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Topic: Martin style pull for chimney vanish
Message: Posted by: Michael J. Douglas (Apr 8, 2011 11:13AM)
While researching the Vanishing Bird Cage, it occurred to me that using a Martin style take-up pull could ease the handling of the old "Chimney Lamp" silk vanish. I know Owen's makes one, and I believe Jim Riser has also, but both of these would be a bit too expensive for me. I've found it difficult to search for info online, as unless you search in very specific terms, you have to sludge through a vast amount of non-magic items. Would anyone know of any other manufacturers? Or, perhaps, a way to convert a reel into a take-up pull?

Any thoughts are appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 8, 2011 01:30PM)
Michael, I have long wanted a take up reel but they have always been just out of my reach do to the price.

Here are the manufacturers I have known over the years.

1 - Kirkendall made them, but only on a very limited basis.
2 - Ken Brooke had the Martin style made and sold a limited supply.
3 - James Riser made a limited number and does not currently offer them for sale. He is working on the long awaited dual model for the Frankson model vanish.
4 - Owen Magic now is the only souce currently available on the market I know of.
5 - Encore Magic made them for the Billy McComb Slow Motion Vanisning Bird Cage, but they went out of business and are in hiding. No way to contact the owner. So if they actually sold any that actually went out on the market, noone knows, or I don't know of anyone purchasing the set.

It is not possible to convert a standard key ring to a take up reel. This is because of the locking system needed for the line. A jeweler could possibly do it, if he also had knowledge of tool making. They can of course be used as a replacement for the elastic method, but do require a little different handling do to the slowness of the reel versus elastic.

Take a look at the book 'The Modern Conjurer' by C. Land Neil, it discribes the Silk Pull and uses a simple take up method for the slack on page 232. Owen Magic also makes this pull. It was priced at $120.00 in the 2005 price list. This is a version of the Double action Pull.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 8, 2011 02:34PM)
I bought a Ken Brooke (hammerton) reel for just such a use years ago. It has never found it's way into the act.

I never knew George to make a take up reel. He certainly had the know how but he would not even make the locking reels for ring flights.

For the record, the Martin style is not what Brooke had made. It was the Billy McComb refinements to the Martin reel. Encore Magic has ceased operations. Chris will eventually make a few more cages and pulls as he feels inclined to do. At this time only Owens and Jim Riser are making them.

A regular retracting reel would never have enough strength to do what has to be done to retract the reel. It is a very strong spring because of all the drag on the cord through the coat and such.

Message: Posted by: Michael J. Douglas (Apr 8, 2011 06:05PM)
I found an online version of 'The Modern Conjurer,' but page 232 shows info on Troublewit. I'll try to dig into the book a little deeper later.

You're right about the strength of the reel. Hadn't entered my mind!

'Roy Benson by Starlight' details an interesting way to shorten the length of the silk for the vanish, but it doesn't create a more free pre-vanish like a take-up reel would. I've got Carney's 'Book of Secrets' on order, which I believe has some thoughts on the vanish. I guess unless I get lucky on one of the auction sites, getting my hands on a take-up reel may be a pipe dream.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 8, 2011 06:33PM)
No, Trouble Wit starts on page 353, it is at the end of the book. Then try "The Mysteriously-Joined Handkerchiefs" trick or "The Joined Handkerchiefs" these are the title pages. This is the Chimney Vanish you mentioned you were researching, he uses a combination of elastic and line. Carney sold his pull at his lectures and they were obtainable from him for $35 at one time. You could email him to see if he will still make one for you.

I have "Secrets" by Carney, it is kind of the same work in Modern Conjurer. Carney's pull is very different and will vanish a silk, but I did not care for the method of dropping the hand. I only read it, but doing the vanish on the 'off beat' is not what I was looking for in a visible silk vanish.

The Owen/Martin Type Pull is available from Owen Magic, just put it on your charge card, just tell the wife you had it for years. LOL Don't know the price as in the Owen price list I have the price is POA, Meaning "price on application".

I want to remind you that the Bird Cage Pull does not assist in the vanish at all, it only is a take up reel for the slack in the line prior to the vanish. If you would try to use it for the vanish, you would be severely hurt from the line cutting into your body.

Looking at my Ken Brooke advertisement material, it was called the "Nemo Bird Cage Pull", which is not an accurate name, as it is not a pull at all, in the sense that it is used for the action of vanishing a bird cage.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 8, 2011 07:37PM)
I just had a long conversation on the reel with Chris three days ago. He made me aware of many things I had not thought about. As he said, "It was designed to basically let you do jumping jacks, and then do the vanish." "Billy was always working on refinements on it for years and years. He never stopped working on it."

It is a shame that Chris got out of the business. He was a good mechanic and creative guy. I am lucky to still have contact with him to bounce ideas off of.

