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Louis Haselmayer

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Louis Haselmayer
BornSeptember 18, 1839
Vienna, Austria
DiedApril 19, 1885 (age 45)

Professor Louis Haselmayer (September 18, 1839 - April 19, 1885), born in Vienna, Austria, was known as the "Prince of Prestidigitators, Magician, Necromancer, Musician, and Educator of Birds."


All his leisure time during the years in college was devoted to the study and working of mechanical illusions and magical apparatus. From the years 1857 to 1861, his services were constantly in demand among the aristocratic families of the Austrian capital, in giving his "Soirees de Magique." During this period his performances were witnessed several times in person by Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria.

Haselmayer invented the antecedent to the modern xylophone which he played as part of his act.

During the latter months of 1864, while giving a private performance, Professor Haselmayer chanced to have among his audience Compars Herrmann, who was so impressed with the marvelous illusions, that he immediately asked him to join in a professional tour through the United States. They also opened at the Academy of Music, New York, in September, 1865. President Andrew Johnson, while in the midst of his impeachment proceedings, sought some diversion by inviting Hasselmayer to entertain at the White House on May 21, 1868.[1]

After exhibiting in New York, Haselmayer made a tour of the country, then went to Australia, the East Indies, and South Africa. He performed in Australia during 1872, 1873, 1874, 1880 and 1882.

His business manager in South Africa was Francis J. Martinka, who afterward founded the famous Palace of Magic in New York City.

In 1884, he ended his world tour at Calcutta and made his way to Vienna by way of Egypt to rest. Used to a warm Oriental climate, he caught a severe cold, which weakened his body. A lung inflammation brought a sudden end to his life.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


  1. Magic Magazine, November 2008
  2. Cover The Magical World January 1921
  3. Sphinx Vol. 36, September 1937 - Haselmayer by Ottokar Fischer. page 197
  4. John Booth, Memoirs of a Magician’s Ghost, The Linking Ring, February 1986.
  5. Charles Waller, Magical Nights at the Theatre, Gerald Taylor, Melbourne, 1980, at pp. 50, 68 and 100
  6. History of Magic and Magicians by H. J. Burlingame (1895)
  7. History of Conjuring and Magic by Henry R. Evans (1928)