Copyright Novelties Mfg. and Sales Corp. The design of the US Revenue Playing Card stamp on the box allows the pack to be dated between 1940 and the 1965. The wolf on the back of the cards meant that the cards were often referred to as a wolf pack. See N2782 for another pack of art studies by the same manufacturer.
This is a rather unhelpful product. It needs a 9 volt battery to operate it, fair enough, but there is no on-off switch and the wire that connects a battery to the bow tie is very short. Made in Taiwan.
The Hackney Empire in East London opened on 9 December 1901. This badge celebrates 120 years of what has been an eventful life for the theatre. The story is told on the Hackney Empire website.
This is a remarkable object. By flipping the switch on the plastic top of the pen, the shape switches from a silver cylinder to a uniformly crushed surface. The change is reversible. CRUSHMETRIC is a design and production company established in 2019. It was co-founded by artist/inventor Noah Deledda. Their first project, the SwitchPen was launched in January 2022. The company is an interesting one and more details on its formation and other products can be found on its website www.crushmetric.com. This particular pen was a gift from Tim Rowett who works with Grand Illusions and is well known for his amazing collection of toys and novelties. In 2023 the pens are available from Grand Illusions at www.grand-illusions.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The novelty of the apple is the way in which the drawer opens, and the mechanism which keeps the drawer closed. To open it, pull on the leather stalk and the drawer pops open, aided by a small spring at its back. When the drawer is pushed back into the apple, it has to be pushed past a small spring loaded wedge which then clicks back into position to hold the drawer in. The act of pulling on the stalk lifts the wedge out of the way, so allowing the drawer to open. The apple is beautifully made by Dave Barber in Pershore, England.
The original Snapper novelty, whether made out of wood or plastic, was probably one of the best ‘catch’ novelties ever invented: you could always make the plunger snap back, but everyone else failed to do this. (See for example N1450.) This metallic Snapper works on a different principle, and so catches out people who knew all about the original version. The metallic Snapper never became as popular as the original, perhaps in part because of the manufacturing costs involved in achieving the very high accuracy required to ensure successful operation. Complete with instructions.
Place the red diver in the tube, fill the tube full of water and screw on the lid. When you gently squeeze the tube, the diver will sink downwards. On releasing the pressure the diver will rise again to the top. The original instructions are also illustrated here. Made in Germany.
Place the green diver in the tube, fill the tube full of water and screw on the lid. When you gently squeeze the tube, the diver will sink downwards. On releasing the pressure the diver will rise again to the top. The original instructions are also illustrated here. Made in Germany.