Monday, December 20, 2010

The Weed Chain Tire Grip challenge

One of Houdini's most visually spectacular escapes was when he was challenged to free himself from chains provided by the Weed Chain Tire Grip, Co. Houdini accomplished the feat on April 10, 1908 at the Keiths Theater in New York City.

The image of Houdini in the "grip" of the weed chains is a famous one. Houdini would use the dramatic photos in his pitchbooks. However, details of the actual escape have always been somewhat scant.

Now, super collector Arthur Moses (Houdini Speaks Out) sends over the Weed Chain Tire Grip Co's own account of the challenge from their company pitchbook, The Weed. (This also recently appeared on Kevin Connolly's superb blog, Houdini Himself.) One interesting revelation is that Houdini repeated the escape a second time in Philadelphia.

Is it just me, or does it sounds like Houdini wrote this article himself?

Click images to enlarge

Thank you, Arthur!

If you have a Houdini rarity you'd like me to showcase, please feel free to send it over. You can email me via the About Me page. Of course, full credit and kudos will be provided (unless you wish to remain anonymous).


  1. The Weed tire chain escape is another example of Houdini associating himself with emerging 20th century technology, the automobile. But as I understand it, he rarely drove himself! Thanks John, Paul Reardon

  2. Quite right, Paul. Although there are a few photos of him behind the wheel of a car (and one bit of film) and there's some mention of him participating in an auto race at one point. I also once saw a photo on eBay of a smashed car, and written on the back was that it was Houdini's car after an accident in Oakland in 1912.



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