From Magicpedia, courtesy of Genii Magazine:
Jack Gwynne (April 12, 1895 - December 7, 1969) performed in vaudeville and nightclubs throughout the United States, often billing himself as "Gwynne the Magician, the Aristocrat of Deception". He was also a creator of original magic effects.
Born Joseph McCloud Gwynne in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gwynne was inspired to become a magician after seeing a performance by Harry Kellar and Howard Thurston in 1908. With little money to procure magic props from professional outlets, Gwynne began designing and building his own tricks and illusions.
He married Anne Apel (1896-1979) in 1915 and had two children; Margaret (Peggy) Gwynne (1916-1973) and Virden “Buddy” Gwynne (1917-1978).
During the 1910s and early 1920s, Gwynne was employed by the Edgar Thompson Steel Mill (Carnegie Steel) in Pittsburgh during the day and performed and built magic at night. In 1925, after seeing a performance by Gwynne at Kaufman’s Department Store in Pittsburgh, legendary magician Harry Houdini hired Jack to build several props for the Houdini show. These included an original “Disappearing Chicken” trick that was featured by Houdini until his death in October, 1926. Gwynne also built props for the Howard Thurston show and other contemporary performers. Later creations included the "Flip Over Dove Vanish" box and "Flying Carpet" levitation effect.
Following an appearance (arranged by his friend, Jean Foley) at the 1927 International Brotherhood of Magicians convention in Kenton, Ohio, Gwynne took his act to New York in attempt to find work in vaudeville. After a show for booking agents at the Franklin Theater, Gwynne was offered a contract with RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum), the largest chain of vaudeville theaters in the U.S., for 50 weeks, beginning in September, 1927. From that point, Gwynne’s career took off with performances from coast to coast for the next eight years. In New York he was featured at the Palace Theater (considered the top vaudeville theater in the nation), along with The Roxy, Loew’s State, and Radio City Music Hall. Gwynne’s act was known for its speed, precision timing and baffling, original magic. Trademark routines included the appearance of a tall stack of seven glass goldfish bowls (filled with water and live goldfish), the Disappearing Chicken and his original Temple of Benares (sword box) illusion. Utilizing his wife, son, daughter and nephew, Roger Apel, in the act, the Gwynnes became known as “The Royal Family of Magic.”