As is often the case, the real interest is in the story which lies behind this item. It was probably in the 1930s that magician Jack Blake was in Davenports and saw this handkerchief at the back of the counter. George Davenport was out at the time and so Mr Blake asked Gus Davenport if he could have a look at it, and what was the price. On being told, he bought it. Later, when George came back, he was furious because the item was a prototype and not for sale. In fact the material was not silk, but a heavier material. Gus didn’t know it was not for sale. We only know of this story because in 1989 Granville Taylor (Faust) bought the cloth from Mr Blake and then, almost a decade later in 1998, Granville presented it to John and Anne Davenport with a message that included: ‘I think it is only fitting that it should be returned to The House of Davenport . . . P.S. Make sure it doesn’t accidently disappear again!’ The story is contained in letters from Granville and Mr Blake which reside in the collection.

The advertisement from a Davenport catalogue shows the effect. The magician shows a sheet of glass held within a polished wooden frame. A playing card is placed on each side of the glass in the centre, the cards being held in place by the metal spring clips. The magician, and even members of the audience, can now push a rod right the way through the two cards, piercing the glass at the same time. The cards can then be removed showing that the glass is intact.

This trick was invented by British magician J.F. Orrin. A card is chosen and then the magician causes it to vanish. The spider is shown at the middle of the web and the magician explains that the spider is very good at finding missing cards. The web is spun and the audience sees the chosen card gradually appearing at the feet of the spider. It’s a novel way of finding a chosen card. The illustration is from a Davenports catalogue.

The effect is the magical production of a huge display of flags. Davenports sold this trick in the 1930s based on the method used by Stanley Collins. A Davenport advertisement includes: ‘In producing this wonderful effect, we have discarded the old iron flag sprays that we had on the market many years ago and now introduce our special Demon featherweight aluminium flag sprays. Beautifully made. None genuine without the Demon Trade mark.’ It is known that Jon Martin, the famous magical mechanic, produced some aluminium flag sprays for Davenports. There are three sprays of flags which fit together to produce the overall effect, the largest spray being at the bottom. The illustration is from a Davenports catalogue.

The magician places a small glass on the tray and then covers it with a larger upturned glass tumbler. The tray is then covered with a cloth. The magician picks up a coin and apparently throws it around the room, and all of a sudden the audience hears it land in the glass. This is repeated with three more coins. When the cloth is removed from the tray the audience can see that the coins have really landed in the small glass, despite it still being covered by the large glass. Davenports sold this trick which was very well made by Jack Hughes.

The magician fills a chest full of rice, covers it with a cloth and then balances it on the end of the long pole. At the right moment the magician flips the pole into the air and the cloth falls to the ground – the chest full of rice has vanished. This is a U.F. Grant Creation supplied by Davenports. The instructions are also in the collection.

Davenports named their glove monkey ‘Jacko’ and sold it over many years. With skilful handling Jacko could be brought to life and accomplish miracles. It is likely that Jacko took several forms over the years, depending on supplies. Here are two examples. One appears to be a sample because it has a label around its neck: 45715 JAPAN. The other has a label on the back of its head saying FOREIGN.

The magician shows two sticks which have a piece of cord passing through their ends. This is proved by the magician pulling the cord backwards and forwards. Despite the cord being cut by the magician, the cord is still pulled backwards and forwards, apparently restored. The wise ones in the audience believe the cord actually travels down one stick and up the other one. They are amazed when the magician moves the sticks apart and then pulls the cord down on one stick, only to see the cord on the stick in his other hand move up exactly as if the cord was still joined. The effect is magical and amusing. The sticks look like those made by Burtini, from whom Davenports purchased apparatus. A Davenport advertisement for the trick is also illustrated.

This is a very visual trick. The magician shows a bamboo rod with four beads: two are on a short cord and two on a longer cord. As one of the beads on the short cord is pulled down, the other cord magically becomes shorter. This can be repeated and the audience is convinced that the cords must be joined. At that point the magician pulls the rod apart into two pieces, so proving that the cords are not connected in any way. However, when the rod is reassembled, the trick can immediately be repeated. Once the possession of Cambridge magician Claude Perry. A Davenport advertisement for the trick is also illustrated.

The magician twists a length of examined rope several times around a stick. He holds one end and a spectator holds the other end. When the magician gives the word, the rope flies off the stick as if by magic. Once the possession of Cambridge magician Claude Perry. A Davenport advertisement for the trick is also illustrated.