The Magician's Omelette

William B. Caulk
1899 Scientific American  
The magician has never proved himself an adept at the art of cooking, from an epicure's standpoint, yet the ease with which he can bake cakes in borrowed hats and cook omelettes in empty pans has long been a source of wonder to the economical housewife as well as t.o the professional cook. To see the magician hold a small. shallow. empty pan over the blaze of a spirit I&.mp for a feV/llloments. when an omelette. done to a turn. appears in t.he pan and is cut up and distributed to the audience.
more » ... ne is almost convinced that at least one person has solved that most perplexing of all problems, how to live with out work. But has he solved it? No! my friend, no more than you or 1. He has merely deceived you. but most cleverly, you must admit. The pan is without any preparation what ever. but so much cannot be said of the wand. which he is con tinually stirring around in the pan. This wand is hollow. with an opening at one end only. and in the wand. previous to the trick. of course. is placed the properly seasoned ingrediehts of an ome lette. after which the end is closed with a llletal plug that is turned and enameled to correspond with the opposite end of the wand. 1 When. the pan is being examined. the performe r is holding the wand in his hand. and such an innocent-appearing black stick is never suspected of being in any way connected with the trick. Just before holding the pan over the lamp the per former finds it a most easy matter to remove the plug from the end of the wand. when by holding the wand by the closed end he can empty the contents into the pan in the mere act of passing the open end of· the wand around the inside of the pan. The metal of which the pan is made being thin. and thl're not being a great quantity of the omelette. assist ed by a large flame from the lamp. it only requires a few moments to cook the olllelette. when it is turned out on a plate and carried down to the audience. It is hardly necessary to say that when the cooked omelette is carried down. the wand is left on the stand. which prevents any inquisitive person asking to see it. • • • THE BATTLE CHARIOT. The chariot was used in antiquity lor LJ.J.e battle, the j titutifit �mttitau. a bridle an. d a pair of reins somewhat in the salle style as in use at the present day. These were made of leather and were ornamented with studs of ivory and metal. The reins were passed through rings attached to the collar and were long enough to be tied around the waist of the charioteer in case of his having to de fend himself. '. rhe wheels and bod y were usually of wood strengthened iu places with bronze or iron. The w heels had from four to eight spokes and the tires were of bronze or iron (in the present instance ash was used) and the pins which secured the felloes were of fossil bone. This description applied to the chariots of almost any of the nations of antiq u ity, the difference consistiIJg 2 THE IIAGICIAN'S OIlELETTE. chiefly in the mountings. Thus the chariors of t. he Egyp tians and Assyrians. with wholll the bow was the pl'in cipal arm of attack. were richly mounted with quivers full of at·rows. while those of the Greeks. who used the spear. were plain I'xcept as regards were decorations. The Persians anti the ancient Britons used a class of chariots haVing tire wheels mounted with sharp, sickle shaped blades which cut to pieces whate\'ercame in their way. This was probably the im'ention of the Persians. 'fhe use of the battle chariot really belongs to the heroic pl'riod. The warrior standing by the side of his charioteer was driven in front of the line to invite hostile warriors to single combat. After the strategic skill of a commander superseded the demands on his personal valor. the chariot was tJ'ansferred from the battlefield TO the hippodrollle. where alone its original form was preserved. The description of the HOilleric battle charlot therefore to a great extent al!SV applies to the historic chariot of the race course_ The small diallJeter of the chariot wheel way be explained froll. American Physical Development. Dr. Angelo Mosso. while ill Amelica. made a minute study of the system of physical education. particularly as carried out at the athletic cl ubs of the American seats of learning. says The London Lancet. Refer ring to the Boston Ltymnasiuui. he says: "The inter est and the wonder with which these academic adjuncts inspire we awaken a sense of melancholy when I think how far we iu Italy are removed from such perfection. It is euough." he adus, .. to look at. the passers-by in the American streets to be cOllvinced how much more developed alld strolJl� they are than our compatriots.
doi:10.1038/scientificamerican10141899-251 fatcat:kj67nhdms5dklgtrbc7mkew4my