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Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin

Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin

(7th December 1805 - 13th June 1871)

Born in Blois, France. Born Jean-Eugene Robert. Soon after his marriage to Cecile Houdin in 1830, he adopted 'Robert-Houdin' as his stage name and had it legalized on 10th September 1856.

Apprenticed as a watchmaker in Blois, he learned magic c1827 from accidental purchase of the 2-volume 1792 edition of the Dictionnarie Encyclopedie des Amusements des Sciences, Mathematiques et Physiques, which included tricks copied from Ozanam, Guyot, Decremps, Pinetti, etc.

Claimed he had received advanced lessons in 1829 from Torrini. Pro illusionist and sleight-of-hand artist. Founder-owner-director Theatre Robert-Houdin in Paris 1845-1852 when he passed it to his brother-in-law, Hamilton, although continuing to perform there until retired in 1854. Called 'The Father of Modern Magic' since as early as 1909 (by Hilliard).

Had played Belgium (1846, 1849, 1853), London (1848 and 1853), Germany (1853, twice), and Algeria (1856), the last bringing him out of retirement at the request of the French government.

A prolific inventor, including The Orange Tree (1845), Light and Heavy Chest (1845), Shower of Plumes (1845), Le carton fantastique (1848), Aerial Suspension (1849), Diavolo Antonio (1849), and possibly both silent code (1849) and Stop Trick.

Coauthors: William John Hilliar, Professor Hoffmann

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Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & Professor Hoffmann
Card Sharping Exposed by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & Professor Hoffmann

A translation of Les Trickeries des Grecs by M. Robert-Houdin, one of the most valuable and interesting works on the subject of card sharping.

Excerpt from the preface:

Meanwhile, the march of science has continued, and the arts of deception, like other arts, have received many new developments. There are fashions in fraud, as in more innocent matters. I have endeavoured in the present pages not only to offer a faithful translation of Robert-Houdin's text, but by the aid of notes to bring down his work, so to speak, to present date. In so doing I have to acknowledge special obligation...

★★★★★ $12
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Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin
The Sharper Detected and Exposed by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin

The first part consists of stories about cardsharks and other crooks from Robert-Houdin's recollections. This is very readable and an entertaining part of the work. The second part explains some of the technical details of the methods used by cardsharks. However, the methods are for the most part only described in very rudimentary form. As Robert-Houdin writes himself, this is not meant as a way to teach you how to do it, but merely to give the reader insight in how the different ruses are accomplished. Nevertheless, it provides interesting insight into the ways and means of cardsharks.


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Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & Professor Hoffmann
The Secrets of Stage Conjuring by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & Professor Hoffmann

Translated by Professor Hoffmann.

  • CHAPTER I. The Theatre Of Robert-Houdin
  • CHAPTER II. A Conjuror’s Stage Arrangements
  • CHAPTER III. Handkerchief Tricks
  • CHAPTER IV. The Light And Heavy Chest
  • CHAPTER V. The Hundred Candles Lighted By A Pistol Shot
  • CHAPTER VI. The Ghost Illusion
  • CHAPTER VII. The Indian Basket Trick
  • CHAPTER VIII. Spiritualistic Manifestations
  • CHAPTER IX. The Bust Of Socrates
  • CHAPTER X. A Curious Effect In Acoustics
  • CHAPTER XI. The Decapitated Speaking
  • CHAPTER XII. The Protean Cabinet
  • CHAPTER XIII. The Feats Of The Davenport Brothers
  • CHAPTER XIV. The Enchanted...
★★★★★ $5
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Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & William John Hilliar
Card Sharpers by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & William John Hilliar

Subtitled: Their tricks exposed or the art of always winning

Translated from the French of Robert-Houdin, first published in 1861, by William J. Hilliar. Robert-Houdin wrote this book primarily as an expose to reduce the number of people being cheated. He writes in his preface: "Enlighten the dupes and there will be no more cheats."

This work was first translated in 1863 under the title The Sharper Detected and Exposed. In 1881 Prof. Hoffman translated it anew and brought it up to date under the title Card-Sharping Exposed. It is not clear why Hilliar would do a new translation in 1903. Perhaps he felt he could ride Erdnase's coattails after his groundbreaking...

★★★★ $7
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Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & Professor Hoffmann
The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin & Professor Hoffmann

The original title is Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie. It was the collection of lessons and information Robert-Houdin intended to teach his sons to make them expert magicians. However, his sons did have other interests, mechanics and military, which led him to publish his recordings as book. Prof. Hoffmann has translated this masterpiece into English.

  • Editor's Preface
  • Author's Preface
  • Introduction
  • Home of Robert-Houdin
  • Conjuring and Its Professors
  • Art of Conjuring
  • Coin Conjuring
  • General Principles
  • Coin Tricks
  • Card Conjuring
  • Sundry Expedients
  • Cups and Balls
  • Various Tricks ...
★★★★★ $9
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Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin
Memoirs of Robert-Houdin by Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin

This is a great book written by one of the greatest magicians of all time, Robert-Houdin. He describes in his own words his development from a little boy to a star performer. How he started as a watchmaker, performed in the St. James Theater, and ended up helping France with a conflict with the Marabouts. Read it. Highly recommended.

Paul Fleming wrote:

Eighteen hundred and forty-five was a great year for magic, and July third of that year a memorable date for all who love conjuring. For on that day Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin first presented his soirees fantastiques in his own little theater - on what...

★★★★★ $8
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Displaying 1 to 6 (of 6 products)