Nevil Maskelyne (magician)

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Nevil Maskelyne circa 1903

Nevil Maskelyne (1863–1924) was a British magician and inventor.


Maskelyne was born in 1863 to stage magician John Nevil Maskelyne. Following his father's death he assumed control of Maskelyne's Ltd.[1]

In wireless telegraphy he was the manager of Anglo-American Telegraph Company which controlled the Valdemar Poulsen patents.[2]

He was a public detractor of Guglielmo Marconi in the early days of radio (wireless). In 1903 he hacked into Marconi's demonstration of wireless telegraphy, and broadcast his own message, hoping to make Marconi's claims of "secure and private communication" appear foolish.[3][4][5]

He married Ada Mary Ardley (1863–1901) about 1890 in England, United Kingdom. They had three sons: John, who was to become a noted author on railway matters in the early 20th century, Noel and Jasper, who continued the family tradition of professional magic.

He died in 1924.


Maskelyne wrote several books on magic, including Our Magic: The Art in Magic, the Theory of Magic, the Practice of Magic (with David Devant) and On the Performance of Magic.


  1. ^ Caveney, Mike (April 2007). "Classic Correspondence: J.N. Maskelyne to Charles Carter". Magic. 16 (8): 18–20.
  2. ^ "Pictures By Wireless". New York Times. 1 January 1908.
  3. ^ Larson, Erik (2006). Thunderstruck. Crown. ISBN 1-4000-8066-5.
  4. ^ Wilson, Daniel (May 2015). "Rogue Oscillators". Fortean Times (341): 38–44.
  5. ^ Marks, Paul (27 December 2011). "Dot-dash-diss: The gentleman hacker's 1903 lulz". New Scientist. Retrieved 28 December 2011.

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