Through Steel Illusion By Tim Kole Secret Explained

Let’s find out the secret of Through Steel Plate illusion by Tim Kole explained, how the trick is done.

How the female assistant could apparently float through the solid steel plate.

Master illusionist Andre Kole, father of Tim Kole, created this penetration effect design.

This stage magic apparatus built by Tilford Illusions is known as “Trapasso”.

Do not be confused with this popular Dan Wolfe’s Thru Steel illusion.

Through Steel Tim Kole Illusion Explained

NOTE: This is a revised and updated post. The original post was published back in October 22, 2022.

Besides David Copperfield and Tim Kole, other stage illusionists performing this illusion, include Christian Farla, Simon Pierro, and David Gatti.

Lately, I came across Chris Stark also performing this same through steel plate stage illusion.

Then we have this demo video performed by an unknown Asian guy for China Magic.

Strangely, this China company is making and selling all those famous stage illusion props.

Back in 2007 in Magic Cafe forum, illusion builder Bill Smith mentioned that Andre Kole invented this illusion.

And only Andre, his son, Tim Kole, and David Copperfield have the rights to perform it.

Through Steel Illusion By Tim Kole Explained

This Tim Kole stage illusion act is from ABC TV Prime Time Special “The Champions of Magic III“.

Tim Kole Turbine Illusion Secret

From that same show, Tim Kole also performed the above illusion with a massive apparatus.

Read my post, “Jet Engine Turbine Illusion Exposed And Explained” .


A metal table frame with an open top.

A female assistant lies down on a bench beneath the table frame.

Next, two stage assistants place a solid tread steel plate onto the table-like frame prop.

Two stage assistants hold down a piece of spandex over the table top, covering up the lady.

Then you can see the rising and descending movement impressions on the stretched spandex.

It is as if she is floating up through the steel plate.

When they lifted up the spandex sheet, mysteriously she is lying on top of the steel plate.

In short, Jenny Lynn has apparently penetrated through the steel sheet.

This is the performance of Tim Kole and Jenny Lynn Through Steel Plate Illusion:

So how does the Tim Kole’s female assistant go through the impenetrable steel plate?

This is the secret of Through Steel Plate illusion by Tim Kole explained in details.

In fact, shortly after they covered the spandex sheet over the prop, Jenny Lynn is already lying on top of the steel plate.

When illusionist Tim Kole spreads the palm of his hand over the spandex, Jenny Lynn is almost ready for the penetration illusion.

Illusionist Tim Kole Stage Magic

The key secret is at the metal table frame, and definitely not the piece of steel plate.

But like all other illusionists, Tim Kole does not present the table metal frame to the audience at all.

Instead they misdirect their audience attention to the shiny heavy-looking tread steel plate and his female assistant, Jenny Lynn.

Tim Kole Penetrate Through Steel Illusion Gimmicked Prop

I think there is a linear pneumatic or hydraulic actuator in the table-like prop.

It is to raise and lower the steel plate smoothly.

Through Steel Illusion Controlled By Stage Hand

There is a stage hand nearby who controls this mechanism

He needs to observe and take cues from Tim Kole’s hand signals.

That’s is why this penetration effect by Tim Kole, David Copperfield and also Simon Pierro is swift, graceful and slick.

Whereas, the performances of David Gatti and the Asian guy are crude and unruly; with aggressive stretching and wild kicking under the spandex.

David Gatti Steel Penetration Illusion

Maybe because they use the spring-operated mechanism, to shift and lock the the steel plate.

Watch David Gatti’s video and you can clearly see the prop under the spandex sheet jerking abruptly from 1:11 to 1:15.

As for the the Chinese video clip, you can see the magician writhing and pushing himself up onto the steel plate.

This picture is captured from the video clip at 0:57.

Penetration Thru Steel Illusion

From 0:55 to 0:58 in the video, his right hand gripping onto the frame twice, while struggling to lift his body up onto the steel plate.

At the same time, he uses his left ankle to support himself onto the frame, while getting the steel plate back in place.

By the way, I have checked with the China manufacturer, and its prop does not operate with electrical power.

Let’s continue Tim Kole and Jenny Lynn’s performance.

This is what happens under the silver color spandex sheet:

Steel Plate Lower Down

After the spandex has spread over the prop, Jenny Lynn quickly lies on her left side of her body.

It’s because the side of the steel plate on her left is lowering or tilting downward onto the bench where she is lying on.

Tim Kole Steel Plate Illusion

Then as the other other side of the plate also starts to lower down to level itself, she must quickly rolls herself over onto it.

Tim Kole Steel Plate Penetration

By now Jenny Lynn is lying on the flat, horizontal surface of the steel plate.

