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

Novelties, Toys, Games & Jokes

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

Pop-up Christmas card

Pop-up Christmas card

This is an appealing pop-up card made by Devine Cards. It is a good example of the impact that can obtained by combining paper engineering, laser cutting and colour printing.

Novelty mug from The Magic Circle, London

Novelty mug from The Magic Circle, London

The Magic Circle in London moved into their new headquarters at 12 Stephenson Way in 1998. Prior to the move, there was an opportunity to visit the site while alterations to the building were still being made. Attendees were each given a mug, as illustrated. The message on the mug is “Vanished from The Magic Circle Building Site, 12 Stevenson Way”. The printing purposely becomes fainter towards the right. Note that the word Stevenson is misspelt, it should be Stephenson.

Rod and cords

Rod and cords

This could be presented either as a puzzling trick, or simply as a novelty. At first glance the rod has three lengths of cord running through it. Closer inspection reveals that a length of cord is different on each side of the rod. For example, the cord in the middle in the illustration is green at the top and white at the bottom. If you hold the white end of the cord and pull it through the rod, you would expect the cord passing through the rod to come out green, but instead it mysteriously comes out white. The cords running through the rod at its end behave in a similar colour changing manner. The rod apparently has magical properties that allow it to change the colour of the cords as they are pulled backwards and forwards through it.

Fantasma Toys Wishcraft Fortune Telling Hand with a magic twist

Fantasma Toys Wishcraft Fortune Telling Hand with a magic twist

The small booklet that comes with this gives advice on reading palms and explains how the hand can magically answer questions. When you place the hand on the board it will answer questions from your audience by rapping once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no’. Made in China. Copyright 2012 Fantasma Toys Inc.

A Dabbit – a chocolate ambiguous figure

A Dabbit – a chocolate ambiguous figure

In 2023 the UK supermarket chain Waitrose was selling this duck/rabbit ambiguous figure made in chocolate. The packaging will remain in the Davenport Collection for a long time, but the curator is happy to say that this will not be the case for the chocolate.

Magic cigarette drawer box

Magic cigarette drawer box

This box allows you to show it as empty, or full of cigarettes, or indeed any other object that fits. The box, and others like it, were made in Japan. Search for Magic cigarette drawer box to find other examples.

Empty container for Demon Wool

Empty container for Demon Wool

This does not look like packaging used by Davenports for their Demon Series. As it says on the container: ‘It looks like cotton wool – but touch a small piece with a lighted cigarette and it will instantly vanish in a flash. Leaves no smoke or ash. Lots of fun. Quite harmless’. The words and illustration on the container suggest it was being sold as a joke. However flash wool of this type was also used by magicians to create unexpected flashes.

Davenport’s Comedy Break-up Pistol

Davenport’s Comedy Break-up Pistol

When the pistol is fired the barrel breaks up and droops in a most absurd way. Note that a Davenport demon head and the word DEMON are stamped into the wooden grip. Advertised by Davenports for 15/6d.

Ali’s Eyeful a gem of a gag

Ali’s Eyeful a gem of a gag

Although this is just a gag, it can be used in many ways, including having some fun with a magic tricks. For example, a magician could put a card face down on the table and say “We must keep an EYE on that card”. The eye comes with a whole host of printed ideas for its use, copyright by L. Davenport & Co., London. Television and American Rights Reserved. Also illustrated here is the Davenports advertisement.

The Mystic Bottles

The Mystic Bottles

Despite the name, this is really a novelty. There is a small magnet in the top of each bottle, and one bottle has a magnet in its base. This allows various ‘tricks’ to be performed. For example, the bottles will not stand together. Other ‘tricks’ are shown in the instructions illustrated here. British manufacture.