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Physical Amusements and Diverting Experiments was a magic book published in 1784 by the popular magician Giuseppe Pinetti, the "Professor of Natural Magic," who combined scientific and magical experiments, and who brought "street magic" into the theater.
One excerpt shows the chemical nature of his work:
To melt a piece of steel as if it was lead, without requiring a very great fire: Take a piece of steel and put it in a crucible; then throw in a handful of antimony in powder; as soon as your crucible begins to be red, your piece of steel will melt like lead…
Other tricks are trickier and more topological, such as this one:
To pull off any person’s shirt, without undressing him, or having occasion for a confederate…
The Table of Contents from Magicpedia>>
Physical Amusements and Diverting Experiments is available in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress.
Download the 26.73 MB PDF file here>>