Steel Ball Through Bolt Trick Revealed And Reviewed

The secret working of the Steel Ball Through Bolt trick is readily available in eBay website.

The bolt is gaffed or gimmicked, as you can see from the picture below.

It is a vintage Carl’s Brema Steel Ball Thru Brass Bolt magic trick by Louis Tannen Inc. featured in eBay website.

Steel Ball Thru Bolt Magic Trick

It comes with three pages of instruction sheets.

In the instruction sheet, it shares some useful pointers of presenting this closeup trick.

It’s not so much about the secret of a trick, but how you can make each magic trick appears astonishing and magical.

If you love vintage magic trick ideas you should rummage through eBay.

You can find free conjuring trick ideas, which you can adapt and create your own.

There are tons of old out-of-print magic trick books and props in there.

Steel Ball Thru Brass Bolt Carl Brema

I love all those magic apparatus from the past, particularly their packaging designs and the instructions which come with hand-drawn illustrations.

Magic Tricks Catalogs


Carl Brema Brass Magical Apparatus

Back in the 1940s, Carl Brema (Karl Friedrich Brehmer) was a magic manufacturer known for producing magic trick apparatus made of brass.

Carl Brema magic brass apparatus

Today the original Carl Brema vintage apparatus and catalogs are much sought after among collectors.

Card And Bill Tube Trick

Besides the “Steel Ball Thru Brass Bolt“, there are “Card And Bill Tube“, “Utility Tube“, “Devil’s Coin Bank“, and “Spirit Nuts” (see below).

This is another one of Brema’s 1928 magic prop called “Thin Model Card Box” for torn and restored card trick.

Carl Brema Thin Model Card Box

You can see the patent here.

Carl Brema Thin Model Card Box Patent

One of Carl Brema’s most popular creation is the “Nickels To Dimes” effect invented by his friend Walter Brown Gibson.

For the uninitiated, Walter Brown Gibson is the creator of the iconic pulp fiction “The Shadow“.

Walter B Gibson The Shadow

Nickels To Dimes Magic Trick

Nickels To Dimes” is also known as “Cylinder And Coins“, “Cap And Pence“, “The Stack Of Quarters” and “Stack Of Halves“.

cap and pence magic secret
The pocket trick “Nickels To Dimes” effect is:

A brass box is placed over a stack of nickels and they instantly turn into a stack of dimes.

Nickels And Dimes Magic trick

Nickels To Dimes Magic Trick Revealed

You can find the secret of Nickels And Dimes trick from its instruction sheet over in eBay.

Nickels And Dimes Magic trick secret

You can find the first version of the “Stack Of Pence” titled as “How to deliver to one man one sixpence, and to another another sixpence, and to make both the testers come into one mans hand” in this book below.

Hocus Pocus Junior The Anatomie of Legerdemain

Hocus Pocus Junior: The Anatomie Of Legerdemain
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3


Now, let’s roll back to the steel ball through bolt trick

Steel Ball Through Bolt trick

The Effect:

The magical apparatus consists of a steel ball, a nut, a bolt, and a hexagonal brass block with two side holes, and a bigger hole in the centre, from the top to the bottom.

The bigger hole in the hexagonal brass block is large enough for the steel ball to pass through.

To perform the solid through solid penetration trick, the bolt is screwed through the brass block from side to side and locked with a nut.

So now the bolt is blocking the hole in the center of the metal block.

Placed the solid steel ball inside the hole in the middle of the block on top of the bolt.

Now the solid steel ball is trapped inside the hole of the hexagonal brass block, and obstructed by the threaded bolt underneath.

When the magic happens, you can clearly see the steel ball seems to slowly melt through the solid bolt and drops out underneath the block.

steel ball through bolt penetration trick revealed
Image: E-Z Magic Catalog

Steel Ball And Bolt Magic Trick Revealed

By the way someone has revealed and reviewed it in YouTube.

In the video you can see the secret working of this close up trick in action.

Update: Sorry, the video is no longer available, as the account has been terminated.

Anyway, the secret of this penetration trick is in the bolt, as I have highlighted in the beginning of the article.

You separate the bolt by unscrewing the threaded section from the shank, as shown below.

steel ball thru bolt gimmick exposed

That very point is called thread runout; where the threaded section transitions into the bolt shank.

The bolt shank is the threadless part of the bolt between the head and thread.

steel ball through bolt magic trick

This pocket magic trick appears impossible for the steel ball to roll past the bolt.

It is because the magic apparatus looks as one solid impenetrable block.

