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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Sponge Ball History - putting together a timeline (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MINDPSYCHIC
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THE NETHER-REGIONS OF THE HUMAN MIND
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Hello all. Long time lurker, recently turned poster. I am working on a project and would like to know something of the history and evolution of spongeballs, so that I can give credit where credit is due. I've done a Café search, but can't quite find what I'm looking for. I'm sure this topic has been covered by another thread- but I can't seem to find it. Any info, book titles, or search criteria would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
pepka
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I'm certainly no expert on the subject as I find most sponge ball routines repulsive, and don't perform one myself. However, I do believe that Frank Garcia wrote the Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic.
Dynamike
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I believe the trick was performed with tissue paper before the sponge balls. But who was the first to use sponges...good question.
Eddie Torres
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Which is expensive as heck but is absolutely worth it even if just as a collector. Any serious spongeballer should pick this up, just to have it... The Encyclopedia, that is.
You can also look through any older books that go into any details on spongeballs and many will go into details on how to make sponges which are obviously pre-Goshman, when no one was manufacturing them. If you have the Tarbell books, look through them. You may also want to contact the fine folks at Goshman and see if they have any info available for whatever it is you want to know.
I have a huge collection of sponge items if you need any specific info on any current items, as well.

Eddie
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Bill Palmer
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Start with The Sponge Book by Laurie Ireland. It was published by Irelands Magic, which later became Magic, Inc. It is still in print.

Ignore any references to tissue paper. Sponge rubber has characteristics that tissue paper doesn't have. Do a search in the files of the Jinx and the Phoenix to see when sponge balls first appeared there.

Also check Classic Secrets of Magic by Bruce Elliott. There is a mention of sponge balls in there.

The Goshman style sponges were originally made by Ravell, who sold his business to Al Goshman.

Also, post this in the historical section. You will get responses there that you won't get in this part of the forum.
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MINDPSYCHIC
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THE NETHER-REGIONS OF THE HUMAN MIND
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Thanks for the helpful replies. Just the type of info I was looking for. Thanks again!
Payne
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This ad from Rohn Magic in the Vol. 3 of the 1925 Linking Ring states they are a "New Effect"

MYSTIC SPONGE BALLS - A new
principle in Magic. The newest and best
pocket trick out. Four balls in right
hand vanish one at a time and appear in
left hand. Also done in spectators own
hands. It will fool magicians.
Price complete $1-00

So it looks like they came out in the 1920's sometime
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Jimeh
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I didn't realize sponge balls went that far back!
Open Traveller
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In The Vernon Touch, Dai Vernon names the person who probably originated the effect of the sponge balls in the hand.
Bill Palmer
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You might try going to Google and doing a search on Polyurethane foam. When you do, you will find a patent number. Go to http://www.uspto.gov and do a search for that patent number.

Look at the reference for claims -- these are the things that inspired the patent. Use these to find earlier examples.
"The Swatter"

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Dynamike
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Thanks, Bill. You did it again. Smile
Lawrence O
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In some XVIII century books, sea sponges were used as large loads for the cups and balls
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Bill Palmer
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True; however, the sponge ball didn't really become a viable performing medium until the advent of foam rubber. That gave the magician a chance to do certain things that were difficult to make convincing, because of the individualty of certain sponges.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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beverage
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Quote:
On 2008-10-20 06:31, pepka wrote:
I'm certainly no expert on the subject as I find most sponge ball routines repulsive, and don't perform one myself. However, I do believe that Frank Garcia wrote the Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic.


Repulsive? Gosh why. Be interested to hear why you have such a strong reaction. Genunine question, not the start of an argument Smile
pepka
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Because they squish up. I know why most magic fools people, sponge balls, I'll never know. I've only seen 2 routines that I enjoy. One for pure originality and shock value, (Eugene Burger's) and one for brevity, (Marc Desouza's.) I've argued this point with magicians for years to no avail. The same goes for sponge bunnies. I have seen people kill with it, but I just don't know why.
Pete Biro
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Francis Carlysle told me that the first magician to use sponge balls was "Count Orloff" -- Anyone know anything about him? I know I used to buy big sponges, the dark reddish/brown ones at Woolworth's and cut my own.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Father Photius
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Pepka, I think we tend to look at the sponge balls and other sponge tricks too much as magicians and not as laity. About a year ago, at a metropolis clergy-laity conference, I did a very simple sponge ball routine at the table during the banquet. One of my brother priests who was at the table immediately got up, ran over to the Metropolitan and told him that I needed to be exorcised. This coming from a graduate educated man raised in the U.S. in a major metropolitan city.

What laity see and perceive in the sponge routines is different than what we see.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
pepka
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HA! That's a great story Father. I think we've all gotten reactions like that at one time or another, but YOU? I do understand that people get fooled by them all the time, but it just makes no sense to me. That stated, I'm REALLY considering starting one; Marc Desouza's. His uses a wonderful production of a steel ball bearing at the beginning. The actual sponge ball routine is nothing more than it jumping from his hand to the spectator's. As Marc says, "That's my entire sponge ball routine, when it disappears in your hand, and reappears in yours, it does not get any stronger."
Eddie Torres
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It does get stronger. In my restaurant set I used to do a basic routine building up to 3 green 2 inch spongeballs and end with 14 multicolored 2 inch balls in their hands. That's a tough one to beat in strength. I do a sponge pumpkin routine these days so I've ditched the multicolored ball ending, at least for this month.

Eddie
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DGillam
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Somewhere rattling around in the back of my mind is the following:
Jes Lyberger - Linking Ring - 1926
I will try to verify if any or all of this relates to the first published sponge ball trick.
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