Videos uploaded by user “Grand Illusions”
Tim tests his lungs...
Tim welcomes an old friend Clive Panto to the Grand Illusions tv studio, and Clive brings with him an amazing contraption. Sometimes called a blow back pipe, this weird device is made largely from brass and was apparently used by miners in Wales to check out how well their lungs were working. If you blow hard enough into the gadget, which looks a bit like a metal pipe, then this causes the little windmill to spin. Clive manages to get it spinning well enough. But then he passes it across to Tim to have a go, and things do not go entirely according to plan... See lots more videos on our YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/henders007
Views: 1370922 Grand Illusions
Eulers Disc
SUBTITLES AVAILABLE Euler's Disc (Euler is pronounced 'Oiler') is a fascinating physics toy that mesmerises everyone that sees it. The base is a slightly concave mirror. There is then a heavy metal disc, which you place on the mirror, and spin. What happens then? Well, just like spinning a coin on a table, the disc both spins and rolls, until it comes to a sudden stop, the final stages being accompanied by a sound of increasing frequency. A coin spun on a table will not spin for all that long. Euler's Disc, by contrast, spins for a long time before coming to rest. In addition, there are a number of magnetic holographic decals that you can attach to the upper side of the disc to enhance the effect of the spinning action. The best thing really is to watch the video. It is a lot of fun showing this to someone who has not seen it before. The ending is really spectacular. It also has a spectacular name - a finite-time singularity! Euler's Disc was invented by Joseph Bendik in the 1980s, while he was working for an aerospace firm in California, and spinning coins on the cafeteria table. He named it after Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician and physicist who lived from 1707 to 1783, and who did some of the pioneering work on spinning and rolling objects. See http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Euler_s_Disc.html
Views: 1550931 Grand Illusions
The Assassin's Teapot
This teapot comes from China, and it is a trick teapot! Inside there are two separate compartments, and depending where you place your fingers - either covering one hole or covering another hole - you can get the teapot to pour out of either internal compartment. Supposedly, back in the day, it was a way to get rid of an enemy, since you could pour out some tea for yourself and drink it quite safely (provided you had covered the correct hole) and you could then pour a drink for your enemy, and they would unknowingly get what was in the second compartment, maybe poison. Here Tim demonstrates pouring a cup of tea, and then adding milk, both from the same teapot. I suppose you could have tea or coffee, or whatever you like really. See http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Assassin-s-Teapot-770.html
Views: 2079212 Grand Illusions
Brush, Tim, Brush!!
Tim's toy collection also includes items you might not immediately think of as toys - brushes for example. But Tim is always intrigued by clever designs and mechanisms...
Views: 1772691 Grand Illusions
How to Sell Nothing! (HD reshoot)
There have been a number of retail toys that are effectively selling 'nothing'. Whether it is a box with zero volume, or a tin of air from Paris, these are all triumphant examples of the saying that 'less is more', which maybe means that nothing is much more? Or maybe it is just down to clever marketing!
Views: 469165 Grand Illusions
Vases and Pneumatic Toys
Every Wednesday Tim brings across a couple of cases of toys from his never ending collection for us to film. We often do not know in advance what he is going to bring. But recently Tim brought across a really eclectic mixture of toys: some vases, of which several were magic, and a few pneumatic or air powered toys. We had a lot of fun filming these! Since we filmed these on a hot July afternoon, we put it down to a bit of midsummer madness!
