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August Roterberg

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August Roterberg
BornApril 5, 1867
Hamburg, Germany
DiedSeptember 23, 1928 (age 61)
Pasadena, California
CategoriesBooks by August Roterberg

August Roterberg (1867-1928), born in Germany and emigrated to the United States around 1883 as a teenager, was a magic dealer, inventor and started the modern age of magic publishing.


Roterberg started out selling magic by mail order before opening a magic store in the lobby of the "old" Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. (A classified ad from 1893 gives a prior address on Clark Street, but this might have been the mail-order/home location.)[1]

The books he started to publish were the first in the English language written expressly for magicians. Roterberg's books were published specifically for sale in magical depots, rather than for wide distribution to the general public. He ended up selling his mail order business in 1908 to Ralph W. Read and then his shop to Arthur & Carl Felsman in 1916. He eventually retired around 1917 and moved to California, where lived until his death.

Roterberg is also known as a magic inventor and is credited with inventing the Multiplying Billiard Balls (at the fingertips). Although according to John Braun in The Linking Ring (Vol. 29, No. 6, August 1949, page 28,), George F. Wright who worked at Roterberg's store on Illinois Street in Chicago seems to have been the creator.[2]



  1. Talk:August_Roterberg
  2. The Linking Ring, Vol. 8, No. 8, October 1928, A. Roterberg, Former Chicago Magic Dealer Passes Away, by Harlan Tarbell, page 599.
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  • The Sphinx, Vol. 27, No. 8, October 1928, Editorial, In announcing the death of August Roterberg..., page 374
  • The Perennial Mystics, Vol. 17, Part 3, October 2004, August Roterberg "Dealer in Reliable Magical Apparatus" by Richard Hatch, pages 1-8
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Roterberg, August dt.-USA Zauberhändler (*1867 Hamburg; †23.09.1929 Chicago), page 287