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Carl Owen

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Carl Owen (ca. 1890 - May, 1975), studied mechanical drafting and architectural design, became an illusion builder for more then sixty years. He began working at Thayer in 1914 and bought the manufacturing part of the business in 1933 with his brother Emmett.

Most of Thayer's blueprints up until 1943 were done by Owen.

The business, Owen Brothers, continued until the 1960s, when it was bought by Les Smith who continued it on as "Owen Magic Supreme".

Carl never performed magic. He would occasionally help as a backstage assistant for Thayer and others.

During the 1920's, Howard Thurston came to Thayer with an idea for a girl's torso to vanish based on an idea from Cyril Yettmah. Yettmah's method required a stage trap, but Thurston wanted to do it without one. Thayer and Owen came up with "The Girl Without A Middle" (also been known as "The Disembodied Princess" and "No Guts").

A few of the other illusions he developed were:

  • The lock flap card box (wood)
  • The locking and releasing mechanism for the Dr. Q spirit slates.
  • The Alexander no-assistant nest of boxes
  • The Thayer vanishing radio
  • The vanishing cage of doves, developed from the vanishing radio.


He was honored in 1973 by the Society of American Magicians who made him a member of the "Hall of Fame".



  • CARL OWEN-MAKER OF FINE MAGIC by Frederic L. Rickard in Magicol No. 30 (February 1974)