Views: 1687619 Grand Illusions
Amazing Discovery With Magnets
SUBTITLES AVAILABLE Truly the stuff of science fiction! This brand new discovery/invention was only patented in 2012, and everyone here at Grand Illusions has been utterly amazed to see this effect in action. Basically the main unit, or inverter magnet, has a plastic ring that contains two circular neodymium magnets in the centre, and six smaller ones around the edge. There is then a second, test magnet, which is identical to the two magnets in the centre of the inverter array. The magnets are arranged so that the test magnet is attracted to the central magnets in the inverter array, but repelled by the six, smaller magnets around the edge. So given these conflicting forces, what will happen when you bring the two together? Initially, the two are attracted, since the large magnets work at a greater distance. But then, as they get close, the repulsion starts to work between the test magnet and the six small magnets, and the test magnet stops, leaving a gap between the two! The inverter array and the test magnet are held together in this invisible bond, and you can move one magnet and the other will follow, despite the fact there is an air gap between them. This reminds us of the so called tractor beam that occurs in various science fiction movies, where a spaceship can reach out through space and hold another ship or another object locked in an invisible beam! The inventor did extensive computer modelling of the magnetic fields involved, in order to discover exactly what combination of magnets would work. Only then did he start work on a series of prototypes. Most of the toys we feature on our YouTube channel come from Tim's collection, and are not for sale. However this item is available in the Grand Illusions Toy Shop, if you want to have a go for yourself. See http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Inverter-Magnet-610.html CAPTIONS On August 23rd 2013 we added English captions to this video. We are keen to add captions in other languages, but we do not have the resources to do this ourselves. So if you would like to translate the captions into your own language, please let us know, and we will send you a text file with the English version, and the timings for you to work from. We do not want to waste anyone's time, so please only translate the captions AFTER you have spoken to us. This way we can be sure that only one person is working on the translation for any particular language. We are especially keen on Polish, German, French, Spanish, Finnish and Swedish, but we are open to captions in any language, so long as it is supported by YouTube. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] Thank you!
Views: 2518374 Grand Illusions
Thermo Acoustic Engine
This single cylinder thermo acoustic engine operates from a tiny methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) flame. The optimum running speed is 2700rpm when warmed up fully. As far as we know this is the fastest thermo-acoustic engine available. The thermo acoustic engine is known by several names, including resonant engine, lag engine, lamina flow engine and traveling wave engine. This engine, with its transparent main tube, beautifully and elegantly demonstrates the principles behind such engines. How does it work? The thermo-acoustic engine works by converting sound waves into motion. The sound waves are generated by heating one end of a 'stack' of coiled material and allowing the other end to remain cool. The engine is fired by a small spirit burner. By heating the end of the coiled 'stack' a bouncing pressure wave is set up inside the tube. The crucial element in the thermo-acoustic engine is the 'choke', which reduces the bore of the tube. It is the pressure fluctuations that ultimately drive the engine, in the expansion phase the piston is pushed outwards, in the contraction phase the piston is pulled inwards. The engine requires a small push of the flywheel for it to start. Without the small push the pressure and velocity of the standing wave remain at equilibrium. Move the flywheel and the equilibrium is shifted, thus allowing the cyclic variations to take place.
Views: 2852252 Grand Illusions
Two Scandinavian Table Mobiles
Candleplay is a Swedish table top mobile, powered by the heat of a single candle. This was bought in 1989 from the designer Harry Böstrom. The mobile is delicately balanced on a metal point, so when the hot air from the candle rises, and hits the inclined metal disc, this causes the mobile to slowly rotate. Harry describes it as a 'space age northern light in motion'. The other mobile comes from Denmark, and was also bought in 1989. Called Aeromobile Crystal, it was designed by Börling Frederiksen. Warm air rising through the tube will cause the two propellers to rotate in opposite directions.
Views: 223796 Grand Illusions
Is Tim a Peglomaniac?
There are many facets to Tim's amazing toy collection, but you may be surprised to learn that he even collects clothes pegs! However these are no ordinary clothes pegs...
Views: 280319 Grand Illusions
Looking After The Money
SUBTITLES AVAILABLE Here are two toys, both around 25 years old, that will help you look after your money. Well, the coins at least. The first one is called the Robotic Banker, and is an early example of a robotic toy. Placing a coin in the slot closes a circuit, and starts the action. The robot arm swivels round, picks up the coin, moves to the left, and drops the coin in the slot. That's the robotic bit. But remember - the toy also had the word banker in the name. And this toy gives you financial advice as well! After the robot arm has dropped the coin in the slot, it presses a lever, which sets the possible answers spinning round and round, until it finds the right answer for your question. Tim asked the Robotic Banker if he should buy gold (although you cannot buy much gold with one penny of course) and the answer from the banker was... definitely! The second toy is a coin sorter. Place a coin in the slot at the top, and as it cascades down, the ingenious set of wheels and levers tip it first one way and then another, until somehow the coin ends up in the right slot at the bottom. The fact that the mechanism is on display is a major part of this toy's charm.
