Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,419 pages of information and 211,648 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Harry Houdini

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search

Harry Houdini (March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926, born Ehrich Weiss) was a Jewish-Hungarian-American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer, as well as a skeptic and investigator of spiritualists.

Harry Houdini was born in Budapest, Hungary. A copy of his birth certificate was found and published in The Houdini Birth Research Committee's Report (1972). As to his birth date, from 1907 onwards, Houdini claimed in interviews to have been born in Appleton, Wisconsin, on April 6, 1874 but was really born on March 24, 1874.

In 1909, Houdini became fascinated with aviation. That same year, he purchased a French Voisin biplane for $5,000 and hired a full-time mechanic, Antonio Brassac. Houdini painted his name in bold block letters on the Voisin's sidepanels and tail. After crashing once, Houdini made his first successful flight on November 26 in Hamburg, Germany.

In 1910, Houdini toured Australia. He brought with him his Voisin biplane and had the distinction of achieving the first powered flight over Australia, doing so on March 21 at Diggers Rest, Victoria, just north of Melbourne. Colin Defries preceded him, but he crashed the plane on landing. Houdini proudly claimed to reporters that, while the world may forget about him as a magician and escape artist, it would never forget Houdini the pioneer aviator.

After his Australia tour, Houdini put the Voisin into storage in England. Although he announced he would use it to fly from city to city during his next Music Hall tour, Houdini never flew again

Sources of Information