As I look through the over 15,000 photos in the archives of the Museum of Juggling History and of the IJA, I occasionally come across juggling acts or routines that are particularly unique. Unique acts are more rare than you might think, as good acts and routines are quickly copied by other performers. We see this now with jugglers copying Michael Moschen’s triangle, Daniel Menendez’s bounce piano, and Greg Kennedy’s cone and bounce V (Orthogonal). This is not a new occurrence. Jugglers quickly copied Salerno’s Salerno Ring and his Picture Frame Trick, Kara’s Kara Box, Ferry Mader’s Cups and Saucers routine, and his Growing Candle Stick routine. Dozens of jugglers have copied Francis Brunn’s Brunn Finish, which Francis copied from Angelo Piccinelli. Almost any successful invention by a juggler is going to be copied. In my ongoing juggling history research, I come across some photos of jugglers performing unique or at least obscure juggling tricks. Two years ago, eJuggle published two articles highlighting such tricks. You can click here and here to read them. Here are a few such gems that I’ve found or been shown since those were published. Some of these come via a small group of fellow historians that share such discoveries on a private facebook group. Thanks go out to those that shared some of these.
The first two tricks were performed by the Clarke Family in the mid-1930s. The first was the passing of tennis rackets while a third performer did acrobatics on a bar that was held aloft via shoulder harnesses worn by the passers.
The second is perhaps not unique, but certainly not common. It was the passing of ten table lamps between four jugglers.
The next trick was done by Jack Alert in 1917. It is an incredible and dangerous balance of around 20 bayonets.
Eric Philmore, whom I wrote about in an earlier article, apparently juggled six golf clubs!
I’ve written about apes and monkeys performing juggling tricks, but the photo below shows an elephant doing a juggling statue trick.
Legendary juggler Kathi Gultini performed a trick that has never been equaled: Balancing a sofa on her head while juggling four pillows.
Another unusual routine was performed by the juggler Barny. As you can see below, it involves hopping a row of seven balls up five levels using a small set of steps and an odd mouth stick.
Not all unique tricks are from the past. Some are quite recent, as jugglers continue to stretch what is technically possible. There are even some tricks that have only been done by one juggler that were the result of me challenging my fellow jugglers in some of my Dream Tricks Challenge articles.
Svetlana Zueva is the only juggler known to have qualified 5 club back crosses while balancing a sixth club.
Florian Canaval met the challenge of becoming the first, and so far the only, juggler to qualify five club back crosses in singles!
Tuey Wilson does an unequaled trick of performing a back roll while spinning four balls. Click here to see this incredible trick.
I recently learned that Toby Walker filmed a trick that I would have considered impossible. He did a five club kick up into a five club cascade. You can see it below.
And to close, here is a recent video that shocked the juggling community: Masahiro Takahashi doing a clean flash of 7 club Albert Throws and continuing the pattern afterward.