Views: 1763803 Grand Illusions
Tim Says... Stick 'em Up One Last Time!
Here is the third - and last - instalment of gun-based toys from Tim's collection. Many of these date from the 1980s, which now seem a more innocent age in terms of toy guns. Some of these fire darts with rubber suckers at the end, some fire elastic bands, and some fire bubbles. And Tim then finishes off by going outside, to demonstrate a very exciting toy gun!
Views: 1329322 Grand Illusions
Tim's Novelty Soaps
Even bars of soap can find their way into Tim's Toy Collection, if they are unusual enough! Here we have soaps that float, trick soaps, soap on a roll, money soap with cash hidden inside, elegant soaps modelled on a leaf which can be used as a luxury guest soap, soaps that grow fur, and novelty shaving soaps. All good clean fun! Motion graphics by http://www.freelancemotiongraphics.co... Music by Justin Smith
Views: 428465 Grand Illusions
Tim is back from Boston (with toys!)
Tim spent a few days in the US recently, and found a few some new toys while he was there!
Views: 199985 Grand Illusions
Tim says...Stick 'em Up Again!
More novelty gun-type toys from Tim's collection. Including the well known wobbly pistol! Tim explains that in the past, he has lent this to Des O'Connor, the well known UK singer and TV presenter, who apparently showed it on his TV programme, 'Des 'O'Connor Tonight'. (Tim didn't actually see this himself, since he does not have a TV).
Views: 486140 Grand Illusions
Stick 'em Up!
SUBTITLES AVAILABLE These four novelty toy guns were all bought back in the mid 1980s - more innocent days as far as guns were concerned maybe. The first one was made by Vic's Novelties in the US. The soft rubber hand gun has a lead and a separate battery compartment. Switch it on, and the end of the barrel wobbles around in a drunken kind of fashion. Push the switch the other way, and the barrel instead of revolving clockwise starts going round the other way! The next three guns all come from Japan. First is a game of Russian roulette - insert an inflated balloon into the hoop, spin the barrel, and pull the trigger. Five of the chambers are 'empty' and you just hear a click. But if you are unlucky and it stops a the sixth chamber, when you pull the trigger, this causes a pin to pop out and to burst the balloon. The balloon theme continues with the balloon launcher. Push a long thin (sausage) balloon onto the hand grip, where the 4 claws will hold it in position. Pull the trigger and the balloon shoots out. Finally, a toy sten gun which you load with an aerosol of silly string or party string. All a bit like Bugsy Malone!
Views: 1124055 Grand Illusions
Hurricane Balls
SUBTITLES AVAILABLE The 'Hurricane Balls' consist of two ball bearings welded together by passing 800 Amps through them. If you spin the Hurricane Balls on a smooth surface, you can use the plastic pipe to blow at one side of the Hurricane Balls. Not only does this keeps them spinning, you can accelerate them up to incredible speeds. Speeds of 12,000 rpm have been recorded for the Hurricane Balls using a laboratory strobe light. At home, it is possible to use a tv as a simple stroboscope. Dr Adam Chalcraft writes "I can easily get a speed of 3600 RPM, and more to the point I can easily measure this, by putting the top in front of my (NTSC) TV in a dark room. As it runs down, I can clearly see 60Hz, 30Hz, 20Hz and so on. Of course if you try it in front of a PAL TV (in the UK) you will see 50Hz, 25Hz and so on." Thanks for that, Adam. Any smooth surface will work for spinning on, but the very best is a concave mirror, e.g. those round, magnifying bathroom mirrors. Once the Hurricane Balls are spinning, you can then use the coloured LED torches to illuminate them, with different colours at different angles. In a darkened room, the effect is magical! MARCH 2016 UPDATE. Sadly, the man in Germany who used to make these for us has passed away. However there is now a version of the Hurricane Balls called Tornado Spheres. These are made in China, and are cheaper as well! See http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Tornado-Spheres-706.html
Views: 2012921 Grand Illusions
Tim's Novelty Business Cards
Tim acquires many business cards in the course of meeting people at toy fairs and puzzle parties. Many of these he keeps since they have useful contact details. However some of the business cards he receives are so creative and so wonderful that they get a place in Tim's toy collection! Here he shares some of the cards that have a 'wow' factor. If you want to make your business stand out, then this might be one way of doing it. As Tim says - don't be boring!
