The Color Changing Knives: Survey and Historical Knives

Last updated:
June 2022: Added a new section at the end of  this page for "miscellaneous" knives where either I don't have a photo or I don't know the manufacturer.
Added Don Arthur's Color Knife; Jeff Busby knives; Kanter's Color Changing Knives; Keen's Professional Color Changing Knives; Expanded the Rodger Lovins collection; Harry Stanley Color Changing Knives; Added a historical tidbit and photo under Merrill Knives; updated and added a few other images, updated & corrected some text.

Thanks to Joe Mogar for discussions on what makes a good knife and for a sample of his new Stag handled knives, Gary Frank for information on the Merrill knives,
Mike Rogers for photos and information on Sander's knives and J.P. Jackson custom knives, Michael Close for the photo of Scotty York knives sold on e-Bay,

Stevens Magic Emporium
for use of the Tamariz' Knives set photograph, and Ray Szwec for information on the Hot Rod Knife, and many others who have sent me info and photos.

This article is in Four Sections:

a. About Color Changing Knives
b. Photos of historical (and current) color changing knives
c. Knife Cases and Holders
d. Miscellaneous knives with either no photos or unknown manufacturer

INTRODUCTION: The "color changing knives" (I'll abbreviate them as CCK in this article) effect is one of my favorites. I've always been a fan of good pocket knives, and the size, weight, and handling of the color changing knives makes it simply a delight to perform and practice. Knives are a "natural" product and something many people carry around with them every day. Finally, you can do a large variety of effects, from a simple two knife routine to a long, complex multi-knife routine. Knife quality, however, varies widely. You can get cheap flashy sets for under $10, or you can easily spend over $100 for a custom set. This article provides buying advice and provides some photos of many of the color changing knives you may come across.
INVENTION: According to, the Color Changing Knives effect was invented by Mr. Walter Ceretta Jeans. I don't know anything else about Mr. Jeans or the first color changing knife. If anyone has any additional information, I would love to hear it.
KNIFE PARTS: First, a little about knives in general. The basic parts of a knife include the blade, a spring to make it stay open (and shut!), two liners on each side of the blade, and two covers (the handle). Knives may have one or two bolsters, these are the metal tipped ends found on most knives, and they may be found on one or both ends (or neither). The covers are usually held on by rivets, but they may be glued or otherwise attached. Some knives have a shield emblem, which states the maker's name or something similar. Usually, the country of origin can be found stamped on the main blade near the handle.
knife parts

CCK Properties: A good standard pocket knife will have a good "snap" to it when it is opened. This demonstrates a strong spring, and ensures it won't close easily on your hand while in use. The covers will mate closely with the bolsters, with no obvious gaps between them. The rivets will be smooth and well finished. When closed, the knife tip will be inside the handle, such that it won't catch on your pocket. 

The perfect knife will vary a bit depending on your hand size and personal preferences, but there are some common things to look for.

Symmetry and size:

A knife suitable as a color changing knife should be fairly symmetric, that is, it shouldn't look much different on one side than it does on the other. When the magic color change move is performed, the primary difference the audience should notice is the color change. Thus, a knife with a symbol or crest on one side not only changes in color, but in design as well.

Another item to consider as far as symmetry goes is that the knife blade, when closed, should not protrude greatly from the side of the knife. The spectator's attention should not be drawn to the blade, but to the knife cover. Tannen's Magic at one time even made a non-opening CCK that was greatly symmetric, since there was no real blade to break the lines.

The length of the knife should be just a tad smaller than the width of your palm, though slightly longer may be okay. This allows you to hold the knives fully enclosed in your hand without the ends peeking out. Thus, you will find most color changing knives about 2.5 to 3.5 inches long.

The width (depth?) and "roundness" of color changing knives varies quite a bit, and will be largely a matter of taste. Enardoe knives (see below) are somewhat flat and wide, and sometimes are a bit difficult for my smaller fingers to perform the various color change moves (though I've had success with them for several years). Many magician's will prefer a more rounded knife. At the same time, one of the benefits of the flatter knives is they tend to have less "flash" of the color changing principle.

