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Topic: ITR
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 24, 2004 06:12PM)
Okay:

Here's one for you. I think I have an answer, but I want to see if anyone has an earlier reference. Who first came up with an ITR? I have a very early print reference.

Posted: Dec 27, 2004 1:36pm
No takers? Interesting.
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Dec 27, 2004 01:16PM)
How early? I have seen the name James George as the inventor ( I think I saw this on an instructional video I looked at somewhere on the net), also there is another website claiming that they invented the thing back in 1992. I'm no scholar, these are just things I've seen on the internet.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 27, 2004 02:24PM)
Not even close. James wasn't even aware of this one, when I told him about it.

Don't get me wrong. James did invent the ITR he uses. In fact, it even looks different from the one that I have seen in a much earlier source. But the basic principle was the same.

This was an ITR built into a matchbox. It was invented by William Ewington, and appeared in a parade in the Linking Ring, back during the 1950's along with an article on extracting IT from stockings.

I'll get an exact date for you later.
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Dec 27, 2004 02:54PM)
[quote]
This was an ITR built into a matchbox. It was invented by William Ewington, and appeared in a parade in the Linking Ring, back during the 1950's along with an article on extracting IT from stockings.

I'll get an exact date for you later.
[/quote]
Excellent, I knew that this item HAD to be older than than 1990's vintage. Is the method for extracting the IT from stockings still feasible?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 29, 2004 10:40PM)
Yep! Works like a champ. There are several diameters of IT avaiable, too.

Sheer stockings give you two different diameters. Sheer dance tights give you another set. Pantyhose and stockings are also made differently.
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Dec 30, 2004 08:42AM)
Now, this is an ITR from the 50's but when did the use of IT begin? Was this William Ewington among the first to use it, or does that go way back? I suppose black thread has been around forever but the elastic threads must have come along later. I would say some time around the 1940's or 1950's is when nylon and polyester and stuff came out. Pretty intresting, seems this guy was well ahead of his time as far as the ITR itself is concerned. He must have been blowing peoples minds back then.
Message: Posted by: EventEntertainer (Jan 2, 2005 07:04PM)
I thought it dates much earlier than that. Wasn't there a reference in Stanyon's?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 16, 2005 08:05PM)
Not to using invisible IT. There was no nylon available during the time Stanyon was writing. It didn't show up until after WW II.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 18, 2005 02:17PM)
I would almost expect this to date back to the trick where you stick a beetle on the back of a stamp, though in this case use a spider. ;)

Anyway, the modern IT seems to date back to a certain kind of stocking, and Ken Brooke making it known to others beyond the Finn Jon/Fred Kaps with the release of the Kaps cork routine, and later on Daniel Cross's Seahorse and the Pearl.

I'm not ashamed to admit I went into a fine hosiery shop and asked for a couple of pair of the right stockings, which saved me a few bucks so I could ask Ken Brooke to send me more line for the Silver Stick.

Anyway, that's as far back (1976) as I know about IT.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 19, 2005 12:00AM)
The Fred Kaps routine actually goes back to Joro (Bruno Hennig), who is a magician from Germany. I first saw the cork at the TAOM in San Antonio in about 1973 or 1974. Claude Crowe was doing it. In 1975, Steve Duscheck released Wonderbar, which made it much easier for the average magician to use IT.

However, the real source of knowledge of IT for many magicians in Europe was a book that was written by Ralf Wichmann-Braco called [i]Schweberoutinen für Tisch und Bühne (Floating Routines for Table and Stage.[/i] This was published in 1973 by the Magischer Zirkel Berlin. It was in German and English. The translation was not very accurate, though, and later it was redone and published by Martin Breese as [i]The Thread Book[/i]. A bootleg translation [i]The String Book[/i] was published by Tannen's. I may have these two titles reversed, as I do not have either English version of the book. In any case, it was this book that inspired me to work with IT, and it also made me want to start doing translations of German items. I didn't want to see another book like this mistranslated.

I also was determined to meet Braco. Eventually, I did. He is an interesting fellow.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jan 20, 2005 12:33AM)
I heear they have sold over 10,000 ITRs.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 20, 2005 12:43PM)
And that's just the Sorcery Shop. Add in the knockoffs from India and the Mesika Spider pens, and I'll bet the number will double.
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Jan 20, 2005 03:52PM)
What do you think the level is of public/laymans knowledge of this device based on the quantity sold? Is the ITR in danger of being over-used and exposed ala the TT? I'm sure there have been many, many more TT's sold, but 20,000 ITR is an awful lot as well.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 20, 2005 07:28PM)
I don't think it makes any difference at all.

The public has believed for at least a century and a half that we possess an invisible thread that you can use in bright sunlight while completely surrounded, even though such an item doesn't exist.

A skillful performer will be able to do his job even if everyone in the audience has one.

Posted: Jul 8, 2006 2:41pm
The main secret to IT work is to keep the object from looking like it is hanging from something. Double anchor work is excellent for this.

[quote]
On 2005-01-20 16:52, Vandy Grift wrote:
What do you think the level is of public/laymans knowledge of this device based on the quantity sold? Is the ITR in danger of being over-used and exposed ala the TT? I'm sure there have been many, many more TT's sold, but 20,000 ITR is an awful lot as well.
[/quote]
Have you ever stopped to think that even with the great amount of exposure the TT has had, people who OWN them are fooled by magicians who use them well? The same is true of ITR's.

