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Topic: RNT II Black Beauty Cups
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 29, 2004 03:45PM)
I promised a review of these as soon as I'd had a chance to fool around with them, so here it is.

Today I received a shipment of cups from RNT II. This included a set of Black Beauty cups, a set of Foxy II combo cups in polished brass, and a set of Stainless Steel Monti Cups. I will review the other cups separately.

I am very fond if miniature cups. These cups are about the same size as the Van Dokkum mini cups. They take a golf ball with ease.

They are machined, not molded, from DelrinŽ, which is a very strong industrial plastic that is similar to NylonŽ. It has the advantage of being lighter by volume than aluminum, but it is much tougher in certain types of applications.

These cups are fairly thick-walled, so, although they have some "give" to them, they don't feel squishy. They are not as flexible, for example, as a leather cup.

They weigh about 1 oz. each, which is heavier than the injection-molded cups from Adams and Royal. However, they are smaller than these Adams and Royal cups, which means that they will fit into a jacket pocket better than these "kiddie" cups.

DelrinŽ also has another advantage over aluminum. It isn't prone to denting. I tried giving these cups a good, hard squeeze, and I couldn't break them. I opted against standing on them. I weigh over 200 lbs. I'm not going to subject ANY cups to that! ;)

In a post on another part of the forum, one other person who has actually used these cups noted how well they "carry" in a jacket pocket. They have a huge advantage over the VanDokkum minis in this respect. They are light enough that they don't weigh your pocket down.

They come with a matching drawstring bag, four white crocheted balls, and three yellow load balls. These load balls are practice golf balls. They will lodge in the bottom of the cup if you want them to stay there, and you can dislodge them by bringing them sharply down on the table. You can also do this with the Fakini golf balls. It will not work with real golf balls, though. You also get a booklet with them which contains Milt Kort's miniature cups and balls routine.

The only thing they are missing is the sound of the metal cups. If you are working in a walkaround situation in a restaurant, I don't think you will find this a problem.

Also, they nest perfectly into the Foxy II's, which means that if you are familiar with Martin Lewis' dice load, these would work for that.

They handle well, and do not feel like "cheap plastic cups" at all. Considering the durability of DelrinŽ, they will last you a very long time. And they will not dent, like brass, copper or aluminum.

These will be the first "plastic" cups in the photo section of my Cups and Balls museum.
Message: Posted by: John Cass (Jul 31, 2004 02:28PM)
Would you actually use these cups for performing?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 31, 2004 02:36PM)
I have a fairly wide choice of miniature cups for walkaround magic -- everything from old cups by National and Sherms to modern cups by VanDokkum, Riser and RNT II.

I like the Riser and Van Dokkum cups a whole lot. They are attractive, they take a large load for a tiny cup, but they are heavy. If I am going to carry a set of cups in my jacket pocket, I don't want them to cause my jacket to shift downwards. This is where the RNT II cups have the others beat. They are lightweight, but they have a good feel to them -- far better than, say, a set of Adams or Royal cups. Not only that, unless you have an old set of Royal cups, these others are made in three different colors. These Adams and Royal cups are also somewhat more prone to breakage. I seriously doubt that you would break these RNT II DelrinŽ cups.

Combined with the practice golf balls, you have a complete set that weighs in at about 5 ounces, total. That includes the cups, the balls and the loads.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Aug 1, 2004 09:36AM)
The idea of a solid black high tech plastic cup is not appealing to me. First, by using black cups you are making it harder for your audience to see the magic unless you wear all white and use a light colored close up mat. Second, IMO there is nothing special or magical about a cup made of any type of plastic. Third, the wooden cups I have are very light (about 1 1/2 ounce) and attractive so carrying them in a coat pocket should not be a problem. I really would be surprised if anyone adopts these as their day to day performing cups.
Message: Posted by: thimblerig (Aug 1, 2004 01:13PM)
Hi Larry,

Which wooden cups do you have?

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 1, 2004 02:11PM)
These cups are not for everyone. But in a situation in which I would be using them, it would be close-up, on a red mat with white balls. This would pose no visibility problems at all.

Wooden cups do have a definite attractiveness. OTOH, there is also the frangibility of wood to take into consideration.
Message: Posted by: runawayjag (Aug 1, 2004 03:30PM)
I would have to agree with Larry. The black cups are fairly unappealing in appearance, at least, to me and I agree that I doubt these will ever become actual performance cups for most guys.

