Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

User Tools

Site Tools


This is an old revision of the document!


Jumping Match or Toothpick (Pulse Detector)

In this trick one match, resting on another, suddenly jumps, due to friction secretly applied on the supporting match by your fingernail. The trick appeared without attribution in Walter Gibson's column “After Dinner Tricks” in The Duluth Herald Daily Magazine, 1922.

It later found its way into books, for example Will Goldston's Great Tricks Revealed, 1935, p. 31. In the same year it was also included in an article on impromptu magic by Harry Blackstone in Popular Mechanics, 1935, p. 242. The article was ghost-written by Walter Gibson, see J. Randolph Cox's bibliography of Gibson, Man of Magic and Mystery, 1988, p. 111 (where the article is listed but misdated as 1930). In Greater Magic, 1938, p. 830, the trick was credited to William H. McCaffrey.

Corvello from Holland published “Improved Jumping Match” in The Gen, Vol. 9 No. 3, July 1953, p. 71, in which the flick is hidden even more due to a slight preparation of one match.