The Davenport Collection
- a growing resource on magic and entertainment history

Oswald Williams’ Noah’s Ark illusion

A Noah’s Ark is built on a low platform from flat walls and a roof. Despite the ark being obviously empty, the magician opens the roof and produces a huge number of animal caricatures from it. In the days of this illusion the Noah’s Ark was a well known trade mark for Bryant and May’s matches, so to give a magical finish to the illusion, the magician would patter along the lines of: “And what happened to the ark? It was turned into matches by Bryant and May.” At this point the ark would instantaneously transform into a giant box of matches, as in the illustration. The illusion is being performed here by John Davenport with Nikki and Ellen.

A film clip of another performance of this illusion is also available on this website, see N3105.

Item Details

Date Circa 1920s
People ,
Key Phrases , ,
Ref no N193