Read about Peter Warlock Glass Penetration revealed frame by frame how it is done and the secrets you might want to know.
This popular impossible glass penetration is actually the brilliant idea of British semi-professional magician Peter Warlock back in the Thirties.
Besides, this amazing glass penetration trick, he also invented Self Contained Milk Pitcher, Ringcord, Out of the Loop, Giant Size Triple Tubes, Silk Filter, Adhesive Glass, Cream of the Jest, Atomic Silk, Ring and Rope Release, and PW Slip Cut.
Anyway, this illusionette is also called English Glass Penetration, Atomic Glass Penetration, Davenports English Glass Penetration
or Peter Warlock Glass Penetration Mystery.
As I have just mentioned there have been a number of versions of this magic trick, and the one by manufactured by Magic Wagon is called Atomic Glass Penetration.
The effect is:
A square wooden frame has four glass windows that sits on a platform holder.
Each glass pane is tapped with a metal rod to show that it’s solid.
Two panels with holes are placed over the first two glass panes, one in front and the other behind.
They are held together by a slotted grip on top of them.
The metal rod with a length of ribbon attached is then pushed through the holes, apparently penetrating the glass.
Next, the panels are removed and do the same routine over the next two glass panes.
Again the rod manages to go through the solid glass.
Now all the four glass panes are covered with the panels and the metal rod is then continuously pushed through each one.
In other words, now all the four holes are now inserted with the ribbon at the same time.
This is to prove the metal rod could pierce through all four of the glass panes.
Most of you smart-aleck would assume that there are two separate pieces of glass shifting within the wooden frame.
Now, comes the big surprise.
It is not two or four separate glass panes, but just ONE solid sheet of glass.
Note: I think for practicality (prevent from breaking) and also it is more suitable for the trick, it uses a plexiglass instead of a real glass.
Watch the Atomic Glass Penetration or Peter Warlock Glass Penetration Mystery video:
Peter Warlock Glass Penetration Revealed And Explained
So how does the Atomic Glass Penetration or Peter Warlock Glass Penetration trick work?
Actually the secret of this ribbons through the impossible glass trick is absolutely clear and transparent like glass.
Disclaimer: I do not own this glass penetration prop.
And I do not know how the trickery is done.
It’s my two pennies’ worth; based on my assumption by watching how the prop is handled from YouTube video clips.
Peter Warlock Glass Penetration Revealed
I will expose and explain to you the Warlock Glass Penetration or Atomic Glass Penetration secrets, frame by frame (no pun intended)
Secret Glass Slider Lever
The main secret of this trick is what I called it a glass slider lever.
It is a built-in contraption which helps to shift the glass inside the frame.
This small device is on the performer’s right hand side of the prop facing him.
To be exact, it is located on the frame platform.
In fact I already knew there is this hidden device, before I managed to capture it from the video clip.
See this captured image from the video at 0:31.
Note: You can see this hidden lever clearly when you reset YouTube playback speed to 0.25.
I think this is where the secret glass slider lever is situated.
Atomic Glass Penetration Trick Exposed
Now, let’s analyze how the performer handles the prop:
Right from the beginning, at 0:07, as he lifts up the cloth, he rotates the side of the prop with the secret glass slider lever toward him.
After putting up the front panel, he spins the frame around to fix the back panel at 0:26 to 0:30, you can see his left hand holding onto the platform base and the circular board.
Actually his fingers are hiding the secret glass slider lever.
At 0:33-0:34, his right thumb adjusts the glass slider lever, shifting the glass to the right hand side, as his left hand slots in the grip holder on top of the frame.
It is a neat misdirection.
You can see the slight movement of the glass moving toward his right hand side.
From 0:40 when he pokes the white feather through the two holes, he just turns the glass frame slightly, so that the glass slider lever is not seen.
Next he performs the penetration illusion on the other two glass windows with a white silk hanky.
First, he adjusts the slider at 1:03-1:04 to move the glass back to the left side, while his left hand removes the grip holder on top of the frame.
Then only he can slide both panels to his right side of the frame, without exposing the left side windows covered with only half glass.
The next move is another flawless misdirection.
