Updates to Previous David Cain Articles

Often, the publication of an eJuggle article results in new discoveries on the subject. Every year or so, I like to give some updated information on these previous articles I’ve written for eJuggle.  It’s been a while since I’ve done this, so here are updates on some popular articles I’ve written.

The Hoop and Glass Trick

In September of 2017, I wrote an article about the hoop and glass trick. You can read the article by clicking here. I have recently learned that this trick has origins in two traditional folk dances.

One of these is Tatsia folk dancing from the Island of Cyprus. In the dance, a glass is placed in a sieve, which looks just like the hoop we now used, but with a screen. Then the sieve, which is usually used to separate flour, is spun and twirled. Then, up to three glasses are manipulated in the sieve in this manner. You can see video of the Tatsia dance below.

The Tatsia dance is said to be hundreds of years old, so it would appear to be at least part of the origin of the hoop and glass juggling genre.

Perhaps a more direct influence is another old dance that includes hoop and glass work, which is the Schäfflertanz (Coopers’ Dance), performed by the barrel makers (coopers) of Munich, Germany. This dance is performed every seven years throughout the Carnival season. The coopers, who make barrels for beer, are highly respected in this famous brewing city. It is known that the dance is at least as old as 1702, and legends state that it started in 1517 following a plague. Since 1760, the dance has been performed every seven years – most recently in 2019, during the carnival season. As you can see at the 13:08 point in the following video, the dance includes hoop and glass swinging similar to what jugglers do today. The hoops used are the hoops that the coopers use in making barrels.

The Birds in the Tree Trick

The Birds in the Tree Trick was the subject of an article published in October of 2017. Click here to read the original article. I have continued to find additional images of the trick being performed. Below are two illustrations of Karl Rappo performing it from around 1840.

Karl Rappo

Another Birds in the Tree juggle was Ray Burton, who performed a version of it on a slack rope in 1892.

Ray Burton 1892

Carl Baggesen

In March 2018, eJuggle published an article about early comedy juggler Carl Baggesen, which you can read by clicking here. Photos of Carl are extremely rare, so I wanted to share the following recently found photo of him from 1910.

The Whip Balance Trick

In December 2019, I wrote this article about the old school Whip Balance Trick. Recently, I found this image depicting Robert Gilfort doing the trick on a plate held in his mouth. It dates from around 1900. I have added it to the original article, but also include it here for your edification.

Robert Gilfort

Joseph Rosani

In January 2016, I wrote an article about Joseph Rosani. Later, I found a series of cabinet cards featuring a young Rosani. More recently, an early Rosani poster has come to light. The cabinet cards and poster are shown below.

Howard Nichols

Also in December of 2019, I wrote an article about hoop rolling legend Howard Nichols. I somehow neglected to include the following video of him in that article.


Howard Nichols hoops <– Video page on JTV

Franco Piper

In November 2016, I wrote an article about banjo juggler Franco Piper. I have recently received some new information that corrects some details in the original article, including his date and place of birth as well as learning his birth name. These details have been corrected and added to the original article, but I have included them below, which copies the opening sentences of that article.

“One of the most unique juggling acts of all time was performed by juggler and musician Frank Bamber “Franco” Piper. Piper was born in 1877 in Redbourn, Hertfordshire, England, but moved to South Africa in his late teens. Franco called South Africa home for much of his life.”

I have also learned that he married his assistant, Norah Cavanagh, in 1904.

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I hope these updates have proven educational. Juggling history discoveries happen almost daily, so I’m glad to be able to share new developments with the community.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-four books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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