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Arthur Ainslie

Author and Delightful Magical Performer

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  • 1871-1940
  • Real Name: Arthur Wellesley Odell Pain
  • Birthday: April 21
  • Birthplace: England
  • Where buried: ?

Arthur Ainslie was the professional name used by this clever author and magical performer who was most active in early 20th century.

Ainslie was an avid admirer of the famous magician David Devant, so much so that he included a number of Devant's effects in his own shows that he presented occasionally at venues like Maskelyne's Theater or St. George's Hall in London. He favored smaller illusions, especially those he could perform with animal pets such as dogs and cats. His show was a family-type entertainment, as he directed most of his attention to delighting the children in the audience. Though he usually billed himself as "Arthur Ainslie", occasionally he performed as "Ainslee" or "Archer".

Under the pen name "F.M. Archer", Ainslee was the author of Water Wizardry, and was the ghost writer for a number of books on behalf of some famous names in magic in the early 1900s.

He also wrote a popular column in the magic magazine Magic Monthly called "Unsolved Problems", in which he would propose the basic idea for a trick, then would challenge his readers to devise a way to accomplish that trick. The professional magicians paid attention to his columns, finding them a rich source of ideas for tricks they later included in their shows.

Ainslie was married to Blanche Julia and they had three children: Margery Blanche, Arthur Julian and Thomas Wellesley.


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