An excellent selection of tricks by no other than David Devant. From his introduction:
I have always maintained that the art of the conjurer is closely allied to that of the actor, but with this difference: the actor selects a character and impersonates it. He has all the advantages of a proper dress, suitable to the character he is playing, of beautiful scenery, and music, and lighting, and the various other little things which are comprised in the theatrical word “effects.” The actor has all these aids to assist him in persuading people that the man they see is not the actor, but the character the actor is impersonating. It has always seemed to me that the art of the conjurer is in many ways more difficult than that of the actor, and the reason that this opinion is not generally held is that the art of conjuring is not understood. I do not hold the opinion that any man who can get up and do a few tricks—even though he may do them well enough to entertain his audience— is necessarily a conjurer, because it is quite possible that he may be a mere exhibitor of tricks. To say that a man who can show a few tricks is a conjurer is about as absurd as to say that a man who knows The Merchant of Venice by heart is an actor.
I have said that in some ways the art of the conjurer is more difficult than that of the actor, and for this reason: whereas the actor has the advantage of all the accessories that I have alluded to, the conjurer has to rely entirely on himself for producing the impression that he wishes to convey. Also, if the conjurer wishes to be original, he must first invent his own trick, and then surround it with a suitable plot or story, also of his own making. I regard a conjurer as a man who can hold the attention of his audience by telling them the most impossible little fairy-tales, and by persuading them into believing that those stories are true by illustrating them with his hands, or with any object that may be suitable for the purpose.