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The Crystal Coin Ladder

The trick now about to be described and known among magicians by the above title was, the author believes, invented by the celebrated prestidigitateur Robert Heller. The author performed it for some time, but, owing to its exhibition by many imitators, he has discarded it and leaves it to the other "Coin Kings" and "Queens,"' some of whom are now performing it. Being purely a mechanical trick, it does not-, of course, require much practice, but if presented in the manner herein described it never fails to produce a good, effect.
Fig. 63 shows the "Ladder," from which the reader will get a very good idea of what it is like. The "steps" in the ladder are glass slabs, the metal work all being of polished brass, with a nice gold fringe around the top, which gives it a beautiful stage appearance. The mode in which the author presented the trick was as follows :
Six half-dollars were borrowed, together with an ordinary silk hat. The hat was suspended at the bottom of the ladder, as in the engraving. The coins were now placed in a glass tumbler, which was covered with a handkerchief, and placed on the top of the ladder. The performer now remembers that he intended to place more than six coins in the glass, so proceeds, as in the "Miser's Dream," to catch a few in the air, which vanish from his hands and are unmistakably heard to fall into the tumbler (still on top of the ladder and covered with handkerchief). The coins in the glass are now commanded to pass one at a time from the top to the bottom of the ladder, which they do, falling from one glass slab to another till they reach the hat at the base of the ladder. The tumbler is now taken down, still covered with the handkerchief, which the audience remove, when the coins are seen to have vanished, and upon the hat being examined there are the coins. The six half-dollars originally borrowed are then handed back to the lender with thanks. Now for the secret:
The top of the ladder is in reality a box containing the mechanism of the illusion. At the rear is a kind of drawer, into which six duplicate coins (or as many more as you intend using) are placed. Now upon an assistant in the wings pulling a cord, one of these- coins is let through the top of the ladder on to the first glass slab, the latter being arranged so that, when a coin drops on to it, the coin immediately slides to the lower edge and then drops on to the next slabthis being repeated until the coin has reached the hat. One of the vases, apparently only placed on the ladder for ornament, is a trick ore. A few coins are previously placed in the bowl of this vase and upon an assistant pulling another cord a piston rises, making these coins jump up and fall again. This latter effect is to produce the sound of the extra coins being invisibly passed into the tumbler. The glass used is first of all filled with water to prove that it is a genuine one, but in the act of throwing the water away, it is dropped on a servants behind a chair, and a duplicate one brought away, no one having the slightest suspicion that it has been changed if it is done neatly. The duplicate is devoid of any bottom. The borrowed coins are dropped into this glass, which must be held on the palm of hand in a slanting position, so that 'the coins drop on side of glass, thereby sounding as though the glass was quite an ordinary one. The tumbler is now covered with a borrowed handkerchief (the coins being palmed) and placed on the top of the ladder. The artist now pretends to have made a mistake in the number, and catches one at a time at the finger tips the coins he has already palmed, which vanish by means of the pass. The assistant pulls cord number two and coins are heard (apparently) to fall into the glass. Now command the coins to pass into the hat, which, of course,. they do. Next remove the hat, turn it over on a plate, letting the duplicate coins fall out, but allow one or two to slip on the floor. In picking these up, mix with them the borrowed coins (which it will be remembered are still palmed) and take to the spectator who lent them. The tumbler is now taken down, the handkerchief removed, and if the former is held firm on the palm, not one in a thousand would ever dream that it was bottomless.