Views: 521126 Grand Illusions
Tim Takes The Biscuit
Tim loves tea time, and as well as his cup of tea there has to be something to nibble on - Tim will admit to having a sweet tooth! Anyway, here are two mugs that as well as doing their bit on the tea front, also help with the biscuits...
Views: 74783 Grand Illusions
Unusual Pens - Part 1
Tim has hundreds of unusual pens in his toy collection, Here he demonstrates just a few of them. Some pens have flowers that open at the top; a pen (maybe for doctors?) looks like a syringe; a crocodile and a shark pen both have teeth that bite; there is an extendable pen, a pen that tells you how many miles you have written, and the challenge pen - you need to solve the maze before you can write. Maybe not good for that flash of inspiration that needs to be written down immediately!
Views: 629298 Grand Illusions
Tesla Valve
Nikola Tesla's valvular conduit is another one of his forgotten inventions. Invented in 1920 it has largely been overlooked. What is it? In simple terms it is a one-way valve. That in itself is not special. What makes it special is the fact it has NO moving parts. Think about that for a moment. How does a valvular conduit work? The design uses a particular shape. When the gas/fluid flows in one direction it changes direction slightly, in a zigzag way but is relatively unrestricted and does not find much resistance. However, when it flows in the other direction because of the design, the gas/fluid gets spilt into two. These flows then end up meeting almost head on. This causes some resistance. This is repeated numerous times, each time reducing in pressure/flow. This type of valve is never going to work as a seal for your wine bottle, it simply does not work that well at low pressures. However, when high pressures are used it comes into its own and the ratio between two directional flows gets higher and higher. Why did Tesla invent it? Tesla invented the valvular conduit around the time he was doing work with Tesla turbines. It seems to compliment his work with Tesla turbines rather than being a separate invention. Tesla turbines are primarily concerned with laminar flows (steady flows) and work better at higher pressures. Experiments show that the Tesla valve on the other hand works best with pulsed flow. In fact it becomes highly effective with high pressure pulsed flows. How to use it Amazingly a valvular conduit can be demonstrated just by blowing into it. Blow in one end and not much passes through. Blow in the other end and air passes through much easier: The higher the pressure the more of the restriction. How does the gas/fluid get stopped if there is nothing mechanical to get in the way? The answer is bizarrely simple. The gas/fluid itself becomes the physical restriction. When is most effective? At high pressures. For more information, see http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Tesla-Valve---Plastic-728.html
Views: 712763 Grand Illusions
2019 Nuremberg Toy Fair
Every year Tim visits the Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany, in search of new and novel items. Here are some of the samples that he brought back from his 2019 trip... Only 3 days left to vote.... we recently found out Grand Illusions has been nominated for a Shorty Award 🙌🎉! Voting closes on February 21st 2019, so head to https://shortyawards.com/11th/hendrik_ball to help us win!
Views: 117450 Grand Illusions
How to sell Nothing!
There have been a number of retail toys that are effectively selling 'nothing'. Whether it is an air guitar, or a box with zero volume, these are all triumphant examples of the saying that 'less is more'. Or maybe it is just down to clever marketing!
