||Video Library at Home
Percy Abbott (1886-1960)
Magician, Inventor, Entrepreneur
Place of Birth:
Abbott has become an iconic figure in the world of magic. He is most famous for building a world renown magic manufacturing company from the ground up - Abbott's Magic Co.
Along with manufacturing numerous tricks and stage illusions, he created a classic effect called "Squash," so popular that is heralded by Abbott's as the "trick that built the Abbott Magic Company".
The first Abbott's Magic Get Together was Saturday, Sept. 15, 1934 and was attended by 80 magicians.
Percy Abbott was born in Australia on May 3, 1886. Abbott lost his parents as a child and was raised by a strict aunt. He set out to earn a living by doing odd jobs in Sydney.
It was in Sydney where Abbott took an interest in magic and opened a magic shop called Abbott Magic Novelty Company.
Throughout the early 20’s , Abbott toured the Orient, playing many small theaters and sometimes earning only enough for passage to the next island. He returned to Sydney and his shop periodically, when bookings and/or income failed. It was such a tour that brought him to the United States, where he enjoyed moderate success. Abbott set his sights on Michigan and made Colon his home.
In 1927, Colon’s first magic business was "established and arranged" between Abbott and Blackstone. Unfortunately, the two men had a falling-out and The "Blackstone Magic Company" was dissolved after only 18 months. Blackstone and Abbott never met publicly or privately for the rest of their lives. The great Blackstone never appeared at a Get-Together until after Abbott's death.
Abbott married a local girl Gladys Goodrich. They began playing schools and auditoriums for the next five years, earning enough income to stay afloat during the stock market crash of 1929. The couple added to their school dates with theater bookings and two summer sessions with a carnival.
In January of 1934, after his first child was born, Abbott opened a second magic store in Colon. He named this shop The Abbott Magic Company.
Abbott met Recil Bordner in March of 1934 and Recil borrowed $1,000 from his father and bought half interest in the company and a new partnership was formed.
In September of the same year, the new partners held an open house for magicians which marked the first Magic Get Together in Colon.
In 1959, Percy Abbott and his wife decided to finish their journey to England and retire. Percy sold his half of the business to Recil Bordner who became the sole proprietor of Abbotts magic.
In 1974, Recil brought his son, Greg, into the family business and Greg has brought Abbotts into the 21st century by combining the best of the old with the latest technology of today, thus keeping Abbotts Magic a place where magical illusion are not only bought and sold, but also designed, and created.
Today, Abbott is a name known the world over by magicians, and Abbotts Magic is the largest magic manufacturing company in the world.
Percy Abbott (magician)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
May 3, 1886 Braidwood, Australia
August 26, 1960 (aged 74) Colon, Michigan
Known for Abbott Magic & Novelty Co.
Percy Abbott (1886–1960) was an Australian magician and magic dealer who founded Abbott's Magic Novelty Company in Colon, Michigan. Abbott's business was once the largest manufacturer and retailer of magic tricks and stage illusions in the world.
[hide] 1 Biography
2 Bibliography 2.1 Books 2.1.1 Written or contributed to
Abbott was born in Braidwood, Australia on May 3, 1886 as one of four children. Orphaned as a youngster, Abbott and his siblings moved in with an aunt who charged the children for room and board. Early interests included theater and magic. He took part in amateur theatrical productions as a boy. He discovered magic which he would devote most of his life along with its allied art, ventriloquism. In his early 1920s, Abbott found himself performing regularly in Sydney and other Australian towns, eventually taking a position with a firm that supplied magicians with the tricks of their trade, the New York Novelty Co. Abbott would eventually open his own supply house for conjurers, called the Abbott's Magic Novelty Co., on Pitt St. in downtown Sydney. He continued performing and was reportedly one of the first magicians to perform the Sawing a woman in half illusion in Australia. Abbott turned the reins of his magic shop over to his brother Frank to leave Australia permanently. He toured the Orient and eventually landed in America, where in 1926 attended the first annual convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
He would meet Harry Blackstone, Sr. and the two men agreed to form a partnership to establish the "Blackstone Magic Co." in the small village of Colon, Michigan in 1928, but only lasted for 18 months. Four years later, after working on Coney Island with Jean Hugard, playing school shows throughout the Midwest, and getting married, Abbott opened another magic shop in Colon, Michigan, "The Abbott Magic Novelty Company" and began advertising in trade journals in 1933. Recil Bordner, a magic enthusiast and son of successful farmers from Edon, Ohio, join the form as a partner in 1934.
The shop moved into larger premises in Colon, at 124 St. Joseph St., and celebrated the event by hosting the first annual Abbott Magic Get-Together that fall. The event became an annual tradition that continues to this day. He also founded the Abbott Magic Co.'s magazine called "Tops", in January 1936, editing it for several years before turning it over to the Abbott company's staff artist, Howard Melson.
By the end of 1945, Percy Abbott's business was spread over seven buildings and employed over 54 workers with Abbott branch stores established in Detroit, Indianapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Abbott's issued the largest magic catalog of all time, some 832 pages long, and featuring over 1800 different products, most manufactured at the Abbott factories.
Abbott maintained an active interest in the magic business until his retirement in 1959. At that time, he sold his share of the company to longtime partner Bordner.
In 1959 Abbott wrote his memoir, "A Lifetime of Magic" which was published just months before he died, on August 26, 1960, from a heart attack at the age of 74.
Written or contributed to
Abbott's Magic for Magicians, Secrets of Occidental and Oriental Magic (1934).
Abbott's Practical Patter (1935)
Comedy Magic (Abbott) (1937)
A Lifetime in Magic (1960)
Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks, Vol. 1 (1941) compiled by Stewart James
Rice's Encyclopedia of Silks, Vol. 1, (1948) by Harold Rice
Abbott's Cigarette Magic compiled by Tom Zeno (1936)
Hat Loading Methods, compiled by U. F. Grant and Stewart James (1941)
Illusions! Illusions! (n.d.)
1. All Stories (2011-08-06). "Linda Abbott, daughter of Percy Abbott, comes to Colon Historical Museum! | River Country Journal". Rivercountryjournal.info. Retrieved 2013-09-14.
2. Official website
3. Cover of The Linking Ring, May 1959
4. A Lifetime in Magic by Percy Abbott, The Abbott Magic Manufacturing Co., (1960)
5. Percy Abbott – American Museum of Magic". Americanmuseumofmagic.org. Retrieved 2013-09-14.
6. "MagicTimes News Archives - July 23-29, 2012". Magictimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-14.
7. The Magic Capital of the World, page 2
8. Programmes of Famous Magicians, 1937.
9. Cover of Genii Magazine (June, 1949)
10. Cover of The Linking Ring, October 1959
11. Abbott, Percy (1934). "Abbott's Magic for Magicians".