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Topic: Origin of the Okito box
Message: Posted by: RoderickM (Oct 3, 2011 07:01PM)
I have recently encountered a published source dated to before 1914 which describes a brass box with a lid that can vanish a coin via a turnover move, by which the lid is placed on the bottom of the box. This is of course the same thing as the Okito box, and appears to show that what we call the Okito box did not originate with Okito. It was always my understanding that Okito was considered to have originated this effect. Can anyone thorw any light on this?
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 3, 2011 07:10PM)
About the year 1909, Okito was playing around with a common pill box, which looked just like the Okito Box of today but made of tin, not brass. Most modern pill boxes have hinged lids, but the ones of Okito's era were in two parts. Here's a place where you can still find two piece pillboxes that might be interesting for use as an alternative to the now common brass box: http://www.indiamart.com/surya-handicrafts/pill-boxes.html

Is your source the 1913 Roterberg catalog #15 by any chance?
Message: Posted by: RoderickM (Oct 3, 2011 07:38PM)
Thank you for that. My source is "Tricks of Today" by an author who calls himself "Yelma". It was published in 1914 by Hamley Brothers of London. It is available for perusal on the Learned Pig site. The Okito box is on pages 22 and 23, and is described as the "Tango coin box". There is no citation concerning Okito. The time frame is fairly close for it to be Okito's trick, but not impossible. There is also a description of the Boston box on page 15, which the author calls the "Orient coin box". I always thought the Boston box, with a single coin in the base, which also uses the turn over move, was a later developement of the Okito box. These two items raise the possibility that the turnover move was known before Okito purported to invent it.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 3, 2011 07:59PM)
I believe the turnover move was used in larger change type canisters. It was common for manufacturers in those days to life items from others without giving proper credit.

Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 4, 2011 12:20AM)
In the introduction to his 1914 book, "Yelma" mentions that it is largely a "compilation of new effects, most of which have been introduced within the last few months."

No one knows where or why the "Boston" name got attached to the other box, but (and this is entirely my speculative "theory") in attempting to give some weight to the common tin pill boxes so they would open properly, someone may have stuck a coin on the bottom of the box with magician's wax and voila, the new box was born. If Roterberg was advertising a brass Okito Box in 1913, the brass machinists must have been busy turning them out, and could sell twice as many if they turned the box over and gouged out a cavity for a coin on the bottom. Capitalism at work!
Message: Posted by: Merc Man (Oct 5, 2011 05:33AM)
Unless I'm wrong here, isn't the Boston Box the creation of George Boston - when he simply took a German Coin Box and added a lid to it in the late 1920's?

The German Coin Box concept, as far as I am aware, certainly pre-dates the Okito - albeit the first German Boxes were more tubular in their appearance than the box-like design we are used to now.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 5, 2011 06:38AM)
The German Box does predate the Okito Box, but had no top, although it did have the bottom space for a coin insert. J.B. Bobo is responsible for attributing the Boston Box to George Boston, but later admitted that it was merely an assumption on his part from rumors he had heard to that effect. George Boston, who claimed many things, never claimed to have invented the Boston box. More likely,some Boston magician added the Okito top to a German Box and made the connection, but that is pure speculation also.
Message: Posted by: bblumen (Oct 12, 2011 02:29PM)
According to Magicpedia, the [url=http://geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/Okito_Box]Boston Box[/url] actually dates back to the [i]Discoverie of Witchcraft[/i].

Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 15, 2011 02:35AM)
From: "Discoverie Of Witchcraft" chapter 31:


"There are many types of trick boxes with false bottoms, whereby many feats may be accomplished. One has identical covers that go over the top and bottom. The bottom is slightly recessed, just enough to contain a single layer of pepper or corn glued to it. Put a cover over the bottom and turn the box rightside up.

"In performance, fill the box with some noticeably different type of grain, then cover the box and put it under a hat or candlestick. In putting it under, or taking it out, turn the box over and uncover the glued end, revealing the grain has changed from one type to another. Another presentation is to show the glued end first, then thrust the glued end into a bagful of a similar grain, and finally show the empty box."

I never thought of that description as the precursor to the coin box, but of course, it is exactly that, only a smaller version you can hold in one hand! Truly, there seems to be nothing new under the sun!
Message: Posted by: magicbart (Oct 21, 2011 08:16PM)
On 2011-10-03 20:38, RoderickM wrote:
Thank you for that. My source is "Tricks of Today" by an author who calls himself "Yelma". It was published in 1914 by Hamley Brothers of London. It is available for perusal on the Learned Pig site. The Okito box is on pages 22 and 23, and is described as the "Tango coin box". [/quote]

that's weird.

From pictures that I found and research Im doing at this time, the old Okito box looked a little bit like the Kartis box manufactured by ... Tango magic !

here's a example :

coinly yours
Message: Posted by: Julie (Oct 21, 2011 11:23PM)
Another Okito Box worthy of mention is the plastic version by none other than Fu Manchu (sp?), son of Okito.

This one has a special "extra" gimmick that will even hold liquid for a surprise finish (and other non-liquid routines!) Owens makes a metal version of this, too.

I apologize for getting a bit off topic, but I observed the article referenced above has a modern history of sorts...

Message: Posted by: magicbart (Oct 22, 2011 07:52AM)
On 2011-10-22 00:23, Julie wrote:
This one has a special "extra" gimmick that will even hold liquid for a surprise finish (and other non-liquid routines!) Owens makes a metal version of this, too.


Are you talking about the snuff boxe & vase routine ? Did not find anything on Owen site other than that.

Message: Posted by: Julie (Oct 22, 2011 10:43AM)
No, it's not the Snuff Box, magicbart. It is a silver dollar size Okito Box. I believe it was still listed in the last color catalog they put out several years ago.
(As I recall their online catalog does not list everything they have available.)

BTW> the Owen Okito Box is NOT suitable for holding a liquid, but is designed for a clean no turn-over vanish/appearance of a coin.

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Sep 1, 2014 12:49PM)
Gee! I'm still using a "tin" box that Gen Grant put out. It's a bit larger that a half dollar and smaller than a silver dollar. It came with a tiny m****t and a s***l pennny. It works great and I don't think I paid more than a buck for it.! Whoever invented it (I believe it was OKITO) gave us a great prop.
Message: Posted by: chucklerich (Jan 24, 2015 12:44AM)
I opened this page up hoping to get a more thourough History of How Okito Invented my favorite bit of magic just to hear he may have nothing to do with developing a pill box into a piece into a pocket sized marvel. I do not know if I should be saddened by this or happy we have so many scholarly magicians to learn from.
Message: Posted by: Richard Kaufman (May 13, 2015 04:05PM)
There is a reference to the Okito Box in The Sphinx in 1913.
Message: Posted by: wandmgc8 (May 22, 2015 01:44AM)
Along these same lines, and I have put forth this question before without response; Does anyone have an idea who, and/or, when a slot feature was added to the box? I would appreciate this knowledge. Thanks all!

Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (May 28, 2015 12:57AM)
According to Magicpedia, Theo Bamberg invented the Okito Coin box around 1911 which predated the coin box you mentioned which was about 1914. The story goes that Bamberg’s partner Joe Klein suffered from indigestion. To alleviate his pain, he carried around a pill box with the medicine he needed.

Bamberg was fooling around with the box and found out that the lid fit on the bottom as well as the top and noticed one could not tell which way the lid was on. After making the pills disappear and reappear, he later used a fifty cent piece and as the article said, “…the coin trick was born.”

Message: Posted by: Craig Ousterling (Jun 10, 2015 01:37PM)
Michael... Penny Poland has a book out.

pm'd you details.