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

Non-apparatus

1906 Magic Circle membership badge for Martin Mayhew (real name Donald Stevenson)

1906 Magic Circle membership badge for Martin Mayhew (real name Donald Stevenson)

Many people may know the name Donald Stevenson because he was an engineer who worked with Chung Ling Soo. He is mentioned in Will Dexter’s book The Riddle of Chung Ling Soo. Fewer people realise that Stevenson used the name Martin Mayhew for his magic. I’m grateful to Michael Colley for pointing this out to me, and supplying background infromation on Stevenson, who was also well known in the emerging world of model aeroplanes.

Rabbit in hat enamel badge

Rabbit in hat enamel badge

Manufactured by Weyhing Bros. Mfg. Co., Detroit, Michigan, USA. The company was a well known manufacturer in the heart of Detroit since 1903 producing custom made badges, jewelry, and awards. We have two badges, only one of which is in the original Weyhing envelope.

Halftone blocks corresponding to magicians’ photographs in ‘Will Goldston’s Who’s Who in Magic’

Halftone blocks corresponding to magicians’ photographs in ‘Will Goldston’s Who’s Who in Magic’

These 40 or so blocks look brand new and it is clear they have not been used to print anything. It seems they must be spare blocks, in case they were needed during the print-run of the book. The images shown here include the halftone blocks for Robert Harbin and Charles Bertram. There is also a PDF which lists all of the magicians included on these blocks and explains how the pages of illustrations were printed.

Printing blocks used by Davenports business

Printing blocks used by Davenports business

Davenports made great use of printed matter and used to print much of it themselves. A selection of printing blocks is shown in the PDF which can be accessed by viewing the details of this item. The PDF also includes two cutters: one for a rabbit shape and one for a top hat shape.

Halftone printing  plate showing a young Lewis Davenport

Halftone printing plate showing a young Lewis Davenport

This plate has multiple images on it, one of which has been sawn out, presumably for use in some promotional material. The largest image shows Lewis in a pose which was used on the letterhead of ‘Les Davenports’ notepaper, item N2718 which is also illustrated here. This act was formed after the death of Lewis’s first wife, Julia. The act consisted of Lewis who provided the magic and Julia’s brother, Dave Dwyer, who provided the comedy.

Uncut sheet of simple tricks printed for Gus Davenport

Uncut sheet of simple tricks printed for Gus Davenport

Gus Davenport became involved in creating and selling premium lines for a number of companies, including the large breakfast cereal companies. Smaller customers sometimes required inexpensive magic tricks and puzzles. So this collection was printed on one sheet prior to the individual items being stamped out. With simple instructions they made a successful popular give-away.

The Disappearing TV Paper Licence Trick

The Disappearing TV Paper Licence Trick

The UK TV licencing company sent out this note to advertise the fact that a paper licence was no longer needed. One side of the note says ‘Make your paper licence magically disappear!’ The other side includes the instructions as to how you can scrunch your TV licence into a tight ball and then magically make it vanish.