Just like we don’t know why we read from the back of the magazine first or try to invent new methods of throwing our used paper towels into the trash, we love magnets. Maybe it’s just the way we were raised. We recall, fondly, spending summers out at our uncle’s magnet farm and watch as he harvested them – each year hoping for a good planting season and each year being a bit, just a bit disappointed but hopeful for next year.
The freshness dates on magnets are close to forever but our family was never one for storing things, so we’d rush the magnets to market and offer them to those who waited the entire spring season for new magnets. Some had plenty of magnets already but they wanted the latest model or one with more strength. We didn’t blame them. Magnets are magic in their own right.
It was years after those blissful days at our uncle’s farm that we learned that magnets can be used for things. One can use a magnet to hold a note to a steel refrigerator door to show off artwork or attach a “to do” list – named “to do” after the Earl of Sandwich youngest daughter, Toodles. She would bring him sandwiches during his all day card games and make a list of ingredients for the household staff to purchase.
In the past year, we have learned that one can even use magnets in magic tricks. We don’t know if this has been considered before but we found a way to use magnets with different polarities to hold things together or even (with one of the magnets reversed) to repel.
We are currently working on a levitation where our assistant (and applications to be that assistant are still available because of the alleged “danger”) wears a special costume composed of magnets set to repel magnets in a specially designed, high-power electrically wired base. This would cause – to the best of our estimation – the assistant to appear to float. We have tried it with store manikins (our other true love) and the effect is a bit clumsy still. For instance, if the assistant rotates even a little, he or she will slam to the base with a horrible, fracturing thump. We have also abandoned the steel ring we were using to show there were no wires. We nearly broke our shoulder when we were pulled to the base because we wouldn’t let go of the ring – again with a horrible thump – and then struck by the manikin constrained by the ring and now attracted to the base.
Edison said invention is 99 percent something and 1 percent something dealing with sweat. We know some work lies ahead of us to perfect the effect but that won’t stop us from advertising it for sale very soon.
We are trying to come up with a name for the effect that won’t give away the use of magnets. “Floating Person” and “Floating Lady” are the two we have hit on so far. We are thinking the pricing will be some amount more than what it costs to make – that is currently $32,000.00.
A downside – or maybe a feature – is that when the base magnet is turned on and electricity is flowing, the platform emits the attractive strength to snatch from their owners: watches, pens, 1943 U.S. pennies (they were made of steel during the war), pacemakers, some orthodontia, steel plates in heads, animal collars (with or without animals), hip replacement parts, car parts and manikin stands. It could be a feature if we could hide the fact that it was the magnetic base that was attracting these steel parts and if we didn’t kill anyone by having parts ripped from their bodies or injure animals – all of our magic is animal friendly.
Our uncle’s farm went the way of many magnetic fields. The land was mined with specialized tools and sold off to rich people with a need for magnets and large freshly mined fields. The 42 acre spread is now an empty field just off the highway in Southern Illinois. It used to be in Michigan but was moved because it was attracting fish out of the Great (ha!) Lakes. Now it is just a safe piece of land with an occasional magnetic just below its grassy surface.
In fact, if the farm hadn’t been moved and mined, we could have brought the price down for our illusion to free plus 10 percent of free for profit. But now we need to buy magnets on the open market.
Fortunately, we found just the spot. K&J Magnetics have every kind of magnet you could want. Want a ring shaped magnet? Want a square magnet? Want a round magnet? K&J Magnets has them all.
You can check out the K&J Magnetics site here.
By the way, we are receiving no compensation from K&J Magnetics. We just love their site. It is like a wishbook for magic and magnet lovers.
Read a full history on our uncle’s farm and the magnet price war of 1972 that led to the mining and sale of the farm in our upcoming book, Magnetic Money Maker: The True Story of a Man and His Magnets and the Forces that Sought to Repel Him.