"Be a magician. Make money giving shows. Do dozens of amazing tricks that mystify your friends. Perform mind reading illusions. Produce coins, balls, cards, bottles out of the air, then make them disappear. Make your audience gasp in wonder." According to a 1930 advertisement in "Boys' Life" magazine, a Mysto Magic Set could make all of this possible. Alfred Carlton Gilbert, founder of the A. C. Gilbert Company and an amateur magician himself, first went into business in 1909 with the Mysto Manufacturing Company, an outfit dedicated to the production of supplies for magic shows. Mysto, along with other toy makers of the time, also made magic play sets, capitalizing on the popularity of early 20th-century magicians such as Harry Houdini and Howard Thurston. These performers toured the country, awing crowds with incomprehensible feats of magic, and magic play sets encourage children to practice the art of illusion and dream up mystifying acts of their own.