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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Everything old is new again » » Origin of Change Bags . . . (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

F J
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This has probably already been discussed, but due to the fact that the search function is down, I thought I'd ask it.

When did Change Bags come about?


If you know, please post.

(I am asking for those knowledgable in magic history; please, no opinions/theories.)
Bill Palmer
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No, it actually hasn't. I checked Bart Whaley's book, which usually has some good clues in it, and the only comment was that it had passed into jargon in Elliott's book by 1923. It was basically an adaptation of the money collection bag that was used in some churches around the latter part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. There was also a similar type of changing basket which appeared about the same time. No particular inventor is named for either item.

These seem to be used rather commonly by mentalists for switching billets.
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Spellbinder
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The "church collection bag" is shown in Hoffmann's Later Magic (1904) under the name "The Velvet Changing Bag" and it depicts the one being sold by Hamley's of London at the time. In 1854, Ponsin mentioned a bag used for changing, but without the familiar handle it might easily have been used as an egg bag.

Those are historical facts.

Here is a theory and an opinion. Feel free to ignore it.

Jim Gerrish describes methods of performing both the Egg Bag and the Change Bag with an ungimmicked bag or even a soft bag-like hat, and I can't imagine he was first to discover the sleights that he employs. Very likely the earliest conjurors used similar sleights with ordinary bags or hats, but since you can't market them easily, or even describe them very well without photographs, no one thought it worthwhile to record them or credit someone with such a simple invention.
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Clay Shevlin
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F J, sorry I can't answer your question, but off the cuff, Isaac Fawkes featured the egg bag as early as 1724. Below is a Fawkes newspaper ad from 1724, which is reproduced in an article just published in the Yankee Magic Collector #14.

Image
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2010-11-20 02:45, Spellbinder wrote:
The "church collection bag" is shown in Hoffmann's Later Magic (1904) under the name "The Velvet Changing Bag" and it depicts the one being sold by Hamley's of London at the time. In 1854, Ponsin mentioned a bag used for changing, but without the familiar handle it might easily have been used as an egg bag.

Those are historical facts.

Here is a theory and an opinion. Feel free to ignore it.

Jim Gerrish describes methods of performing both the Egg Bag and the Change Bag with an ungimmicked bag or even a soft bag-like hat, and I can't imagine he was first to discover the sleights that he employs. Very likely the earliest conjurors used similar sleights with ordinary bags or hats, but since you can't market them easily, or even describe them very well without photographs, no one thought it worthwhile to record them or credit someone with such a simple invention.


That bag looks very much like a bag that I had for a while that had a wooden frame and handle. I don't know the manufacturer, but I think it may have been a Thayer or Owen item.

The Hoffmann text states that it is a very recent addition to the Hamley's catalog, which would place it right about the turn of the century.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Lawrence O
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Quote:
On 2010-11-20 03:09, Clay Shevlin wrote:
F J, sorry I can't answer your question, but off the cuff, Isaac Fawkes featured the egg bag as early as 1724. Below is a Fawkes newspaper ad from 1724, which is reproduced in an article just published in the Yankee Magic Collector #14.

Image



Great document. Thank you Clay
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Spellbinder
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It is definitely a bag being shown in the woodcut drawing. However, to assume it is the same "egg bag" that we buy in magic stores today is no more logical than to assume the card with the bird head sticking out the top is an actual prop used by Fawkes. He was well known for his "dexteritie of the hand" and might very well simply be using methods like the ones Jim Gerrish employs with an ordinary bag. Too bad Fawkes didn't leave "lecture notes" behind.
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Clay Shevlin
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^^^ I think conjuring historians should always be careful when making assumptions about techniques or props used by magicians hundreds of years ago, and thus applaud your skepticism, Spellbinder. But that “same 'egg bag' that we buy in magic stores today” was well known and its construction published in Fawkes' time. Fawkes also did the trick where card faces would change into pictures, and the construction of the gaffed cards for this effect was published over a century before Fawkes was famous. Yet there are magicians today who could do that same trick by pure sleight of hand, and the same thing could probably be said for many other tricks in Fawkes' act.

If you think it's illogical or unreasonable to assume that Fawkes used the conjuring techniques that were known and used in his time, and instead think it's reasonable to consider that his techniques were the same as 20th and 21st century magicians, that's your prerogative. But if you studied Fawkes' repertoire, I suspect you would find very little (if anything) about it that was truly innovative or original, and would not find any historical evidence to support the theory that he used techniques different from other magicians of his day. And in the case of Fawkes' alleged “egg bag,” if you read his advertisements and the accounts of spectators who saw him perform this trick, you would find that these descriptions are, for all practical purposes, identical with how we modern magicians would describe the classic presentations of the egg bag routine.

Those familiar with Fawkes' repertoire know that another of his tricks was transforming cards into live birds, thus “the card with the bird head sticking out the top” is the artist's illustration of this very trick, and contrary to what you suggest, this illustration may well be the artist's unwitting depiction of a Fawkes prop (or gimmick, etc.).
Clay Shevlin
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Quote:
On 2010-11-22 17:07, Lawrence O wrote:
Great document. Thank you Clay

Je vous en prie, Lawrence.
Bill Palmer
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Maybe we should consider getting Georgio A. Tsoukalos interested in magic history, now that most of his psychoceramic theories of the way the pyramids were built have been debunked by people who actually understand ancient construction methods.

I'm sure he would have alien beings coming down from Orion teaching magicians how to make change bags from stone and animal hides.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Lawrence O
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Quote:
On 2010-11-24 01:56, Clay Shevlin wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-11-22 17:07, Lawrence O wrote:
Great document. Thank you Clay

Je vous en prie, Lawrence.


Clay, in the list published below about the egg bag, Isaac Fawkes had been duly listed:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......art=0#14
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
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