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Ray Gamble

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Ray Gamble

Cover of Genii (1939)
Borncirca 1886

Ray Gamble (c.1886-1972), long time resident of Tacoma, Washington, was a traveler, philanthropist, millionaire businessman and magician.[1]


His interest in magic came as a small orphan. While picking strawberries in Arizona, his boss reached over and picked a quarter from under a plant. To discover how it was done, Gamble saved his money until he could buy Howard Thurston's book of magic. Later in life got to meet Thurston.[2]

In 1913, he opened a fish market in Tacoma. While working at hauling sawdust for the local mills, he discovered that if this material was spread on his floor it would absorbed fish odor. What became known as "wood flour" was also found to be a stabilizer for explosives and later for a myriad of consumer products. Mr. Gamble helped to develop the "wood flour" industry [3]

Gamble was noted collector of elephants figurines and carvings.[4] His home became known as "The Elephant House" and at the height of his collection of 3,000 elephants was estimated to be the world's largest.

An S.A.M. member (#2471), who attended the San Francisco Assembly No. 2, he also served as President of the IBM Ring in Tacoma and the PCAM.

He also had the distinction of being the only dues paying member of the IBM Singapore Ring 115 in North America, after he and his wife visited them in the 1960s. [5]

Gamble sponsored the "Ray Gamble Trophy" at PCAM conventions awarded to the best single card magic effect with an unopened deck of cards. It was later awarded at IBM Ring No. 92, Vancouver. [6]


  2. TACOMA'S ELEPHANT BOY By Frances Ireland, Linking Ring, May 1948
  4. MUM, June 1972
  6. Genii 1939 March (cover)