Brief Biographies of Magic Inventors - W-X-Y-Z

Wakeling, Alan
(1926- 2004)
Alan Robert Wakeling spent his formative years in Winslow, Arizona and there was introduced to magic. When his family moved to Los Angeles, CA, Alan discovered magic shops and worked for Merv Taylor, Floyd Thayer, and The Magic House of Charles. After his time in the Navy during World War II, he studied Drama at the Universiy of Southern California. About 1947, he made the decision to make magic his career, performing mostly in nightclubs. However, he also worked as a motion picture camera technician and photographer. In 1966, he joined Mark Wilson's company as Creative Director for Wilson's TV shows. Alan remained with Mark until he retired in 1988. Alan died in 2004.
Among Wakeling's inventions is distinctive version of the Sawing a woman in half effect, known as "The Wakeling Sawing." Wakeling also devised the "Double sawing in half" routine for Channing Pollock. Among the illusions he devised for Mark Wilson were Backstage, Girl Through Glass, The Spiker, and Excalibur. He was also responsible for Wilson's "Circus Act" routine, which involved the Gorilla Crush Illusion. He and Jim Steinmeyer collaborated on "Matrix Poker."
Informative book: The Magic of Alan Wakling, by Jim Steinmeyer.
Waller, Charles
Australian magician and illusionist. Invented: Elevator Illusion, Transmogrification, Silk Production From a Fan, The Enchanted Tubes, Visible Silk Penetration, Screen of Life.
Wrote: Magical Nights at the Theatre (published posthumously in 1980), For Magicians Only, Original Creations for Magicians Hitherto Kept Up His Sleeve (1920), Waller's Wonders (1927), Happy Magic (1932), Magic From Below
Walsh, Audley
Discovered the uses of zinc sterate as a fanning powder, invented Magician's Dream (c. 1938), The Rabbit Wringer (1942), the Dream Deck, The Long Distance Spinner, Mental Choice (with George Brand - 1955).
Wrote: Sponge Ball Magic (1940), A Treatise on the Sucker Effects of Three Card Monte (with John Scarne - c 1930), Dice Dexterity (1953),
(1894 -1971)
After much experimentation, magician Russell Walsh found that coiled steel film two inches wide, used in the production of razor blades, created a strong, realistic, fast-collapsing cane for an impressive quickie effect. It was a re-discovery of the Vanishing cane principle, which had been used in Europe since 1899, but Walsh is credited with realizing that a silk could be concealed inside it, and receives credit for inventing the Cane to Silk. This use of coiled spring steel resulted in a number of Walsh inventions: Appearing Cane (1947), Cane to Table,Walsh's Cigarette to Silk, and the Flash Appearing Golf Club.

Walton, Roy
(1932 - 2020)
He was a world-recognized card magician from England who lived and worked in Glasgow, Scotland for many years, creating hundreds of card effects, including his most famous effect, Card Warp. Owner of Tam Shepherd's Trick Shop in Glascow.

He was a prolific writer of magic tricks for many magic publications. A complete list of his published works can be found at:

Daughter of magician Peter Warlock (see below), Elizabeth was the youngest magician to win the IBM's British Ring Shield (1953) and also was the first woman to do so. In 2002, she won the David Berglas Award from the British Magical Society, once again, the first woman to receive the award.
Invented: Link Later (described in The Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks), Anti-Gravity Glasses

Wrote: One Hundred by Warlock (describing the magic and routines of her father, Peter Warlock) (2005), articles in Magic, The Magazine For Magicians , The Linking Ring, and Genii, among others.

Peter Warlock (born Alec William Bell), was a semi professional magician and publisher of "Pentagram" 1946-1959, "new Pentagram" 1969-1989. In 1952, he was awarded the IBM's British Ring Shield. His magician daughter, Elizabeth (see above) won the award in 1953.
Invented: Self Contained Milk Pitcher, Ringcord, Out of the Loop, Giant Size Triple Tubes, Silk Filter, Adhesive Glass, Cream of the Jest, Atomic Silk, Ring and Rope Release, PW Slip Cut
Wrote: Patterns for Psychics (c 1940), Bautier de Kolta Genius of Illusion, P.T. Selbit A Magical Innovator (with Eric Lewis), The Best Tricks With Slates (1942), A Haunting We Will Go, or Edison’s Box, The Complete Book of Magic, Walter Jeans, Illusioneer (1986) (with Eric Lewis)
Warner, Alan
(1935 - )
Born in Harrow, England, but by 12 had emigrated to Adelaide, Australia. He had visited magic stores in England, but found none available ion Australia, and so to continue his interest in performing magic, he began to make his own props. He returned to England in 1969 and discovered there was a market for the props he had been crafting from wood. He partially retired as a dealer in 1997, although he still stays connected with the business via his Web site from his current home in Cornwall, England.

