China. Available from Gollnest & Kiesel KG, Güster, Germany. It was sold as a collectors and nostalgia item rather than as a toy for children.

Wind up waddling penguin

Made in China by HANS. www.hans-novelty.com.

Glow Fish

Changing colour LEDs light up the fish when it is activated by contact with water. Supplied by www.thinkgadgets.co.uk.

A Sport Relief noise-making pen from Ryman the stationers associated with Comic Relief

Comic Relief is a British charity, founded in 1985. The concept of Comic Relief was to get British comedians to make the public laugh, while raising money to help people in need in Africa, and at home in the United Kingdom. The highlight of Comic Relief's appeal is Red Nose Day, a biennial telethon held in March, alternating with its sister project Sport Relief. The pen acts like a rattle: as the head of the blue and white person revolves around the pen it makes a clicking noise as it moves across the ribs at the top of the pen.

Novelty pirate red ball point pen sold by Ryman the stationers

Associated with Comic Relief's "Red Nose Day". Comic Relief is a British charity, founded in 1985. The concept of Comic Relief was to get British comedians to make the public laugh, while raising money to help people in need in Africa, and at home in the United Kingdom. The highlight of Comic Relief's appeal is Red Nose Day, a biennial telethon held in March, alternating with its sister project Sport Relief.

Bougie Magique (Magic Candle)

Imported by La Chaise Longue. This is an amazing item that has three effects when lit: a giant flame in the centre, music and a flower which opens with a candle on the end of each petal. It has to be seen in action to be believed.

Space Race - a Schylling Pinball Game

Made in China for www.schylling.com. This is a classic portable Pinball game. Copyright 2007 Schylling.

A comprehensive pack on 'Smart Materials'

In the early 2000s the UK government was keen to promote the use of modern smart materials. Under the auspices of the Technology Enhancement Programme they produced a pack that consisted of three items. 1. Smart and modern materials sample pack. 2. A book 'A Fascinating Look at Smart Materials' produced by the Technology Enhancement Programme (TEP). 3. A book 'Smart Materials for the 21st Century' produced by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, published in 2003. Smart materials often have novel properties, hence their inclusion here.

3D advert with red and blue spectacles advertising the 3D film 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'

This was in the UK newspaper Metro on 18 September 2009 which was distributed free in the London area. It formed the outer wrap of the newspaper, so the advertisement covered 4 pages in total: the first and second pages as well as the last two pages.

"Hurricane Balls"

This was a gift from Tim Rowett to John Davenport and other attendees at James Dalgety's puzzle party on 9 June 2001. The idea is to spin the two ball bearings (which are welded together) on a flat surface, and then speed up the spinning rate by blowing on them using the pipe. The balls can be accelerated to an incredibly high rotational speed. The Hurricane Balls were sold by Grand Illusions with LED torches to create amazing illumination patterns.

Love at First Sight Holographic Candlelit Dinner Kit

Holographic hearts appear around the candle, or other lights, when viewed through the special glasses. Made in Taiwan for Worldwide co, npw.co.uk.

Gaussian Gun - a surprising scientific curiosity

If you enjoy scientific curiosities, it is well worth adding this to your collection. Place the ball bearings and magnet on the green ramp as shown, with one ball bearing at the top of the ramp. As this top ball rolls slowly down the ramp, when it gets close to the strong magnet it is attracted and rapidly speeds up. This happens so close to the magnet that the effect is not visible. However, the ball is now travelling at high speed and, as it impacts the magnet, the ball bearing at the end of the row is shot off at huge speed in a very surprising way.

Grow You Own Magic Mushroom optical illusion

This is an amusing way of dressing up the optical effect when a person stares at the centre of a rotating spiral disc for 20 seconds or so. When the person then looks at the magic mushroom, it appears to grow or shrink, depending on which way the spiral was rotated. Made in China for Worldwide co, npw.co.uk.

Stanhope lens in a pewter hat from the Mad Hatter's Party

Made by Woodsetton Designworks Ltd, UK, www.woodsetton.co.uk. The Stanhope image is of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. A Stanhope lens is a very small lens which reveals an image when pointed towards a bright light and held very close to your eye. The pewter hat provides an amusing and convenient way of holding the lens. There is a great deal of information on the web for people who want to know more about Stanhope lenses.

A lenticular that gradually morphs from the horizontal word Sarah to the vertical word SARAH

On the back is a ruler and a list of 'fun facts'. Made in China for Blue Chip Products UK.

G - I moving letters lenticular card

Purchased by John Davenport from Tim Rowett (Grand Illusions) at the 2008 International Puzzle Party 28 in Prague. When you tilt the card up and down, the letters G - I move across the card from left to right. Presumably this stands for Grand-Illusions.

3D lenticular image of the moon

The image shows a 3D moon in the foreground with black space in the background.

Running Cat CineSpinner

Made by Eye Think, Inc, USA. This is the brainchild of Rufus Butler Seder, president of Eye Think. When you hang the disc from a thread and spin it, you can see the cat running.