They're well made, but maybe the quality could have been better directed elsewhere. I feel the same toward the colored cups (which RNTII also makes.) Those, in particular, remind me too much of the old aluminum colored tumblers that we drank Kool-Aid from in the 50's. If I really want colored cups, I'd buy a $3.00 Adams set.

But, not to knock them, despite my feeling that the black and colored cups are somewhat silly, the workmanship on both these cups AND their entire line is outstanding.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 1, 2004 04:21PM)
Where have you seen the colored cups?
Message: Posted by: runawayjag (Aug 1, 2004 06:24PM)
Mike had them at the SAM National Convention. They are offering them "by special order," and you specify the color. He had red, blue, yellow (kind of goldish) and a purple type color cup.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Aug 1, 2004 06:46PM)
I have a set of Tayade wooden cups which I got for under a $100 and a no name set wooden set which cost about $30 also from India which included a "bottomless" cup that actually comes apart. I never used that piece but you could switch in that cup and at the end allow the spectator to examine it. When they pull tho pieces apart a small spring loaded snake or the like could greet them. :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 1, 2004 09:45PM)
On 2004-08-01 19:24, runawayjag wrote:
Mike had them at the SAM National Convention. They are offering them "by special order," and you specify the color. He had red, blue, yellow (kind of goldish) and a purple type color cup.


I knew he was offering them, but he hasn't posted any photos on his web site yet. Just curious. From what I gather, he is having the aluminum cups anodized and then coating them with a heavy lacquer. We will see how those pan out.
On 2004-08-01 19:46, Larry Barnowsky wrote:
I have a set of Tayade wooden cups which I got for under a $100 and a no name set wooden set which cost about $30 also from India which included a "bottomless" cup that actually comes apart. I never used that piece but you could switch in that cup and at the end allow the spectator to examine it. When they pull tho pieces apart a small spring loaded snake or the like could greet them. :)

I have a set of those Tayade western style cups, myself. The ones that have the "kicker" that comes apart are made by Uday. Murphy's does not stock them, though. I'm not sure why.
Message: Posted by: thimblerig (Aug 1, 2004 09:57PM)
Thanks, Larry.

I am familiar with both sets and have a set of the Uday cups.

Message: Posted by: John Cass (Aug 4, 2004 11:23AM)
I was over at Bill's house last Saturday, and took a look at the Black Beauty cups. They grow on you.

I like the way the practice golf balls will lodge in the top.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 5, 2004 04:30PM)
Yes, and they work well with the Fakini multiplying golf balls, as well.
Message: Posted by: tdowell (Aug 5, 2004 10:12PM)
These are synthetic plastic cups, no doubt about it, and some might complain about that. I bought a set and don't regret the purchase at all.

At $110 they are pricey, but I would point out a couple of things that make them worth the price.

First, these are extremely light and small cups. The same size and weight cups in cheap moulded plastic would not withstand the everyday abuse being carried around in your pocket. Frankly cheap plastic cups this size and weight would crack instantly upon the slightest accident. The Black Beauties on the other hand are extremely small and strong. They can be carried with you all the time without undo bulk and awkward bulge. They should last years in your coat pocket. These are truly an impromptu magician's dream cups.

Second, no one complains when they pay for Teflon or other high perfomance synthetic products in sport, fishing, or other gear. These are simply high performance material in a magician's prop.

Third, collectibility will be high because these are RNT II. These will not be mass produced nor will other manufacturers likely make cups in this material. Scarcity alone will make these high on the collectibility level.

I know many will be critical of my views, I expect that in a free forum such as this. But, to each his own. I'm happy with RNT II and will continue to purchase items from them. Don't knock em' until you get a chance to check em' out. Peace.
Message: Posted by: DAK (Aug 6, 2004 12:05PM)
Got mine today,

wow, their great.
Firstly the whole "package" is great, the cups, four balls, three matching crochet load balls and three large yellow load balls, and a bag for the cups and a bag which has two pockets, one for loads other for cups. A good set of instructions, three peoples routines for mini cups and balls.

Now the cups;
I bought these because I want to have a set with me at all times but don't want to lug a heavy mini set around, they are brilliant for that!
Also they are beautifully made, look great, and handle very well for a light weight set.
These will be used regularly and I can't wait for my first performacne with them in an impromptu or social setting.

RNT II have been a joy to deal with, they kept me updated every step of the way.

I look forward to my Don Alan Chop cup next!