Invented: School Daze, Maxi-Mental and Mini-Mental, Die 'N Dice, Cairo Coin, Pentra, Spirit Cabinet, Alphabet Antics, Voo-Doo, Do-Mini-O, Enigmatic, Scarab-a-scarab, The Pharoah's Curse, Horus-Scope, The Mummy, Jack the Lad, Sign of the Snake, Flight of the Falcon, Li Chang's Boxes... and many more.

Informative Web site:

An article written about Alan by Elizabeth Warlock appears in Genii Magazine, July 2003, Volume 66, Number 7. An on-line pdf copy of the article ca n be found here:

Born Werner Geissler in Düren, Germany, Werry became interested in magic about 12 years of age, and began performing at home and at school. After World War II, he joined with Thedore Wolf in a magic store venture and also began publishing the "Magic World" periodical in 1952. In 1960, he invented The Transformer Trick, and in 1970, the PK Spoon. Other inventions include Mental Monte, Silk Dream Tricks, Poltergeist (1989), Bewitched Disc, Brainwave Colin Box, Magic With Poker Chips, Blitz Cocktail, Coca Cola Sensation (Vanishing Coke Bottle), Nucleus, Infra-Red Box, Pensation, Brunos Kristall-Zerfall (Star Crash), Fantastic Thimbles, Magic Bar (with Harry), and Paranormal. Many more of his effects are included in Ian Adair's Encyclopedia of Dove Magic.

Wrote: A Fantasy In Thimbles: Werry's Fantastic Thimbles by Lewis Ganson & Geissler-Werry (1979)

Written about: A Life Around the "Magic World", by Wittus Witt (2001)

(L-R) Arthur Emerson, Larry West
West, Larry
(1931 - 1989)
Born Gilbert Lorenzo West. Co-invented many card packet effects with Arthur Emerson .

Invented: Passing the Buck, Eight Ball Card Trick, Larry West's Four Card Trick, Invisible Wand Packet Trick (c. 1972 with Al Cohen), Six Mix,

Wrote: Tricks You Can Count On
(with Verne Chesbro) (1960) , Lecture Notes (with Arthur Emerson) c. 1980: A New Direction In Magic-New Surprises, Lecture 2 (1982). Larry West Presents Corner on the Market,

Books about Larry West and his magic: Larry West's Sleightly Subtle Swindles by Bill Wells; The Count Lives - Long Live the Count, by Ray Eyler;

Media: Video of Passing the Buck:

  Westgate, Howard
Invented The Westgate Bowl Production (in 1939, when he was still a high school student) and the principle by which it works. It was later adapted by Aldini so that it could be performed without an assistant.
  White, Brunel
Invented: Gloves to Doves tabletop, Rabbit Box, Master Table Flap, Skeleton Table,
Wrote: Original Mysteries for Magicians (c 1918), Modern Master Mysteries (1923) Brunel White Presents 'Would You Believe It?' by Louis Lam (1935)
  Wild, Rachel - See Colombini, Rachel Wild
Williams, Oswald
(1880 - 1937)
Invented a Magic Laundry routine (circa 1920) which was subsequently reworked and published (Linking Ring 1951 Vol. 31 No. 6) by Bruce Posgate into "The Magic Laundry" and later by Lewis Thomas into the commercial version produced by Supreme, known as "The Chinese Washing Machine."*
Invented the standard pear-shaped handkerchief pull and the repeat vanish routine made possible by its use. Invented The Merry Widow illusion, Tea Chest and Tea Boxes, The Pillars (fore-runner of the Chinese Sticks), The Dizzy Limit (forerunner of Grant's Bengal Net) and many others.

He was involved in a paranormal investigation into a "Haunted Rectory" in 1919, which, aided by detective work of his wife, proved that the "spirit manefestations" had been produced by a servant girl. Online Reference.

*Researched by Andrew Pinnard.

Windsor, Tommy

Born in Marietta, Ohio as Thomas Isaac Lowry, Tommy Windsor started show business at an early age. By 1924, he was a professional vaudeville and club magician performing mostly in the Ohio area. The Tommy Windsor Magic Ring 197 still meets in Marietta, Ohio, at the Lafayette Hotel.

In the 1940's, Windsor invented his Popcorn Dye Box which was marketed by EZ Magic and soon became a best seller. By 1947, he wrote the Tommy Windsor Die Box Book containing a great many more ideas for ways of using his box.

