Brief Biographies of Magic Inventors - Page T - U - V

Tannen, Louis
(1909-1982)
Louis Tannen founded The Nat Louis Fun Shop in Brooklyn in the 1929 next to the Fabian Fox Theater at Nevins Street and Flatbush Avenue. Since then his magic store has moved from site to site to its current location at 45 West 34th Street, Suite 608. Louis Tannen became a manufacturer, first of inexpensive pocket tricks, then of stage-scale illusions. He also became one of the leading publishers of books on magic. Perhaps his most important publication was the Tarbell Course in Magic (begun in 1940), which also features many of Tannen's own magic inventions. Invented and marketed The Haunted Deck c. 1933.
Tanner, Don
(1924 - 1981)
Magician from Columbus, Ohio. His day job was working as a technician for the telephone company. When U.F. Grant moved back to Columbus, Ohio in the 1950's, Tanner went to work for him and wrote and edited many of his books. Tanner was editor of The New Phoenix (1960-1965) and founder/editor of The Mentalist issues 1-12. He was also the Parade Editor for The Linking Ring for some time.

Invented: Sil-Lik Trick, Reunion, Royal Box, The Devil's Bride Illusion (1977),Case Closed, In His Hands, and more.

Wrote or edited: Tricks For Kid Shows (1951), Grant's Fabulous Feats of Mental Magic (1954), How To Do Cigarette Tricks (1957), How To Do Headline Predictions (1957), Coffee Break Magic (with John Murray) (1959), Grant's Manual of Magic (1964, Fifty Tricks with a Card Box, Grant's Illusion Secrets, U.F. Grant's Magic with Rings and Things (1977), Flowers that Bloom with a Spring--tra La!, Fifty Tricks and Ideas with Spring Flowers, Grant's Brilliant Card Magic (1977), It's in the Bag, Copper & Silver Routines,

Tarbell, Harlan
(1890-1960)

Born in Delavan, Illinois. Inspired at age 11 seeing White the Magician. Originally hired as illustrator for a magic course to be written by Walter Baker, he was given the entire job when Baker defaulted. Thus, beginning in 1927 as a series of 60 mail-order lessons, he produced the influential Tarbell Course. He also illustrated Hilliard's Greater Magic. SAM President 1949-50. SAM Hall of Fame.
Invented over 200 effects, including color-changing handkerchief (c1905), Chinese Laundry Ticket (by 1906), Tarbell Rope Trick (c1919), and Tarbell Egg Bag (1927), The Pirate's Locker,
Tellefson, Dean
(1949 - ?)
Magician from Colorado. Dean became interested in magic from watching magicians on television. By the age of 12 he was hooked and read all the magic books he could find in the local library (Maquoketa, Iowa). His mentor was a local magician named Walter Slazor. Although he's made his living as a musician, arranger and composer, magic has always been a keen interest and many of his inventions have been marketed along the way as well as a line of magical art.

Invented: Slate of Mind Revisited (1979- original but based on Aldini's Improvement), Self Vanish Silk (1982), Warp II (1987 - original but based on Roy Walton's Card Warp), Creative Finance (1993), Stretch Zag (1988), Creative Finance (1993), Prediction Badge (2006) and Then Again (2007), with more on the way...

Informative Web site: http://www.deantellefson.com/

Ten-Ichi
1852-1912
Born Tenichi Shokyokusai Hattori, he is principally known by western magicians for his version of the Thumb-Tie. It was performed originally in the United States in 1901 and then in London, 1909 by Ten-Ichi. In his autobiography, Nate Leipzig describes Ten-Ichi's show, calling it: "One of the most original magic shows I have ever seen."
Tenkai
(1889-1972)
Tenkai Ishida toured the USA as a member of the world famous Japanese Tenkatsu troupe in 1924. Tenkai remained in the USA until his return to Japan in 1958. His feature acts were 'Production of Watches' and 'Cigarette Production.' In commemoration of Tenkai, the 'Tenkai Prize' was established and is considered the highest award of magic in Japan. Each year, the prize is given to a remarkable creator of magic. Tenkai's Rope Thru Neck, or Rope Decapitation as it was then called, was published in the August 1938 issue of The Sphinx.

