In 1927 Royal V. Heath marketed a magic effect called “The Di-Ciphering Trick” based on a math trick developed by Edmund Balducci. It consisted of these 5 dice cubes bearing a different 3 digit number on each face – 30 numbers in all. A spectator would roll the dice and the magician would quickly announce the sum of all the numbers. Quite amazing given that there are over 7700 different combination of numbers that could show on the 5 cubes. If you want to know the secret of the dice, you can watch the video, but I don't want to spoil it for those that may not want to know now. But, rest assured that if you can do quite simple addition in your head you can used these dice with great effect.
It took a bit of research for me to resurrect the dice pattern and associated magic effects, but I am please with the result as I love math puzzles and these are fascinating I think. Made here is Spring Hill with the 7/8" Dice having numbers deeply laser engraved. Also available in the wood case shown in photo. Case with dice measures about 5 1/4" x 2 1/2" x 2"
The information below is offered as a supplement and will be appreciated once you know how the dice work:
Other more elaborate tricks can be incorporated using the dice.
The following is from Verne Chesbro as quoted from “My Best” edited by JG Thompson, 1945. Note, this book does give more details on magic acts that can be done with the Heath Dice.
The following facts are interesting and may be useful in expanding tricks that can be done with the Heath Dice:
a) there are only 27 totals possible
b) The first number in the total must be a 2 or 3 or 1 in that order. 2 comes up twelve times; 3 nine times; and 1 six times.
c) The first and third figures of the total add to 4. For instance if 1 is the first, then 3 is the third. If 2 is the first, then 2 is also the third.
d) The second and fourth figures add to 10.
e) The 4 figures added across total 14
The exception to rules c, d, and e above are when the totals are 2030 or 3020.
The following is from “Practical Magic” by Annemann
Effect: Produce the 5 dice and let someone shake and roll them. Line them up in a row and turning your back ask the person to add the numbers to get a total. Ask him how many figures are in the total. He replies there are four, and you tell him to look at the first 2 and the last 2. Now hand him a book and ask him to open it to the page represented by the higher of the two numbers. Then, taking the other number, he counts to that word on the page and remembers it. You take out a pocket notebook , write something down on a page, tear it out, crumple it and hand it to another person. The word is now disclosed and when the paper is opened your written divination is found to be correct.
Preparation and Routine:
I have found that the use of the dice make the test appear very fair. There is never a thought that in the moment of putting the dice in line, or in instructing the spectator what to do, you have learned the total by the short cut process possible with this trick. The opinion that they have is that there can be hundreds or more variations.
As a matter of fact, there are only 27 different grand totals possible. Going further, if one separates the four figure totals in half, using them as large and small 2 figure numbers for page and word, then there are only 15 possible words that can be selected. Thus, on the inside cover of your notebook, you have the list of 15 words (from the book you intend using) followed by the 15 smallest figures possible in all the totals. Its an easy manner to steal a glance at the prepared list as you open your notebook to jot down your written word. The combinations are as follows:
Page Word Page Word Page Word
39 11 34 16 29 21
38 12 33 17 28 22
37 13 32 18 27 23
36 14 31 19 26 24
35 15 30 20 25 25
Here is a variation by PF Dark:
Use the above test with a telephone book. Vary it by having 2 of the figures represent the page, the 3rd figure the column, and the last figure the name in that column. It is easy for the spectator to find the name and the telephone number as he never has to count down more than nine, i.e.: 3119 would be page 31, first column, ninth name. When there happens to be a zero in the last space such as 3020, the page would be 30, the second column, and you can see if there is a zero to look at the fist name.