When you perform it well, the penetration effect of the steel ball is utterly sterling.

You can see the silver steel ball gradually sinks into the hole and falls out beneath the hexagonal block.

Most websites mentioned you can pass out all items for a complete inspection.

But at Viking Magic, it stated, “Everything may be examined“.

The Bolt Separated Into Two Parts

Even though I came across this steel ball thru bolt secret in the eBay listing, I suspected it is gimmicked prop.

It is because I have come across quite a number of magic tricks and puzzle sets using gimmicked bolt or nut to make the trick work.

Bolt Nut And Washer Puzzle Secret

For instance this popular bolt nut and washer puzzle set.

The solution is to remove the nut from the bolt, so you can release the washer.

Metal Bolt Nut And Washer Puzzle

The secret of removing the nut from the bolt is similar to Steel Ball Through Bolt trick.

The gimmick is in the threaded bolt, which can be separated.

Metal Bolt Nut And Washer Puzzle Secret

The bolt has left handed thread.

To separate the bolt, just turn the nut close-wise, as if to tighten it onto the bolt.

Furthermore I suspected it is a gimmicked bolt by the way the performers handle the prop in the video clips.

Now watch their fingers in these video clips, just before the steel ball slowly dips into the hole of the block.

For this video of Steel Ball Through Bolt demonstration, look at his right hand and you can see his ring finger and pinky finger slowly curling in from 1:20 onward.

Then the steel ball slips into the hole.

steel ball and brass block penetration trick

Continue watching his right hand, and you see this brief sequence.

Once the steel ball drops down, you can see his right hand pushing the bolt back into the block.

In the next video, you can see his right thumb moving, then only the steel ball slowly penetrates through the bolt.

Penetration Trick Secret Explained

Jut after the steel ball has bypassed the bolt, his right hand sliding the bolt into the block at 4:33.

After the trick, he shows the apparatus slightly facing downward, to avoid you seeing the secret inside the hole of the block.

solid through solid penetration trick

This third video, you can see the middle finger of his left hand slowly curling in, as the steel ball gradually dips into the hole from 1:36.

steel ball thru bolt trick revealed

Immediately after the act, his left hand pushing the bolt back into the block, and quickly unscrewing the block at 1:46.

In this video demonstration, you can only see his right thumb sidles behind the fingers at 0:19, then only the ball bearing gradually moves.

solid steel ball passes through bolt

After the trick is done, his right hand lifts up the block and using the palm of his hand to press onto the separated bolt.

bolt penetration trick secret

From all the the videos, you can see the hand which holds the head part of the bolt is secretly fiddling the bolt.

The gimmick of the bolt is deceptively ingenious.

You turn the threaded section clockwise and not anti-clockwise to separate it from the shank.

So when you turn the block clockwise, you are actually secretly unscrewing the bolt apart as seen here.

According to a reviewer, manipulating the gimmick is rather tricky.

Similarly, there is this remark about the Steel Ball Through Bolt trick in the Penguin Magic Customer Reviews which says:

…I do wish however the secret move that allows this trick to work could be done easier and more quickly…

Now you know how the steel ball through bolt trick works.


Brass Anti Gravity Ball Magic Trick Secret

There is this pocket trick, or rather a magic puzzle or a gag which uses a brass apparatus and a steel ball called “Anti Gravity Ball“.

NOTE: It is not the “Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball“.

This Anti Gravity Ball trick uses a small brass apparatus that resembles a small bottle.

At the center of it is a indentation or a cavity where the magician places a steel ball.

Magically when the brass bottle-like prop is turned upside down, the steel ball does not fall out.

anti gravity ball magic trick

Watch the video of Anti Gravity Ball Magic Trick below:

There are two ways to do this pocket trick.

First Method: Squeeze With Forefinger/Thumb

As this Anti Gravity Ball Magic apparatus is small, you can use your forefinger or thumb to squeeze the edge of the steel ball.

This would stop the steel ball from falling out from the dent.

Anti Gravity Steel Ball Trick
Second Method: Paddle Move

The secret of Anti Gravity Ball Magic Trick is the steel ball is NOT facing downward.

Actually the side of the bottle-shape apparatus with the hole holding the ball is facing him.

It appears he turns the brass bottle-shape block STRAIGHT downward.

But the truth is, at the same time he secretly turns his wrist to rotates the block.

Paddle Move Trick

I think the perormer is using the secret technique in magic trick called the Paddle Move.

Paddle Move is an old classic technique in magic consisting of a combined rotating and tilting movement.