Temperature sensitive colour changing ring

Purchased in London in 2007.

Specimen of Optical Calcite from Morocco

The specimen is birefringent. Place the specimen on some writing and note how the two images move as you rotate the specimen while you are looking through it.

Specimen of TV Selenite from Morocco

It is called TV Selenite because, if you place it over an image, the image appears to be at the top of the rock, as on a TV screen. The fibres of the selenite act as optical fibres, transmitting light along their lengths by internal reflection. Lots of detailed information can be found on the web.

Specimen of Ulexite, sometimes called TV Rock

This specimen came from Boron, California. It is called TV Rock because, if you place it over an image, the image appears to be at the top of the rock, as on a TV screen. The fibers of Ulexite act as optical fibers, transmitting light along their lengths by internal reflection. Much more detailed information can be found on the web.

Tippe top advertising National Benzole Mixture

The words on the yellow plastic are 'National Benzole Mixture'. The words on the black plastic are 'Always on top National Benzole Mixture.

Plastic tippee top with DD on the top of it

The DD suggests that this was an advertising give away for Double Diamond, an English beer. Note the 'bump' on which the top inverts when spun. This seems to assist it spinning for longer. Most tippee tops don't have this feature.

4-D Surprise. Production of the Statue of Liberty

Made by Tenyo, Japan. Although this is strictly a magic trick, it partly depends on an amazing optical effect, the details of which are not divulged here so as to protect the secret of the trick.

Optical novelty Motion Cards

The faces on the cards move because they use lenticular technology. Designed by Pieter Woudt, made by Kikkerland.

Luycho memo pad: A Fine Line between Love and Hate

This pad creates an amazing optical effect. The inside lid of the case which contains the pad has 1,280 micro-mirrors in a 32 x 40 array. The mirrors are at different angles and they interact with the colours on the pages to produce different images. Purchased by John Davenport from Grand Illusions in 2015. https://www.grand-illusions.com

Three Card Box Illusion

An excellent illusion. One pack of cards appears to be heavier than three packs. Purchased by John Davenport from Grand Illusions in 2015. https://www.grand-illusions.com

Mains operated electromagnetic levitating globe of the earth

Made by Walter & Prediger GmbH, Kaufbeuren, Germany. Purchased by John Davenport in 2008 from Ray Bathke (of Village Games, Camden, London) for Euro 20 at the International Puzzle Party 28 in Prague.

Plastic "wobbler" novelty

Despite the strange shape, it is able to roll in a wobbling fashion along a flat surface.

Doublette - a high quality salt and pepper pot which is in a "wobbler" shape

The Doublette is in two parts which are joined together by magnets. One half is for salt and the other for pepper. When placed together the shape can be rolled across the table in a wobbling motion. Purchased by John Davenport from Christian Ucke www.ucke.de in 2005. Made by www.berendsohn.com.

Gallop! Cards. 8 Scanimation Gift Cards in a box, by Rufus Butler Seder

When a card is opened the black vertical lines move across the image and the animal appears to gallop across the card. Produced by Workman Publishing, New York.

Cambridge playing cards - a pack with the Corpus Clock on the backs of the cards

The novelty here is not the cards, but in the picture on the backs. The picture shows The Corpus Clock or, as its inventor John Taylor has christened it, the Chronophage (literally "time eater" from the Greek word for time, chronos and to eat, phage). If you have any interest at all in clocks, it is worth looking up the Corpus Clock on Wikipedia. The clock was unveiled in 2008. The cards are normal and still in their wrapper. Published by Galileo with The Cambridge Portfolio. Made in Austria by Piatniik.

Hole punch that punches out a heart shape

Produced by Woodware Craft Collection.

Samson Mystery Pig novelty

The mystery is how does the pig wiggle its ears and its tail? The instructions provide the rather cruel secret: 'Pull out the tail and insert a lively fly or any other small insect. Put in several if you want more action.' As new condition. The instructions are inside the box. Produced in England by the Samson Novelty Co Ltd, 246-7 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1.

Novelty Japanese cigarette box

When the roll top lid of this box is opened three cigarettes appear from the front of the box. The cigarettes can be taken by guests and when the lid is shut and reopened, three more cigarettes have replaced them. The cigarettes are stored in the box in the inner hopper.

Notebook with reversible sequin fabric cover

When you brush your hand over the front cover of the book, the image of a frog turns into the words I SWEAR I'M A PRINCE. This reversible sequin fabric became very popular towards the end of the 2010s. Manufactured by Zebra A/S, Copenhagen. Made in China. Purchased new in 2019.

The novelty book 'Remarkable Animals' by Tony Meeuwissen

Each page is divided into three separate parts, so the animals illustrated become mythical creatures when the third-pages are turned out of order. The words on each third of the page are organised so that they still make sense. This edition first published in Great Britain in 2008 by Frances Lincoln Children's Books www.franceslincoln.com.

Joke sparking book

When the book is opened a stream of sparks emerge. There is a key hole on the back of the book so that the clockwork mechanism which creates the sparks can be wound up.