Mechanisms are such a tiny part of what makes magic work that we often forget where the magic actually happens.
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Jan 10, 2008 07:42AM)
Hmmm, do you think we should count those tricks that start out "obtain a long, fine female hair...?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 14, 2008 01:49PM)
Certainly they are related, but the IT that was developed around WW II gave us the advantage of having IT that was finer than a human hair, longer and stronger.

There is also an agave fiber that is used for tricks in Mexico, such as the dancing skeleton. The dancing skeleton workers don't sell the fiber, but sell thread instead.

Posted: Jan 14, 2008 3:18pm
Someone requested that I find the reference, so they could located it on AskAlexander. Because of various idiosyncracies of the search engine over there, both of us had difficulty locating the article. I was off by 6 years. The article appeared on pp. 49 ff of the August 1965 issue of The Linking Ring.

It's part of a Canadian parade.

Gene Grant had a floating ball trick that was produced during the 1950's. I know that date's accurate, because I bought one at his shop in 1959. He used an IT that is about like the fibers used in paratroop cord. They were very shiny, though, so the trick worked best in the dim light of his shop.
Message: Posted by: rickmagic1 (Jan 15, 2008 10:34PM)
...which sold you on it, right Bill?

I've got to hand it to you...my wife accuses me of being a 'wealth of unusable knowledge and obscure references'...I only hope I can live up to your standard! :bg:
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 20, 2008 01:40AM)
Well, it looked great when Gene did it. Of course, he had done it thousands of times. The props were kind of cheesy. You got about 50' of shiny IT, a pill bottle that had a couple of strips of cloth tape wrapped around it, so you could do a penetration of the bottom of the bottle, and a floating ball that was made from a cork fishing float painted with silver paint.

But it was a really nifty toy!
Message: Posted by: mormonyoyoman (Jan 4, 2011 01:38PM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-19 01:00, Bill Palmer wrote:

However, the real source of knowledge of IT for many magicians in Europe was a book that was written by Ralf Wichmann-Braco called [i]Schweberoutinen für Tisch und Bühne (Floating Routines for Table and Stage.[/i] This was published in 1973 by the Magischer Zirkel Berlin. It was in German and English. The translation was not very accurate, though, and later it was redone and published by Martin Breese as [i]The Thread Book[/i]. A bootleg translation [i]The String Book[/i] was published by Tannen's. I may have these two titles reversed, as I do not have either English version of the book. In any case, it was this book that inspired me to work with IT, and it also made me want to start doing translations of German items. I didn't want to see another book like this mistranslated.
[/quote]
An advertisement for this book might read "Now YOU TOO can be as smart as Bill Palmer!" The 1995 Martin Breese edition is available as a download at http://www.lybrary.com/invisible-thread-manual-p-73399.html

Thank you for so much useful information, Bill!

*jeep!
--Grandpa
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 4, 2011 01:42PM)
I can't even be as smart as me! ;)
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Feb 11, 2011 06:49PM)
Also 20 or 30 years back, Gaetan Bloom came with a VHS for using IT in ways that no one has ever taken up: totally brilliant and perfectly unknown. Only his superb balanced card routine got known but there are more gems still to be discovered.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 17, 2011 01:29AM)
Gaetan is one of those fellows who is always creating something. He has had an incredible number of items that were basically forgotten, but should be known/owned by almost all of us.

I translated the instructions for a couple of his items that were sold through Harold Voit's shop into English. (I have basically no French at all, but these were in German.) I didn't meet him for the first time until a couple of years ago when he was performing at TWGMS in Las Vegas. He was very friendly. I find him to be a real gentleman.

Posted: Sep 30, 2011 2:09pm
I think I should add the following to this thread about invisible thread reels.

There is no evidence whatsoever that James George was influenced in any way by William Ewington's reel. The basic operating principle was similar, i.e. a spool that was powered by elastic. However, the Ewington reels were somewhat primitive. They used a weak rubber band as the device to store the torque that was placed on the spool. The spool was made from buttons and matchsticks.

Several years ago, after watching some of the video put out by James concerning the use of invisible thread, I called him and told him about the Ewington reel. At the time, he seemed perfectly clear that I did not think that his reel was a derivation of the Ewington reel at all. Whether the Ewington reels were ever sold commercially is unknown to me. Ewington was a retired military man and a magic dealer from Toronto. He evidently experimented with different sizes of spool and different weights of thread.

He mentioned in the article describing the construction of the reels that they could be contained inside a matchbox. He also mentioned working with different weights of thread. There seems to be a belief that there was only one strand size of nylon available at that time. This is definitely not the case. Even in the late 1960's - early 1970's, it was fairly easy to find as many as 5 or 6 different diameters of strand in various types of hosiery. Also, different types of rubber banding/elastic could be used to make these reels.

But they did require a lot of hand work, and they were not easy to adjust. The configuration is so radically different from the Sorcery Shop product that it is fairly obvious that James came up with his invention entirely without any influence from William Ewington.