As he is putting on the grip holder with his left hand, his right thumb sneakily adjust the glass slider lever at the same time at 1:15.
He pokes in the silk hanky through the bottom hole first, then only he spins the frame around.
The white silk hanky is now safely blocking the secret glass slider lever.
To remove the hanky, he must spins the frame back at 1:47, so that the glass slider lever is now facing him, then only he can remove it.
After removing the white hanky, before he slides the two panels to his left, he must bring the glass back to his right side.
Or else you can see the right side windows with half-missing glass.
At 1:56, he adjusts the lever again to shift the glass back to his right hand side of the frame.
Then only he slides the two panels to his left side.
While his left hand is still holding the two panels, his right thumb secretly adjust the lever at 1:59.
This is to slide the glass back to his right side of the frame.
Then he covers the right side windows with two more panels.
Now all the four glass windows are hidden.
And remember at 1:59, he has already shifted the glass to the right side of the frame.
In other words, half of the windows on his left is already without glass.
He starts to pierce the rods with ribbons through the left windows first.
To prepare the right side windows for the penetration trick, again he uses his right thumb to adjust the glass slider lever at 2:39-2:40 toward his left side.
This is an important part of the routine.
When the glass is slid over to the his left side of the frame, it pushes or squeezes the two inserted ribbons.
That will cause the ribbons to be dragged in slightly, which can be seen, just like in this video at exactly: 1:45.
So is this video at 1:14, when he turns the lever.
You can clearly see the red ribbon being pulled into the hole!
But for this performer, to distract the moving ribbons from being seen, he turns the prop slightly, while his left hand busy segregating the two streaming ribbons.
This segregating action is actually to pull the two soft ribbons slightly towards the left side, while he pushes the glass toward the left side.
He does this move, so that you would not notice the slight movement of the two ribbons being crushed or pushed out by the edge of the glass.
This is another impressive misdirection in performing magic tricks.
Now he can insert the two rods through the holes on the right side of the frame.
To show you the four slim rods truly have penetrated through the holes, he spins the prop around slightly.
Again, his right hand covers the glass slider lever.
To finish the trick, he needs to remove the two right ribbons first.
It is because the glass is still over to the left side of the frame, squeezing the two ribbons.
Then again using his right thumb he slides the glass toward his right side, at 3:12-3:13.
To distract you from seeing his secret move, he does it as his left hand pulling out the two thin rods on the circular wooden board.
After removing the ribbons and panels, he still rotates the frame just slightly around 45 degree, so that you cannot see the secret glass slider lever.
Finally he removes and reveals that it is actually one piece of glass with no holes.
Peter Warlock Glass Penetration Exposed
For the Peter Warlock Glass Penetration to work efficiently, the design of rather the measurements/specifications of the prop is crucial.
To be precise it is the width and thickness of the glass that are important.
Look carefully the width and the thickness of the glass when the magician lift it up from the frame.
It is just slightly wider than the two windows.
When the sheet of glass is push to the very end of one side of the frame, you can see the gap is about half of the width of the window.
So there is enough empty space for the thin rods to be to inserted right in the middle of the windows.
When it comes to final part of the trick, one side of the frame already has the ribbons through it.
So to thrust through the other side of the windows, the magician still can slide or push the glass over to the side.
It is because the ribbons are flat and soft, they do not take much space.
The so-called rod is actually more of a knitting needle.
It is rather thin in size.
There is still enough room to accommodate the slim metal rod and the soft flat ribbons against the edge of the frame.
The other items used to show the penetration effect are equally soft and flexible: feather and flimsy handkerchief.
Deceptive Square Attached Pieces
I am talking about the two square shape attached pieces with the black covering on the panel for the holes.
Why do they have such a obvious-looking piece (size and thickness) for such a small opening.
It can be more than just as a design feature.
It can mislead your visual perception; you may see it a big hole in the glass.
The truth is it only uses a slim rod, a pliable feather and silky hanky to do the penetration.
This is Peter Warlock Glass Penetration revealed with relevant images for those who like to know precisely how it works.
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Related:Here is a free book doing magic tricks with slate written by Peter Warlock.
The Best Tricks With Slates by Peter Warlock
Click on this: Link