In a recent Issue of Popular Mechanics an article on "The Turning Card Puzzle" was described and illustrated. Outside of the scientific side involved herein I describe a much better trick. About the time when the expression "skidoo" first began to be used I invented the following trick and called it "Skidoo" and "Skidee," which created much merriment. Unless the trick is thoroughly understood, for some it will turn one way, for others the opposite way, while for others it will not revolve at all. One person whom I now recall became red in the face by shouting skidoo and skidee at it, but the thing would not move at all, and he finally, from vexation, threw the trick into the fire and a new one had to be made. Very few can make it turn both ways at will, and therein is the trick.
Take a piece of hardwood 3/8-in. square and about 9 in. long. On one of the edges cut a series of notches as indicated in Fig 1. Then slightly taper the end marked B until it is nicely rounded as shown in Fig. 2. Next make an arm of a two-arm windmill such as boys make. Make a hole through the center of this one arm. Enlarge the hole slightly, enough to allow a common pin to hold the arm to the end B and not interfere with the revolving arm. Two or three of these arms may have to be made before one is secured that is of the exact proportions to catch the vibrations right.
How to Cut the Notches
To operate the trick, grip the stick firmly in one hand, and with the forward and backward motion of the other allow the first finger to slide along the top edge, the second finger along the side and the thumb nail will then vibrate along the notches, thus making the arm revolve in one direction. To make the arm revolve in the opposite direction--keep the hand moving all the time, so the observer will not detect the change which the band makes--allow the first finger to slide along the top, as in the other movement, the thumb and second finger changing places: e. g., in the first movement you scratch the notches with the thumb nail while the hand is going from the body, and in the second movement you scratch the notches with the nail of the second finger when the hand is coming toward the body, thus producing two different vibrations. In order to make it work perfectly (?) you must of course say "skidoo" when you begin the first movement, and then, no matter how fast the little arm is revolving when changed to the second movement, you must say "skidee" and the arm will immediately stop and begin revolving in the opposite direction. By using the magic words the little arm will obey your commands instantly and your audience will be mystified. If any of your audience presume to dispute, or think they can do the same, let try it. You will no doubt be accused of blowing or drawing in your breath, and many other things in order to make the arm operate. At least it is amusing. Try it and see. --Contributed by Charles Clement Bradley, Toledo, Ohio.