The intriguing life of Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini is probably one of the most celebrated magicians that we have ever seen. Whether he was conjuring or showing his incredible escapology skills he mesmerised many people in his lifetime and certainly wouldn’t have need the help of a Locksmith Sheffield way to get him out of a locked boxed.

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Harry was originally named Ehrich Weiss and was born in Hungary with his family moving to Wisconsin when he was just four years of age. He himself was mesmerised by a French magician known as Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin. It was this last name that Harry took for his own stage name paying tribute to the gentleman who inspired him to become a magician himself.

In the early years of his career Houdini found it hard to gain recognition for his acts and on numerous occasions he considered quitting the magic business and instead opening up a magic school. But in 1899 Houdini decide to make escapology one of the main parts of his act and he challenged audience members to tie him up in handcuffs and he would then escape from these. He was quickly given the nickname “King of Handcuffs” and his shows became an instant success with many of them selling out seats. In one memorable routine he escaped from handcuffs that were holding his arms behind his back after jumping in to the Rochester river in New York.

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Houdini helped to establish his brother Theo’s career as a magician. Theo’s stage name was Hardeen and he had worked for many years as Houdini’s partner. The two made no secret of the fact that they were brothers but did concoct a false storyline that they were rivals in their careers as magicians. The two were in fact incredibly close and Houdini often helped his brother Hardeen out with new trick ideas and it was Theo that inherited all of Houdini’s equipment after his death.

As well as being an incredibly accomplished magician Houdini was also had a passion for aviation and in 1909, he bought a biplane and became one of the first people to become a private pilot. He practiced his flying skills whenever he had the opportunity to do so.

During World War One he helped to keep soldiers entertained and also raised money for the war effort. He also persuaded the Society of American Magicians to sign a loyalty oath to the President – Woodrow Wilson.