The Merrill knives were pretty flat, but instead of covers rouned on the edge like the Enardoe Knives, they were fairly square. The squareness aids in performing the color changing moves and made these knives very desirable.

If possible, try out the knives you are interested in purchasing to see how you like them.


The colors for the change, of course, must contrast. Red and white or black and white are common. Choosing contrasting colors such as blue and green is not a good idea since these colors can be confused in dim lighting or by those who are color blind (using one of these colors with a white alternating color would be okay, though).

Some performers may prefer knives with flashy, sparkling colors, but I prefer a knife to look more like a "real" pocket knife. Most pocket knives I grew up with were more subdued, and had handles in colors such as black, brown, yellow, red, or white. I feel that such a knife will be "accepted" by the audience as a regular knife, in contrast with one that may appear gimmicky. As for the flashy knives, such as the sparkly knives pictured below, one gentleman I corresponded with had great success with these because he would perfom for a jeweler's show, where flash was a necessity!

Some knives change not only color, but handle material as well, using a smooth cover for one side, and a stag-type cover for the color change. A benefit of this knife can be in the handling, as it is easier to tell by feel the postion of the knife. The negative side of this is that of symmetry as discussed above. If the effect is supposed to be a color change, then with a stag/smooth knife, the effect becomes both a color AND a material change. I don't think most spectators will be upset by this, but it is something to consider.

Materials and Other Features:

Color changing knives, like their real counterparts, come in a variety of materials. Plastic covers are common, but you will also find knives of stag or bone as well. The material will affect the weight and feel of your knives, but it is difficult to make any hard and fast rules as to handle material as each magician will have different tastes. Of course, a quality knife will likely last longer, and will hold up better if dropped and when carried in the pocket.

In his book, Ascanio's World of Knives, Jose De La Torre recommends knives with a ring on the end, which can be used to identify a knife in your pocket. By turning the ring either toward the blade, the back edge of the knife, or leaving it pointing straight up, you can identify the knives by feel.

A ring is not necessary, though. A single bolster knife can be quickly identified by noticing whether the bolster is up or down, and whether the blade is left or right. Even a double bolster knife can be determined by feeling the blade shape and direction, though this is not as instantaneous as other methods. Some knives, as noted above, even come with different material handles on each side, though the change effect is not as "pure" since the change is now not only color, but handle material as well.

Finally, dividers or knife holders can be used in the pockets to aid in identifying location and ensuring the right side is up. You can place the knives in the holder in a specific pattern, and then easily determine by feel which knife is which. I've included some photos of some knife holders below in section three.


A word about cost. A good, normal (non-magic) single-blade pocket knife can run you anywhere from $10 to well over $50 for a commercial, quality blade (and much more for custom knives). If you are purchasing a color changing knives set of two, three, or more knives, the cost could quickly skyrocket. Thus, most commercial sets use inexpensive knives rather than collector's brands such as Camillus or Case (though you may find custom sets made from models from these companies). In general, you will find the fit and finish of color changing knives less than that of their commercial counterparts. So, while you can expect to get color changing knife sets for about $10-$15 per knife, don't expect perfection.

General Advice Summary:

1. Vibrant but classic colors. Most real knives are white, red, black, brown, or bone. Sparkles and such, while showing up well, are a bit too much for my tastes (though if you like them, go for it!). At the same time, you want the colors to be bright and provide good contrast for the color changes. Changing a dark brown knife to black is not enough of a visual change to be effective. 

2. Slightly squared shape. Some of the knives are a bit too flat. This does well to prevent flashing, but if the fingers are a little moist (like when you are nervous), the flat shape can hinder performance of the paddle move. For the knives I have tried, the Merrill knives and the Joe Mogar knives have a great shape and are very easy to work with.

