Like most good tricks there are several ways of doing this. One performer used to present a somewhat similar effect, and while it appeared to be the most simple thing possible, it was really very complicated and suited only for the stage. In the form here offered the trick may be done anywhere, and the necessary apparatus can be prepared by any boy. Here is the effect:
Taking an ordinary glass tumbler, the performer fills it with water and covers it with a silk handkerchief. Then holding it, still covered, by the mouth, he moves it to and fro, from side to side, and finally throws it in the air. Wonderful to relate, the glass has vanished, the handkerchief is empty. The performer's hands have not been near his body, so he could not have concealed it there. There is no trap in the table, into which it might be dropped. Where then has it gone?
With abject apologies, the performer turns his back to the audience, and from his coat-tail pocket takes out the tumbler—or a tumbler—still filled with water.
Some little preparations are necessary for the trick. The pitcher that holds the water has tapering, straight sides and in circumference is smaller at the top than at the bottom. It should be about half as high again as the tumbler, and this latter also should taper, but must be smaller at the bottom than at the top.
Inside the pitcher is a roll of corrugated straw board, such as is commonly used in packing bottles, large enough in diameter to hold the tumbler without letting it fall to the bottom of the pitcher. The roll, in order to hold the tumbler properly, is in the shape of a truncated cone, as shown by the illustration, Fig. 153. Its edges are sewed together, so that it will not break open. A little dab of glue here and there outside the roll, will fasten it to the sides of the pitcher and prevent it falling out. When this is properly in place the pitcher is half-filled with water.
When about to show the trick, the performer throws the handkerchief over his left arm. Remember this, for it is important. In the center of this handkerchief on the lower side is fastened a ring of the same diameter as the top of the tumbler and made of light stiff wire.
So that this ring may not, by any possibility, be seen it is better to place it between a double handkerchief, that is two handkerchiefs of the same pattern sewed edge to edge, and also, so as to form a triangular enclosure, as shown by the dotted lines in the accompanying drawing. When the handkerchief is held by the upper corners, a slight shake will bring the ring in proper position.
Holding the pitcher by its handle with the second, third, and fourth fingers and thumb of the left hand, so as to leave the forefinger free, the performer pours water into the tumbler, which is held in his right hand. Both hands are now in use, and as the handkerchief at this moment must be thrown over the tumbler, the latter is transferred to the left hand, which with the forefinger and thumb holds it directly over the mouth of the pitcher. Artful performer! Taking the handkerchief, he covers the tumbler and then grasping the wire ring, which the audience imagine is the top of the tumbler, he lets go of that vessel and it drops into the pitcher, where it is caught by the pasteboard cone.
Still holding the ring, the handkerchief is moved away, supposedly with the glass under it. The pitcher is stood aside, and all eyes are fixed on the handkerchief. Back and forth the magician sways it and finally tosses it in the air, catching it by one end as it falls. The tumbler has gone!
All that remains to finish the trick, is for the performer to bring from his coat tail pocket a second tumbler partly filled with water, which has been covered with a little rubber cap, that is pulled off just a minute before it is brought in sight.
Should there be any trouble in finding such a cap, a sheet of thin rubber stretched over the mouth of the tumbler, and held in place by a stout rubber band will answer admirably.