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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Everything old is new again » » Origins of the TT (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bob Sanders
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Professor,

I have metal thumb tips from the 60s that are up to 3" long. There were many sizes. Unfortunately all that I own are aluminum. Apparently the very best really old ones were silver and the earliest colored ones (prior to 1200AD) were copper.

I remember the Vernet hitting the market. (My dad was working in South America for a time.) Since these were legal imports there may still exist some commercial records at US Customs. I would look in the late 50s and very early 60s. The knock-offs were produced in Oklahoma by 1979. I suspect that they were made by the company that plastic coated baby seats and barbell weights. (Ben Collier may be a related name to research. He was the businessman of that period who did very well commercially with that process.)

I'm sure the information that you seek about Vernet is available somewhere. Ask Mr. F at D. Robbins. He would know. He was an early distributor and still distributes the current Vernet line.


Bill,

Most adults have experienced the need for a prosthetic lap. (Hot food and children bring special needs to mind! Santa!) It is odd that I learned lapping from Tony Slydini but no history. (You know that he lapped with his clothing as well as with the table cloth?)

Perhaps this is a publishing opportunity: The Secret History of the History of Secrets. Research will be tough.

Keep digging!

Bob


Posted: Jul 28, 2006 2:13pm
Quote:
On 2006-07-16 16:15, Spellbinder wrote:
Here is an easier question: Does anyone know where I can find details about the creation (we won't say invention) of the Vernet thumb-tip? His use of plastic changed the dimensions of that venerable gimmick and made it possible to increase its uses beyond the used for the little metal tips available up until that time. I'd specifically like to know who Vernet was (plus dates, if possible) and when he first started producing the now famous and ubiquitous Vernet thumbtips. Thanks!

That information is coming!

At the moment Michel & Greco (Vernet Magic) are in the FISM Convention in Stockholm.

I have asked that they bring us up to speed when they return.

Bob Sanders
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Spellbinder
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Thanks, Bob! I do remember that some metal ones were longer than the little 1 inch tips that were standard, and my first false finger from the 50s was made of cellulose painted with "flesh-colored" paint, so the possibility was there. It just lacked marketing motivation until suddenly everyone wanted to do the vanishing hanky at the same time.

I'll be interested in any history I can learn about the Vernet thumb tip ("Just names and dates and the facts, ma'am."- Sgt. Friday). I've put my own "Practical History of the Thumb Tip" on hold because I wanted it to be as complete as possible.
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Bob Sanders
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For years the way I used the TT was to vanish a stack of borrowed dimes in a large silk. Then I vanished the silk (30"). The silk reappeared elsewhere, was well-shown, and then the dimes poured from the center of the silk. What do you know? They were the marked borrowed ones! Then bouquet after bouquet of spring flowers were found in the silk.

Those were simpler days!

No silk in TT vanish would have passed. The smallest silks I ever saw then were 12". They were for hobbyists with dye tubes. Working magicians used 18" and up. "Handkerchiefs" had to be a reasonable size. (The good Cadillacs were no longer made before I started importing 6" and 9" silks. I wonder if these two events had something in common?)

We'll have to go to StarBucks and discuss this sometime.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander


Posted: Oct 24, 2006 9:22am
-------------------------------
Another piece of the puzzle has come to light from the Etymology of "thumb". Until German medical literature in the late 1200s, the thumb was considered just another finger in Europe. (This is after Marco Polo!) Then the word appears in German medical literature for thumb.

"Finger tip" would have been the contemporary description. (How many Americans still don't know the difference between a frog and a toad? It does change the written history.)

Magic is hardly of European origin. But printed history of magic may be.

Bob Sanders
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Jamie D. Grant
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How about the origin of the first person to vanish a silk into a TT?
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Bill Palmer
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The vanish of a silk into a TT is probably quite old. I have a reasonably large collection of FT's and TT's. Among them are some of the old "Goblin Tube Tips," which would easily handle a fairly decent sized hanky. They are about 3 inches long.

