The Edison Of Magic
Burling Hull
Samuel and Lee Smith (1977)
In Collection
Magic / Mentalism
Canada  eng
Hull, Burling: The Edison of Magic and His Incredible Creations
©1977 Samuel & Lee Smith, FL
Hardcover, perfect-bound, 112 pages

Abebook Price 100.00

Comments: Edited by Samuel & Lee Smith, with a Biography on Burling "Volta" Hull by Samuel Patrick Smith

Contents (from book ToC):

iv Thank You!
7 Burling Hull: A Biography
22 Stage Miracle Cocktail Act
27 Costume Jewelry Act (Synopsis)
31 The Volta Surprise Opening
32 Comedy Patter For Use With Rabbit Tricks
33 Additional Comedy Patter
33 Proper Care of Rabbits
35 Bare Hand Glass of Liquid Production
36 Startling Opening Feat For Act
37 Glass of Liquid Vanish
38 Devil’s Pass You Can Do
41 Seven Billion Dollar Dog Illusion
46 Fast Set-Up Magic Tables
47 Secret of Tiny Lights Along Table Upright
47 The New Blackart Traps in Table
48 Upright and Horizontal Table Tops
50 Opening Speech for Mentalism Acts
54 The Volta Unbelievable Rope Tie Feat
60 Modem Comic Handkerchief Melange
66 Giant Size Dyeing Silks
68 Making Your Giant Size Dyeing Silks Tube
71 The Flying and Knotting Silks
75 Magic Soda Fountain
79 The President’s Telegram
85 Centennial Flag Production Mystery
89 50th Anniversary or Birthday Celebration Feat
91 “I Like My Cocktails Smooth As Silk”
106 5000 Dollar Beer Production Trick
109 Extended Bar Act
111 Magic Man Song

Published by Samuel and Lee Smith, Tavares, 1977. Hardcover black boards with gilt title to cover and spine. A bit of age staining and some modest general wear but in nice shape overall. Pages are clean and binding is sound. 112 pages. Signed on the ffep by Burling Hull. Stated first edition

The biography and inventions of this magical luminary.

Product Details
Extras Author autograph
No. of Pages 112
First Edition Yes
Personal Details
Read It No
Location Magic Library (Home) Shelf N
Condition Near Mint
Owner Bryan-Keith Taylor
Burling "Volta" Hull was an expert manipulator, mentalist, escape artist, illusionist, night-club performer, TV pioneer, and master marketer.

Burling Hull (September 9 1889 - November 1982) (alias "Volta, "Volta the Great", and "The White Wizard" ) was an inventive magician, self-styled "the Edison of magic," specializing in mentalist and psychic effects. During the greater part of his life he lived in DeLand, Florida.

In his earlier years he performed a skillful manipulation act, making billiard balls and silks vanish, multiply and reappear, while dressed entirely in white. [1]

Hull claimed to be -- and is generally credited as -- the inventor of the Svengali deck of cards, which he patented in 1909. He was a prolific writer, with 52 published books to his name. He wrote on a wide variety of magical subjects, including card tricks, mentalism, escapes, razor blade swallowing, sightless vision, billiard ball manipulation, silk magic, publicity and showmanship. His 33 Rope Ties and Chain Releases, written in 1915, is still popular today.

A shrewd businessman and marketer, Hull not only produced many titles about magical effects, he gave talks to magic conventions on business methods for entertainers. He was active in the movement to protect magic trade secrets by both patent on the gimmicks and copyright on the texts, as applicable, but he undercut his own ethical stance against plagiarism by publishing secret material from other magicians who had stolen from him, in order to get revenge for having been plagiarized.

Hull's weighty three-volume Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mentalism, published in 1961, was the largest compilation of mentalism sleights, gimmicks, effects, patter, and illusions in one collection up to that date. This work was also notable as the venue in which Hull carried out his excoriating feud with the equally famous mentalist Robert A. Nelson, whom he accused in print of teaching mentalism to gamblers and racketeers in order that they might commit what Hull called "thievery of the public", and whom he criticised for selling hoodoo folk magic curios that Hull said were used in rituals of "black magic and Devil worship". [2]

In the late 1950s he published a sort of newsletter called The G_d D__n Truth About Magic, mainly for the purpose of criticizing Nelson and supposedly written by one Gideon ("Gid") Dayn, but it didn't take much imagination to know what the first words actually stood for. [1]

In his final years he lost his eyesight, a loss he never learned to accept, and he died at the age of 93 in a nursing home. [1]

1. a b c Francis Marshall in the introduction to a reprint of The G_d D__n Truth About Magic.
2. Hull, Burling. Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mentalism. 1961.