Crushing a Woman

Crushing a Woman
Crushing a Woman

Designer: P.T. Selbit

Selbit invented Crushing a Woman (aka “The Fourth Dimension” and “Avoiding the Crush”) in the fall of 1923. One of the earliest performances was in St. George’s Hall by E. Clive Maskelyne. The November 1st, 1923 issue of Encore, the British show-business publication said:
Into each of two small wooden boxes is placed a male attendant; the boxes are closed, the heads of the attendants only remaining visible above. On an iron and wooden tray, the boxes are raised well above the stage, and a smartly-gowned lady is introduced.
The lady, who is handed a bunch of balloons, adopts a reclining position on a small raised stand, and is concealed from view by a four-sided case. The iron tray bearing the attendants in their respective boxes (the whole said to weight about 500 lbs.) sinks slowly into the case until it lies absolutely flat on the stand occupied by the lady. The balloons burst as the boxes sink down, and apparently the lady must be crushed flat.
Upon the boxes being again lifted, the lady is discovered in the same position she formerly occupied, and on rising from the stand broken balloons drop from the folds of her gown. A committee from the audience is on the stage during these operations; and a note on the programme states “Invented and Produced by P.T. Selbit.”

Photo Credit: Kirkham Magic (Asian design)