Thumb Tie is an escape where the performer’s thumbs are bound together but can instantly become released.
It was first described by Henri Decremps while exposing some of the tricks used by Joseph Pinetti in Supplément à La Magie Blanche Dévoilée (The Conjurer Unmasked) (1785) under the title Deux moyens différents, l'un ancien, l'autre nouveau, de se faire lier les pouces, et de se délier en un instant (Two different ways, one old and one new, to tie the thumbs, and get out in an instant). It was marketed around 1843 as “The Tied Thumbs” in London.
- Jaspernese Thumb Tie, created by Jay Marshall which used pipe cleaners (1939)
- Sixteen Thumb Tie Gems by Max Andrews (1945)
- Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 4 (1945) has a whole section on thumb ties.
- Thumb Tie described in The Dai Vernon Book of Magic written by Lewis Ganson (1957)
- Losander's Chain Breaker uses electrical tape.
- Red Tape Thumb Tie (1955), created by Irv Weiner, using adhesive tape (such as electrical tape)