A billiard ball held in one hand and a silk flag in the other change places. The requirements for the trick are: (1) A hollow metal ball, japanned red and measuring about one and three-quarter inches in diameter, with a hole or opening in it, about one inch in diameter; (2) A half-shell, of metal, also japanned red and measuring about one and seven-eighths inches in diameter, so that it will fit easily over the ball. Inside this shell at its lowest part is soldered a loop of stiff wire, one and seven-eighths inches long, the lower parts of the loop about an inch apart. The loop must be painted flesh-color, see Figs. 100, 101, 102; (3) Two flags of very thin silk, about twelve by eighteen inches, each. One of the flags is folded in plaits or flattened flutings, so that it will expand at once when released and placed in the wire loop, which it must fill entirely; it may be doubled up, but must slide easily into the ball. The loop is pushed into the ball, so that when the half-shell closes the opening and the ball is held with the shell-side toward the audience there will be no appearance of preparation. Flag and shell being in place the performer begins his trick. Holding the second flag in his right hand and the ball in his left, he shows them to the audience. Then he places the ball in the right hand behind the flag and shows the left hand empty. With that hand he takes the half-shell away from the ball, being careful that the flag conceals the ball. The half-shell is held between the thumb and fingers toward the audience, who imagine it is the ball. Extending his arms away from his body, the performer announces that he will endeavor to make the ball and flag change places. With an up and down movement of the right hand and the help of his fingers, he works the flag into the hollow ball. He keeps his fingers well closed and is careful not to show the ball. When the flag is entirely inside the ball he closes his hand, so that it appears as if he had the flag there, well crumpled up. In the meanwhile the second finger of the left hand is placed in position to push the flag from the loop. For this purpose, the tip of that finger must be at the lower part of the loop. At the word "Go," he releases the flag by pushing it out. The loop will fall over the second finger, which throws the half-shell to the back of the hand, a little upward motion and the sudden appearance of the flag concealing the operation. The flag is held between the first finger and the thumb, and the inside of the hand is toward the audience. The flesh-color of the loop prevents the audience seeing that it is over the finger. At the same time the performer opens the right hand and shows the ball, the hole being concealed by the palm of the hand. The half-shell is got rid of under cover of the flag.
Fig. 100 The hollow ball.
Fig. 101 The hollow ball covered by the half-shell.
Fig. 102. The half-shell showing the wire loop.