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

1992

John Nevil Maskelyne’s Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee speculation

John Nevil Maskelyne’s Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee speculation

1897 was the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign. There were to be Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and Maskelyne saw an opportunity to make a good profit by building a Grand Pavilion with a view of the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the ceremony was to take place. Unfortunately, the speculation did not turn out well. Dr Dawes draws on many sources to tell this story. We meet David Devant and Douglas Beaufort and learn about some rather surprising litigation that resulted from Maskelyne’s initiative.

Angel Steps – a Japanese pop-up card

Angel Steps – a Japanese pop-up card

Designed by Masahiro Chatani. According to a note which comes with the card: ‘People say, “Happiness lives over the mountain”. The three-thousand mountain steps in a small town in Kyushu (southern part of Japan) are familiar to people. It is as if angel steps were leading you to a heaven far away.’ This is a very elegant pop-up card. Made and printed in Japan. Produced by A.G. Corporation.

Pen-Ultimate levitating pen by Loncraine Broxton

Pen-Ultimate levitating pen by Loncraine Broxton

The pen and the base contain magnets, allowing the pen to be spun and remain floating. Although the point of the pen is in contact with the clear plastic sheet, the friction is so low that the rotation lasts for a very long time. Made in UK. Copyright 1992, Loncraine Broxton & Partners Ltd.

Novelty plastic ball – the beetle stays on top when you roll the ball

Novelty plastic ball – the beetle stays on top when you roll the ball

Immediately inside the clear surface of the ball is a thin layer of clear liquid. This allows the internal ball, which has the printing on it, to float inside. However, this ball is weighted inside, so that no matter which way the outer clear ball is turned, the beetle image always stays on top. The effect is quite magical for anyone seeing it for the first time. The words printed on the inner ball are: ‘Harlequin Cabbage Beetle. Copyright 1992. Club Earth. Taiwan’.