(Close Window)
Topic: Die Box... history & origin?
Message: Posted by: dking66 (Jan 5, 2005 10:44AM)
Anyone have any information on the Die Box... history or origin?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 15, 2005 01:15AM)
I invented it. Although I saw it a few dozen times before I invented it.
Message: Posted by: Phil Pearce (Jan 16, 2005 03:57PM)
Great help there, Mr. Biro. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: tabman (Jan 16, 2005 05:24PM)
Henry Hay's _Amateur Magician's Handbook_ has some good info on the die box. This is an interesting question.

Message: Posted by: mrmagic0 (Dec 20, 2011 10:57AM)
I am resurrecting this thread. I am curious if anyone knows the origins of this effect.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 20, 2011 09:56PM)
? it dates back at least as far as Ponsin's book, Latest Tricks Revealed.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 20, 2011 10:29PM)
On 2011-12-20 22:56, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
? it dates back at least as far as Ponsin's book, Latest Tricks Revealed.

Yes, and actually a pretty interesting method, too.

Carlton (real name Arthur Phelps) was probably responsible for the sucker routine popular today. He was also known as the "human hairpin".
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Dec 20, 2011 10:53PM)
As long as this came up again, I might as well ask if anyone knows of a prior use for a vertical die box. I think that I might have come up with the idea first, but it doesn't hurt to check around. My version has just been published on my site in The Wizards' Journal #22 as "Santa's Chimney" but I've come up with a lot of other uses for the concept besides Santa and a Chimney. What I would like to know, though, is if anyone knows a prior example of a vertical die box in the literature.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 20, 2011 11:45PM)

The only thing I can think that may be remotely similar would be Thayer's "Find The Lady Cubes". It has 3 vertical doors and is routined as a Monte effect.

Message: Posted by: mrmagic0 (Dec 21, 2011 07:50AM)
Thanks to all.

Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Dec 21, 2011 12:32PM)
Thanks, Michael. That led me on an interesting journey back in time:

You are right, it is remotely similar, but would apply more to making a variation for the "Skeleton in the Closet" than for a die box variation. I may keep that one in mind for a future use, if I live that long. Thanks again for the memory.
Message: Posted by: tobiaspepper (Feb 5, 2012 08:17PM)
I know a bit, though I can't back it up with references! I'm pretty sure the box with the front and top doors came first, and the front and back door version was invented by Goldston. It was certainly known as the Goldson Die Box, even by his rival dealers.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 7, 2012 08:56PM)
I think the earlier version had doors only on the front, as the sliding was a complete inner chamber, and not just the block or the usual method. Reference the Ponsin book mentioned above. That's the earliest source I am aware of.
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Mar 14, 2012 04:00PM)
There is a thread here with some history info:

Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Mar 22, 2012 10:08AM)
This from Magicpedia

"On of the earliest description of a piece of apparatus that resembles the Die Box is that of the Shuttle Caddy. It was a two-door, two-compartment cabinet used to store China tea on one side and Ceylon tea on the other and is found in Nouvelle Magie Blanche Devoilee by Ponsin published in 1853.[1]
The four door sucker version was created by Alexander Davis and was being performed in the United States by 1886. Davis sold the manufacturing rights to Otto Maurer who began marketing it in 1887 as the "Most Wonderful Dice Trick". [2]
The most well known presentation, which many use today was created by Carlton (Arthur Philps) in 1907"
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 1, 2014 12:34PM)
Great thread!
My parents, on a trip to Philadelphia in the mid 40s, brought me die box from Mike Kanter. I still have it, although, I had Bruce Jensen "rebuild" it about ten years ago. The die is about 2". It was black with white pasted on spots. Now, the spots are yellow, and the hinges which were fastened with gimp tacks, now have brass screws. I used it as a teenager. Now that it's refinished, it's "TOO NICE TO USE!"