He said, eventually, he may make some more cages and pulls. But it will be at his leisure, when he feels like making them, not to try to make a living. He has a very good 9 to 5 job that pays the bills much better than magic did or could.

Message: Posted by: Mac_Stone (Apr 8, 2011 08:41PM)
The Alan Wakeling book details a novel way of "locking" a pull. You would still have the problem of hooking up the silk, however. I suggest you look through the Benson book again. I believe that set-up allows for more freedom than you might think.
Message: Posted by: Michael J. Douglas (Apr 9, 2011 09:19AM)
That's an interesting setup. Thanks for pointing it out. I have the video with Tommy Wonder explaining his cage vanish, and I had wondered how well the pulley would work on its own. As Tommy pointed out, while the motion needed to make the vanish decreases, so does the energy behind it. However, once his reel locked, that's what he used for his lightning-fast vanish. I can only assume he was aware of this setup when he was designing his own.

Thanks for the tip, Mac. I don't have the Wakeling book. Does it describe a locking reel, as used for Ring Flight, or is it like a take-up reel, where the reel locks once it's been retracted?
While I do like the Benson method, I'm not too keen on the permanently attached silk that you have to make "appear" before the vanish. Maybe I'm too picky. :)
Message: Posted by: JNeal (Apr 9, 2011 09:37AM)
There is an alternate device that was marketed by Owen's some years ago and may still be available.
Rather than using the mechanical (and spring driven) reel to shorten the cord's length ...making it suitable for functioning as a pull, this device would allow to you 'reposition' the cord and attach it to a point on a belt loop. This would thereby bring the length to the proper one for vanishing the cage ...or silk.

I'm not sure if this is (was) exclusively a proprietary item of Owen's..but I saw it, and I know it would work. I think they sold it for about 35 dollars, and it was a little brass piece and some bead attached to the cord. Very ingenious!

Message: Posted by: Mac_Stone (Apr 9, 2011 09:45AM)
Michael, the Wakeling method is not any sort of mechanical one. It's a very low-tech way of "stopping" one end of a Jack Miller type pull. Just try to come up with a way of keeping the business end of your pull up your sleeve until you need it.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 9, 2011 12:18PM)
I think that is a version of the Stanyon pull.

Message: Posted by: JNeal (Apr 9, 2011 01:08PM)
Perhaps you are right,
This was not a double action pull that uses the concept of pulleys to allow 12" of retraction for 6" of movement.
Rather, it was a way of shortening the cord that allows the performer to be in a 'vanish position' after working this gimmick.
From that point on, the action is 'simple' rather than the 'compound' movement.
Message: Posted by: Michael J. Douglas (Apr 9, 2011 01:57PM)
There's a "Mechanical 'Pull' for Vanishing a Handkerchief" listed in the index for Stanyon's Magic, and Lybrary.com has it for 3 bucks. I'll have to check it out. So many things to try.... What's old is still new to me! :)
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 9, 2011 05:12PM)
I understand the difference. Maybe a combination of both would suit the needs.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 10, 2011 08:45AM)
The Owen Pull is the exact same thing as mentioned in C. Lang Neil's book the Modern Conjurer. It sold for $120.00 in 2005 price list, so it would be a little more today. I mistakenly thought is was a version of the doulbe action pull, as the design is similar to a double action, attachment points are just at different places and there is no single line coming from the arm strap to the pulley.

Owen used a bead stop for the line when drawn, C. Lang Neil book explaination uses a hook. That is the only difference between the two.

Dick Zimmerman's double action pull was attached to his belt as well, but did have the added length attached to the arm strap, ending at the pulley. This was refered to as a double action pull.

Wakeling Pull is a double action pull similar to Dick Zimmerman's pull.

FYI: Small pulleys can be purchased at any hardware store and arm straps can be made from webing from a fabric store.

Tommy Wonder's line attachment to his shoulder is probably the key to a proper double action pull. As this will actually only use half the length, but double the distance traveled. Of course he then used a take up reel to shorten the length. This may only be the correct solution. Wish we had a scientist to explain the differences when attached to shoulder vs waist belt, and added line to pulley or no line and pulley attached directly to wrist strap.

If you look very closely at the Tommy Wonder DVD, you will see he also put a stop loop on the shoulder strap, where the line would actually stop to take the force generated. This was not in the book explaination, he says he put a bead in the line. So the book and the video are actually different in design. I would think the bead in the line did not last a long time with regular use.

Maybe just a simple reel is the answer, I still rememeber when Joseph Gabriel was on the Carson show a second or 3 time. He did a silk vanish, where the silk was put in his left fist, with a tail still showing. The silk was pulled inside his fist automatically. The audience gasped at the silk moving in, Grabriel then opened his fist and the silk was gone. I was very surprised at the audiences response of this type of vanish.
Message: Posted by: bojanbarisic (Apr 10, 2011 03:52PM)
alternate device you are talking about is Edgar`s Liberty Pull first described in Magic Wand, 1921.

Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 10, 2011 07:45PM)
As I have been told, one pulley only changes direction. Two pulleys double the advantage and so on.

Henry Evans also did a good vanish in a plastic baggie using a ring flight type reel.

Message: Posted by: keithmagic (May 7, 2011 01:37PM)
I created a hold out line lock similar in principle to Tommy Wonder's "frozen lock" he published in The Books of Wonder.

People have talked about it here - http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=344186&forum=113

I have experimented with it quite successfully as a sort of "take up" lock when looking for an alternative to a Martin take up pull.

Since it is designed to literally take up slack in a line, and also due to how it is made, it can take a LOT of force - the forces generated while vanishing the cage (or anything else for that matter).

It's a pretty unique solution to the problem, I think.

Message: Posted by: IDOTRIX (Feb 10, 2012 04:52PM)
Could somebody post a picture of the take up pull that Ken Brooke used to carry. I believe it is a Martin style if I'm not mistaken. Richard believes it's Hammerton style. Does anybody know what the going rate is on the one from Ken Brooke in pristine condition. Thanks, Mike
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Feb 10, 2012 05:28PM)
The difference between the Martin and the Hammerton (Ken Brooke' ) reel was hot the line was locked when extended. The Martin had a small line two prong pin that insert into the drum. The Hammerton/Brookes and Encore all had a spring loaded clip that inserted into the drum like a ring flite reel I am trying to find a photo of the Martin reel.

As for going rate, I would guess $1500+.

Message: Posted by: IDOTRIX (Feb 10, 2012 05:34PM)
I don't have one Richard but I have one that a may be purchasing. as I recall the line has what looks to be in the shape of a bullet that goes into the reel body to lock.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Feb 11, 2012 10:59AM)
Owen Magic makes a Martin type reel.

It is pictured here, with the Billy McComb added brown tongue as shown. The original does not have this protrusion to prevent the shirt from getting caught.


$1500 was for the cage and pull combination. If I remember correctly, Owen Magic sold the pull alone for $1,250.00. I would say an original would be anywhere from $600.00 to $900.00, as they sold for $150.00 back in the 1970's.

Unless you have an Owen Vanishing Cage or James P. Riser Cage, there is actually no reason to have this pull. It is not used to actually vanish the cage at all. It only take up slack in the line, before the vanish. Using this any other way will injure you very severely. The line will cut you deeply.
Message: Posted by: IDOTRIX (Feb 11, 2012 06:59PM)
Thanks for the info Bill. I know exactly how to use it. I have been doing the cage for thirty five yrs and own many cages. I an a very big guy and the take up pull would give me comfort to do a one hand cage until I lock it in. The Martin style reel has a value of $2500 -$3000 on the collectors market from what I found out. I called Owens today but they were closed. Last I checked they were around $1250.00
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Feb 11, 2012 08:38PM)
You do not want a Martin for the reasons the very reason I stated above. You can lose the pin too easily.

Actutally, you can use the pull on any rigid cage. There are still some good Lindhorst cages out there. National Magic, Lindhorst, Milson Worth, even Horace Marshall all made good rigid cages. One of the problems I have heard with the Owen's cage is that it may be too stift when it is new.

I bought my reel to do the chimney pull in the middle of the act. It never got in to the act.

Yes, the piece that inserts into the pull is bullet shaped with a grooved shoulder that allows it to lock in place when retracted into the pull. Kind of like an O ring into a groove.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Feb 12, 2012 01:35AM)
On 2011-04-10 20:45, hugmagic wrote:
As I have been told, one pulley only changes direction. Two pulleys double the advantage and so on.


Tommy Wonder calls his pull set-up a double action pull. He only has one pulley on his set up. Wish we had an industrial engineer or a mechanical engineer to explain the difference.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Dec 9, 2012 10:07AM)
Typically pulleys increase mechanical advantage and increase distance traveled. Gears usually do the opposite.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Dec 10, 2012 10:18AM)
From basic high school science class. ..one pulley only changes direction. There is no mechanical advantage. Two pulleys add advantage and so on.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Dec 10, 2012 11:21AM)
On 2012-12-10 11:18, hugmagic wrote:
From basic high school science class. ..one pulley only changes direction. There is no mechanical advantage. Two pulleys add advantage and so on.


Richard, I can only advise you take a look at the Tommy Wonder DVD on his Vanishing Bird Cage set up. He called it a double action in his book and DVD. I really don't know anything else, as he could have been making up a term of his own, as he states, he gets twice the pull length from half the energy. The pulley use in this case does not change direction of the line, it doubles it in half. As I stated, we need a mechanical engineer to clarify this further.

