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Topic: Source for cups?
Message: Posted by: deerbourne (Jan 20, 2004 08:30PM)
Is anyone making re-creation cups styled like the originals shown by Bob Reid in Michael Ammar's Cups and Balls videos?

I've got an beginner's aluminium set but I work in a medieval re-creation group. I'd hate to have to turn my own cups, although I'm prepared to do so.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 20, 2004 08:54PM)
There are a couple of sets that are really nice.

Check out the Bosco cups from Harries magic in Sweden.

Also the Johnny Paul cups by Pete Biro, from Stevens Magic Emporium.

The Phoenix Cups, although they have some limitations, are fairly close to what was used in the old days. They are tough and durable.
Message: Posted by: deerbourne (Jan 20, 2004 09:38PM)
Thanks Bill!

They are very close to what I am looking for. Although I need wood, I may get a set of Bosco cups on payday to get used to the size.

Message: Posted by: Swami Bill (Jan 20, 2004 10:16PM)
Isn't there a set of leather cups out there somewhere? Would those work?

- yet another Bill
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 22, 2004 11:22AM)
On 2004-01-20 22:38, deerbourne wrote:
Thanks Bill!

They are very close to what I am looking for. Although I need wood, I may get a set of Bosco cups on payday to get used to the size.

Although one would think that wood would be more appropriate for cups and balls medieval style, this is not the case. Neither is leather.

The earliest written description of an actual cup is in Hocus Pocus, Jr. The author, probably William Vincent, states that the cups should be made "of brasse or crooked lane plate ... with the bottome set a little within the cup."

While there is a certain romance about using a wooden cup, it is probably not actually traditional.

The leather cups work very well, but you must be careful not to jam them together.

The people who produced the cups refer to them as not having a lip, because that is the way that the cups specified in Hocus Pocus Junior were made. This is not exactly true. The woodcuts in all of the editions of HPJ that I have photocopies of all show a rolled or pressed rim to the cup. I would normally call this a "lip." From correspondence with some of the people involved in the production/release of the cup, I have gotten the distinct impression that they were referring to what I would call "the shoulder bead," which is somewhat up the side of the cup. This is not present in any of the drawings from HPJ.

Nor is the shoulder bead present in any of the engravings, paintings or drawings featured in Kurt Volkmann's Book [i]The Oldest Deception[/i]; however, in the last engraving in the book, one by van der Heiden (1565), the recessed bottom of the cup is quite plainly present.

The leather cups do not have this recessed bottom. It would not have been impossible or even difficult to put such a recessed bottom on the leather cups. A different type of seaming style would have provided this.

When I was performing at the Texas Renaissance Festival, I used a leather Chop Chop cup which was made for me by one of our leather workers. He made six of them for me. I still have a couple which I use on occasion.

I would say that if you are going to use a cup with a shoulder bead, you might as well go ahead and use the Bosco cups, anyway. The shoulder bead is definitely not period, while the metal cup probably is.

Incidentally, the cups mentioned in Scot were described as "salt cellar covers."
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (Jan 22, 2004 11:41AM)
Excellent source material Bill, I would not have guessed the original cups would have been so close to what we continue to use today - metal with recessed bottom.

I have always been of the belief that cups were far too shiny for the purpose of fooling. If one is not careful, it is like performing in front of a mirror. A neatly palmed ball could be reflected in your own props.

This is one of the reasons I have thought about using wooden cups. Although I have seen copper cups that have taken on a rich brown appearance through time. I prefer this to the pristine, just off the shelf sparkling cups so many seem fond of.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jan 22, 2004 01:49PM)

Interesting point about the reflections. I suppose the Sherwood cups with the engraving would not have that problem so much. Perhaps that will help me talk myself into buying a set.


Message: Posted by: deerbourne (Jan 22, 2004 11:12PM)

*Doh* I had decided on wood before I read a little more in detail. I guess that's what I get for jumping to conclusions!

I was also wondering about the shoulder on these cups. It seems a cup without a shoulder would make it much more difficult to hide the nature of the act from the spectators.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 23, 2004 01:14AM)
It actually wouldn't if you didn't nest the cups too heavily. However, as someone who participated in historical recreations of various types for about 30 years, let me point out that sometimes it is better to "bend" the presentation a little than it is to stick to absolute accuracy.

For example, are you going to use cork balls about the size of a nutmeg? There are better choices.

Actually, even with the shoulder, the Phoenix cups look to me to be closer to the cups in HPJ than the Harries Bosco cups. But I would not have any compunction about using the Bosco cups. Even though they are not totally accurate, they LOOK old. So once they have started to tarnish, I think your audiences will accept them.
Message: Posted by: deerbourne (Jan 23, 2004 12:11PM)
On 2004-01-23 02:14, Bill Palmer wrote:
However, as someone who participated in historical recreations of various types for about 30 years, let me point out that sometimes it is better to "bend" the presentation a little than it is to stick to absolute accuracy.
No no, I completely agree with bending the presentation. I'm just trying to balance performance and presentation with my budget. The phoenix cups are a bit pricey for me right now.

