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George Stillwell

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George Stillwell
BornGeorge Edwin Stillwell
circa 1874
CategoriesBooks by George Stillwell

George Stillwell (c.1874-1934) was known as the Handkerchief King for his Handkerchief Manipulation Act.[1]


Stillwell first presented his Handkerchief Manipulation Act in Philadelphia at the Kornig's Casino. Finding it well received, he protected it in the United States, and showed it at all the leading vaudeville theaters in 1896 and then later in Europe.[2]

He created a handkerchief ball gimmick for his act, what became to be known as the "Stillwell Ball". The principle of the thumb loop is used by many magicians today.

Stillwell performed with the Thurston show in Australia around 1905[3] By 1907 Sphinx was reporting him in still in South Australia[4] In 1909, he was supervising the Magical Department within Alberts' Music Store in Sydney, Australia.

In 1917, there was an ad in Will Goldston's Magazine of Magic (January 1917) stating "TAKE NOTICE Mr. GEORGE STILLWELL, Please write to your sister STELLA (DOWNEY), who is in America, as soon as possible." Stillwell was recorded performing in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 1918[5]

Whaley's Who's Who in Magic lists his date of death as 1934.



  2. Stillwell's Handkerchief Manipulation Act (1902)
  3. Magic A Pictorial History History of Conjurers in the Theater by David Price (1985)
  4. Sphinx, June, 1907
  5. Magic Circular, March/April 1999