This is a well-made and well-decorated wooden children’s trick. It consists of two decorated stands with some cut-out faces of children. The theme of the trick is to illustrate the awful injuries that can happen if children do not follow road safety rules. All ends well, but the instructions do suggest that: ‘the harrowing details of the accidents and of injuries sustained, should be avoided to prevent giving the Effect too gruesome an atmosphere!’ The trick includes instructions and suggested rhyming patter.
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 top of the cloth is attached to a length of wood so that it can be held in one hand and waved over piece of magical apparatus to cover an appearance or disappearance. It has been used by John Davenport to cover the appearance of an appearing vase. The actual vase can be seen under Ref. no. N60.
This is a utility piece of apparatus used by a comedy magician. For example, using their favourite method, the magician pours some water into the ear of a spectator. If the spectator then bends their elbow and puts it into the top of the funnel, the water is seen to pour out from the bottom of the funnel into a glass. The comedy can be increased by another person pumping the spectator’s other arm up and down.
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 was presented to John Davenport in 1994 by Cambridge magician Claude Perry. Claude told John that John Gambling used to have these special pieces of paper made up by Cambridge printers Foister & Jagg. The paper could be used to vanish a handkerchief. They pre-date the Tarbell Cone.
At The Magic Circle Collectors’ Day in 1996 there was a sale of some of Tommy Cooper’s possessions. The proceeds went to The Magic Circle Headquarters Fund and the Grand Order of Water Rats. This item consisting of metal cups was purchased for the Davenport Collection, even though the routine was not clear.
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.
Unfortunately one of the white ends is missing.
John Ramsay was well known for first class close up magic. He lived in Ayr in Scotland. His tricks included items like coins and thimbles. Thimbles like these were used by him as advertising giveaways. The words on the thimbles are: JOHN RAMSAY. CONJURING ENTERTAINER. AYR.