Even the Bosco cups will have to wait for a couple of paychecks.

Thanks Bill!

Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jan 23, 2004 12:24PM)
Pheonix B cups are pretty cheap. I have a set and when they are laying on their sides you can smack them hard with the iron wood wand and they ring like a loud bell. Thick hard copper. If there were an extra strong cup made for the military, it would be these. I have beaten mine without mercy and not a mark on the cups or wand. They are seconds, so if you can get over the imperfections, they will last for years. E-mail Tom at Seattle Magic, or bid on ebay when they come up.
Message: Posted by: KirkG (Jan 25, 2004 11:59AM)
While the Pheonix cups are cheap, I would recommend the Penguin cups over those. They are readily available for $100.00 and you can de-laquer them and tarnish them quickly. They will stack better than the Pheonix cups(don't wobble) and will last forever with reasonable care. Just remember, should you get a set that doesn't stack well, return them without delay for a correct set.

Message: Posted by: Darck Ninja (Jan 28, 2004 02:57PM)
As usual Bill seems to blow us away with his towering intellect!
And I would recommend going with a set of aluminum cups, and just throwing them into the bottom of a fire when it begins to die down. let it make burn marks on them. and you'll notice that it will "Warp" the colors a bit. This adds to the authentical "feel". It doesn't necessarily mean its truly authentic, but it feels so. That is whats important. You are doing the shows for the spectators.
Oh, and the burn marks will rub off on you. This also adds to the authentic feel. You wouldn't be so clean in those days, and having soot on your hands only adds to the effect. IMHO.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 29, 2004 12:57AM)
Okay cups lovers, it's time to drool!

I have put photos of my collection on line, including the new "Monster Cups" that I just got from Auke van Dokkum.

Take a look at the Stubby cups, which I have had for over 40 years, and the Johnny Paul cups. They are both very good for this kind of presentation.

King Star Dog is right about the Phoenix cups. They actually look very much like the cups in Hocus Pocus Junior also.

Go to [url]http://www.hocuspocusjr.com/cups.htm[/url].
Message: Posted by: Tom Frank (Jan 29, 2004 04:31AM)
Mr. Palmer, nice collection! I'm glad there are other cup junkies out there like yourself, Michael Edwards & J.P. Jackson. I don't feel so lonely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photo's. And thanks for being kind with regard to my own humble offering.

Cups and Balls ROCK!


Tom Frank :pepper:
Message: Posted by: what (Jan 29, 2004 09:51AM)
That was a very educational tour. Thanks for sharing.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 29, 2004 04:43PM)
I am always glad to share views of my toys with other connoisseiurs.

Feel free to drop by any of my web sites at any time.

They are open 24/7
Message: Posted by: DAK (Jan 31, 2004 04:03AM)
What a collection! Wow makes my collection of four sets seem small. (Great, I can tell my wife that my collection is not that large now!)
WOW those van Dokum Jumbos are amazing! You could have a baby as a final load!
Will you actually perform with them? My Gazzo cups are heavy enough for me!

Kindest Regards

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 31, 2004 12:49PM)
I'm working on a routine right now. They are very difficult to handle if you consider them regular cups. However, if you think about other routines with large objects, certain ideas become clear.

I'm using everything that I know to come up with answers.

I was considering a baby, but it makes the routine take too long. I don't know any audience that will sit still for 9 months.
Message: Posted by: Tom Frank (Feb 4, 2004 01:37AM)
We just had a cups and balls session at my magic shop Saturday night. Master Payne was the highlight for me. He educated us all with his performance. We discussed styles of cups and this sort of nonsense along with practical technical advice. It was a rocking night. One of the attendees brought along his Brett Sherwood Silver/Gold Engraved Cups. I got light headed.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Feb 5, 2004 06:07PM)
On 2004-01-29 01:57, Bill Palmer wrote:
King Star Dog is right about the Phoenix cups. They actually look very much like the cups in Hocus Pocus Junior also.

Go to [url]http://www.hocuspocusjr.com/cups.htm[/url].[/quote]
They are good cups. A wobbly stack is the nature of the shape. I believe Bill has the Millers and could say one way or the other.
As far as Hocus Pocus Junior, Bill would also be one of our best living resources to attest to historical accuracy. Hopefully he wont get hurt playing with those monster cups.

Sorry to have missed Saturday. The wife had the flu and I thought it better to be with her. Would like to have watched Payne though.

Folks that have not been in Tom's shop may not be able to tell, but he has a very nice collection of cups showing in his avatar.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 14, 2004 05:06PM)
That collection of cups in Tom's avatar is the famed Wall of Cups that is shown on James Riser's web site.

The reason I decided to limit my main collection to jumbo cups is that I just don't have enough room for a general cup collection.