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The morals may be a bit buttoned down and the tech a little antiquated, but you might learn a thing or two from How to Become a Magician. Released in 1882, the beginner tome not only lays the theoretical groundwork for an aspiring conjurer but teaches a wide variety of tricks. Many of the methods are still used today.

As stuffy as the Victorian era was, it’s interesting to note how much getting a laugh at the right time was still a crucial element of the business.

“You must remember to keep talking the whole time, and always try to make a joke, or otherwise to distract the attention of the audience, while you are executing the necessary changes.”

It serves as a stark reminder exactly how old some well known tricks are.

Read it at Public Domain Review. Hat tip to io9, which is where we found it.