Kindest Regards

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 6, 2004 01:30PM)
Tdowell has a good point about the synthetics. "Carbon Graphite" has been used extensively in high end musical instruments for several years now, and nobody complains because it is a plastic.

And while $110 might seem pricey, it's less expensive than a set of Van Dokkum minis. I realize these are stainless steel, but it's the machining you are paying for here, more than the materials. And the machining process is similar for Delrin or stainless steel.

But these cups are not for everyone. And I'm glad of that. There wouldn't be enough to go around! ;)
Message: Posted by: Gary Michaels (Aug 10, 2004 08:50PM)
$110 for a set of what you would have to call revolutionary cups (and hallmarked at that) really isn't too bad.

This is the one set that we're making for workers in particular -- a lot of our other items are intended for the collectors' market.

Let's also consider the balls. These are as close to the original RnT balls that the fraternity has seen.

And Mendoza just sold 93 of Lula's balls on eBay for upwards of SIX DOLLARS EACH.

Message: Posted by: rmendez (Sep 11, 2004 11:06AM)
I just got a set of these in yesterday and I think they are absolutely gorgeous. To say that they are "durable" is like saying Bush is a little Republican or the Pope is a little Catholic. I squeezed and gave 'em everything I've got and they merely flexed at best. I've even challenged my friends to do the same to demonstrate the incredible quality of the material and they we're astonished.

I have to admit that when they we're first released, I was not drawn to them because they we're different so I can understand the hesitation expressed here on the forum. After handling them on a few different occasions, they grew on me pretty fast and I just had to have a set especially after seeing the embroidered bag and tighly croqueted balls that accompany the set.

One of the things that makes the cups so appealing to me is the weight and the color. Never before has a set of cups like this been available. They appear sleek and mysterious to the spectators and the contrast to the color of a lighly colored close-up mat and balls is stunning. Also, they are much lighter than traditional sets and present no hinderance when strapped to the side of a walk around or strolling performer which makes them one of the most practical sets I've ever seen. Would I use these cups for performing? Hell yes.
Message: Posted by: rmendez (Sep 11, 2004 11:06AM)
If anyone has any more questions, feel free to ask or PM me.
Message: Posted by: rmendez (Sep 12, 2004 01:12PM)
***, Bill. That picture is really you, isn't it? I always thought that the picture of the old wizard with the hat, long hair and beard was something you found somewhere but after meeting you in Houston, I noticed the resemblance greatly. Is that really you under all of that? If so, where did you get that stuff and take that picture?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 12, 2004 02:49PM)
Yep, that picture is really me. The costume is the one I wore at the Texas Renaissance Festival for the ast 23 years of the time I performed there. Actually, I replaced the costume about once every three years, so I suppose that, all told, I had eight of them like it.

The photo was taken at Kaye Marvins' photo studio in Houston. I did a swap-out for publicity photos in exchange for performing at the annual banquet of the Texas Photographers' Association. I took several items with me, and Mike Marvins, who is the photographer, liked the idea of a wizard sitting at a table full of "wizard toys."

The costume was designed by a professional costume designer who worked for various theatrical groups in Houston. The prop is the Hand of Cleopatra from ZZM.

The full photo has more goodies in it.

BTW, at the TAOM, I spent as much time in RNT II's booth as I did mine. They were next to me. I showed a number of people the "squeeze" test on the Black Beauty cups. I would squeeze them as hard as I could between both hand, until they assumed an oval shape. Then when I released my grip, they returned to their original shape. Try that with a set of Royal cups!
Message: Posted by: Neoglobin (Sep 12, 2004 04:40PM)
Bill, I wouldnt have recognized you. I saw you on a video on Lee Earles website :

Message: Posted by: rmendez (Sep 14, 2004 01:00PM)
The more I work with them the more I love those little black cups. So light, so strong and so visually contrasting.

I can do a full cup and ball routine and age old classic right out of my pockets for virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime.

I have been using the bright yellow Empire Multiplying Golf Balls for final loads since I carry and perform them anyway and they just happen to fit perfectly.
Message: Posted by: rmendez (Sep 17, 2004 03:49PM)
I've found myself carrying the Black Beauty cups everywhere I go because they are so light and durable. One thing that I forgot to mention is that the balls that accompany the set are the perfect size and will sit and nest atop a cup. I don't think I'll ever go back to heavy mini cups again. This is by far the most practical set I've ever owned.

By the way, the Rings 'N Things 2 site has been redesigned and reengineered to accept payments via Paypal. Please visit http://www.rnt2.com for the latest news and products.