One of the "challenges" of doing nation wide school show tours, is not using any props that are "instantly identifiable" by the kids who may have seen the "local" magician. Years ago, it seemed like every magician did the die box. --and really played the sucker aspect strong. My little die box was left in "winter quarters" for a long time.

When I did my first tour in North Dakota, I found that there were no local magicians! I checked with the pro's. who had played ahead of me. None were doing the box for the same reason that I had "red lighted" mine.

I was staying in the Charlie Miller Suite at Magic Inc.,and Jay and I discussed the box one night. He showed me the routine that he had done while in the Army in WW II. It was "my kind of routine"! The late Ben Martin suggested that I order an "English" Die Box from Davenport. It "turned out" to be a GOLDSTON DIE BOX. I dug out an old Opera Hat, and used Jay's routine for a whole season. No one in the Dakotas had ever seen one! The next tour, however was in the midwest in a much more populated area, so the Davenport/Goldston box, was left on the shelf with Mike Kanter's. I still have it, too.

Then Jay had a half dozen +/- "Jay Marshall boxes made up. It was an exact copy of the Kanter. However, Jay had some improvements in the design. The top bar over the front doors were "removed" and there were no knobs to pull open the front doors. The inside was not black. It was lined with a wood grain paper (didn't look so "black and mysterious". I bought one. I still have it. (I've never used it!)

Then I saw a Milson/Worth box. I already had the beginnings of a collection, so I bought it, too. It sat with the others for awhile. Yhen the late "Mandrake" (Theo Claflin) offered to buy it, I don't have IT anymore.

Phil Willmarth published Jay's routine in MUM about 30 years ago. One of the best of Jay's lines was: "What, did I forget to show you when the douse was in the hat? --How careless of me!
Message: Posted by: jstreiff (Sep 25, 2014 08:13AM)
I bought my first die box from Joe Berg himself around 1960. He called it an Owen Die Box. It was unlike other Owen boxes but quite well made. The dies were wood painted black with white paper stick on spots. The case was dark Walnut, hand stained and rubbed. There were four doors, two on top and two in the front. The top and base were slightly rounded, not square cut, which gave the box a wonderful feel. The bottom was covered in dark green velvet. The action was smooth. There was a double door on the right which was metal. The shell was made of soldered metal. I sold the box years ago and regretted it. I now realize this particular box apparently is a bit rare today. I thought I had sold it to Jack White in San Diego in the 70's, but later discovered it was not in Jack's large box collection.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Sep 25, 2014 10:45AM)
I got rid of the opera hat years ago and began working on a "hands-on" version die box routine where the spectator helper gets to hold the die and the small cardboard box that it returns to after vanishing. It's old and it's new and the best part is that it can be constructed in a "kitchen workshop" without power tools (Wizards' Journal #27 if interested in learning how).
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Aug 15, 2017 08:28PM)
Reading Gene Anderson's wonderful new book inspired me to get out my die box and play around with it. (Initially because I wanted to see if my box would allow for the brilliant Percy Abbott move Gene teaches for his routine... my box doesn't allow it :( ). This, of course, along with Gene's wonderful routine, made me think of all the different routines that could be possible.

I'm wondering what the original idea was in putting a die in a box? It doesn't really make sense does it? But the trick as a whole has so much potential!
Message: Posted by: JNeal (Aug 17, 2017 10:23AM)
The section in the Roy Benson book (Magic by Starlight / Levent) is worth much more than a casual look. The routine was also written up in Genii Magiazine in Charlie Miller's column "Magicana" in the 1960's.

Also in Robert Parrish's book 'Great Magic Revisited' is a chapter on the Die Box that is quite original.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Aug 17, 2017 08:36PM)
John Bundy does a really strong Die Box routine. When he worked Abbott's, Hank Moorehouse was upset he was doing the die box as part of his set. Of course, he needed a few small things in between the big stuff. Later, Hank apologized to John telling him it was one of the strongest bits he did. And Hank knew magic!