The magician shows that this magical stick can turn upside down in the air. It can also move in magical ways when being held by the magician. The routine used by Oswald Williams is not known. The stick has a purpose built case with the name Oswald Williams on it.

It is very difficult to find reliable information on the salaries paid to variety acts. In this article Anne Goulden reports on Oswald Williams’ act at the Leicester Palace and compares his salary with the other acts on the bill. These are recorded in a salaries book which belongs to the British Music Hall Society Archive.

Anne Goulden gave this talk at the IBM British Ring Convention, Bournemouth on 25 September 2014.
While Wyn toured with her parents in the 1920s, she collected autographs from many magicians and variety acts. Anne Goulden brings these characters to life in a well illustrated talk.

A Noah’s Ark is built on a low platform from flat walls and a roof. Despite the ark being obviously empty, the magician opens the roof and produces a huge number of animal caricatures from it. In the days of this illusion the Noah’s Ark was a well known trade mark for Bryant and May’s matches, so to give a magical finish to the illusion, the magician would patter along the lines of: “And what happened to the ark? It was turned into matches by Bryant and May.” At this point the ark would instantaneously transform into a giant box of matches, as in the illustration. The illusion is being performed here by John Davenport with Nikki and Ellen.

This crazy invention is a triumph of entertainment and design. The performer explains in a very visual, amusing way, how the contraption should be used to catch a mouse. The original patter by Oswald Williams is also in the collection. The apparatus has been designed so that it fits compactly into its travelling case which has the initials O. W. on it. The photographs show how it opens out to its full length. Inside the opening of the travelling case are Oswald Williams’ contact details: Oswald Williams, 510 Clive Court, Maida Vale, London W. 9. Phone Cunningham 2420.