Invented: The Tenkai Palm, Tenkai Pennies, Tenkai Rope Through Neck, Tenkai Optical Revolve, Mesmerized Glasses, Kord of Kali,

Tenyo, Shokyokusa
(1888-1980)
Joined the troop of Ten-Ichi at the age of 17 and at the age of 25, created his own touring show. He was a joint founder of the oldest existing magic club was in Japan. In1931, he opened the first magic shop in a Japanese department store. Because of its great success, he created the Tenyo Magic Company in the late 1940's. Today, the Tenyo company produces different products apart from magic tricks. Only 10% of their sales comes from magic items, and the remainder comes from games, puzzles and other novelty toys.
Thayer, Floyd G.
(1877-1959)
Born in Jacksonville, Vermont, Thayer moved to California with family in 1891. Thayer was a builder of fine magic props and illusions that were prized by magicians the world over, and still are (as antiques and collectables) today. At his residence, studio and Magic Theatre, located at 929 So. Longwood Ave., Los Angeles, CA, the magicians of the world gathered to meet, socialize and create magic.
Invented: Commando, Color Changing Billiard Ball, Diminishing Billiard Ball, Billiard Ball Stand, Banner Nest of Boxes, Talking Buddah, Rice Orange and Checkers, Reappearing Clock, The Headless Lady Illusion, Reincarnation.
Both Carl and Henry Owen got their start as illusion builders at Thayer's. William Larsen purchased the Thayer house and studio in 1942.
Published the Magic Bulletin.

Jay Leslie remembers: "Thayer was manufacturing puzzles out of wood. He drove into the desert and collected various species to give his puzzles a unique look. He also did not use a 'Tracer' lathe; in other words, all of the billiard balls were cut on the lathe, by eye and caliper measurements. Jim Swoger told me that,on one visit, Floyd cut a perfectly round ball and put the lines in it, taking him around three minutes, without measuring anything."

Theo Dore
(c 1892 -?)
(Silk Drinks)
Thompson, Jr., J.G.
(1910-1975)
Thompson was President of the First National Bank of Middleburg, Pennsylvania where he grew up. Thompson became interested in magic after seeing Ed Reno perform. His main interests in magic were close-up magic, card magic and mentalism.

By the 1930s, he was inventing and writing magic as a Jinx contributor. He also would do the indexes for the JINX. By 1934, Thompson was working as a semi-professional, presenting a full evening show. In 1938, he was presenting a forty-five minute two-person act of telepathy. Thompson was a frequent contributor to The Jinx, Phoenix, The Linking Ring, M-U-M, The Sphinx and Genii. Several of his books were printed serially in M-U-M before being produced as books under the titles of Top Secrets of Magic (Volumes 1 to 3). )
Wrote: My Best (edited by Thompson c 1954), Top Secrets of Magic (c 1950),Magic To Delight (c 1970), Between Two Minds - By J.G.Thompson Jr. & Ned Rutledqe, Card Party - By J.G.Thompson Jr. & Ned Rutledqe (1965), The Miracle Makers (1975).
Thurston, Howard
(1869-1936)
Born in Columbus, Ohio, the first magician Thurston saw was Alexander Herrmann, the “King of Magic.” Thurston resolved to match the style of his idol, but he briefly studied for the ministry before finally becoming a full-time magician.He first toured the United States with a small act. Then a European vaudeville tour started him on the road to magical fame. Thurston’s financial success in Europe let him build an illusion show which he took around the world. He visited Australia, India, and the Orient, polishing his skills and developing a stage presence that served him well. Thurston returned to the United States to succeed the then-reigning magician, Harry Kellar.
Wrote: Howard Thurston's Card Tricks (1903), 200 Tricks You Can Do (1926), 200 More Tricks You Can Do (1927) [ both books published together as 400 Tricks You Can Do in 1939].
Video Footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6f4a2l_w3Y&mode=related&search=
Tobin, Neil
(1966- )
As creator and performer of Supernatural Chicago, which has been running every week for eight years at Chicago's landmark (and reputedly haunted) Excalibur nightclub, Neil Tobin is responsible for the longest-running magical performance in the city's history.

Invented: The Xpert (2003).

Tobin edited and coauthored (with Jim Magus and Terry Nosek) Unspeakable Acts: Three Lives and Countless Legends of Tom Palmer/Tony Andruzzi/Masklyn ye Mage (distributed through Stevens Magic). Tobin has also contributed effects to Genii, Vibrations, Oracle, and M-U-M.

For further information, including performance video, visit http://SupernaturalChicago.com and http://NecromancerEvents.com

