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Steve Brooks
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Some time ago I made a post asking folks for information regarding a good source for a quality set of Stainless Steel cups. I am working on a Cups and Balls routine, and have wanted a set that would not only function correctly, but last me for the rest of my life. Smile

In my search I discovered various sources that make professional sets of cups. Some are great, while others are not quite what I wanted. Over the years there have been several well known manufacturers, including Owens, Morrissey, Paul Fox, VanDokkum, Johnson, Joe Porper and others who have all designed their idea of the perfect cup.

Ask any magician (who performs the Cups & Balls) which is the best cups to use, and the answers you'll receive will be as varied as the different sets available on the market today.

For myself, I had specific criteria. First, they must have some weight to them. I've used aluminum cups, and frankly, they tip over far too easily for my liking. The same holds true for the wooden models, although wood is nice to look at. As for plastic? I'm not even going there. Smile

Second, they must be able to handle a good size load (Lemon, ball, etc) but not look as though that final load could have been hidden somewhere inside. They must also have enough room on top to accomodate a group of those minature baseballs that Mike Rogers use to make. Smile

And third, they must be made of stainless steel. While I realize many people prefer brass or copper, for some unknown reason stainless has a certain appeal for me. Partly because it gives the illusion of chrome, and partly because one does not have to worry about tarnishing as much as other metals. (In addition, stainless is very durable, just ask a surgeon) I should point out that many performers purposely allow their cups to tarnish, feeling it adds a certain old world character to the set. That of course is a personal choice.

One night I was taking a stroll down memory lane, and recalled that Michael Skinner once showed me a great set of stainless cups. But what kind were they? Where did he buy them, and were they still available?

I asked around and quickly discovered that the set of cups Michael had shown me were in fact the same design as the set that Vernon used at one time. I was very excited, until I realized that those particular cups were manufactured by Joe Porper. You see, Joe had dropped out of magic for many years, and the odds of finding such a set did not look too good at all.

Well, I got very lucky. It would seem that Joe has come out of retirement (at least for now) and is once again turning these cups out on a very limited basis. Joe made me a set (took about a month or so), and I thought I would share my feelings with all of you. Smile

The Porper Cups by Joe Porper



Description: The Porper Cups have once again been released to the magic fraternity, just as they were years ago…but better! It’s hard to believe it but both the box and the wand have been radically improved!

Just as before, the Porper Cups are available in three different materials. You have a choice of [i]Copper, Stainless Steel,
or Brass. All three choices are absolutely exquisite. The Copper Cups have a warmth and deep richness of color. The Stainless Steel Cups are incredibly tough but elegant. The Brass Cups are radiant, and reflect golden light.

All Porper Cups are machined out of solid blocks of Copper, Stainless Steel or Brass. This is by far the best way to make the cups. They ring like bells. Cutting the solid blocks into cups on modern CNC lathes is also the most expensive way to make the cups, but it’s the only way to do it. Each material has its own challenge, Brass is the easiest, Stainless Steel is the hardest material and kills the cutting bits very quickly and Copper is the softest and by far the most difficult. They have to be turned at extremely slow speeds which takes longer.


Mr. Porper's attention to detail is evident once you touch and examine the cups. The interior is coated with a special black compound that is baked-on to insure decades of use. Although this coating makes the finish more beautiful, it is also functional. During every routine there is a phase where a ball is on the table and the cup is laying on its side. The black interior provides a backdrop that visually isolates the ball making it easier for larger audiences to clearly see the ball. All of the moves from this position get an incredible burn due to the high contrast the coating provides.


It’s not apparent at first examination, but the exterior of the cups is coated as well. Joe has developed a special coating that keeps your cups looking brand new. You won’t have to polish your set before each show because they always look perfect.

Visually the Porper Cup is superior. It’s interior is just under 3” in diameter. The overall height is 1/8”less. This size is perfect for every situation from close-up, parlor and stage.

The final loads can be much larger than the Paul Fox cups. If you take a close look at the picture with the lemon on top of the cup, you’ll see clearly just how impossible the loads can look. From a practical performing viewpoint this is essential. One set of cups and loads in your case and you can work anywhere. Professionals like Bob Sheets swear by the Porper Cups.

Another physical feature of the Porper Cups is the size balls you can use. Take a close look at the top of the cup. It’s extremely wide and shallow. This design allows you to use extremely large balls and still get three on the top of a cup even when there’s another cup over them.

The fit and finish on the Porper Cups is perfect. They are perfectly balanced for toss or spin moves. When the cups are nested the tolerance is of the fit is just right…not too loose, not too tight. They nest in perfect alignment. In fact, every cup move we’ve tried is effortless with the Porper Cups.

The bottom line is you will never find a set of cups that can even approach the standard set by the Porper Cups.


Now let’s examine the new Porper wand. The wood is exotic Cocobolo. This wood is prized for its beauty and durability. All Porper wands screw together in the middle like a miniature pool cue. Not a big surprise since Joe Porper is one of the best pool cue manufacturers in the world. The metal work is world-class. The tips and connector hardware is custom made exclusively to Joe’s specifications. Once assembled the wands are absolutely smooth as glass. The screw connection is virtually invisible. The hardware is polished to a mirror finish and coated exactly like the cups to prevent tarnish.

If that wasn’t enough, the weight and balance of the Porper wands makes them by far the easiest wand you will ever spin. They are perfect. The mass of the metal and Cocabola combined with a diameter of 9/16” and an overall length of 14 1/4”make wand spinning sure fire.

Last but not least is the box. Constructed from solid Alder, it holds the cups, the wand and even three final loads. Joe uses a heavy weight brass latch and two hinges too insure your Porper Cups remain protected. The top of the box is inlaid with Ebony and Pink Ivory hardwoods that are the final touch. It’s a beautifully stylized box for either display purposes or for travel. The above pictures tell the true story[/i].


The above description is obviously ad copy, but is as accurate as you can get. Smile
As you can see in the three photos I took, this set is a dream come true.

Heavy enough to knock-out the most abnoxious spectator, yet designed to fit in your hands just right. Smile

My set of Mike Rogers baseballs have no trouble resting on top, and the Faux fruit I purchased from Michael Ammar easily loads inside.

The wand that Joe fashioned for me is made from Snake Wood, and it spins quite easily. As a nice touch, the wand tips are stainless to match the cups. Everything fits inside the custom box, and looks so nice that many of you might be afraid to actually use these. But I emplore you not to keep these in your curio cabinet. They are designed for the working professional, and will probably last you a lifetime.

I'm told that these sets are available as of this writing, but that may change in the near future.

My advice? If you have the funds and perform the Cups and Balls on a regular basis, you simply can not go wrong investing in these true pieces of magical craftsmanship.

Highly recommended! Smile


My rating:

Each set contains:

Three cups, A two piece wand and hardwood box. No balls. No instructions. Supply your own fruit. Smile

Suggested retail is as follows:

Brass set..............$695.00

Stainless Steel set....$795.00

Copper set..............$895.00

Cocobolo Wood set.......$750.00

You may contact Joe Porper directly at:

To visit Joe's website:

Click here!

Creative Inventions



(818) 727-7966

FAX: (818) 727-9076
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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