Our latest Project Gutenberg eBook release, produced with the help of the Distributed Proofreaders project, is another Ten Cent Hand Book published by Frank Tousey: How to Do Mechanical Tricks, published in 1902.
Like most of the books in this inexpensive, paper-covered series, the content appears to have been gathered together from a variety of sources, often without regard to attribution or context. The collected instructions describe how to perform a variety of magic tricks and optical illusions, most relying on simple physics, mathematics, or commonly found household items. A lot has changed in the more-than-a-century that has passed since the publication of this book, and there are definitely some tricks here you really shouldn’t try at home (like simulating volcanoes using a chemical reaction involving lead paint or catapulting flaming matches); however, some of these demonstrations have proven timeless and can still be found in contemporary how-to books on illusions.
The entire book, complete with many diagrams, can be downloaded or read online through Project Gutenberg. Enjoy with care!
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