This is the first time, the secret of the steel ball through glass revealed in full detail on how it is done.
In addition, I recommend online resources of free e-books on magic tricks and conjuring.
Take note: This steel ball through glass magic trick revealed is not the 1930s rectangle flat wooden box version by John Snyder, Jr.
This vintage prop was also called “Steel Ball Through Glass” sold by Kanter’s Magic Shop, and it was also manufactured by Davenports, and advertised as “The Miracle Steel Ball Thro’ Glass”.
By the way, I think the secret of this “The Miracle Steel Ball Thro’ Glass” is by using a false movable bottom.
For more detail of this old steel ball through glass trick go to Martin’s Magic Collection.
The steel ball through glass trick revealed and explained in this article is a small wooden box.
It looks like one of those ornate antique jewelry wooden boxes; fitted with vintage strap hinges and a hinged clasp.
The wooden box has a round hole at both the center of its cover/lid and on its bottom.
How does this steel ball through glass trick work?
Before I penetrate into the steel ball through glass revealed, let’s go through the performance.
The performer displays a small wooden box with holes on top and bottom.
Then he places a glass piece inside the box, so that it obstructs the hole at the bottom.
He closes the cover or lid of the box, and he drops a steel ball bearing into the hole on top.
Miraculously, the solid steel ball seems to penetrate through the glass sheet and it comes out from the hole below the box.
My view is, if this solid through solid magic trick is performed well, the penetration effect is very deceptive.
Note: The ‘glass piece‘ is actually a clear acrylic piece.
Here is one of the steel ball through glass trick videos:
To perform this steel ball through glass trick convincingly, you need a little help from misdirection together with an appropriate patter.
A magician patter is dialogue use during a trick.
Magicians use patter to interact with his spectator as well as a misdirection.
Related: Real about magic misdirection in these free books below.
For magician who want to learn about scripting your act, patter and the art of magic, check out free books for guidance and reference below.
Steel Ball Through Glass Revealed
Now let’s start the ball rolling and see how I managed to find out this seemingly impossible penetration magic trick is done.
I came across the secret of steel ball through glass trick from a listing in eBay site.
In fact, you can find lots of free magic secrets and ideas from eBay.
This Steel Ball Thru Glass trick is as advertised:
A very deceptive and effective penetration where a steel ball penetrates through a glass sheet in a wooden box. You get a special mechanical box approx. 1.5″ high and 2.5″ square, made from beautifully polished teak, a solid steel ball, and the “glass” sheet.
It specifically said “special mechanical box“.
From there, I know the secret is in the box itself.
Ching Ling Coin Box
Then I came across Ching Ling Coin Box in eBay.
The Ching Ling Coin Box appears to be similar to steel ball through glass trick.
The Ching Ling Coin Box secret is shown below:
It has a secret pivoted door on one side of the wooden box, like the Lippincott Box or the Wonder Box in the Professor Hoffmann‘s book “Modern Magic: A Practical Treatise On The Art Of Conjuring“.
Just before you pull down the cover to close the box, you discreetly press the top part of the door inwards, and it will swivel or turn open.
Now it should look like the picture as shown below.
Tilt the box slightly inwards to let about half of the glass piece slips out through the opening, and falls into the palm of your hand.
Now the two holes are not blocked by the glass piece anymore.
You can drop the coin through the unobstructed holes.
After the penetration act, tilt the box downwards to let the glass piece drop back into the wooden box and closed the pivoted door.
So I though most probably the method of the steel ball through glass should be the same.
Then I came across a website which sells this steel ball through glass boxes.
Sure enough, they use the same trick to do the penetration effect.
These two pictures below you can see the secret pivoted door at the side of the box.
If you watch closely to all the YouTube video clips featuring this steel ball through glass magic trick, they all use this gimmick wooden box.
Let’s go through some of these steel ball through glass trick demonstration video clips.
At the onset he uses the fingers of his left hand to hide the gimmick side of the box.
Then when he is ready to perform, he turns the gimmick side of the box around, facing him.
With the closed box, at 0:27 to 0:32, he uses his middle finger to push open the pivoted door on the side of the box.
At 0:26, he uses his middle finger to push open the pivot door.
Now you can see through the small opening (red table cloth) as shown below.
Then he quickly turns the box around, and tilts the box, to let the glass piece drops into his right palm.
This part you have to do it casually and confidently, without exposing it to your spectators.
After the trick, at 0:43 to 0:44, he uses the right palm of his hand to push the glass piece back into the box.
Before he opens the box, at 0:46, he uses his right thumb to push the pivot door down to its original position.
The next video clip, at 0:58, the magician uses his right hand index finger together with his thumb to get the pivoted door to open, just before he closes the cover.
Then he tilts the box backward, just before he clasps the cover.
Once the trick is over, at 1:26 he tilts the box forward to drop the glass back into the box, and then uses his right thumb to close the pivot door.
He does this with one smooth move to get the glass piece safely drop back to bottom of the box.
At at 0:34, this performer uses his thumb to push down the pivot door, before closing the lid.
Then at 0:37, he tilts the box backward to discreetly drop the glass piece into the palm of his left hand.
At the end of the trick at 0:50, he uses his right hand fingers to close up the pivoted door.
In this video, he uses his index finger to close up the pivot door and quickly turns the Ching Ling Box around at 0:08.
As you can see from the picture below, the pivot door is not properly closed back.
From this video, at 0:22, this performer places two fingers on the pivot door, turns it, as he closes the cover and followed with a quick tilt of the box.
