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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Ian McColl's Padlock (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

schwartz
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You probably all know Ian McColl either from this forum group or because you have actually bought some of his wonderful books and equipment. I just wanted to pass along my thoughts on his 6 inch padlock which I just received in the mail. I will provide more specifics in a secret session post so as not to reveal too much. The lock is a heavy (3lb), sturdy lever lock and looks like an antique railroad or jail padlock.

It looks completely normal but it actually becomes a wonderful tool in the hands of an escape artist. What’s so great about this particular lock is that this McColl device MUST be made from SCRATCH in order to operate the way it does. I doubt very strongly that anyone else could discover the secret of this lock even if you told him there was something special about it.

This is another example of Ian’s skilled workmanship, a great prop for the escape artist to own and one that is not easily found elsewhere.
x-treem
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I, personally, tend to stay away from older looking padlocks that the general public can not identify with. Though something may look a certain way to an escape artist, the public at large may not know what it is at all.

All in all the public assumes that we have something on us somewhere, or they assume we can get out or else it was stupid for us to make a claim that we can.

It is easy, even for someone that has no mechanical skill, to make a CL out of a modern day Master Brand padlock, and it is something that people can identify with over the strange shape of say a Squire padlock. Also for the magicians, "in the know" people in the audience, the Master is much more slim in design as opposed to the bulkiness and suspecion that the Squire padlock might bring.

I do realize that the larger the padlock is the more difficult, a person assumes, it is for us to get out of, there are a wide range of Master or Master like padlocks on the market that have whatever size requirement you might need.

The one place that I can think of, off hand, to learn to make such a padlock is in Steve Santini's Concealments: Hiding Tools of the Escape Artist Trade Sold through my partner web site http://www.strictlyunderground.com
I'm not sure where else the info is commercially available.

ADDITION: I fully agree with the comment on Ian's craftsmanship.
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
schwartz
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I agree with you in some respects but there are some obvious advantages to a bigger lock in many escapes. As far as an audiences reaction they are unlikely to suspect anything that is as commonplace as a master lock but some of these antique looking items really impress them. And yes, the bigger the lock the harder it looks even though it usually isn't harder to get out of.

I usually try to divert people's attention to the fact I use tools to escape by pretending I am using something like a pen cap instead of a gimmick. That usually draws them away from the real method.
Kevin Ridgeway
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There are other CL as mentioned and they work great for Kristen. In her experiences, using the same type of locks, handcuffs, transport boxes, etc as what is currently used in law enforcement and widely recognizable to the public, seems to be the best bet. We also perform lrage stage illusions, and those tend to have a very "magic box" type look to them. SO the audience may chalk it up to specific props. But when real locks and cuffs come out, real police officers check them out, then the escapes seems more like escapes and less like a magic trick. Hope this helps.

Kevin
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The World's Premier Female Escape Artist

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Scott Xavier
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I perform mentalism, I have asked many audience members, and they really believe the older the padlock the easier the escape. Many have read about how these can be smacked at an angle, and the shackle will just pop open. Not giving away how they operate, I don't want any suspicions put on my performance. They already know it's a scam, the question is, how am I getting out. An antiqued padlock just looks hokie....
Ian McColl
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Hi, Mark thank you for your kind words about my work......

The CL was built to suit a certain period of architecture so not to look out of place. A modern padlock would surely be suspect.
Before passing too much judgement on if the lock is suitable, knowledge of the entire escape should be considered. Unfortunately it is not my place to do so but there is more to this than meets the eye.

I also think that it is misleading to state that old locks look suspect and that a hit on the side will open them.

Depending on which country you live in and what type of lock contempory or passed are used will depend on what people see as a standard.

People will obviously relate to certain things more than others but everyone knows what a padlock looks like.

It is more than likely that they wouldn't have a clue if it is a low security warded or high security lock.

Ian
x-treem
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All in all an item needs to be audience tested. The item should also fit the needs and likes of the performer and as Ian stated the escape in general.

I don't really understand how the audience would suspect a modern day padlock vs. an older one. Many audience members in the state of Wisconsin have not seen an EA before. So all they know of, they've gleened off pictures of Houdini. So what they see in pictures of Houdini they know can be gotten out of, thus my reasoning to stay away from period items unless it fits the escape.

If you are bound in 20 pairs of SAF-LOK Cuffs, wrapped with galvanized chain padlocked with a McColl CL. Then thrown into a modern jail cell. There is no way the audience will not be suspect to the CL as it is out of place. However use 20 pairs of Towers, old rusted chain, and tossed into the cell at an "Old West" show, it will fit right in.

I've tried this "argument" before and have gotten no where. It is based on my own audience testing and is what I use and live by because it works for me.

If indeed something else works for you, then by all means have at it.

X
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
Scott Xavier
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OK M, common sense states that the Master lock has gotten so much publicity and hype via TV, it's now a household name. It's between an ace cheapie lock or a master lock, my friend bought the MASTER lock, why? It's easy. The name says security, we know different, but general people don't. We are the elite, they are the masses.
Ian McColl
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Dear Dr Zodiac, I understand that in America, Master is a commonly known brand and many people don't understand the difference between a Master brand and a Medeco. The same can be said between a warded smokehouse padlock and a 6 lever padlock. Unless you are familar with each type and mechanism you wouldn't be any wiser.

But in all cases, if the audience can open and close a lock and feel that they have examined it and not found it to be lacking then the lock is as secure as you can suggest.

If you were in several other countries, a Master would be out of place. As this message board is read by many around the world a more worldly view might be required. Also the performance criterion may require certain items that may not reflect current views. It's horses for courses. The right item for the right circumstances.

I don't understand what you mean by "elite" but never under estimate the masses.
Ian
schwartz
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Plus there are some things a Master CL cannot do that a McColl lock can. It depends on the situation.

If you are using a Master padlock and the audience knows it is yours it will be suspect anyway even though it is a common brand. I try to avoid this.

If an escape is presented right even people who know something about locks will be fooled. I once did a simple handcuff escape to a room full of magicians and got a great response. A good friend who was there and is a U.S. Attorney was totally fooled and asked me how I did it. When I told him he was pretty embarrassed because he deals with police transfer of prisoners every single day and yet in the excitement of the trick he forgot certain basic facts that are common knowledge to him.

Most of the stuff we are talking about is really audience dependent. There are many people who are wowed by the unfamiliar. But to many people a lock is a lock. If you tell them "here I have an ordinary Master padlock" they will immediately suspect something.

As Ian was saying, you need to have the right tool for the job so no one is right or wrong here. Most of our stuff has passed the audience test, that's all that matters.
The Donster
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There is nothing wrong with a Master padlock. I heard that Master has specially made padlocks for magicians in the past. Master Lock was supposedly started by a locksmith who also made trick locks for Houdini. From what I heard the locksmith who started Master Lock was a traveling locksmith, not sure how they did it in the old days but this is what I heard.

Don

P.S. Nothing wrong with a Medeco lock either, these are highly pick resistant but one guy has already picked one open. I'm not sure of the year but I think the locksmith was from New York.

Also back in 1969 Medeco offered money if anyone could pick open their lock. But what about the other high security locks like Assa, Abloy, there is also Chubb and Fichet? Also a tubular cylinder padlock.

Don Smile
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