Views: 263547 Grand Illusions
More Unusual Drinking Glasses
The 'Greedy Cup' is typically made of clay or china, and does not reveal the siphon mechanism inside; however this example is made from glass, and shows how the internal siphon will completely empty the glass, if you fill it above a certain level. The 'show off' stein is a version of the German glass used for drinking beer. They are typically very large, and contain a lot of beer. This trick version appears to be large, but in fact only holds a small amount of beer. This is achieved by having a large glass hollow bulb within the stein, which takes up most of the volume. Tim then demonstrates an old fashioned champagne glass, with a long hollow stem, which causes a stream of bubbles to rise up in the middle of your drink. Finally one of the oldest glasses in Tim's collection - the dribble cup! This has little slots cut into it, hidden within the design. When you rasie the glass to your lips, the liquid runs out of the little slots, and dribbles everywhere.
Views: 339261 Grand Illusions
Endless Spring (HD reshoot)
You asked for a re-shoot of the Endless Spring... and here it is. This is one of Tim's absolute favourite 'party pieces...' The lid is removed from a large tube, and an assortment of colourful fabric-covered springs starts shooting out from the top of the tube. It seems impossible that there can be so many... and still they keep coming! The original inspiration was a joke toy made by a company in Germany. They made a small box which apparently contained soap - the label said 'Savon de Paris - La Tour Eifel'. However this turned out to be a rather tall story, since when you opened the box, a fabric covered spring leapt out, giving you a big surprise! Tim then decided to take the idea to the limit, and bought lots of big springs, covering them in bright fabric, and loading them into the giant tube. When he takes some of his toys to a party, this is one of the favourite items! The only problem is that people want to see it over and over, so Tim is kept busy popping all the springs back into the tube, before releasing them again to general acclamation! Subsequently Tim was asked to help making a version with all the springs covered in pink fabric. It was used in a science television project, and was supposed to demonstrate the human intestines.
Views: 5000693 Grand Illusions
Tim's 2015 Trip to Canada
Tim is a regular attendee at International Puzzle Parties, an invitation only event for serious metagrobolists (people who like puzzles!) In the summer of 2015 he went to the 35th IPP in Canada - in this video he shows some of the toys he picked up on that trip.
Views: 326752 Grand Illusions
Tim's Amazing Watches
SUBTITLES AVAILABLE You asked to see some of Tim's clocks and watches. A recent video showed some of his clocks, and now here are a few of his unusual watches. The Relativity Watch has a bit of fun with Einstein's theory of relativity. It has the pi symbol instead of a 3. The minute and the hour hand work in the normal way, but the entire clock face rotates by 1/60th of a turn every second. Very strange! The binary watch has two rows of lights. The top row, which shows the hours, has four lights, which - starting from the right - mean 1, 2, 4 and 8 respectively. In this case the first and third lights are on, i.e. the 1 and the 4, which means it is 5 o'clock. The bottom row shows the minutes, with lights standing for 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32. In this case, the 1, the 2 and the 32 are all lit, meaning 35 minutes. So the time is 5.35. Although as Tim says, when he first got the watch, it took him so long to work out what the time was, by the time he had done it, the actual time had moved on by a couple of minutes! The next one is a backwards watch. These are quite common now, but when Tim bought this, it was the first time he had come across this idea. The numerals are written the reverse was around the dial, and all three hands (including the seconds hand) go the other way around the face of the watch. With a little practice you can read the time quite easily. The 'Peaceful' watch (not sure why it is called that) is normal in most ways, but it has two lights built into it. One is a bright white light, useful for finding things in the dark maybe. Or even finding your way in the dark. The other is an ultra violet light. Tim wonders if that could be used for checking banknotes, and things like that. As he says, this watch is quite heavy on batteries! The World Watch has different time zones marked on it, so it it is 12 o'clock in London, you can see at a glance what the local time is in Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Delhi, Tokyo and so on. It only has an hour hand, not a minute hand. The last example is a sun dial watch. There is no mechanism, and no batteries. Just a little sun dial where the face of the watch would be. You need the sun to be shining, so it definitely works best out of doors. And you also need to know which direction is North, so you can align the watch correctly. However if all these things are set up correctly, the sun's light will hit the little arm (the gnomon) and cast a shadow on the dial, telling you the time, well, fairly accurately. Tim is still looking for a luminous version of this, so he can use it at night ;-) Thanks to Pablo Basterrechea for translating the English subtitles into Spanish so quickly. If you find the subtitles - either English or Spanish - useful, please tell us...
