'The Magic Catalogue' by William Doerflinger (Page 101)
This is a book filled with ads from old magic catalogues and it's fascinating to see the way tricks were promoted "back in the day"... especially if you yourself bought them based on the somewhat "creative" descriptions in the ads.
I bought a WONDEROPE and, as I seriously doubt this could actually be performed by ANYONE, I'd like to point out a few things:
The trick itself is a 3 ft piece of poor quality rope, with a 1 ft length of wire in the top third and a loop of black sewing thread about 6 inches from the top. The idea being that, if you hold the loop (and the entire audience squints) you can create the appearance of the rope rising and possibly floating.
The ad says:
1 - "The rope rises 8 ft in the air". (The rope is 3 ft long, if the magician is 5'10, the highest the rope can rise is 6 ft max... unless the magician is 7 ft tall...)
2 - "You may cause it to rise or descend at you will" (Yes) "or remain suspended 3 ft away while you walk around it." (Absolutely impossible).
3 - "Those effects and hundreds of others are possible with WONDEROPE" (You can't even perform "those effects" let alone the "hundreds of others")
4 - "At finish you coil rope up" (The wire is pretty stiff...)
5 - "We even give you a version where the same rope is thrown out for inspection." (You must first, discretely, pull the wire out and break the thread off...)
6 - "The illustration on this page gives an accurate idea of how the trick looks to your audience..." (Note that rope is 3 ft long... so that means the magician is less than 12 inches tall).