Magic Trick: The Money-producing Candle

The performer commences by stating that the next trick will be performed with a quantity of shillings. He will want so many that the company can scarcely be able to supply them, so he will not put them to any trouble, especially as he has perfected a new invention by means of which money can be manufactured out of candles. He either borrows a hat, or takes a plate, which should be given for examination, and then approaches a candle, which has been burning for some time on the table. Turning up his sleeves, and indirectly showing both palms to be empty, he places his thumb on one side of the candle and the fingers on the other, near the bottom, and draws the hand upwards, as though squeezing the candle. Two or three quick movements are made, and then a shilling appears in the performer's fingers as though it had been taken out of the very flame. The coin is placed in the plate, or hat, and, after the palm has again been shown empty, a second shilling is squeezed out of the candle, viâ the flame. This is repeated a great number of times, a quantity of shillings being produced, with which a trick should be subsequently performed, the candle experiment, in itself, being of insufficient length.

Fig. 50.

The secret lies in the candle. This is a brass cylinder, covered with white paper (Fig. 50), a piece of candle being introduced into the top, and lighted. This introduction must be neatly done, and some wax from the candle scraped over the junction, so as to hide it. Inside the cylinder is a spiral spring arrangement, precisely similar to the cylindrical sovereign - holders sold, from which one coin at a time is extracted by a simultaneous pressing and drawing action. Such a holder, placed inside the imitation candle, with the opening downwards, would be the very thing (for sovereigns), provided an opening were made just below it sufficiently large to permit the insertion of a finger with which to withdraw the coin. The spiral spring continually presses the coins from above, keeping the lowest one always at the opening, it being prevented from falling by a narrow projecting rim inside, which leaves a large portion of the central space of the coin free to be acted upon by the inserted finger. The side of the candle upon which the opening is situated is, I need not say, turned away from the spectators, and, as the performer slides his hand slowly upwards, a finger brings away a coin—the movement being, of course, continued evenly, and no stoppage made at this particular moment. With a little practice, the coin can be extracted with wonderful facility. Before commencing, the performer should show that there is no preparation about the candlestick, by turning it upside down, and banging it upon the table. The candle is grasped by the hand, for the purpose of removal, over the spot where the opening is, and it may then be shown on all sides; but I do not advise that the performer should draw attention to the candle. No hint of a prepared candle should be given the spectators, who are not at all likely to think of such a thing unless it is suggested to them, particularly if the performer advances boldly, candle in one hand and candlestick in the other, and exhibits them. It will be found that an imitation candle to take shillings will have to be a fairly large one, so the conjuror must use his judgment, and have one for sixpences only, if his exhibition of an abnormally large candle be likely to draw suspicion towards it. For large stage performances a candle capable of taking florins might be used. The candle can be profitably used incidentally to vary the collection of money in the air (see page 14, &c.), a coin being now and again placed visibly into the hat, instead of "passed" magically through the crown, and a fresh one obtained from the candle, just as would be done from the money tube (see page 239).

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