Views: 515072 Grand Illusions
Tim the Handyman
With a background in mechanical engineering, Tim is quite a practical chap, and has a well equipped toolbox. However he also has quite a few tools that are to be found in his toy collection, rather than the toolbox, and here he shows some of his favourites. Novel mechanisms, secret compartments, jokes and even edible pliers!
Views: 679679 Grand Illusions
Got a Light, Tim?
Tim's Toy Collection contains a large number of lighters, which Tim is always happy to demonstrate. Some are novelty lighters, that look like something else, others are props for magicians.
Views: 1200484 Grand Illusions
Magnificent Marble Machine
The Magnificent Marble Machine is an automaton – a moving machine – and a marble run, all in one! It comes as a kit which you have to assemble - surprisingly, no glue is needed! Once assembled, turn the handle to watch the marbles roll down the ramp and then ‘magically’ make their way back up again. See http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Magnificent-Marble-Machine-802.html
Views: 131351 Grand Illusions
Tim's Condiment Clan
Tim is a fan of unusual salt and pepper pots, and he has quite a few in his collection...
Views: 187563 Grand Illusions
Curious Clocks
SUBTITLES AVAILABLE Tim has many unusual clocks and watches in his collection, and following a request from someone on this channel recently, he brought a few along to the most recent filming session. First up is a clock in the shape of a giant wrist watch. As Tim says, he could wear it around his waist, and call it a waist watch! In fact it normally hangs on the wall of his living room, along with a number of other clocks, all keeping him entertained, as well as telling him the time. Next, a clock made by a friend, who took a paint pot and what looks like a big sloosh of paint frozen in time (very like those 'Frozen Moments' that were all the rage a few years ago) and to this he added a small clock mechanism. Then a clock that was commercially available, where instead of the hands moving, the dial moves! And you read off the time at the top of the dial.The dial just sits on a little plastic gear wheel, and you can lift the dial off and reverse it, in which case you have Roman numerals instead! Lastly an optical illusion clock designed by Lubor Fiedler. Tim has met Lubor a few times; Lubor has designed a number of amazing toys and tricks, and this clock is a good example of his inventive mind. Inside the clock case a playing card is suspended. There is a clear air gap at the front, so it is not attached there. A pendulum swings to and fro at the back, so there cannot be any kind of attachment at the back. And there is a gap between the card and the little hand. So how is the card suspended? A very clever design!
Views: 402439 Grand Illusions
Heat of your hand Stirling Engine
This ultra low temperature-differential Stirling Engine will actually run on the heat of your hand! Place this beautiful precision engine on any warm surface and within a few minutes it's chugging away. The engine runs whenever the temperatures of the top and bottom plates differ by more than about 10 degrees Celsius. Its upper black aluminum plate actually absorbs enough heat in direct sunshine to run on solar power. You can also try a cup of hot coffee, or even your computer monitor! By placing the engine on some ice cubes, it is even possible to drive the engine by the heat of the surrounding air in the room. This is a great thermodynamic demonstration of air pressure change due to alternate heating and cooling. The main chamber has perspex sides, which allow you to see what is happening inside. When the large foam displacer (it is not a piston) moves up, the air is then in contact with the lower (warmer) plate, and the air expands. This drives the small piston in the centre of the top plate upwards. The displacer then moves down, causing the air to now be in contact with the upper (colder) plate. The air now cools and contracts, which causes the small piston to move down. As long as there is a temperature differential of over 10 degrees, your Stirling Engine will keep going! This is not a kit - it comes fully assembled and ready to go. http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Heat_of_your_hand_Stirling_Engine.html
Views: 674589 Grand Illusions
Unusual Toy Automata
A lot of unusual toys come out of Japan, and this range of Japanese musical automata is no exception! The toys are made by the Maywa Denki company, and these toy figures embody a number of Japanese characteristics. These include the humour of KARAKURI (traditional Japanese mechanical toys), cuteness from HANIWA (ancient clay figures) and also KOKESHI, which are a range of Japanese dolls. These Japanese toys were bought in 2004 in a small shop in central London that specialises in unusual Japanese products. Finally, as a contrast, we have a toy automaton from the West - the Mechanical Piggy Chef! This is made by Rocket USA, a company that has been making toys and other fun things since 1997. The Piggy Chef is a wind up toy, and once you start him going, he spices and flips the food for you. What is on the menu? It looks like steak and eggs. It is impressive that the food really is flipped and caught - there is no string!
