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Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic

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Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic was serialized by Martin Gardner in Hugard's Magic Monthly from Vol. 8, no. 10, march 1951, to Vol. 15, no. 11, april 1958. It contains many effects which may be performed at any time with commonly available objects. It was later published as a book in 1978.

Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic
AuthorMartin Gardner
PublisherMagic, Inc.
Publication Date1978

Excerpts from Mr. Gardner's introduction to the book:

  • "I wrote my "Encyclopedia" mainly for the fun of it, and to get into some sort of shape the thousands of notes I had scribbled over the years on three-by-five cards.
  • "It was written quickly and carelessly, in an annoying telegraphic style intended to compress as much as possible into the allotted space, and with almost no attempt to research the magic literature.
  • "Even the word 'impromptu' was used loosely. By and large the material was limited to tricks with ordinary objects calling for no special apparatus, gimmicks or advanced preparation.
  • "Card tricks were left out, as well as rope tricks, nor was it possible to cover the vast fields of sleights involving such objects as coins, cigarettes and thimbles, although tricks with those objects were included.
  • "I hoped that someday I might find time for extensive revisions and additions ... [and that] I would attempt a comprehensive cross index.
  • "The work remains patchy and slovenly. It makes no pretense at completeness. Excellent impromptu tricks are missing because I happened not to come across them."
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