Nevil Maskelyne (magician)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nevil Maskelyne (* 1863 ; † September 24, 1924 in London ) was a British magician .

His father John Nevil Maskelyne (1839–1917) and his son Jasper Maskelyne (1902–1973) also worked as stage magicians.

Nevil Maskelyne is best known as a co-author of the book Our magic , which he published in 1911 with the magician David Devant . This book is one of the standard works on the theory and practice of stage magic and is still commercially available. The first part of the book, L'Art dans la magie , explains the basic principles of a magic show, with an emphasis on drama and audience management. The second part, Théorie de la Magie , deals with the technical side of stage magic, with a focus on perceptual illusions and physical principles that can be used for tricks. In the third part, which comprises about half of the book, twelve individual elements from the performances of the Maskelynes and Devants are explained. When Devant withdrew from working with Nevil's father John in 1914, Nevil took over his role until John's death in 1917.

In addition to stage magic, Nevil worked in the field of astronomy with John Mackenzie Bacon (1846-1904). The two succeeded in making the first film recording of a solar eclipse in North Carolina in 1900 .

Maskelyne and Marconi

Maskelyne was very interested in wireless telegraphy. He used them to improve his magic tricks. By 1900 he was able to exchange a message between a ground station and a balloon. But Marconi's patents stopped his ambitions.

In 1901 he was hired by the Eastern Telegraph Company Ltd. on. Wireless transmission was a problem for a company whose business model relied on wired communication. For example, a radio mast was set up west of Porthcurno to see if it could eavesdrop on the ship-shore communications from Marconi's company.

On November 7, 1902, he published his results in The Electrican magazine . There the engineers could read that, contrary to their assumptions, it was possible to adjust to these frequencies.

In February 1903 Marconi wrote in the London magazine St. James Gazette that he could adjust his instruments so precisely that nobody could overhear his broadcasts. This demonstration was due to take place at the Royal Institution in June . Marconi was supposed to send a message from Cornwall. But minutes before Marconi's message reached his colleague, the physicist John Ambrose Fleming , another message came over the ticker . A stranger sent inappropriateness over the airwaves, partly directed against Marconi. The demonstration continued, but it was clear to everyone that the technology was nowhere near as secure as Marconi had promised. Maskelyne had broadcast the lyrics from the nearby West End Music Hall .

Marconi himself ignored what was happening, but Fleming was beside himself. He wrote an angry letter to the editor in The Times newspaper , in which he described what had happened as scientific hooliganism . He asked the readers for help in finding the culprit. A letter to the editor from Maskelyne appeared four days later. He wrote that his action wanted to draw attention to the blatant weaknesses of the procedure and that it served the higher goal of informing the public. Fleming fought Maskelyne weeks later in the newspaper, accusing him of insulting science ( Insult to Science ).

Maskelyne largely ignored Fleming as his goal of debunking false promises of safety had been achieved. The Eastern Telegraph Company Ltd. existed until 1928 when it merged with Marconis Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. to Imperial and International Communications Ltd. merged.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ANNO, Neues Wiener Journal, 1924-09-27, page 8. Retrieved on March 14, 2019 .