She just lies down on the steel plate and let the stage hand who’s operating the mechanism to do the floating effect.

Tim Kole plays his role like a concert conductor, raising and lowering his hands, not just for the magical act.

But more so for his stage hand nearby operating the hidden mechanical gimmick.

Stage Illusion Penetration Effect

I presume if she needs to steady herself during the shifting, she can hold onto any of the two cut-out holes next to her head.

Tim Kole Through Steel Illusion Bench Position

Tim Kole Penetrates Through Steel Plate

Why do I say the steel plate is lowered on her left side first?

Take a closer look at the bench position of these two pictures below:

Through Steel Illusion Secret

Tim Kole Penetration Steel Trick

The bench where Jenny Lynn is lying is not directly under the CENTER of the table-like frame.

It is placed more towards the inner side of the table frame.

This is to allow space for the lowering steel plate from pinning onto Jenny Lynn.

The picture below is the similar David Copperfield Through Steel Illusion prop.

Again, the bench which David is lying on, is set more to one side of the table-frame.

David Copperfield Through Steel Illusion

But at the beginning of the act, she has to lie more to the edge of the bench on her right.

Steel Sheet Penetration Illusion Secret

It is to give the impression she is lying in the middle of the table underneath the steel plate.

In addition, the off-center bench position would not be obvious to the spectators.

As she has to quickly roll herself from the bench onto the steel plate, she might accidentally cause the bench to wobble or even to tip over.

Now, comes the next clue of the trick.

Through Steel Illusion Bench Legs Fitted Onto Stage

To prevent the bench from moving, its two legs are firmly mounted onto the stage with metal angle leg brackets.

Tim Kole Penetration Effect

During the apparent floating up and down effortlessly through the steel plate, she is actually lying on the raising and lowering steel plate.

Tim Kole Steel Plate Penetration

How do I know she is lying on the moving steel plate, shortly after she is covered by the spandex sheet and not on the bench anymore?

Remember the bench is placed more towards the inner side of the table frame.

Observe closely at her right arm, her elbow to be exact, at the beginning of the performance when she is lying on the bench.

Penetration Stage Illusion Secret

When she stretches her right arm out, her elbow is still under the table.

Float Through Steel Plate Trick

But during the penetration act, she can push half of her right arm out through the hole on the side of the spandex.

Tim Kole Illusion Secret exposed

You can see her right elbow is at the hole opening.

Tim Kole And Jenny Lynn Magic

In short, Jenny Lynn is already lying on the steel plate, and not on the bench.

Steel Penetration Illusion Controlled By Stage Hand

Now the big question is why do I suspect the gimmick fixed to the table frame is controlled by a stage hand in the vicinity?

Through Steel Plate Illusion Camouflaged Stage

Look closely at the pictures of the stage floor below:

It is specially designed to look like the floor tile pattern, with intersections lines, so it can camouflage the electrical wire linking from the table to the stage hand.

Tim Kole Magic Illusion Revealed

The picture below is a closer view, where you can see it is actually the wire, and not one of the pattern lines on the stage.

penetration stage magic trick

This is another view where you can clearly see the line of wire running from one of the table leg.

passing through solid object magic trick

The wire could be from this table leg as shown below:

Penetration Conjuring Magic Trick

The live audience would not notice this electrical wire on the stage.

As I follow the track of that suspicious line on the stage, it leads to the guy wearing a black top and a pair of blue jeans.

How To Do Stage Penetration Illusion

He is squatting near to a big boxy thing (as indicated) next to the stage lighting truss structure.

When I looked back at the same stage where Tim Kole performed the giant jet turbine illusion, this particular huge object is NOT there (as indicated).

Tim Kole Turbine Illusion

I reckon this thingy (as indicated below) as has something to do with the linear pneumatic or hydraulic actuator, which moves the steel plate.

Levitation Thru Steel Plate Trick

Perhaps it is also meant to be there to hide the stage hand who is actually doing the levitation trick, so to speak.

He has to be nearby to view the act, and to control the mechanism accordingly to Tim Kole’s cues.

At the beginning of the show, you can see him squatting down, maybe to have a better view of the act.

During the finale, you can see him standing up.

stage illusions revealed

As the video is not clear, I think there is a white color control panel with a stand in front of him.

After I have published this post, I stumbled upon this posting at the Magic Cafe forum:

The idea of how it works: He uses a thing, which is then connected to a certain part of something else. Through the gimmick of this trick we assume he is actually going through the steel…but in actually, the gimmick is doing the work for him. He merely has to manipulate the different parts of the stuff to the gimmick of the trick, and presto-changeo, he arrives through the steel.

Surprisingly, my idea of how this Through Steel illusion by Tim Kole explained is very similar to the above view.

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