Wrote: Magician's Merchandising Manual 1938, The Die Box Book 1947, The Street Faker Act, 1947, Sixty-Four Ways to Make Magic Pay 1952, The Presto Press Book, 1956, Tommy Windsor's Egg Bag routine, 1970, The Real Svengali Pitch 1971, The Balloon Pitch 1971, Safety Chalk Talks as Tom McCormick, 1971, Supermarket Magic 1973, Tommy Windsor's Magic Clip Art 1974, Kid Show 1979.

Witt, Wittus
(1949 - )
Born Hans-Günter Witt in Bockhorst-Versmold, Germany. Well known TV magician, author, collector and publisher of Germany's largest independent magic magazine, "Magische Welt".

Invented a comedy version of Robert Harbin's Zig-Zag Illusion (1973). Invented several versions of magic tricks for his interactive magic TV shows which you can find here:

Wrote: Taschenspieler-Tricks, 1986, first edition. Book about street magic. 6th edition published in 2008. Zauberkästen, 1987, first and still the only book about magic sets. Zaubern und Verzaubern, 2008, public book about the art of magic of the present time.

Informative Web sites:

Informative Videos: Wittus and Roy Gardner performing Comedy Zig-Zag at Vienna FISM, 1976:

Describing magic magazine "Magische Welt" in 2013:

Wittus Witt interview with David Copperfield :

Wiz Kids, Inc.

A magical performing arts organization which started as an after-school magic club known as the "Washington Wizards" (Washington Elementary School in East Orange, NJ). In 1981, it was incorporated as a non-profit organization, making the young members officers-in-training so that when they reached adulthood, they could take over the running of the corporation. The performing arts included magic, juggling, clowning, unicycling, ventriloquism, escape, mentalism, and music. Soon they added creative arts of photography, videography, computer programming and web design. Also added were related business areas like booking shows, financial management, advertising, and so on. The creator of The Wiz Kids was Jim Gerrish, who continues to participate as an advisor today. The official Director is Frederick Goode, but the concept of the Kids running their own corporation continues, with Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki currently serving as Assistant Director. The group is included in this list of Magic Inventors because of the magic inventions of the three people named above, and the additional inventions of Wiz Kid Eleazar Goodenough (aka Ee-Gee-Fiki) and his sister Wiz Kid Wilhelmina Goodenough.

The criteria for the inclusion of Wiz Kids into these pages of Magic Inventors is the requirement of at least three confirmed and published original magic inventions, whereas other magicians only need to have one major invention for inclusion.

Informative Web Page: A Pictorial History of The Wiz Kids

Wonder, Tommy
(1953 - 2006)
Born Jacobus Maria Bemelman in Lisse, Holland, he took the magic name "Julian" (1973), "Jos Bema" (1973-78), and "Tommy Wonder" (since 1979).

Invented/Originated "The Ring, the Watch & the Wallet ," Two-Second Card Fold, Two Cup and Pom Pom Case Routine, Tamed Wild Card Routine, Lighter to Marchbox, Elizabeth IV, Tommy Wonder Diminishing Cards (1972) , Floating Bird Cage (1987) and more.

Wrote: Original Magic from Holland (1977), Wonder Material (1982), Books of Wonder (with Stephen Minch, 2 volumes, 1996), Misdirection Does Not Exist (2002), Building an Act (2005) . Books about him: Tommy Wonder Entertains, by Gene Matsuura (1983).

DVD: Visions of Wonder (3 volumes, 2003)
Note: There is an unauthorized DVD called "Wonderized by Wonder" which his estate considers an illegal copyright infringement of his works, and they request that dealers and magicians boycott it.

Yedid, Meir
Born in Israel, emigrated to the USA, where he became (1979) a magic dealer and manufacturer (Meir Yedid Magic) in Fair Lawn, NJ. Invented: Biting Sensations, Cardinal Cards, Divide & Conquer, Fadeout, Great Card Escape ,Predict-Perfect, Smiling Assassin, Total Destiny, Twist And Shout, Zinger
Wrote: Incredible Close-Up Magic, Magical Wishes (1987), Memorable Magic, Off The Wall Lecture Notes (1983), Stage Stuff
Media: (DVDs) Finger Fantasies; Live From London...It's Meir Yedid; Magic Of Gene Maze; Published & Unpublished; Stand-Up, Pop-Jump; Twisting Arm Illusion
Web Site
Yettmah, Cyril
(1880- 1942)
His magic takes up a section of John Northern Hilliard's Lost Notebooks, where we learn that Cyril Yettmah, the English Magician born in Hyde near Manchester, toured with Thurston from 1928-29. In Genii magazine, 1967, his Turban Trick and Thumb Tie were published.

