The Expositor by William Frederick Pinchbeck

(c. 1805,1996) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

Details: The first edition was published in Boston in 1805, by the English born William Frederick Pinchbeck, a descendant of Christopher Pinchbeck and the famous family of showmen and builders of automata and clocks. Pinchbeck’s intention in penning this treatise was to amuse and instruct, “but also to convince superstition of her many ridiculous errors.” The highlight of the book is the explanation of the secret of the learned pig. Years before this exposure, pigs had been demonstrating simple feats of legerdemain, mathematical calculations and mind-reading for audiences in England.

The Expositor also sheds light on other mysteries including the invisible lady and acoustic temple, seven feats of Mr. Ranie performing in the U.S., the art of ventriloquism and miscellaneous tricks and optical delusions. The student and lover of early conjuring literature, previously unable to experience the book’s quaint chard, should find this to be a great treat.


1. Cover
2. Introduction by Cory Shull
3. The Pig of Knowledge
4. Frontispice
5. Book Deposit
6. To The Public
7. Method of teaching the Pig—Letter I, Letter II, Letter III, Letter IV, Letter V, Letter VI, Letter VII, Letter VIII, Letter IX. See
also Letter V. Appendix.
8. Principles of the Acoustic Temple—Letter IX, Letter X, Letter XI, Letter XII, Letter XIII, Letter XIV. See also Letter II. Appendix.
9. A Demonstration of the philosophical Swan— Letter XV.
10. A Demonstration of the Manner how a Gun is to be discharged at a Person previously loaded with Powder and Ball, the Person catching the Ball on the Point of a Dagger—Letter XV. See also Letter II. Appendix.
11. A Demonstration how a Card fastened to a Table with a Fork changes its situation—Letter XVII.
12. A Demonstration how Knives and Forks are swallowed.
13. A Demonstration of the Manner of breaking a Watch and restoring it to its former State.
14. A Demonstration how Eggs are transformed into Pan-Cakes—Letter XVIII.
15. How Dollars apparently sink through a Table.
16. Reflections on Ventriloquism.
17. Abilities necessary to a Performer of the Art of Legerdemain—Letter XX.
18. Further Opinions on Ventriloquism—Letter XXII.
19. How to take a Number of Eggs from a Bag apparently empty—Letter XXIV.
20. How to make the Ace of Hearts become the Ace of Clubs, and vice versa.
21. How to burn a Card to Ashes, and restore it to its former State.
22. How to light a Candle with the Point of a Sword.
23. How to transfer Money from one Handkerchief to another.
24. How to fire a Lady’s Ring from a Gun in such a Manner, that the same shall be found confined under Lock and Key,
one of the Company taking the Key—Letter XXV.
25. How to make a Handkerchief belonging to one of the Company follow the Exhibitor out of the Room—Letter XXVIII.
26. How to convey a Card into an Egg.
Magnetic optical Spy-Glass—Letter XXIX.
Penetrating optical do, do XXIX.
Physiognotrace, do. XXIX.
27. Observations on the Situation of an Author—Letter I.
Appendix, Letter II. Appendix, Letter III. Appendix.
28. Reflections on the dangerous Tendency of Superstition—Letter IV. Appendix.
29. Closing Remarks about the Pig of Knowledge—Letter V.

  • Publisher: Stevens Magic Emporium
  • Pages: 100
  • Location: Wichita, KS, USA
  • Dimensions: 5″x7″
  • Date: 1805, 1996
  • Binding: hardbound

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Approx. Price: $45.00 (2004) ***

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