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Charles Oswald Williams

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See also: Carl Orton Williams and Oswald Williams.
Charles Oswald Williams

Cover of Sphinx October 1904
BornCharles Oswald Williams
September 26 1864
DiedJanuary 30, 1924 (age 59)

Charles Oswald Williams (1864 - 1924) was a magician from Cardiff, UK who performed as "Charles Oswald" and later became a dealer.


Professor Hoffmann acknowledged Williams in the preface of Later Magic (1904). Charles Lang Neil received contributions from Williams for parts of The Modern Conjurer (1902) when it was republished as separate titles in 1904, as part of the "Yellow Peril" series. Williams contributed items to Modern Card Manipulation and After-Dinner Sleights and Pocket Tricks.[1][2][3]

Williams was great friends with Chung Ling Soo[4] and Cardini went to Williams to buy his first effects.[5]

C. O. Williams was mentioned in an academic paper in 1992, "Trailing The Dovetail Shuffle To Its Lair”, on rising sequences in card shuffling by Dr Persi Diaconis. Here Williams was cited as being the first person to clearly apply the features of a riffle shuffle to a magical effect; using rising sequences in conjunction with cards having a one-way back. The effect “Reading the Cards”, eventually found its way into Hugard's Encyclopedia of Card Tricks. Originally called “Card Reading Extraordinary”, this trick was first published in 1912 in the April edition of Goldston's Magician Monthly as the first article in Professor Hoffmann's series, “Scraps from my Notebook”. After obtaining Williams's permission to publish the effect, Hoffmann had decided to use the card mystery to open his new column.

Honors and Awards

  • Chosen to appear at the First Grand Magical Seance of The Magic Circle, held at St. George's Hall on 10 April, 1906.
  • The Magician of the Month in The Sphinx for October 1904



  1. 174. CHARLES OSWALD WILLIAMS THE CARDIFF CONJURER in Complete Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities by Edwin A. Dawes (2005)
  2. 175. CHARLES OSWALD WILLIAMS AND HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO MAGIC in Complete Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities by Edwin A. Dawes (2005)
  3. 185. MORE OF CHARLES OSWALD WILLIAMS, HIS BUSINESS AND FAMILY in Complete Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities by Edwin A. Dawes (2005)
  4. Letter to the Editor The Magic Circular Vol. 68 No. 5 (1974)
  5. Modern Magicians: Richard Cardini The Conjurer's Magazine Vol. 1 No. 9 (Oct 1945)
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 18. No. 207, March 1924, COUNCIL MEETING, page 85, MR. C. O. WILLIAMS, M.I.M.C., page 81