Magic Trick: The Disappearance of a Glass of Water

On the center of a small table, the top of which is only twelve inches in diameter and half an inch thick, is placed a glass of water. Over this glass is dropped a cardboard cylinder, open at both ends and double the height of the glass. A second cylinder, a trifle larger in circumference than the first but about an inch shorter and of a different color, is placed over the first, and finally a third, larger in circumference than the second and an inch shorter and of another color goes over the second. The glass is now covered with the three cylinders, A, B, C, as shown in Fig. 132. After some remarks by the performer, he lifts off the cover C and lays it on a tray, as shown in Fig. 133. Then he takes off B and places it along side C. The cover A he does not touch, but firing a pistol at it the cover drops to the floor. The glass with its contents has disappeared.

Fig. 132 The three cylinders.

Fig. 133 The tray with cylinder.

For this trick a table, D. Fig. 134, is used that has a rod running through its leg. At the upper end of this rod, flush with the top of the table, is a disk of the same diameter as that of the bottom of the glass, E, Fig. 134. A cord attached to the rod leads off to a concealed assistant, who pulls it to raise the rod; it falls of its own weight. The covers A and B are without preparation, but at one side of C, if a round object has a side, near the bottom, is a hole large enough to admit the tip of the second finger. The upper edges of the glass are ground perfectly flat and in the mouth of the glass is a disk of clear glass, made with a shoulder, so as to insure its fit, as shown at F, Fig. 135. When this is in place the glass filled with water may be turned upside down without spilling a drop.

Fig. 134 Table with rod running through leg.

Fig. 135 Glass and disk.

When the performer begins the trick the glass is standing on the table. He fills it to overflowing from a water-bottle and while moving the glass to the center of the table quietly covers it with the glass disk which he holds palmed. Then he drops cover A over the glass, cover B over A, and C over B. He calls the attention of his audience to the position of the glass and its covers. "You will notice, ladies and gentlemen," he says, "that it would be impossible to remove any of these through a trap, even if I should descend to such a deceitful expedient, for you would see through it as clearly as you can see through the glass itself. Suppose we try a more simple way." Taking hold of C he proceeds to lift it slowly off the other covers. As he does this the tip of the second finger enters the hole in the side of C, and at the same moment the concealed assistant pulls the cord that raises the rod in the table and lifts the glass well into C. The performer presses against the glass with the tip of the second finger and against the opposite side of the cover with his thumb, thus holding the glass tightly in place. Then he lifts off glass and cover together, as shown in Fig. 136, and lays them carelessly on a tray, as shown in Fig. 133. No one will suspect that the glass is removed, as no water runs out. Cover B is then slowly lifted off, and as the performer is about to lay it alongside C he (?) accidentally drops it on the floor. Afterward he is about to lift A, but apparently changes his mind and merely moves it so that a part of the lower edge rests on the edge of the disk in the table. Picking up a pistol, he fires at A, and at the same time the assistant jerks the cord, the edge of the disk strikes the edge of A, which is knocked off on to the floor, and, to the astonishment of the audience, they discover that the table is bare—the glass of water has disappeared

Fig. 136 Lifting glass and cover together.

A Second Method.—This is better suited than the foregoing to the needs of the average amateur from the fact that it may be done without the aid of an assistant.

The glass used for this trick is made with a tube blown in the center. It is open top and bottom and runs from the bottom of the glass nearly to the top, and is the shape of a truncated cone, as shown in H, Fig. 137. Into this tube fits a wooden plug. The lower part of this plug somewhat resembles a top with a screw-eye fastened in the pointed end. (See K, Fig. 138.) To the screw-eye is attached a strong elastic or other pull. In the end J of the upper part, are two pieces of steel that drop down when the plug passes through the tube and prevent it from being withdrawn, as shown in M, Fig. 139.

Fig. 137 Glass with glass tube.

Fig. 138 Wooden plug.

Fig. 139 Wooden plug fitted into glass tube.

Before beginning the trick the performer fills the glass with strong, black tea to hide the tube. Picking up the glass with his right hand, in which is palmed a glass cover, similar to that described in the first form of the trick, he quietly lays the cover over the mouth of the glass. Then he stands the glass on his left hand, and throws over it a large handkerchief. Under cover of this he inserts the plug J. K. When it is firmly in place he counts one, two, three. He releases the elastic, shakes out the handkerchief which, as it falls in front of him, conceals the flight of the glass on its way under the performer's coat.

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