To further confuse this set-up, there is a difference between hooking to the pants, compared to the shoulder loop. I don't have a couple people that can help set-up the device with me. So to analyze the action would be interesting to go further and see why it works as it does.

I think I have spent more time on this pull action then anyone else, and have not figured it out yet.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 5, 2016 12:45AM)
Ever since Michael J. Douglas has posted his intriguing question, it has been in the back of my mind ever since. So for some years I have been working on a non-excessively expensive solution. I believe I have found one, and am currently working on the arrangement. As $500 to $1250 just does not make sense to take up 8 to 12 inches of a piece of cord.

It will be information gleaned from C. Lang Neil, Tommy Wonder, Owen, Dick Zimmerman, and others. This will give the slack needed to wear the cage during a show or act and be able to vanish the Vanishing Bird Cage at any time the performer wishes.

The famous magician's that performed the Vanishing Bird Cage over the years, usually did the effect as a Closer or Encore feature effect. To be able to perform the cage trick at any time during an act what I am shooting for as a solution.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 27, 2016 01:07AM)
Just learned that Al Baker published his "Lighting Pull" in his book Pet Secrets. Anyone have this book and can send me Page 36, 37, and 38 on the pull? It is for my research.
Message: Posted by: Dan Ford (Aug 27, 2016 11:24AM)
Bill Hegbli has found a great clip for attachment of the bird cage to the take up line. I got one from him a while back and it works great!
Message: Posted by: Hookem (May 17, 2017 10:31PM)
I have both pulls made by Owen -- the Flash Pull and the Martin-Type Pull. I use the Flash Pull with my cage.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Feb 15, 2018 12:32AM)
[b]I had both an original Martin and a Hammerton take up pull. I sold the Martin to Tommy Wonder (very reasonable low price, as we were good friends). I still have the Hammerton. Joe Porpere is considering the production of a similar one. Zaney Blaney told me he was getting ready to market his cage and pull system.[/b]
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Feb 15, 2018 04:36AM)
Pete, Zany Blaney has been trying to get cages manufactured for the last 20 years or so. It is a boring job and very hard work with special machines and jigs.

Zany, worked with Owen Magic for years developing the cages he used in his performances, suggesting and making improvements to the design of the cage.

I guess he cannot get Owen Magic to make them either.

I have corresponded with Zany Blaney some years back, he was very helpful and kind. There is nothing out the ordinary with his pull, as it the standard pull that comes with every Vanishing Bird Cage. He has made a feature that makes it easier to use different fitting jackets, that I thought was a very good idea and an easy method.

Remember Encore Magic Products, he went out of business with the Billy McComb Vanishing Bird Cage.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 15, 2018 06:25AM)
Bill~ Did you ever get the pages from Al Baker's "Pet Secrets"???

My copy, which I had loaned out, a few years ago, just returned "home"!

Lemme know, if you still need those pages.....
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Feb 15, 2018 07:43PM)
[quote]On Feb 15, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:
Bill~ Did you ever get the pages from Al Baker's "Pet Secrets"???

My copy, which I had loaned out, a few years ago, just returned "home"!

Lemme know, if you still need those pages..... [/quote]

Dick, I never got any response to my request.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 15, 2018 08:38PM)
I have a couple BUSY days, but, I'll sneak down to the copy shop, at first chance, and, burn a copy.....
Message: Posted by: TomB (Dec 12, 2019 01:08AM)
[Quote]He only has one pulley on his set up. Wish we had an industrial engineer or a mechanical engineer to explain the difference.[/quote]
Will you take an electrical engineer? Here is my stab at it.
I would not have used the words single action double action pulley to describe Tommy Wonders pulley. During trials, when Tommy used a double action pulley, he was disappointed because he had half the energy. Don't overthink this, it is a single action pulley. It starts as a single semi-fixed pulley and then changes into a single movable pulley. When Tommy is stating single or double, he is referring to speed of the line. Speed and force are opposing characteristics, you get one or the other.

During the vanish phase, he used a single semi-fixed pulley, the main advantage is the single short cord used. In fact the stop even makes the cord shorter (book) or tied to the ring (DVD). Tommy stated he only needed 2 inches of movement and that would create all the force needed for the vanish. This is an amazing amount of force (I wish it was measured).

During the take up phase, Tommy used the single movable pulley.
For every inch the pulley is moved towards the take up reel, the birdcage cord/birdcage is moved two inches. This he considers double the speed.

Of course it is in fact the same single pulley used for both phases. I am very grateful for Tommy for showing us how he did in my opinion one of the best tricks of magic executed by one of the best.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Dec 12, 2019 02:58AM)
James P. Riser, the expert machinist, who makes Vanishing Bird Cages and spring loaded pulls, is selling instructions on how to make a take up reel. So if you are a machinist or know someone like a Tool and Dye maker, then you have a opportunity to make a Reel Pull.