History of Abbotts Magic Shop

A stage in the showroom
A stage takes center court in Abbotts Showroom
Did You Know

  • The first Abbotts Magic Get Together was Saturday, Sept. 15, 1934 and was attended by 80 magicians.

  • During World War 2, Abbotts magic was granted a "Vital Industry status" by the U.S. Government. Abbotts routinely supplied the Army books on sleight of hand for the troops recreation.

  • Harry Blackstone Sr performed the "Dancing Hankerchief" at the 1961 Abbotts Get Together.

  • The Bordner Family has been sole owners of Abbotts for over 50 years.

  • Early Partnership

    The life of a magician is not always easy. Lots of travel usually means cold food and hotel beds, and competition from other magicians and keeping up with the technology boom can take its toll on any performer. Wouldn't it be wonderful to find a town designed to give magicians a little rest and relaxation, a place where magicians can gather, relax, share stories while doing a little fishing.

    It sounds like a wonderful idea for the 21st century, but in this case its the 1920's, and Harry Blackstone has just invited Percy Abbott to visit him for some rest, relaxation, and fishing on Sturgeon Lake. Blackstone owns 208 acres of land in Colon, MI and it was not uncommon for Harry to invite fellow Magicians to Colon where they could temporarily escape the rigors of their profession, but this particular visit would make magic history.

    Percy Abbott was enroute to England but enjoyed his visit so much that he stayed in Colon and helped found the "Blackstone Magic Company" as a partner with Harry Blackstone Sr.
    Partners in Magic
    Abbotts Magic Factory
    Early Photo of Abbotts

    A Retreat for Magicians
    Recil Bordner, Percy Abbotts New Partner
    A New Partnership

    Percy would close up this first shop when a misunderstanding between himself and Blackstone ended the partnership. Blackstone traded some articles from the shop for an illusion he wanted. The illusion arrived at the shop with a list of items that were to be sent in return. Percy filled the order but assumed the illusion was property of the company and later sold it to another magician.

    After his first child was born, Percy Abbott opened a second magic store in Colon in January of 1934, this one above a grocery store. He named this shop The Abbott Magic Company.

    Percy met Recil Bordner in March of 1934 and Recil borrowed $1,000 from his father and bought half interest in the company and a new partnership was formed. In September of the same year, the new partners held an open house for magicians which marked the first Magic Get Together in Colon.

    World War 2

    During World War 2, Abbott's was given "Vital Industry" status since it supplied soldiers books on sleight of hand for recreation. This allowed Abbotts to purchase surplus and scrap metal to continue manufacturing magic products during the war years. After the war ended and the soldiers returned home, business began to boom for the two partners and they opened up branch retail shops in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Boston, and Indianapolis. Abbotts magic factory in Colon was expanded during this time to meet the new demands of these new shops and the post war populace. The new partnership had proven itself a success and would last over a quarter of a century!
    Partners Percy Abbott and Recil Bordner
    Partners Percy Abbott and Recil Bordner

    Abbotts Huge Showroom
    Eugene Burger tries out a torturette in the showroom
    The Modern Era

    After the annual Magic Get Together in 1959, Percy Abbott and his wife decided to finish their journey to England and retire. Percy sold his half of the business to Recil Bordner who became the sole proprietor of Abbotts magic. Recil arranged to have Blackstone return to Colon and perform at the 1961 Get Together (Blackstone had not felt welcome at the events due to the misunderstanding between Percy and himself). In 1974, Recil brought his son, Greg, into the family business and Greg has brought Abbotts into the 21st century by combining the best of the old with the latest technology of today, thus keeping Abbotts Magic a place where magical illusion are not only bought and sold, but also designed, and created.

    Abbotts Today

    The Abbott plant provides year round employment for our staff. More than 50,000 square feet is divided into the following departments: Business Offices, Printing Department, Art Department, Silk Dyeing, Computer Room, Sewing Assembly, Silk Screen Processing, Blacksmith Shop, Lathe, and Precision Metal Work, Plastic and Chemicals, Metal Casting, Tool and Die Making, Shipping, Experimental, Wood Working, Sheet Metal Shop, Stock Room, Paint Shop, Showrooms, Demonstration Stage and Magic Theatre.

    Our phenomenal success proves that we are the recognized leaders in magic - not only in America but the entire world. We are credited with instituting real and modern innovations for the benefit of buyers of magical apparatus - proof enough of our sincerity in wanting to give those buyers a fair deal always. Our factory facilities are such that we are in the position to make anything in magic. Also we own our factory buildings - the only buildings in the world designed for the sole purpose of manufacturing magic. Abbott's leads the entire magic field in producing original magic effects. To us, your first order is the beginning of a lasting friendship in magic.
    Today, still a retreat for Magicians
    Greg Bordner in front of Abbotts

    Magic Shows at Abbotts

    Each Saturday at 1pm during the summer months, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, there is a magic show at Abbotts magic for the nominal charge of $5.00 per person. Various magicians perform at this event and it is very well received. In addition to the Saturday shows, special shows can be set up for traveling groups of people so if your club or organization is looking for a place to visit, we certainly hope you consider Colon. Call Abbotts in advance and see what they can work out for you and your group.

    The video to the left is of Magician BJ Mallen performing in front of a German student exchange group.

    Magic Ceiling

    It began many years ago and still continues to this day. Performers send in their posters to promote their acts and Abbotts would hang them on the wall. Over the years the walls filled up and the posters got larger so Abbotts decided to decorate their ceiling.

    Next time you are in Abbotts be sure to check out the ceiling and the walls, there are treasures tacked onto every space imaginable. Some of the posters on the ceiling have been appraised up to ten thousand dollars. It all adds to the atmosphere and the history of one of the most popular magic stores in the world. Be sure to visit us soon!

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