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Otto Maurer

Otto Maurer

(Gemersheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany: 28th October 1846 - 15th May 1900)

At age 5 moved with parents to USA. Tin smith in New York City when began repairing magic props by 1868. Thence, since 1872, as prop maker-dealer, first as the Magical Bazaar from a basement room in his grimy house at No.321 Bowery, which issued its earliest known catalog (68pp) in 1875. In 1884 his catalog had grown to 120pp.

In 1887 Maurer was taught the back palm by a Spanish gambler from Mexico and he taught it to several magicians including Dr. J.W. Elliott and T. Nelson Downs who quickly spread its fame. Maurer operated since 1898 as The New York Magical Co. He died in New York City, his son taking over the business, but ran it only for a few years.

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Otto Maurer
Illustrated Descriptive Price List of Magical Apparatus and Illusions by Otto Maurer

Otto Maurer had his shop in New York. He started as tin smith but soon made and fixed apparatus for magicians. His shop was for many years a gathering place for prominent magicians who came to town including Houdini, Thurston, and Downs. They all visited Maurer, bought from him, and exchanged the latest gossip and news. The most famous story about Otto Maurer is how he became the conduit for communicating the back palm from a Mexican/Cuban/Spanish cardshark to the magic community at large. (The originator of the back palm was Dr. Elliott.)

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