This section it is dedicated to bubble effects considered "classic" with the meaning that are not intellectual property of other performers or subject of copyright.

I suggest to all people interested in to learn bubbles, or approaching this form of art, to study this section and to use it as a departure point for to create more and new effects.

Many of the effect reported below are from the beautiful book "New games and Amusement for young and old alike" of M. Nugent that date back to the 1905. The part about the bubbles is written like a tale, with characters of fantasy, most probably Mr. Nugent did try some of those experiments for him and his friends, as he was not a performer, but a writer; during a period, for to make advertising of the book, he was also organizing small show, after which, most probably, he was selling the book, I found many articles in newspaper about this fact. It is not sure if Mr. Nugent really performed all the effect listed, especially the Kid in Bubble look a little extraordinary for that time, but the description on how to make it it is so modern that I like to consider him the real creator of this effect and many other listed below.

Other images come from books dated 1880-1920, there was a big production, at that time, of book with information about amusement and games in general, I would like to remind some authors like Tom Tit, Ghersi & Valeri, Gaston Tissandieux, between the others (check the section "BOOKS" for more information)

                           THE FIRST ENTERTAINER ...


Before to open this category, a simple example of how blowing bubbles is considered an exciting and amusing experience already after many centuries !

Bruegel already inserted it in his painting "Children games" (check HOMO BULLA section) demonstrating that in the XVII Century was already a popular game for kids and, perhaps, it date back even to the ancient Roman time (but, unfortunately, we do not have a real evidence of it).


Here beside it is possible to see one draw (check the date: 1642) where we see an adult blowing a bubble and balancing on the object made for it, presumably the first "bubble toy".

Here is not anymore a kid, but an adult blowing the bubble, this mean that this was intended  an amusement for any age or, perhaps, already used from adults for to entertain kids ! Maybe we have here one of the first image representing a Bubble entertainer ?



I start with one of the most popular effect today, the kid in bubble.

As I told, even if Mr. Nugent never did really the effect, it is so well depicted that look like the real thing; it look like a picture taken in the moment of lifting the hoop... . Look the date: 1905





We have the first registered evidence of this classic effect at the end of the '50, when H. Redka, a dentist who was doing bubbles for fun, demonstrated the kid in bubble effect in television, putting inside a gian bubble the TV host.


Here you can read the article where he declare that will make this stunt and where he tell that he made a special formula that enable him to make bubbles with 8-10 feet in diameter.


Below you can watch the same TV program where he make his stunt; the result is not so impressive as big bubble keep to explode and barely he can put the host inside a bubble, however my guess it is that the studio was very hot (the lighting in a TV studio, especially in the 50-60, was really very  massive for different reason) and the short time he had was not helping for sure. In any case it look like it made a good impression on people, as you can read on the article.



Another great description from the same book.

In the text the author write about a record of 12 (!!) domes, one inside the other... look a bit too much, but, who know ? It may be possible. In any case, what it is important, it is the report of the effect in himself


This is from an article of 1916, it is also possible to read a description of domes (and it is more realistic, because speak about 3-4 bubbles one inside the other).

What I find particularly interesting it is the chain of bubbles that can be blown around a dome, like in the last picture.






Here another variant, with last dome with smoke inside

It is also a very modern as effect, often seen performed today.


As in the picture there are only 3 domes, this time, look more like he really did it (or, at least, it is more possible)



Another report of a classic very popular today: blowing a bubble inside another bubble, remember, this is from Tom Tit and it is dated between the end of XIX and beginning of XX Century  !






This is also a very modern effect; we do not have proof that M. Nugent performed this kind of effects, at least in such a big scale, but, if it was only a vision, it is great !



This is one effect that it is still performed today from almost all bubble performer: take 2 bubbles one in each hand and push both together without to explode (or, sometime, just bounce it one on the other). The author explain that sometime the 2 bubbles will also, inexplicably, merge in one bigger.

This is 1928, nearly a century ago !











From "Some more exquisite conjuring (Supplement: Soap Bubbles)

By F.W. Conradi (supplement by H.W. Tagrey) Germany, 1928





This is the last from the book of Nugent (but there are many other bubble "fantasy" inside the book, including to put some cats inside a bubble, so I suggest you search for the book in a public library and read it !).


This do not need many explanation. Again, we do not know if Nugent was really doing it in his demonstration, but it may be possible, as the image describe exactly what will happen (many bubbles connected or attached one to the other. If the image was showing only single bubbles was less believable)



Here another classic, today still performed with Ping-Pong rackets (or simply on gloves).


I find interesting the idea of to use 2 tennis rackets, as these are more visible from stage.

In the explanation the author tell to change the strings with cotton threads, which may be quite a job (and that's why, I think, the use of ping-pong rackets it is more popular today, as it is necessary only to ad felt or velvet on the top of a racket, in place to change all strings).


See also the effect below




From "Some more exquisite conjuring (Supplement: Soap Bubbles)

By F.W. Conradi (supplement by H.W. Tagrey) Germany, 1928




Bouncing bubbles was a very popular stunt in the beginning of XX Century.


It is listed in the repertoire of many bubble performers (see the section PERFORMERS FROM THE PAST) and it is possible to see it also in the video of GRIFF.