From 0:29, with one quick move, as he turns the block downward, he also twists his wrist to rotates the block inward.

So now, the ball in the hole is facing him and not downward.

To see the Paddle Move clearer, slow now the playback speed to 0.25.

This is the crucial part when he rotates the block with his finger and thumb.

Anti Gravity Ball Trick Revealed

When he lifts back the block, he just do the reverse movement.

These are four key scenes taken from the sequence of the Paddle Move in the video clip.

Paddle Move Trick Revealed

Watch the full sequence in the video a few times and you should understand how it  works.

In fact, there is this same magic prop called “Drop Out” by Paul Diamond’s Magic Company, which also uses the Paddle Move.

Paul Diamond's Magic Company

Then there is this updated version called “Drop Out Outdone” by Viking Manufacturing Company.

I think it uses a concealed magnet to do the trick.

Watch the demo video here.

For those who still do not know this old trick, here are tips about the Paddle Move Trick.


Brema’s Spirit Nut

You can find three tricks using Carl Brema’s gimmick nut popularly known as “Spirit Nut” aka “Devil’s Nut” in Lewis Ganson‘s book of close up tricks.

Spirit Nut 

The first one is “Brema Nut Routine” on pages 157-159.

This is 1927 classic pocket trick is also by master machinist Carl Brema.

It is a brass nut through a thread/string pocket trick.

Carl Brema Spirit Nut Trick Secret

The Effect:

Thread a length of string into a small brass nut.

Get your spectator to hold both ends of the string, with the nut is secured in the loop of string.

You cover the nut and string with a handkerchief, then magically you remove the nut from the string.

It is a magic trick with penetration effect.

This is the performance of “Spirit Nut“.

The Method:

This closeup magic trick uses two brass nuts.

One is a normal proper nut, and the other is a gimmick nut.

Carl Brema Devil's Nut Trick Secret

You can pull the gimmick nut apart.

Gimmick Brass Nut Pocket Trick

The secret move is you need to switch these two brass nuts during the act.

From the onset, you palmed the gimmick nut, and show the proper nut in your hand to your spectator.

Pass the proper nut for examination, then you ask it back and then hand the string for inspection.

Tell your spectator to carefully examined the thread to make sure it is one strong string.

This pattering is a good way to briefly misdirect your spectator’s focus.

Magician patter is what the magicians say as they are performing a magic trick.

Magicians use patter to interact with his spectator as well as a misdirection.

Here are some free books on pattering used by magicians.

At this juncture you secretly switch the two nuts in your hand.

You palmed the proper nut in your hand, and hold out the gimmick nut in your hand, so your audience can see it.

Confidently you pass the gimmick nut for the spectator to thread it.

To perform the trick under the handkerchief, you just pull the gimmick nut apart, and palm it in your hand.

Now you hand the proper nut to the spectator for inspection, while you secretly palmed the gimmick nut.

Below is a sneak peek of two routines of performing this Brema’s Spirit Nut by magician Al Baker from this instruction sheet at eBay.

spirit nut magic trick instruction

Bolted-Fred Lowe Trick

The second trick in the book is titled “Bolted-Fred Lowe“.

It is another penetration effect using Brema Nut, as performed by Fred Lowe, an English magician and magic dealer.

Nut And Bolt Routine Fred Lowe

This brass nut off the string close up trick, is selling today as “Fred Lowe’s Nut And Bolt Routine” by Viking Magic.

The secret is you threaded the genuine nut onto the string before the performance and palmed it in your hand.

You can read the detailed handling of the props, together with illustrations in the book below.

The third routine with “Brema Nut” is by Arnold De Seiver.

These three routines are among the many other amazing close up tricks assembled in this book, together with hundreds of illustrations.

The Art Of Close Up Magic Vol,1 Lewis Ganson

The Art Of Close Up Magic Vol. 1 By Lewis Ganson
Click on this: Link


NOTE: You can download and save this Internet Archive Lending Library book.

Find out how to download and save Internet Archive Borrow books: 1-hour & 14-day for your own keeping.


This is another interesting routine of performing this brass nut through string trick by secretly dropping the nut into your right palm and then drag it out into your right palm.

Brass Nut Through String Trick Secret

You can see Peter Monticup of magictrick.com does it amazingly in one smooth move at at 0:19.

This is another interesting nut through rope trick by Julian’s Magician School.

Nut Escapes Rope trick

Check out Julian Mather’s YouTube channel if you want to learn lots great magic tricks from magician Julian.


Disclaimer: I do not  publish or host any of the books here. They are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited here is derived from their respective sources.