Regarding the old German distinction between the thumb and the fingers, Grimm's Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache indicates that the earliest reference to the thumb is in an old poem from the 12th century. However, that's a written reference. We don't know about spoken references before then.
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TT? I didn't know they had True Type back in Hoffmann's day. And we thought we developed that at Apple. Smile
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Tom Bartlett
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With some of the oldest written documents and some of the oldest magic coming from China, is there any know mention of using a false finger in any of their scrolls?
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Jonathan Townsend
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What references to trickery do we have from China?
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Chinese Linking Rings? Smile
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Chinese Rice Bowls?
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Spellbinder
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I think Jonathan is asking what written Chinese references or documentation Tom Bartlet is referring to. If anyone knows of any Chinese manuscripts on magic that have been translated into English, I would very much like to know about it. Neither the Linking Rings nor the Rice Bowls are of certain Chinese origin.
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Tom Bartlett
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Quote:
On 2007-01-10 15:49, Spellbinder wrote:
I think Jonathan is asking what written Chinese references or documentation Tom Bartlet is referring to. If anyone knows of any Chinese manuscripts on magic that have been translated into English, I would very much like to know about it. Neither the Linking Rings nor the Rice Bowls are of certain Chinese origin.


That was my question also, although it must have not been worded correctly. I do have to state, from what I have read, some of the oldest known written manuscripts are Chinese. If this is true, would it not be likely that they had magicians and these magicians wrote thing down.

So yes, what I am asking is there any one aware of any Chinese manuscripts that talk about any magical or mystical effects?
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2007-01-10 16:40, Tom Bartlett wrote:...So yes, what I am asking is there any one aware of any Chinese manuscripts that talk about any magical or mystical effects?


let's settle for trickery and the how-to.

the stories in their fairy tales go back a ways and have "magical" beings and there are also some ancestor worship practices which also go back a ways.

As the mention of the rice bowls and linking rings earlier... well at least they did not cite the laundry ticket or make any coolie jokes.
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Spellbinder
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...or the embarrassing "Chink Cans." Yes, we have much to be proud of. Now I have to get back to repainting my "Buddah Tubes."
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Tony James
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What's wrong with the Chink Cans? I had a set 50 years ago. I still have them though I haven't used them of late.

Why go checking just Chinese literature? I'd try the Greeks and see if there are any references to thumb tips or false fingers. After all, they did have dildos.
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Jonathan Townsend
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In answer to the "China" question... it came from this post.
Quote:
On 2007-01-09 22:50, Tom Bartlett wrote:
With some of the oldest written documents and some of the oldest magic coming from China, is there any know mention of using a false finger in any of their scrolls?


I'd also be curious as to any written discussions of actual sleight of hand and methodology from ancient Greek and Roman literature. The few notes cited in other works about using cork balls and cups and breadcrumbs and stones were nice but seemed isolated.

Can you imagine finding something by Aristotle or Plato on conjuring methods? Smile
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Tom Bartlett
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Magic that long ago, would most likely have been disguised as real magic, accomplished by sorcery or wizardry, much like the Hindu Rope Trick.
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2007-01-11 15:29, Tom Bartlett wrote:
Magic that long ago, would most likely have been disguised as real magic, accomplished by sorcery or wizardry, much like the Hindu Rope Trick.

Bangs head against the wall... "Hindu rope trick". Sheesh.

Not talking about fables or tales of the faithful here, just texts discussing how to accomplish what we call conjuring today. Emphasis on the How To.
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Tom Bartlett
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Sorry, my mistake. Smile


Do not some the images (hieroglyphics, drawings, etchings, paintings) predated the written How-To do it stuff? If so wouldn't written mention by an observer, before the first How-To writings, not sound like what we call conjuring today but sorcery or wizardry?


Quote:
On 2007-01-11 16:15, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-01-11 15:29, Tom Bartlett wrote:
Magic that long ago, would most likely have been disguised as real magic, accomplished by sorcery or wizardry, much like the Hindu Rope Trick.

Bangs head against the wall... "Hindu rope trick". Sheesh.

Not talking about fables or tales of the faithful here, just texts discussing how to accomplish what we call conjuring today. Emphasis on the How To.

I changed my mind, it was not my mistake and I do not like being talked down to!
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Jonathan Townsend
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Tom, I have nothing to gain by talking down to anyone. There seem very few (if any) ancient references to the how-to of our craft. I have a funny feeling what we may find are things written like "art of war" in flowery language.

The ancient Roman/Greek tricky architecture may be recorded somewhere as plans. My ancient history teacher did not even hint that those guys kept prints or detailed building instructions around. If folks want I can dig up the citation to the cup and stones (really) routine documented back then.

As to the entertainment / small scale... even that quote from a guy's letter in his travels seems to be just that.. a fragment of a description and not method based.

I too look forward to archaeological evidence of magic kits and instruction sheets.

IMHO the roots of our craft in shamanistic practices may have beem kept to oral tradition until recently as it was not in anyone's interest to explain the how-to of guile.
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