Below you can see this guy using his right thumb to press on the pivot door, closes the cover, and then tilts the box downwards to drop the glass onto the palm of his left hand at 1:14.
In fact, you can play around with this glass piece to make the penetration effect more magical, as shown by the Funtime Magic video below.
His act is more like the what people perform with John Snyder Jr’s steel ball through glass version or the Cabala effect by Dave Powell Magic Company.
He makes the steel ball as if it slowly melts though the glass piece.
He plays around with the glass piece with his fingers.
His fingers of both hands press down on the edge of the glass piece, to lift it up, thus keeping the steel ball balancing in the hole.
Then he gingerly let down the glass piece, so the steel ball bearing will slip and falls through the hole below the box.
Watch carefully, you can see the lid moving slightly at 0:46, as as he plays with the glass piece.
To conclude his act, from 1:01, with one move, he uses his left thumb to push back the pivot door and the glass drops back into the box.
To distract your attention away from the box, he taps the steel ball a few times on the table, before he opens it.
Well, this is the steel ball through glass revealed based on research and observations.
Related: Similarly, there is another magic prop by Viking Magic called “Marbo Card Penetration“.
Instead of a glass or acrylic piece, this trick uses a piece of card or a playing card as an obstacle.
Go and find out about the Marbo Card Penetration secret here.
Ching Ling Coin Box /Coin Of The Realm
There are two magic trick boxes which are similar to the steel ball through glass prop.
But instead of having round holes, it has slots.
They are known as “Ching Ling Coin Box” and “Coin Of The Realm“.
Ching Ling Box How It Works
I think there are two kinds of “Ching Ling Coin Box” in terms of design and dimensions.
First, there is a square box, bigger in size and it is similar to “Steel Ball Through Glass” prop with a pivot door.
The performer uses his index finger to push open the pivot door at the side of the box at 0:29.
After shutting the box, he tilts it for the glass piece to drop onto his left palm.
Now he is ready to perform his coin through glass trick.
After the trick is done, he uses his right thumb to push the pivot door back, thus pushing the glass piece back into the box.
The visual below is captured from the video called it “Melting Coin Box“.
You can see the performer using both his thumbs ready to push down the pivot door, just before he closes the box at: 0:33-0:35.
The second version is smaller in size and the method of the trick is still the same.
It also uses the secret pivoted door to do the trick as explained above.
Coin Of The Realm
The “Coin Of The Realm” is a rectangular box, slightly longer in length, but the depth is shallower. (Approximately 4″ x 3″ X 1″)
It is very similar to the “Steel Ball Through Glass” wooden box by John Snyder, Jr which I have already mentioned above, but it comes with slots.
Coin Of The Realm Trick Revealed
As there is no video clip and full details how this prop is presented available online, this is just my assumption.
I think the secret working of this “Coin Of The Realm” is different from the “Ching Ling Coin Box” is because of the dimensions.
You have to hold it up with both hands and at the spectator’s eye level because of the gimmick.
Probably it has a false bottom which can slide out like a drawer that pulls out the glass sheet.
Once the glass sheet has cleared from the bottom hole, the coin drops through it.
Then the false bottom piece is push back in place and then lock it.
As this box can be examined by the spectators, I am sure there must be a hidden built-in locking mechanism.
You can find out the Coin Of The Realm secret in more detail in the Ching Ling Coin Box explained post.
Related: Check out how I think Pete Firman’s Ruler Through Box With Glass Trick is done.
Magic by Misdirection by Dariel Fitzkee
Click any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4
The Book Of Wonder Vol. 1 by Tommy Wonder & Stephen Minch
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3
Encyclopedia Of Patter By Robert Orben
Click on any these: Link 1, Link 2
Bits Of Patter
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2
Scripting Magic By Pete McCabe And 26 Other Guys
Click on this: Link
Our Magic: The Art In Magic, The Theory Of Magic, The Practice Of Magic by Nevil Maskelyne And David Devant
Click on any of these: Link 1, Link 2
Impromptu Magic, With Patter by Geo (George) De Lawrence
Click on this: Link
Easy Magic With Patter by Will Goldston
Click on this: Link
The Book Of Magic: Being A Simple Description Of Some Good Tricks And How To Do Them, With Patter by A. Frederick Collins
Click on this: Link
Exposure In Magic Tricks Book
Related: Talking about exposure in magic tricks, you should read this book by David Meyer.
This 196-page book filled with articles gathered from popular magazines of the 1890s through the 1930s (The Strand, The New Penny Magazine, The Windsor Magazine, etc.).
Find out how “The King Of Handcuffs” Houdini escaped from ropes and handcuffs, and also his card tricks secrets.
Learn the secrets of coin tricks by both “The Queen Of Coins” Talma and “The Man With The Wonderful Hands” T. Nelson Downs are included.
Howard “The King Of Cards” Thurston with his sleight of hand performing amazing card tricks.
Discover the scams of card-sharpers, race course swindles, and parlour seance by English David Devant.
Read the article of Professor Hoffmann and his conjuring.
The Wizard Exposed: Magic Tricks, Interviews, And Experiences, Harry Houdini, Howard Thurston, Le Roy & Talma, Charles Bertram, David Devant, Horace Goldin, Professor Hoffmann, And A Host Of Other Past Masters Of Magic
Click on this: Link
Note: You can download and save these Internet Archive Lending Library books.
Find out how to download and save Internet Archive Borrow books: 1-hour & 14-day for your own keeping.
Disclaimer: I do not own or upload any of the books here. They are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited is derived from their respective sources.