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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Rings, strings & things » » Miser's chain (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Moderncelt
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Does anyone here use a Miser's chain in your act? For those of you who haven't seen one, it's a bit like a Jacob's ladder only with a chain. It's in Marvin Gardner's Mathematical Games, is where I found it, but I'm sure the origins are older.

I quick filmed what it looks like in action

https://youtu.be/Mfc-znXiPNI
Wravyn
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Thanks for sharing that. Looks fun to do
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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They were very common when I was a kid back in the 50's, but haven't seen one in years
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Moderncelt
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One of those, "It's so old, almost everyone has forgotten it, so it's new again"?
John Long
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As soon as I saw the first "drop", I was reminded of a kid's toy that had several (thin) rectangular blocks, ~woven alternately to give either an "X" pattern, or 2 parallel strips of ribbon - individual blocks would "drop". Unfortunately I haven't seen the one I had (or others) since I was about 10 yrs old. (and I've never saw it with interlocked rings)

Yet, it is not intuitively clear why it works with the inter-locked rings (yet I think I've seen some magicians accomplish this as a "flurry" in their 10" ring routine.)

So, I think it looks really cool, but if someone has seen these types of things, they too would make the connection... but I'm not sure they've been around for a few decades. (but maybe I just need to visit more airport gift stores, or more toy stores. Sooo, what age group would you "target"? Young kids would love watching it (even some older "kids"). The snatching of a ring in "flight" takes it from a mere puzzle to being magical.

My 2c Smile

John
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
Moderncelt
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Hi John

The blocks are called a Jacob's ladder and they're a regular stocking stuffer to the delight of children and the dread of parents after the first 15 minutes. The chain works on a similar, but significantly different method. Marvin Gardner described it better. Wish I still had the book or I'd pull it up. Honestly, I think the age group entirely depends on your story. A miser who sold his soul for a gold chain that never gets shorter no matter how many links he pulls off? A faery chain that looks like a line rather than a necklace, but you can show how the same link is on both ends. The trick is all in the storytelling for the age group.

Mind you. This has just been a curiosity that I made years ago and lives in my drawer. I pull it out every so often just to play with it because it's fun. I was curious if anyone out there actively uses it.
Moderncelt
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Oh, I also thing the effect with the linking rings where a linking ring clatters down to the bottom is indeed based on the effect and came from Martin's work if I remember correctly
John Long
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Thanks for the extra information - that story line should make it fun to perform/watch.

For those interested, I located a video from Al Schneider (that I got years ago from his website) entitled "Ring Tumble"; he teaches how to do the effect with a regular linking ring set.

Personally, I like the appearance of those small rings cascading down, better.

Also, what did it take to make your set?

John
Breathtaking Magic;
Not Breath Taking
Moderncelt
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I made mine out of just key rings, mostly because 1) they were cheap and easy to get, and 2) I was only making them for me rather than performing with them. If I were to make a set for performing I'd probably use a little better material and solder them. But, and this is a big but, from what I remember, getting the weave right for the chain was a pain in the tuchus.
rowdymagi5
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I like the look of yours using key rings! Very clever!
Bill Hegbli
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Dick Stoner did the tumbling ring in his linking Ring routine for many years, until his retirement. People never could figure it out, even magicians.
Russ182
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Its a lovely effect , it looks like a very simple build, please tell me its just as it looks .... if so I am on the hunt for some key rings
Moderncelt
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It's a finicky weave. I remember that I had to start and restart over several times to get it right and this was only links. Mind you. You might be able to find a better tutorial now than I had back around 2003.
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