Abbott Magic & Novelty Co.
Though dates remain fuzzy, the company's first advertisement to the magic fraternity appeared, page 792, in The Linking Ring for January, 1934. In December, 1933, Percy Abbott placed an advertisement, page 729 in The Linking Ring, selling Dr. Boris Zola's effect, "Squash" It's Gone!"*, to the fraternity. Sid Lorraine later said of this trick, in which a shot glass vanishes from between the magician's hands, that it was "the only time a shot glass started a career in magic." (Note: In this first ad, the name of Dr. Boris Zola doesn't appear!)
Recil Bordner, a farm boy from Edon, Ohio, was enamored with magic during the depression years, and for $1000.00, became the firm's Junior Partner in September, 1934, at which point the firm moved from its rooms above the A&P Grocery in Colon to its present-day location, 124 St. Joseph Street, Colon. At the time, the company occupied a two-story frame building, formerly a carriage maker's workshop. When this building burned in 1938, it was rebuilt, and Abbott's currently occupies this address.
Despite the effects of the Great Depression on the national economy, the firm prospered, and its most prosperous years spanned 1939-1953. In that time, several branch locations were opened (in New York, Indianapolis, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Chicago), and during the war years, the firm employed a staff of as many as 54. Its massive catalog #9, published in 1947, was the largest of its kind, offering everything from pocket tricks to stage illusions. Abbott's manufactured most of the 1800+ items offered in that catalog in its own workshops, spread over seven buildings in Colon. The company slogan, "We pay the postage" became its trademark, and this, along with aggressive advertising, and constant trend-setting in the magic industry made it deserving of a moniker that Robert Lund would later lend to it: "The General Motors of the magic industry."
September, 1934 marked the introduction of Abbott's annual Get-Togethers, an end-of-summer gathering composed of magic shows, lectures, demonstrations, and general camaraderie. The Great Nicola was one of many professionals to appear on its early programs. The Get-Together tradition has continued to the present day, and now takes place during the first week of August.
In 1959, just before Percy Abbott's death, Recil Bordner took the reins of the company and hired Neil Foster as company vice president. Bordner operated the business until his death in 1981, at which time his son, Greg Bordner, became president. Greg Bordner operates Abbott's at present.