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Thumb Tie

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Thumb Tie is an escape where the performer’s thumbs are bound together but can instantly become released.

It was first described by Henri Decremps while exposing some of the tricks used by Joseph Pinetti in Supplément à La Magie Blanche Dévoilée (The Conjurer Unmasked) (1785) under the title Deux moyens différents, l'un ancien, l'autre nouveau, de se faire lier les pouces, et de se délier en un instant (Two different ways, one old and one new, to tie the thumbs, and get out in an instant). It was marketed around 1843 as “The Tied Thumbs” in London.

It did not catch on with magicians until the Japanese invented a method which was introduced to the United States around 1901 by Ten Ichi[1] when he came to over perform on vaudeville.

The Thumb Tie has been featured by many magicians include Carl Rosini (who was taught it by Ten Ichi), Paul Rosini, Harry Willard and Mac King.



  1. You can find Ten Ichi and Pinetti's methods in The Old and the New Magic by Henry R. Evans (1906)