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

Tony Middleton

Film of a Davenport Demon levitating a playing card automaton

Film of a Davenport Demon levitating a playing card automaton

This electrically powered automaton shows a Davenport Demon levitating a playing card. When found in a storeroom, the automaton was not in working order. Cambridge magician and engineer Tony Middleton did a great job repairing it and upgrading it to get it back into reliable working order. The original age of the automaton is probably mid-20th century. We do not know if the automaton was ever on display at Davenports shop. See also N869.

Pseudo-scientific detector used to identify a selected card

Pseudo-scientific detector used to identify a selected card

This trick was a gift from friend and magician Tony Middleton in 2015. Tony said that he saw Peter Killworth do this trick at a Cambridge Pentacle Club evening. Tony asked him where it came from and Peter said he had built it. Peter agreed to make one for Tony, and this is it. The magician has one of a number of cards selected and then lays them down on the table. The wrist strap can be put on the helper, or could be worn by the magician who is holding the helper’s hand. When the hand passes over the chosen card, the meter goes off screen.

Miniature book on Palmistry

Miniature book on Palmistry

This miniature book was made for model makers who wish to decorate their models, castles or dolls houses with interesting objects. It was a gift from magician and friend Tony Middleton in 2014. It came from the Wizard’s Castle which he built.

Miniature Fortune Teller Set

Miniature Fortune Teller Set

This miniature set was made for model makers who wish to decorate their models, castles or dolls houses with interesting objects. It was a gift from magician and friend Tony Middleton in 2014. It came from the Wizard’s Castle which he built.

Miniature Magic Tricks Box Set

Miniature Magic Tricks Box Set

This miniature magic set was made not for magicians but for model makers who wish to decorate their models, castles or dolls houses with interesting objects. It was a gift from magician and friend Tony Middleton in 2014. It came from the Wizard’s Castle which he built.

Jumping King Tutankhamun

Jumping King Tutankhamun

This was a gift to John Davenport from Tony Middleton in 2014. If you know the secret, you can put King Tut in the sarcophagus. If you don’t, he jumps out when you put him in it. The concept of this magnetic novelty goes back many decades. Manufactured in Taiwan for Bits & Pieces, Allston, Massachusetts, USA.

Jumping Cleopatra

Jumping Cleopatra

This was a gift to John Davenport from Tony Middleton in 2014. If you know the secret, you can place Cleopatra on the couch. If you don’t, she leaps off the couch when you put her on it. The concept of this magnetic novelty goes back many decades. Manufactured in Taiwan for Bits & Pieces, Allston, Massachusetts, USA.

Dragon automaton

Dragon automaton

Made by Timberkits, UK. The automaton is a wooden kit for home assembly. Each time the handle is turned the dragon lunges forward and opens its mouth. This was a gift to John and Anne Davenport from Cambridge magician Tony Middleton in 2021. Tony assembled and painted the kit, making use of modelling clay to make the shape more dragon-like.

Magician automaton made by Tony Middleton

Magician automaton made by Tony Middleton

This was a gift from Cambridge magician and family friend Tony Middleton to John and Anne Davenport in 2015. Tony made the magician from a Timberkits kit consisting of pre-cut pieces of plain wood. Timber Kits Ltd are based in Wales. The colourful decoration and many embellishments are down to Tony’s imagination and skill. As the handle is turned, the magician looks down and covers the object on the table with his hands, turning the object from a rabbit, to a teapot, to a frog, to an apple, before repeating the cycle.

Miniature automaton Valerie

Miniature automaton Valerie

A special edition miniature version of Pierre Mayer’s magic automata. The quick change artist Valerie disappears behind her parasol, and her dress changes from red to black and back again. This was a gift from John & Anne Davenport to Tony Middleton for his 70th birthday. It also recognised all the help Tony had been giving on restoring automata in the Davenport Collection. It is included on this website with Tony’s permission.

Clown automaton

Clown automaton

An electrically operated display consisting of a clown’s head balancing a revolving shape on its nose. The clown has been renovated during its life and a new motor fitted by Tony Middleton in Cambridge. The original colour scheme of the clown is not known.