  Tobin,Thomas William
(1844-1883)
Tobin worked as a chemist, archetectural apprentice and scientific lecturer at London's Polytechnic Institution. In 1865 he patented and invention with John Henry Pepper, that was called " The Cabinet of Proteus," the forerunner of all today's illusions involving mirrors. With Colonel Stodare, he patented the Sphinx Illusion (1865) and again with Professor Pepper, patented the Oracle of Delphi (1865).
His long-neglected illusion, Palingenesia, was an amazing 1872 invention in which a spectator is dissected and then restored—“Another Man Cut Up Tonight,” as it was once billed.
Trost, Nick
(1935 - 2008)
Nicholas K. Trost, from Ohio, was a creator of packet card tricks and an author of books on magic. His marketed inventions included: Half and Half (1964), Challenge Poker Deal (1964), Think of an Ace (1965), Wild Deuce (1974), The Deuce You Say! (1974), Flim-Flam (1974), Jumbo Two-Way Split (1974), Klip Joint (1974), Showdown (1974), Dealer's Choice (1975), Mini-Maze (1976), Eight Card Brainwave (1976), Kopy Kat (1976), Oscar (1980), Fly Circus (1981), Super Split (1982), Trick-Kards (1982), Rainbow Miracle (1984), 1-2-3-4 Trick (1986), Dream of the Hermit (1988), Quadraplex (1991), High-Card Poker (1992), Blind Sight (1992). Also Super Showdown, Unknown Card, Mississippi Monte, Maxi-Twist, Incredible Card Trick,

Wrote: Nick's Table Trix (1956), Cardman's Secrets (1964), E.S.P. Session with Nick Trost (1965), Mental Card Miracles (1965), Expert Gambling Tricks (1975), Gambling Tricks with Cards II (1975), Impromptu Card Magic Folio No. 2 (1979), The Card Magic of Nick Trost (1997), Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations, Vol. 1 (2008), Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations, Vol. 2 (2009), Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations, Vol. 3 (2011)

DVD: Aldo (Columbini) on Trost Volumes 1-4, ESP CARD MAGIC DVD Volumes 1 & 2 - NICK TROST ROUTINES (Aldo Columbini), currently available from : http://www.wildcolombini.com

Trunk, Hans
(1887-1966)
Austrian magician and magic inventor. He started early, and baffled his friends at school at nine years of age. At that time he saw a magician in the Vienna Prater, an amusement park, and he was "on fire" with magic. In 1905 he gave his first public performance and became a member of the Vienna Magic Club, founded in 1908 by Ludwig Brunner (and then-president Ottokar Fischer). In 1931 he founded the "Magische Runde". In 1946, Hans Trunk revived the Magische Klub Wien and was its president until 1956. Hans Trunk invented several magic tricks; the Blue Phantom among others.

Wrote:Das Trunk Buch, "...und Heute Wird Gezaubert", Super Premonition, and Meine magischen Memoiren.


A Blue Phantom manufactured by Owens

Tyler, Wilfred
(1909-1980)

British performer, author, innovator and inventor. A member of the Inner Magic Circle

Invented: The Mad Gardener, Clogs, Penaccident, Little Bo-Peep (and Switch Tray), Big Chief Money Ha-Ha, Chuff-Chuff, What a Lifebuoy, The Temperamental Clown, The Dissecting Clown, Aladdin's Palace, and many more.

Wrote: Playing With Magic (1953), Open Sesame (1947 with Eric Lewis)
Media: Produced an Audiotape entitled simply "Wilfred Tyler."

Vernon, Dai
(1894 - 1992)
Stage name of David Frederick Wingfield Verner. Learned magic at age 8 from father, an amateur magician. One of the five original members of the New York "Inner Circle" by 1932. Voted one of the ten living Card Stars in 1938. Known worldwide as "The Professor". Moved to Hollywood in 1963, when he became resident magician at the Magic Castle.

Among his most famous inventions are Brain Wave / Ultra Mental Deck (1930)*, Triumph (by 1946), Travellers (by 1950), Twisting the Aces (by 1960), Depth Illusion (by 1961) and Stripout Addition.

Wrote: Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic (1967)

* Dai Vernon published a description in the October 1938 (Issue 49, P. 341) issue of Jinx titled Brain Wave Deck, in which he mentions having invented the deck in 1930. The deck he describes there is what we call today the "Ultra Mental" deck. However, in the same article, Vernon mentions a variation by Paul Fox which turns out to be today's "Brainwave" deck. There are some web sites that incorrectly attribute the invention of the Brainwave deck to Ralph Hull. Our thanks to another of Vernon's creations, his son, Derek, for helping us research this and setting the record straight.

YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JXILIWELt8&mode=related&search=

Victor, Edward
(1887-1964)
British magician (born Edward Victor Neuschwander) who specialized in card manipulation and hand shadows. Author of several magic books and manufacturer of the world's smallest magic kit, called 20 Tricks in a Matchbox. Many of his magic creations inspired later variationa and adaptations. His creations include the famous Eleven-Card Trick, which inspired Dai Vernon's Spellbound. Victor's sleights inspired Tilt, Convincing Control and many others. Also invented the E.V. Count which Alex Elmsley adapted to create The Elmsley Count, and The Sympathetic Silks following discussions with G.W. Hunter (c. 1913).
Wrote: “Magic of the Hands” (1937), “More Magic of the Hands” (1942) , “Further Magic of the Hands” (1946) and Magic Of The Hands Trilogy (1955), Classic Card Tricks

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