One of my favorite Jack Hughes items is Penetra-Spheres that was invented around 1937 shortly after Jack invented his tray version of Coins In Glass. Penetra-spheres was licensed by Abbott’s for sale in the USA and was sold for the first time in 1947 under the name Hole in One which is the name most people know this effect today.
I’ve owned a number of versions of this effect including three from Abbott’s all of which were well over 20 years old. The best version bar none that I have handled is the one put out by Howie Baltus and The Trickery called Definitive Hole in One in 2004. Abbott’s have ran into some supply and quality issues in recent years which may have led to Daytona Magic creating their own version. There is no credit made to Abbott’s or the actual inventor Jack Hughes on their website or in the instructions which is a shame.
What is worse is that although Harry Allen (from Daytona Magic) actually performs the effect pretty smoothly in the video with the version I received I would say it would be almost impossible to perform it that well. Although this unit is solidly made, it is easily the worst version of Hole in One I have ever seen (and Jack Hughes would be rolling in his grave if he saw it). These are the issues I see with this version (some of which are obscure because I don’t want to expose the method):
- There is zero credit to the inventor which is unacceptable for such a signature effect.
- The base is very thick which makes you wonder what is going on in there – it spoils the illusion.
- When the tray is resting on the table, the glass dips about half an inch and only when you pick it up does it become level.
- There are steep angles for the gimmick so the silk has to cover a long way, or you do what Harry does which is have someone walk in front and do the work during that phase.
- The ball requires a jolt to make the action happen – unlike any version I have seen.
- Finally, there is a chance you will vanish the ball instead of making it appear in the glass due to the wide angles and you have to keep your eye on it all the time.
Now it is possible that I have a lemon, but most of these appear to be flaws intrinsic to the design.
Needless to say I would not recommend this to anyone who is not familiar with the effect already and is a collector or handy and can make some adjustments. It is a shame because Jack Hughes’ original effect Penetra-Spheres is one of the most beautiful and amazing mechanical effects ever invented and it saddens me to see what they have done to it.
Click here for more information.