3. Non-flashing. When sitting flat on your hand, there is always a danger of color flash, which may be why some knives are very flat. Tony Spina (of Tannen's magic) made a set of "knives" that had the handles inlaid, with no danger of flashing. Knives with extremely rounded handles may present more opportunities to flash the wrong color.

4. Available in a variety of styles. Some knives only come in sets of two, while many routines require three or more knives. Of course, if you only want to do a basic routine, two knives is all you need, and there are even a few routines out there for using a single knife.


As the market is always changing, you should check with your local magic dealer to see what is currently available. The Joe Mogar knives have been in production since 2006 and are always a good choice. They meet all of the requirements above, with only some potential of flashing. 

As for books, Ascanio's World of Knives (translated to English by Jose De La Torre), is really good, and has finally been reprinted. This version is relatively inexpensive, and is Jose De La Torre's "paraphrase" of the original Ascanio Book with some of Jose's ideas included. You can also get a new translation of Ascanio's original "Knives and Color Blindness" as Volume 4 of the Magic of Ascanio. The Merrill Knife Book is also an excellent reference and is still widely available.

See the Color Changing Knives Reference Guide for links to many more books and videos with routines.

Samples of Color Changing Knives that have been on the market over the years. Many of these are no longer available.

Knives are listed in Alphabetical order by Manufacturer
Don Arthur's
              Color Knife
Image from Magicref
Don Arthur's Color Knife

These knives are tapered and appear to be the same knife & pattern as the "Beyond Belief" knives below, including the ring on the one end of the handle.

This was a two knife set with very basic and not very helpful instructions. Consisted of a regular and a color changing knife.

The rounded handle design made performing the necessary sleights easy. 

I believe Don Arthur ran a magic shop in Florida, and perhaps is the same Don Arthur that wrote, "Illusions in the Round".

Knives are 3 & 3/4" long (closed) and blade is marked "China".
Bay Area Mgic
              Ultra Knife
Image from advertisement in Stan Allen's Magic magazine, April 2001
Bay Area Magic: Ultra Color Changing Knives.

The Ultra-Color Changing knives were produced around 2001 by Bay Area Magic. Somewhere I have notes that these knives were by Michael Silver, but there is a review in the Dec 2002 Genii for Bay Area Magic Ultra Color Changing Knives by David Lowenstein, and the description matches these.

They share a similar knife design as one of the Eric Wolf knives (see further below), but without the rivet in the handle. They featured fine wood handles in walnut and maple with chrome finish bolsters on each end.

The base knives were manufactured by Frost Cutlery. Each knife measures 2 & 3/4 inches with rounded contours and uniform shape, and they handle well. They were available in a two knife set for about $100.

Reviewed in Genii, December 2002.

Bay Area Magic, San Francisco, CA

Jean Luc Bertrand No Smoking
Image courtesy
Bertrand, Jean-Luc: No Smoking

A CCK routine performed with specially made lighters. A standard BIC lighter is designed for non-smokers, and the image jumps on and off the lighter and from lighter to lighter, ending with an "impossible object" climax. $60
              Belief Supreme Color Changing Knives
Beyond Belief Supreme Color Changing Knives
The Routine was supplied on a two-sided 8.5x11" sheet, with no illustrations. Instructions are decent, describing The Paddle Turn, Hand Flip, Color Change, and The Convincer, which are then followed by the routine description.
Beyond Belief's
Supreme Color Changing Knives

By Mark Mystique. These are tapered knives with wide ends, and included paper-insert handle colors. Knives have a key ring on one end, and one feature of the routine is a knife vanish accomplished with an extra gimmick. The vanished knife is later found in a closed box that has been in view. The Deluxe set came with three knives. The Supreme Set adds one extra knife and included a Velvet Box.

One of the unique features of this set is that two of the knives intentionally have the blades further set into the handle than the others. This aids the handling. One of the other knives is the one that vanishes via the reel, and the other knife is found inside the velvet box at the end. Handling of these knives is acceptable, though they are much too wide for my tastes.

