I have amongst my aids to card magic a couple of card indexes. They are pre-war Depot articles, beautifully and neatly made. I have used them from time to time and have always succeeded in producing the right card, but never with that careless abandon which any effect in which an index is secretly pressed into service seems to demand. I have witnessed other magicians who specialize in tricks using an index and I have marvelled at their accuracy and speed, and concluded that they had progressed in the field of index design and were, quite rightly, preserving their own secrets for personal use.
Recently, however, I had occasion to turn my thoughts to Indexes and without any violent cerebration produced the Indexes now described. They are not necessarily the last word, and I should be glad to hear from anyone who has progressed further. They are, however, speedy and accurate, and the required card can be located automatically by sense of touch without running the index finger over the ' flaps ' of the Index.
Little need be said. A reference to the diagram will tell most of the story. The cards are on their sides (instead of upright) so the Index is wider than the commercial article. Extra width is an advantage, as the wider index fits more snugly and securely into the bottom of the trousers pocket.
Illustration I. shows the tongue of each pocket extends beyond the flap in front of it about two-fifths of an inch. This is considerably wider than the Depot article and is therefore less ' finicky' in operation. In my own Indexes I have made these " steps " half an inch wide, but I now think two-fifths is enough. Match sticks are glued on (as illustrated) and with very little practice these enable the finger tip to locate the required spot without anv counting at all.
Illustration II. shows another adaption for even speedier location. The readers of this paper will be familiar with the use and construction of Indexes, but just a few more notes for the sake of completeness.
Each Index holds twenty-six cards. Indexes are used in pairs, one in the left and one in the right hand trousers pocket. The cards are loaded into the pockets of the Index as required for the trick, say in numerically ascending sequence, commencing with the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Diamonds in the front pocket of the Index. The Index is face (i.e., " steps ") outwards in the trousers pocket and the pairs of cards are also face outwards in the separate pockets of the Index. To produce the required card the index-finger locates the ridge formed by the matchstick and presses the flap of the Index back. The index-finger and thumb then push down into the opening thus made in the Index and contact either side of the two cards in the pocket of the Index. Either the front card or the back card is then withdrawn as required.
One further constructional point. Mine is made out of board about the thickness of a playing card. The pieces can be cut out four at a time for the two Indexes and seccotined together at the base with spacers consisting of three thicknesses of board half an inch wide glued together. The front and back flaps are rectangular (the two Kings repose in the back pocket). The other flaps are like the letter " L the base of the " L " being the rectangular coincident with the front of the Index and the right and left stem increasing in length by about half an inch for each flap. Transparent celluloid would probably be an ideal material for the job as it is tough and flexible.
Pack Switch.—The safest and easiest way to switch a pack of cards is in the course of a trick. This switch is intended to be used in conjunction with the Index described above, but it can be used as a trick without the Index.
A reference to the diagram will reveal a " Bulldog " clip in which the jaws are kept slightly apart by a string loop through the ' handle.' This piece of string, about six inches long, terminates in another loop. The object of the free loop is to anchor the gimmick by threading the front brace through it. Two clips are used either side of the trousers. The clip then hangs down freely at trousers pocket level between the inside of the trousers and the pants.
A half a pack of cards, duly stacked, is thrust into the very top of the left hand trousers pocket and
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