Here, on the left, an image from an article of 1916 and an article from 1913 about a Science Exibition.

It is no name of the performer doing this demonstration, maybe was C.V. Boys himself  (he was doing a lot of scientific demonstration, even if he was not a performer) maybe from any of the performers I listed before or, maybe, from another performer that we do not know, it is difficult to say, but the repertoire described, look very similar to the experience that scientist was used to do for student, this is demonstrated also from the repertoire of E. Plasterer that in his show was doing (many years later) all of the effects described here (and he was a former science teacher). In any case it show again how popular was bubbles at the time and that the repertoire was not so naive like we tend to imagine today.




Are you a magician that make a dove to appear from a bubble ? Are you thinking that it is your idea ? Wrong, sorry... .


This is dated 1928 and I guess that was a possible effect performed by magicians at that time, especially with a bubble filled with smoke.

Maybe it was made with an apparatus (as suggested from the description) and not with manipulation, still the idea it is very old.










From "Some more exquisite conjuring (Supplement: Soap Bubbles)

By F.W. Conradi (supplement by H.W. Tagrey) Germany, 1928





To put also object in a bubble was a common known effect, on the side you can see two images, the picture is from Scientific American of 1909 and the draw from an article of same period, I add all article below in the gallery.


Nugent also describe this effect, with the same technique, in his book, this mean that at the beginning of the XX Century was really known and the picture from Scientific American demonstrate that was possible to do it (of, course, with the proper dimension of the bubble).



This particular effect date back even to the vaudeville time (if not before) as the first evidence it is in an article from Scientific American of 1909 (picture on the side) and, live, in the video of Griff that I mentioned on the chapter PERFORMER FROM THE PAST.

Later, also Eiffel Plasterer was performing this effect both horizontally (check the video link that I added about him) and, in his  beautiful version, even vertically "down-up" using helium (also in the video and in the picture below)

Visually (performing it horizontally, vertically up-down or down-up) may look like different effects, but I connect all in one category because the technique it is the same: to blow one bubble after other connected in a long chain.

Later again, in the '70, Tom Noddy created the effect as it is presented today (a chain of bubbles that go down till the floor) and called it "the Caterpillar" in his beautiful book, for this reason, I list here with his name and below you can see his picture, but the effect was much older (with techniques only slightly different).

As Tom commented, he come to this idea without to know about Plasterer and that he meet only later; 40 years ago the world was much "bigger" then today and it is easy to understand that the creation of similar effects was not only possible, but also more diffused then today as it was nearly impossible to track down other artists working in the same field, not to speak about old short movies from the '20 that today you can easily watch on youtube. 

                       HAND BLOWING BUBBLES

Blowing bubbles with hands may be one of the first way of to do it. Although almost all print and painting, even from the XVIII Century, show kids and people blowing it using clay pipes, I could bet that the first way of to blow it was using hands.

In the article on the side you can see a very interesting technique: the hand is turned on the other side, respect what many people is used to do in modern times, and there is a good reason for it, because the bubble can stick to the palm of the hand, if the hand is reversed, blowing this way it may prove to be easier for to make many bubbles. The article is dated 1898 (!) and it teach also how to make a ring for to blow bigger bubbles.

                               THE BUBBLE WALL & Pep Bou

 Here an argument that may create discussion: from one side there is a tool the origin of which are quite old, from the other side, there is a performer that made of it an incredible original show on the '80.

Today the use of the bubble wall not only for scientific demonstration, but also for bubble performances, it is very diffused, and this, under certain aspect, it may be fine, what it is not correct it is that an incredibly big part of performers copy exactly the same effects created by Pep Bou in the '80.

I'm, personally, of the opinion that intellectual property of other performers must be respected, so it is not the tool in himself, but the act/performances/effects that an artist build around it that must absolutely not copied.

For this reason I will list also this  effect and Pep Bou in the section of INVENTION

There is evidence of similar tool (even if in smaller scale) since the study of surface tension of Plateau, the image on the side it come also from a book of 1910; also C.V. Boys propone similar model in his book, especially for to study the argument.

Later, from the '70-'80, started to appear in many Science Museum all around the world structure as in the picture up and the other below (all from Science museum around the world).

I never had the possibility to ask to Pep Bou, but it may be possible that he took inspiration from one of this model for to build his version.

It is possible to make a lot of different effect around this prop, just using the fantasy, it is not necessary to copy the work of others.

Below some other articles about the surface tension and similar experiments, where we can see the use of similar props.


Here a compilation of ideas that do not go under a proper effect, just may have been as example for to produce effect.

I start with this image of an elevated support for to hold a dome.

Similar structure are in use today with various modification.

Again, I insist that it is not a prop that make the difference, but the effect in himself that distinguish his creator, so attention should be paid in do not replicate the same effects originally created by other performers

Another interesting effect from 1910: a bubble inside a cylinder made with two rings connected to a bubble.

Today the same effect it is made without the use of the rings, but just with the hands.

Experiments with lights and bubbles.

Modern technology help to create incredibly beautiful effects using lights, this image show that was already an interesting experience at the beginning of XX Century









This come from an advertising of a bubble toy of 1895 !


What it is interesting to observe it is the use of inverted glass as a support for to hold bubbles.