There really aren’t many vanishing bird cages that are currently being made. It’s really the vanishing bird cage from India or the Baby Lindy and Walter Blaney cage from Dan Summers. Those two makers couldn’t be further apart in pricing! The cage from India is about $50, and the Summers cages are $1,500-$2,000!
I recently has someone ask me about the two, and there’s really no comparing them. For starters they are completely different style of cages, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison.
What the magic market is lacking is a good, entry level cage, something in the $200-$400 range, however that doesn’t currently exist right now. I’m going to do a quick comparison of the India cage and the Milson Worth Silver Meteor which is the cage style that the Indian cage copied.
For me there are two main differences. The first is weight!
The Milson Worth cage is 115 grams and the Indian cage is 149. You really feel that extra 34 grams in weight when the cage lands in your sleeve!
The other difference is texture. The Milson Worth vanishing birdcage has all the soldered spots smoothed out, where the India cage is rough and that will create a lot of potential snags when the cage is going up your sleeve.
I know that the Milson Worth magic company isn’t around anymore, so you can’t buy the cage new, but there are a lot of them out there for sale on sites like eBay, etc. This cage is a decent beginners cage and one to use if you want to try out the cage before investing thousands of dollars in a cage!
Just a quick note, if you end up searching for a Milson Worth Silver Meteor cage, don’t pay more than $150-$200 for it. There’s a seller or two on ebay asking for way too much for the cage!
The other day I picked up a collection of used magic. As always the collection was 90% junk, however there were a couple of collectible things in the lot. There was a Milson Worth Chinese Flame Clock and a Mikame Treasure Box.
I really think the Flame Clock looks cool and it has a pretty unique effect. Here’s some video of what it does (the version is the video appears to be a different maker):
I recently got an email asking questions about the Vanishing Birdcage and I figured it might be helpful to more than just the person who emailed me, so here it is:
I see that you have a lot of knowledge about the vanishing bird cage. My dad used to do a little stage magic and this was my favorite! My son is now an aspiring young magician and I’d like to get him this trick. He’s been working on his technique for several years but is still only 11. I know this trick takes a lot of practice. I do not want to spend the thousands to get him a professional cage, but I also don’t want him to be discouraged (or cut!) by an inexpensive and poorly made cage while he learns. I’ve read through several threads on Magic Cafe and it seems most of the Indian cages can be dangerous, although there might be one or two that are ok. It also looks like I need to avoid any with loops?
I am writing to ask if you can recommend any websites, manufacturers, things to look for, things to avoid- any advice at all?
Let’s start with the safety of cages. Yes, they can cut you, but I honestly don’t think that’s really a huge concern. Anything that can cut you can also snag in your sleeve, so you should be inspecting your cage and finding those spots and eliminating them. I check my cages how Billy McComb did, by running a silk over them to find any thing that would snag in my sleeve. Tommy wonder did something similar with a piece of string. I have a couple of the Indian vanishing cages from various eras in my collection and I never really noticed any of them having any wires sticking out (that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any). The bigger concern with the newer Indian cages is that they are super heavy, and this makes the vanish more difficult. If getting cut is a concern go for an Abbott’s style cage with the red ribbon on it. I don’t think Abbotts is making them right now, but they frequently pop up used and should run about $100ish. There’s one on ebay right now for $275, and I DO NOT recommend paying that much for it. https://www.ebay.com/itm/394381494169
There are some totally usable vanishing cages with the loops on the bars. The Milson Worth Vanishing Birdcages with the brass bars work fine and that’s the cage that the Indian Vanishing Birdcages are modelled after. A Milson Worth cage will run about $100-$150. There’s one on ebay right now for $95 and looks decent: https://www.ebay.com/itm/314214210186
The bigger issue is size. I’m 5’8, so average height, but to pull full size cage like the Owen Vanishing Cage or even a full size Abbott cage up your sleeve may be the biggest challenge for an 11 year old. I’d recommend trying to find a small Abbotts cage or the Milson Worth cage as they’re smaller than the “standard” cages. Personally I used a National Magic and Owen Cage and were a bit too big for me, and about a year ago I switched to a Riser/Summers Baby Lindy Cage which is smaller and it works a lot better for me! However the price tag on the baby lindy cage is a lot, and it’s not really what I would recommend for a first cage.
With all of that information, I would lean towards the $95 one that’s on ebay if it was a purchase that you wanted to make now. If you are willing to wait an hunt around a bit, then a small Abbotts vanishing cage.
When I was at the Abbott’s Magic Get Together a couple of months ago, on the way home in Minneapolis, I added four new vanishing birdcages to the collection. Two were the older rigid styles and two were the more modern semi rigid style cages.
We’ll start with talking about the most modern cage of the bunch. It’s one of the semi rigid cages made in the style of the Milson Worth Silver Meteor vanishing cage.
I think the Indian design is slightly better than the original as the bars don’t stick out as far as on the Milson Worth cage. The problem with the Indian cage is that whatever metal it’s made from is very heavy when compared to the original Milson Worth cage. When you vanish it, it drops like a ton of bricks!
Now let’s look at the two rigid cages:
Both of these cages are made is similar styles and both have the “spoon” broken off of the front right corner. The spoon tries to eliminate some snags on the sleeve as the cage goes up your sleeve.
The cage on the left is polished metal and the has a little bit more care taken in putting in the bars. It also weighs a ton!
The cage on the right isn’t polished and is slightly bigger, but was made of lighter metal.
Honestly, I can’t imagine using this style of cage compare to the modern semi rigid lindhurst style vanishing cages. They are very heavy, and don’t collapse well.
Now let’s chat about the final cage, which is the linhurst style cage.
This is the same style of cage that I’ve been using for a while. The only difference is that this cage has all of it’s bars! It also has some loops added to hang the bird on. I think these loops were added by whoever bought the cage, and not the manufacturer (but I could be wrong)
This cage is virtually the same dimensions as an Owen’s Challenge Cage and it has a great collapsing action. This cage is going to be my main working cage from here on! I totally lucked out on finding it and the price it was sold to me for.