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Otto Maurer

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Otto Maurer
BornOctober 28, 1846
Gemeisheim, Germany
DiedMay 15, 1900 (age 53)
New York City

Prof. Otto Maurer (b.1846-d.1900) made magic apparatus for twenty-eight years at No. 321 Bowery, in New York City.


Maurer was a graduate of a German university and came originally from Berlin. He started out as a tinsmith creating shades for oil lamps. Then beginning in the 1872 Maurer established a magic shop where he sold his prepared props as wells as gave lessons (in four different languages.)

His customer and friends included Trewey, Imro Fox, Horace Goldin, Arnold De Biere, E. A. Hendrickson, Frank Ducrot, Herrmann, T. Nelson Downs, Harry Houdini and Howard Thurston.

According to Mr. Selbit's book, The Magician's Handbook, Maurer was the first to teach the Back Palm to American magicians, which he had learned it from a Mexican gambler.

Dr. James William Elliott claimed that he demonstrated the slight to Morrelliaux Berntz Cortelli who in turn demonstrated it to Otto Maurer[1]

He also performed at private engagements. A review in the New York Herald (December 15, 1883) stated "Prof. Otto Maurer's magical entertainment last evening was the best of the season without doubt. The professor performed feasts never performed by any other, and stands without rival."

Maurer was attacked by cancer and constantly suffered severe pain. The small fortune which he had laid aside was spent for medical advice and hospital fees. He was in the Post-Graduate Hospital and was eventually moved to Blackwell's Island where he died. He had a wife, two daughters and a son.[2]

His business was carried on by his son, Otto Maurer, Jr., who moved it to 1460 Broadway, Brooklyn Borough, New York City.[3][4]


  1. Mahatma June, 1900.
  2. Otto Maurer's Obituary: New York Herald 5/18/1900 p 15
  3. Obit - Mahatma, July 1900
  4. The Bowery
  • Cover - The Boy Magician, Vol. 1, No. 8 (November 1909)

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