Views: 1468924 Grand Illusions
Trick Opening Boxes - Part 2
Here are some more trick opening boxes from Tim's collection. Firstly, a box that requires patience! Inside there is a small hour glass, or egg timer, and the box has to be stood in a certain position in order to allow the grains of sand to run through the hour glass. Once this has happened, the hour glass will tilt, and allow the box to open. The next two boxes involve the use of a device or tool. Firstly, a wooden box made to look like a large box of matches. In each end there is a drawer. However one of the drawers opens easily, while the other one is locked. The drawer that opens contains a single 'match' and this wooden match contains a small magnet in the head of the match. You have to take the match and 'strike' it against the side of the box, just like striking a real match, and the magnet will move part of the hidden mechanism, so that the second drawer will now open. Secondly, the little wooden barrel contains a marble, but there is no obvious was to get it out. The wooden stick you are given will fit through the hole on the lid, but that hole is far to small to allow the marble to pass through. The answer is - as ever - simple once you know how. There is a small indentation inside the bottom of the barrel, and when the marble is positioned in this indentation, you can insert the wooden stick, which is long enough to touch the marble. By squeezing the end of the wooden stick and the bottom of the barrel, and then turning, you are able to unscrew the bottom of the barrel. A most unusual solution. Tim then demonstrates a prototype box that a friend made, although it no longer works. Inside the lid, there was a free floating wheel containing a magnet. This wheel acted a bit like a compass, and you needed to turn the box to a particular compass direction. At this point, the wheel was in a particular position, which allowed the key to turn. Finally, another very unusual box which has a pneumatic mechanism. You need to blow into a small hole, while simultaneously sliding the two halves of the puzzle apart.
Views: 695157 Grand Illusions
Trick Opening Boxes - Part 1
Tim has quite a number of trick opening boxes in his collection, and here he demonstrates some of the mechanisms on which they are based. First up - boxes with sliding sides and panels. These have been around for a very long time, and sometimes they can just involve one or two moves, before you can open the box, but in other cases there can be 20, 30 or even more moves, before the box finally opens. Then there are boxes which requite you to hold them in a particular place or orientation, and then they can be opened. The next toy needs to be spun around on the table, and the resulting centrifugal force moves the internal metal pins in such as way that the box can now be opened. Then there is a box with a weak magnet inside. You need to tap or knock the box in just the right place, and with the right degree of firmness, and this will cause the magnet to lose its grip on the mechanism, and allow the box to open. Finally we have a box which contains a hidden internal maze, and you need to navigate a ball bearing from one end of the maze to the other, in order to release the drawer.
Views: 1797098 Grand Illusions
Leidenfrost Effect
A drop of water will evaporate very quickly from a metal surface that has been heated to over 100 degrees centigrade. But if we heat the metal surface even more, up to around 200 degrees centigrade, we would expect a drop of water placed on this surface to evaporate even more quickly. Right? Well, not necessarily...
Views: 439106 Grand Illusions
Tim's Toys for Halloween
From spooky skeletons to sinister spiders, Tim brings out a selection of his Halloween toys.
Views: 1831955 Grand Illusions
Tim Sharpens his Pencils
Tim has a number of pencil sharpeners that exemplify two of his favourite toy ideas - dual purpose toys, and toys that misdirect you as to their actual function...
Views: 121071 Grand Illusions
Tim Flaps His Fans
Tim has a wide variety of fans in his collection. Some are cards and hats that just incorporate a fan shape, whereas others are designed to blow air and cool you down. As they are part of Tim's collection, you can be sure that they are wonderful and whimsical!