Joke exploding book "Revelations of a Harem"

When the book is opened a cap inside goes off with a bang.

Pink bag made from a long zip

Packaged in a clear plastic box which says Qbic, London. Bags made from double sided zips became very popular novelties all of a sudden.

Green bag made from a long double sided zip

A tag on the bag says Qbic, London. Bags made from double sided zips became very popular novelties all of a sudden.

Expand A Ball

This is a plastic jointed novelty which morphs from a small sphere to a larger sphere. Copyright Keycraft 2015. www.keycraft.eu. Keycraft Ltd, Blackhouse Circle, Peterhead, UK.

Switch Pitch!

This cleverly designed ball changes colour when it is thrown in the air. It achieves this by flipping its shape in midair. Made in China. No. 2181. Imported by Ackerman Group PLC.

The "London Magazine" Savings Bank

Also illustrated is an original advertisement for the savings bank from the Illustrated Mail, 24 December 1904. It is well worth studying the advertisement and the instructions on the bottom of the savings bank to see just how complicated this item is.

Bronze Chinese Magic Mirror

The photograph shows the back of the mirror. The other side is polished. If you use the mirror to reflect the sun onto a piece of white paper, you will see the image that is on the back of the mirror. In this example, the image is a dragon.

Dan-Dee's Card Shuffler

The device is manufactured in black plastic. The box includes the words Dan-Dee Imports Inc, NYC and Hong Hong, U.S. patent no. 2.790.641.

Wind spinner

Wind spinners are very popular with children and usually on sale in large numbers at seaside resorts. They are a great way to turn coastal winds into fun.

Magic Tippe Top

This Magic Tippe Top is made by Breda GmbH. It is a catch, in that you can get the top to turn over but a spectator can't. When you push in the black 'stopper' at the top, a small plastic pin emerges from the bottom of the top. When the spectator spins the top, it simply revolves on this pin.

Orbit spinning disc

It behaves like a tippe top. To make Orbit work, stand the disc upright on a hard surface with the silver ball at the bottom. Use both hands to set the disc spinning fast (like a coin) and either immediately or preferably after a few seconds the disc flips upside down with the ball at the top. Designed by r.o. weber, webs design, München.

Fortnum & Mason musical biscuit tin

The tin was for Fortnum & Mason Jubilee Chocolate Dipped Digestive Biscuits. The tune it plays is 'God Save the Queen'. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was in 2012. The biscuits are no longer part of the collection!

Animated musicians card with envelope

The musicians start to play when the tab is pulled. One of five animated cards in a pack from Die Lebende Karte ("The Living Card"). Purchased in 2012.

Animated bear card with envelope

A bunch of flowers appear when the tab is pulled. One of five animated cards in a pack from Die Lebende Karte ("The Living Card"). Purchased in 2012.

Animated princess and frog card with envelope

The image changes when the tab is pulled. One of five animated cards in a pack from Die Lebende Karte ("The Living Card"). Purchased in 2012.

Animated clown card with envelope

The image changes when the tab is pulled. One of five animated cards in a pack from Die Lebende Karte ("The Living Card"). Purchased in 2012.

Animated Happy Birthday card with envelope

The image changes when the tab is pulled. One of five animated cards in a pack from Die Lebende Karte ("The Living Card"). Purchased in 2012.

Robert Sabuda Village Star pop-up card with envelope

Design copyright 2011 Robert Sabuda, a world class paper engineer. Purchased by John Davenport in 2012.

Rabbit in a hat brooch

Glued to the back of the brooch was a pin so that it could be attached to clothing.

Ellisdons Spider in the Drink joke

As it says on the packet: An excellent and harmless practical joke!

Joke plastic ink blot

Made of black plastic, no manufacturer markings. However, thanks to Philip Treece we know that it was manufactured by the British company Brownings under the "Plastifol" brand. They were a major supplier to Ellisdons. The packaged ink blot photograph is from Philip's collection, and is shown with his kind permission.

Guzzling Gussie novelty

Made in England by Bell. As it says on the box: 'Offer him a drink from the wrong end of a glass. He sways, he turns away, he staggers. Present it properly & see him try to swallow the glass'. Unfortunately the small glass is missing, inside of which the magnet fits. We have the magnet though, and so John Davenport purchased a small metal tankard into which he glued the magnet. You can see Gussie trying to swallow it in one of the photographs.

Wobbly pencil joke

The pencil bends when you try and write with it. The only marking on the pencil is HONG KONG.

Tin lithographed clockwork pecking bird

Made by Köhler, Germany. Unfortunately the clockwork no longer works and the tail is missing.

Moiré Coasters

A set of four coasters which form changing moiré patterns when rotated. The best way to see the effect is to put a coaster on the table where it is held in place by its non-slip base. It is then easy to use your fingers to rotate the top part of the coaster to reveal the ever changing patterns. Bought by John Davenport from Grand Illusions in Oct 2012.

Singing Bowl, purchased in Malaysia

The web has extensive information about singing bowls and how to make one sing. Tuneful notes can be produc