Invented The Shadow Box or Lady From the Light (c.1920), Doves From Air, Chinese Snow Storm.

  York, Scotty
Scotty has performed as a professional magic bartender in the Washington D.C. area for many years.
Invented: Scotty's Kiss Trick, Scotty's Light Bulb, The Blow-Away Vanish, Quarter in Sugar Packet, A Ring Trilogy (Genii,V29,1975) and many others.

Wrote: Scott York: Coins (1975)

Media: Scotty York, The Silver Fox DVD.

Zabuta, Dimitri
(1984 - )
Dimitri is a professional magician, specializing in close up magic and mentalism. He was born in Ukraine in 1984, grew up in Israel and currently resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dimitri combines magic with his second biggest passion, traveling. Over the last several years, he has been performing magic across all across Europe, North and South America, visiting more than 30 countries. Dimitri speaks English, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew and Portuguese fluently.

His magic is highly inspired by the works of Tommy Wonder, Greg Wilson, Juan Tamariz, Darwin Ortiz, Derren Brown, Uri Geller and Banachek.

Besides magic, Dimitri has a background in Theater and Psychology. In 2017, Dimitri won a FISM World Championships of Magic Award for performing a version of Card suit apparition while completely blindfolded.

Invented: Socks Routine, Goldstar, Van Gogh Delirium, Ring to Kinder Egg, Strange Coincidence. All of these are available to verified magicians from his Web Page on The Magic Nook:

Visit his Web Pages on Facebook: or

Zarrow, Herb
(1925 - 2008)
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Herb Zarrow became interested in magic through magic sets and magic books. Invented the Zarrow Shuffle (c 1940), and for many magicians, that's all they know about this creative magician. He also invented: Herb Zarrow's Switch Change, Herb Zarrow's Trapeze, Herb Zarrow Retention Pass, Zarrow Block Addition, Starfish Copper/Silver, Matched Revolvers, Universal Count Grip.

Media: Herb Zarrow on the Zarrow Shuffle DVD; Long and Short Spell, etc

You'll find more of his magic in The Tarbell Course, and also in J.B. Bobo's Modern Coin Magic. Video Link

Zens,Michael F.
(1877 -1952)
Michael F. Zens of Kenosha, Wisconsin, invented: "Zens' Miracle Pocket to Pocket Trick" , later revised as Improved Zens Cards and Envelopes. Also: “Quadruple Poker Deal” and more.
Wrote: Cardiology of Tomorrow by Michael F. Zens (c1941), What? Another Square Circle? (Published in Genii Magazine under Miscellaneous Props) by Mike Zens (Vol. 13, No. 1, Sep. 1948)

Zimmerman, Diana
( 1949 - )

Born in Chicago, Diana began performing magic at the age of 8. By 16, she had won three international magic competitions.

Diana Zimmerman is a branding, promotion and publicity expert, a trail-blazing magician, a magic inventor, the co-creator with Cary Grant of the Magic Castle Junior Society, and the President of CMS, a multimillion dollar corporate and special event company.

Her inventions include: Floating Mirror Ball, Gramaphone Illusion, Vertical Stretching Illusion, VIP Prediction, Spooky Spoon, Quadra-Vision (3-D without glasses), and more.

Her two 2020 interviews with Connie Boyd reveal more about her life and magic: and

Wrote: "Kandide and the Secrets of the Mist," "The Masks of Deception," "The Lady's Revenge," "Kandide's Coloring Book", "Tactical Abyss,” and "Butterfly In A Storm,*" all currently available on Amazon, and The Siegfried & Roy limited edition Collecter's book, "Siegfried & Roy: Unique In All The World" (currently unavailable).

* Available separately on Amazon -

Zimmerman, Dick
(1937 - )
Magician and well known Jazz and Ragtime Pianist.
Invented: Linking Hula Hoops, Master Prediction System, Crystal Clear Card Box, Clearly Impossible, Zimmer Egg, Zimmer Stab, Sure Thing, Rough and Ready (Again), Plonk/Zimmer Shaker, Rattled, Digital Delusion.
Wrote: Shari Lewis presents 101 magic tricks for kids to do (with Shari Lewis), Creative Magic (Lecture Notes)

He married Diana Zimmerman at the Magic Castle in 1968

A - B ; C - D - E ; F - G ; H - I - J; K - L - M; N - O - P; Q - R - S; T - U - V ; W - X - Y - Z

Back to the Project Table of Contents

Back to The Magic Nook