Views: 852053 Grand Illusions
Trichroic Prism
A dichroic prism splits light into two beams of differing wavelength (colour). A trichroic prism assembly combines two dichroic prisms to split an image into 3 colours. They are usually constructed of one or more glass prisms with dichroic optical coatings that selectively reflect or transmit light depending on the light's wavelength. That is, certain surfaces within the prism act as dichroic filters. These are used as beam splitters in many optical instruments. (Wikipedia) See http://www.grand-illusions.com/acatalog/Trichroic-Prism-819.html
Views: 129451 Grand Illusions
Views: 812590 Grand Illusions
A Cut Above....
Tim's toy collection contains a number of items of cutlery. Not normally associated with toys, there are in fact many knives, forks or spoons that are either rather novel, or in some cases joke items. After all, you don't expect a humble teaspoon to play tricks on you, do you? But with Tim's collection, anything is possible!
Views: 665979 Grand Illusions
Atomic Trampoline (HD reshoot)
We posted a video of this toy about 4 years ago, back in the old low definition days. But now we have an HD camera, we thought we would re-visit the Atomic Trampoline - a truly amazing piece of physics! PS Tim bought this toy many years ago, and the company that produced it seems no longer to exist. We do not sell this item, and unfortunately we do not know anywhere that does sell it. We wish we did - it is a fantastic piece of kit!
Views: 167987 Grand Illusions
Tim's Nestling Sets
Tim is always fascinated by sets of toys that 'nest' one inside the next one. From Russian dolls to ladies handbags, Tim has a nestling toy for every occasion!
Views: 511332 Grand Illusions
Cascade by Matchbox
This toy was originally released in 1972. Matchbox was the toy company that made it, and Cascade was the name of the game. It was described as the "Super - Action Thump - A - Drum Game That's Fun For All the Family" and the "Baffling Bouncing Ball Game." Basically ball bearings dropped from the launching ramp at the top of the tower, and if you were lucky and everything was set up correctly, they would bounce from one drum to the next, until they landed in the collecting tray. There were slots on the collecting tray with different scores, and when everything was working correctly, the balls would then roll back along the plastic track, returning to the base of the tower. There was a battery and a motor in the tower, and then you switched this on, the ball bearings moved up the tower in a large plastic spiral, and were stored at the top, ready for launching. A plastic rod stopped them at the top, and when you slid this down out of the way, all the ball bearings would roll out and start bouncing off the drums, towards the collecting tray. One interesting variable is that if you launched a single ball, it would bounce off the three drums in a certain direction. But when you launched a lot of balls, they would often land on a drum that was already moving from the previous ball, and so the subsequent ball would not bounce in the same way.
Views: 760468 Grand Illusions
Unusual Japanese Electric Light Bulbs
These light bulbs were all bought in Japan about 12 years ago. Because they are supposed to run on 120 volts, Tim is connecting two bulbs at a time in series. The UK mains voltage is 240 volts, but by connecting two bulbs in series, they end up getting a lower voltage passing through them. First up is an electric light bulb that is advertised as flickering like a real gas flame. The bulb contains a long filament inside, and there is a magnet attached to the outside of the bulb. Presumably as the alternating current flows to and fro, the magnetic field created in the filament is alternately attracted to and repelled by the magnet. We then have the Candy Light, and the Charm Light. Finally a spectrum stick bulb.
Views: 1009888 Grand Illusions
Glass Pen
Glass pens started being made around 1900. The nib is solid glass, and has a series of shallow grooves in it. When you dip the nib into your ink bottle, these grooves hold the ink so you can write. Like all traditional pens, you have to keep dipping it into the ink.
Views: 327031 Grand Illusions
When is a book not a book?
Tim has a great number of items in his collection which LOOK like books, but which turn out on closer examination to be subtly different, and in many cases not to be books at all.
Views: 592469 Grand Illusions
Tim Zips Again!!
A couple of years ago, Tim made a video showing a range of Zip Bags he had bought in Japan. That video has had over 2.5 million views, and is currently the most viewed video on this channel. See https://youtu.be/8GMpVX__0QQ So, Tim has dusted off a few more of his zip bags and other items based around zips for your viewing pleasure...
Views: 171871 Grand Illusions