The Davenport family used the name Maskelyne’s Mysteries for their range of magic sets following their purchase of the Maskelyne’s business assets in 1935. This filled box is from around the 1950s, but the box itself with gold edging to the compartments may well be pre-war.

The Davenport family used the name Maskelyne’s Mysteries for their range of magic sets following their purchase of the Maskelyne’s business assets in 1935. This filled box is from around the 1950s, but the box itself with gold edging to the compartments may well be pre-war. This box was probably one put together by Gus Davenport when he was running Goldstons, which was the wholesale part of Davenports in the 1950s.

Unfortunately this box had no contents, but in a Davenports 1933 ‘Demon Telegraph’ magazine the box was advertised as ‘Box of Cigarette Magic’. The price was two shillings and sixpence.

These boxes were produced by Davenports. The label on the lid uses the Maskelyne’s Mysteries name, owned by Davenports following their purchase of the Maskelyne business assets in 1935. The box style which has gold rimmed partitions suggests that it was an early box, probably pre-war.

This set was manufactured by The Windsor Novelties, a company in Eton, Windsor, England. An advertisement in their 1914 catalogue, illustrated, explains that the box comes in two sizes. Their business was subsequently purchased by Davenports.

These instructions were found in a Davenport store. Page 4 mentions the Demon Series, LD & Co London. We believe that Lewis Davenport introduced the Demon Series in the early 1920s. To the best of my knowledge no boxes of chemical magic survive. However, in an early catalogue from 15 New Oxford Street (a shop to which Davenports moved in 1915) there is an advertisement, illustrated here, for a range of Chemical Magic Cabinets. For many decades Davenports stored a range of glassware suitable for chemistry sets. It may be that Lewis Davenport decided that chemistry sets were just too much trouble and the sets were soon abandoned.

The Davenport family used the name Maskelyne’s Mysteries for their range of magic sets following their purchase of the Maskelyne’s business assets in 1935. The compartments within the box are edged with yellow paper. Earlier boxes were edged with gold paper, so this box is probably from the 1950s early 1960s period. In this period the Davenport wholesale business was run by Gus Davenport under the name Goldstons. When the Davenports purchased Will Goldston’s business following his death, it effectively became the wholesale arm of Davenports.

This label combines the Davenport demon with the famous Maskelyne name which was synonymous with top class magic in the UK in the first half of the 20th century. Davenports bought the assets of the Maskelyne business in 1935 and the use of the name Maskelyne on their range of magic sets after that date would have been an obvious choice. The blank white box on the label was left so that an additional message or the name of the retailer could be printed in it. For example, see Ref. no. N1167 for a box produced for Gamages.