Magic Trick: The Crystal Plateau

This is a very pretty, but almost unknown trick. Hanging by a couple of cords at the back of the stage is an oblong plateau, composed simply of a frame and a piece of glass. The performer borrows three marked florins or half-crowns, which he can either hold in his hand, or place in the little box described in The Invisible Transit. He calls attention to the plateau, the transparent nature of which seems to render any examination unnecessary, and announces that, not only will he cause the coins to invisibly leave his hand (or the box), but they shall do so one at a time, and affix themselves to the glass of the plateau. This is done, the coins appearing one after another upon the face of the plateau, from which the performer removes them, and hands them back to their owners.

This fine effect is thus managed: The plateau (Fig. 49) is composed of two pieces of glass, one behind the other. The front piece is fixed firmly into the frame, but that in the rear is only loosely fastened. An indiarubber band, passing across the lower portion of the latter, keeps the two glasses close together at their lower edges, but at the top they are kept apart to the extent of about twice the thickness of a half-crown. From the upper part of the frame three spaces are cut out, wide enough to admit a coin, and deep enough to cause a coin dropped in from that point to fall between the two glasses. To keep the coins temporarily suspended, three holes are drilled through the rear glass, just below the places for the coins, and little pegs inserted therein. To each of these pegs is attached a thread, held in the hand of the assistant behind the scenes. The latter should be immediately in rear of the plateau, in order that he may get a straight pull. When the performer cries "Pass," one peg is pulled out, and the coin it supported falls between the two glasses. As these approach each other by degrees, the falling coin sticks fast about mid-way, appearing to the company—and, for that matter, to the performer, too, so perfect is the deception—to be stuck on the surface of the front glass, supposed by the company to be the only one. When all three coins have thus made their appearance, the performer proceeds to the plateau, and, placing a hat beneath it with one hand, opens the rear glass slightly out from the front one, the coins thus falling out. The marked coins have, of course, never left the performer's hand, three of his own having been placed in the little box, if that was used; and it is very easy for him to palm these in the hat, and produce the marked ones, as though taken from it. To pass them, one by one, from the hands, they must be held in the left hand, and palmed singly with the right. If the performer is skilful enough to palm them one over the other, so much the better, otherwise the palmed coin must be got rid of in the little trouser pocket each time, whilst the contents of the left hand are being exhibited.

Fig. 49.

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