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Multiplying Bottles

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Multiplying Bottles was, according to Lloyd E. Jones[1] and Jack Potter[2], created in Chicago by Arthur P. Felsman in the 1920's.

Felsman's trick is an extension of the old Passe Passe Bottle and Glass, which dates back to the mid-1800s. Multiplying Bottles starts out with a single bottle and a glass, which change places when covered with tubes, just as in the Passe Passe trick. But then the trick suddenly veer off in another direction, and ends with a startling production of 8-9 bottles.

Around the same time[3], Felsman also created another popular version of the same trick, the Passe Passe trick with an extra bottle for comedy effect.
Advertising in The Gen Vol. 17 (1961)

For some reason, the Multiplying Bottles did not gain any real popularity until Abbott's Magic Company revived it in 1949. After that, numerous dealers began making it up: Harry Stanley, Richard Himber, Mephisto Huis, Harries Magic, Rings-n-Things, etc.

The Multiplying Bottles effect has been criticized by some, more traditional practitioners of magic, as tending to more readily reveal, or make it much more likely that audience members might tend to guess, the secret of the effect, than the classic "one-bottle, one-glass" changing places Passe-Passe effect. First off, it has the problem associated with violating the old maxim of not repeating a magical effect or illusion more than once. This problem is compounded even further, in the view of some magicians, when the bottles used become more fanciful and multi-colored (with an inevitably wider range of graduated-down bottle sizes, for the multiplying effect to work). That is true even more-so, when the bottles bear little, if any, resemblance to real whiskey bottles --- in contrast to the simpler, original classic varieties of Passe-Passe apparatus, with much more authentically genuine looking bottles.[4]

See also:

Passe-Passe Bottles

Notable additions

  • Lloyd E. Jones: Removing the need for a servante, by having everything in the tubes at the start (1940-50)
  • Marconick: A silk, tied around the neck of a bottle, jumps to another bottle.
  • Moonshine Monologues by Tom Stone contains several new effects with the Multiplying Bottles.


  1. Lloyd E. Jones in Genii 1978 July, Vol. 42, No. 7, page 424
  2. Jack Potter, Abracadabra (page 16. Vol. 63, 1976)
  3. In Felsman's Magical Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, November 1919, Felsman advertises the Passe Passe Trick with an extra bottle for comedy effect. He stated: "Supplied only by us and taking one week's time as we make this trick "to order only".
  4. Gingles, J. - "My Secret Hobby & Favorite Escapes (Puns Intended)", from Accidents of Luck - A Personal Memoir, Washington, DC, 2007.