Just think- you can own a piece of magical history-
something that was handled by the great Harry Houdini in his daily life!
This is a one-of-a-kind collectible, perfect for framing.
What a great gift!
About this envelope:
This is one of the envelopes found in Harry Houdini's personal desk.
The postmark is June 13 1922.
The return address is George K. Schieldge, 12 Irving Street, Hartford, Conn.
"George" has been crossed out, with G written above it.
This letter was sent to Houdini at his home address.
George Schieldge was the manager of Hartford Special Machinery Co., and later co-owner of Stacy Machine Works in Massachusetts.
In 1922 he was applying for a patent for a collet chuck, a device that forms a collar around an object to be held tightly, exerting a strong clamping force on the object.
Houdini had been through the patent process himself, being granted U.S. Patent Number 1,370,316 on March 1, 1921 for a specialized diving suit.
The two men may have been discussing this mutually interesting topic.
On the back of the envelope is a hand-drawn ink doodle of KELLAR'S logo!
Harry Kellar was one of Houdini's professional competitors, a highly successful stage magician of the day.
While it is not possible to say with absolute certainty that this was doodled by Houdini, the ink and style matches other doodles we've seen by him on other papers found among his correspondence.
And by the way, Harry Kellar became an investor in Houdini's motion picture company right around this time.
Was Kellar's investment on Houdini's mind?
Or was Houdini perhaps imagining an illusion that could use Schieldge's chuck- an illusion that would outdo Kellar?
See a larger version of the doodle on the back of the envelope here.
See a larger version of the front of the envelope here.
The story behind the Houdini Envelopes:
In the late 1980's, magician Peter Monticup (owner of MagicTricks.com), purchased Harry Houdini's ornate personal desk.
The desk had been in storage in Houdini's former NYC home from 1926 until it was sold in 1980.
Peter purchased the desk from this buyer, along with some other personal items from the Houdini home.
The desk had a number of secret compartments and hidden drawers.
Inside one of the drawers was a stack of envelopes from correspondence Houdini had received.
The envelopes were from all different sources- his lawyers, his fans, fellow magicians, etc.
He even wrote notes on some of the envelopes, either noting the importance of the contents, or just scribbling on them as scrap paper.
In researching each of the envelopes, we've found an important connection to an event or person in Houdini's life.
Of all the thousands upon thousands of letters he received each year, he saved each of these envelopes for a reason.
Houdini was a notorious "saver".
These envelopes were used as his personal Rolodex (address directory).