Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin

"The Father of Modern Magic"

    A nineteenth century magic innovator, magician and clock maker, Houdin was justly acclaimed as "the father of modern magic".  As part of his act, he had his blindfolded son accurately describe objects held up by various onlookers, using a secret spoken code between father and son. Houdin improved a suspension device so that he could raise an assistant until his body appeared to be floating parallel to the stage in full view of the audience. He wrote books on magic and perfected the use of secret trap doors.

    Houdin's innovations were many: He experimented with new applications of electricity, constructed ingenious clock mechanisms, and he even made a battery powered circuit to light his chateau years before Thomas Edison invented the commercial light bulb.  He designed the world's first electrically controlled burglar alarm.

    Streets were named after him in Paris, Blois, Bourges, and Caen.  A Robert Houdin museum in his hometown by the side of the road leading up to Blois Castle contains some of his books, magic, clock making, and scientific equipment.