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BornGeorge W. Brindamour
April 5, 1870
Cannon Mills, Minnesota
DiedJuly 31, 1941 (age 71)

Brindamour (1870 - 1941) was said to have been performing handcuff escapes several years before Houdini started.


Brindamour's French Canadian parents moved west to Minnesota in the 1860’s for Father’s health. His father operated a hotel under the name Sam Brown.[1]

At one time a photographer in Woonsocket, Rhode Island (using the name Sam Brown) he started performed as a magician and escape artist in Vaudeville.

Houdini, to publicize a show in Woonsocket, Rhode Island under his management in 1895, did a handcuff challenge escape at a local police station. How much influence this had on Brindamour is unknown.

In the early years of 1900 he billed himself as the "Handcuff King", performing throughout America and abroad. He was a headliner for twenty-eight years. One of his favorite publicity stunts was to cause any church bell, picked by someone in the audience, to ring at a given time.

He married his assistant Helen Hilliard, known as Nille (1872 - 1950).

He was known to double for Herrmann the Great whenever illness prevented a personal appearance.[2]


  1. Brindamour, “The Original Jail Breaker and Handcuff King” by Gary Hunt, presented at the Eighth Los Angeles Conference on Magic History November 6–8, 2003
  2. Brindamour Levitation, MUM, April 2007