The Thumb Tip: A History

by Professor Spellbinder

It is not known just when, where, or under what circumstances the Thumb Tip, as a magical appliance, came to be invented. Some theories suggest that it came from ... and off we go on a history of where it came from and who might have been first to use it and for what. But interesting as all that is, that's not really what you want to know, is it? So we include excerpts from some of the old masters that show you what they DID with this versatile gimmick.

From: Later Magic – Hoffmann -1904 , THE FALSE THUMB : An appliance of Hartz’s for handkerchief production (invented, by the way, long before the false fingers came into use) was a sort of thimble, made of very thin copper, and arranged to fit over the end of the thumb ... complete article included in the History.

Also From: Later Magic – Hoffmann -1904 , THE CHINESE PAPER-TEARING TRICK as originally performed by Ching Ling Foo and as adapted by Chung Ling Soo ... complete article included in the History.

From: Magician's Tricks Hatton and Plate - 1910: The Torn and Restored Strip of Paper. This is one of the best forms of an excellent trick, and the necessary preparations for it are well repaid by the pleasure it gives an audience. ... complete article included in the History.

From Spellbinder's Magical Memoirs (as yet unpublished): When I was growing up in magic, the thumb tips I encountered were all made of thin aluminum, covered with what was then called “flesh colored paint.” ... complete article included in the History.

This is followed by some novelty Thumb-tips, both old and as completely new as 2006.

The Home-Made Thumb Tip

Many of the old-timers in magic could not go out and buy a Thumb Tip from their local store, or order one from the Internet. Instead, they would sit down at the kitchen table and make a Thumb Tip from ingredients easily found in any house. We can do the same today. Spellbinder then describes several methods you can immediately use for this purpose.

And finally, get ready for some brand new ideas for this most ancient gimmick:

Smoke and Liquid Holding Tips

Ice cubes, anyone? Perhaps a live goldfish?

If for no other reason, you'll want to get this article just to find out why the lead photo is the multi-purpose grinning skull thumb tip and where you can get one of your very own!

The Thumb Tip: A History $7.00

Buy all 11 articles of this issue (#9) of the Wizards' Journal

That's less than $5.00 per article if purchased together!

Back to Wizards' Journal #9 Contents - Back to All Journals Contents - Back to The Magic Nook