The 215th birth anniversary of Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin

Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin was a French illusionist, inventor, and famous watchmaker, one of the greatest magicians in the world. His inquisitive mind and perseverance allowed him to become the prominent magician of his time and amaze the public repeatedly.

The illusionist was born into the family of a watchmaker (his father had his own small clock repair shop), and this family business was to the boy's liking since childhood. However, the father wanted a bright future for his children, so Jean Eugene attended school at the university, received a good education and was preparing to become a lawyer. However, his father's plans were not destined to come true - once the young man came across the book, which described various feats and magic tricks. This interested him greatly. Possessing indigenous dexterity and diligence, Robert-Houdin quickly mastered many unchallenging techniques of magicians. Thus, instead of working as a lawyer, as his parents dreamed, or as a watchmaker, as the young man himself wanted, he devoted his life to the art of illusion.

The career of Robert-Houdin took developed gradually. He overcame difficulties and obstacles, but did not give up and, ultimately, reached his goal. The fact that he implemented his own numerous inventions in his performances became a considerable advantage. Many tricks were based on the use of electricity, which was little known about at the time. Robert-Houdin devoted a significant part of his life to watchmaking. This helped him in the future when performing technical tricks.Museum Collection section "Mantel and table clocks" features the so-called “mystery clocks" created by the skillful watchmaker-inventor Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin.

Our video clip features the mystery clocks presented in the museum Collection repository, narrates about the history of their appearance and their mode of operation: