Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Automatic Shuffler

Herbert Johnson had a version of the effect in which the deck is fanned to show the cards in normal orientation; then the fan is closed and the cards dealt to show them alternating face up and face down. White-bordered cards and a narrow fan were the method. This appeared as “The Instantaneous Reversing Pack” in Walter B. Gibson'sTwenty New Practical Card Tricks, 1925, p. 16.

In response to Al Baker's “Pack That Cuts Itself,” Leslie Guest posed a challenge to create a “Pack That Shuffles Itself” in Linking Ring, Vol. 8 No. 7, Sep. 1928, p. 562. The following month (Vol. 8 No. 8, Oct. 1928, p. 639), Guest proposed a method to accomplish the effect using waxed pairs of cards.

One of the better-known versions of the plot is Ed Marlo's “Cased-in Shuffle” from Ibidem, No. 8, Dec. 1956, p. 154 (book edition). Red cards are separated from blacks and deck is put into card case and shaken, which causes reds and blacks to alternate. His method was almost identical to Guest's; a roughed deck.

Another method is posed by J. K. Hartman in Mr. Gadfly, No. 3, Sep./Oct. 2001, p. 34. Hartman's “Faromatic” uses a straight deck, with the reds and blacks alternated but angle-jogged, so that the halves of the deck can be riffled to show all red and all black. Deck put into case and shaken. Hartman credits the underlying jog principle to Jerry Andrus's Andrus Deals You In, 1956, p. 170. However, the principle, using straight jogs, goes back to Friedrich Conradi's “Rouge et Noir” from Der moderne Kartenkünstler, 1896, p. 69; and later in English by Chung Ling Soo in Goldston's Magazine of Magic, Vol. 2 No. 4, July 1915, p. 111; the description was uncredited and without a byline, but a credit note was included by Will Goldston a month later, August 1915, p. 133. Robinson and Andrus both used the principle to display the deck as all red cards, then all black, etc. Conradi also published the variant of using end-strippers, replacing jogs, for the purpose, in his “Das Rendez-vous der Farben” from Der Kartenkünstler im XX.Jahrhundert, 1898, p. 204. It apparently took 105 years for someone to see the application to the magical shuffle plot.

Another method for the Automatic Shuffler, using a deck of double-faced cards, was created by Tony Chaudhuri and published in his Bedazzled!, 1977, p. 42.