Reviewed in Genii, July 1994. Retailed around $20-30 at the time.

The El Duco knives seem to be based off the same knife base, but I think the key ring has been removed. 

Beyond Belief, Lancaster, CA

Dan and Dave
              Buck - Practical Knife Routine for Gentlemen
Image from
Buck, Dan & Dave:
A Practical Knife Routine for Gentleman

With each set you’ll receive three knives, a custom leather carrying case, and in a beautifully bound and embossed pamphlet featuring expert instruction from Jared Kopf.

Knives are Buck knives, about 2 & 5/8 inches long, and have a very good fit and finish.

Dan and Dave LLC.

Jeff Busby
              Color Changing Knives
Photo courtesy Rhett Bryson
Jeff Busby: Color Changing Knives

Rhett Bryson wrote me, "It is a set put out by Jeff busby...It came in a white box with a custom "Bench Made Magic" Busby sticker with the serial number on it. Inside is a green felt bag with the three knives (B/R, R/R, B/B) and has a sewn-in Busby label and a Made in USA label as well. The knives are distinctively shaped and frankly a little hard to do the paddle move with."

Brad Burt Buck
              Color Changing Knives
Brad Burt Color Changing Knives
Photo by Matt Herber

Brad Burt
              Color Changing Knives
Image courtesy

Brad Burt - Buck Color Changing Knives

These Buck Color Changing Knives pictured to the left were bought by Matt Herbert from Brad Burt's Magic Shop in San Diego, CA back in 1991. Two sets were offered, with either two or three knives. Even then, the three knife set was $99.

Buck makes a good quality knife, resulting in a set of Color Changing Knives that are top notch. They even came with an additional blade. This was the Buck 305X model, from my understanding. Size was 2.75", 6" extended. 

Matt's recollection from a conversation with Brad is that Brad had these knives actually  produced for him by Buck Knives; they were not knives that were purchased and then modified.

Matt has a set of Scotty York knives, but prefers the Buck Knives in his shows because they are real pocket knives.

Bottom photo is another set that was available up at the QuickerThanTheEye website some time ago.

Terry Broshears Stag Color Changing Knives
Stag Color Sets
Terry Broshears Hot Rod Knife
Hot Rod Knife
Images courtesy Meir Magic
Terry Broshears: Stag Color Changing Knife Set.

Built from a 1893 "Doctor's Knife" style knife, 3.5" long, about 1/4" thick. These are heavier knives than most. Come in two knife sets, in a variety of different colors. Retail $85.

TailLight Color Changing Knives
set, using car break-lights as the handle material and based on the same knife base. Comes in two or three knife sets from $85 to $125.
Sets include a velvet carry bag but no instructions.

Hot Rod Knife
. Hand made single knife, each with a unique set of colors and available in a variety of force colors. No instructions. $45

Venue Approved Hot Rod Knife
. A smaller, 2.75" knife with 2" blade for legal use in a wider variety of states. $37.50

These are currently available (2022) from Meir Yedid Magic.
Candu Color Changing Pocket Knives
Image courtesy eBay seller jwells85018yi1
Candu Magic
The Color Changing Pocket Knives

Smaller knives with bolsters on both ends, and a keychain eyelet on one end. As shown here with a brown stag handle, and more commonly with a smooth black and white or black and red handle set.

A nice set that handled well.
Casavalle Set
Image from Casavalle Kinves
Image from Magicref
The Casavalle Knives come with a small instructional booklet with several moves taught. Presently this book is only available in Spanish.
Flavio Casavalle: Casavalle Knives

The Casavalle knives are modeled after the Tamariz/Jose De La Torre knives, but with modern materials and design changes to minimize the potential for "flashing" and to enhance handling.

The knives are very well made, with bright, highly polished colors, and are available in a variety of colors, to include the "visible-change" change knife, and smaller knives for a climax finale.

They are currently available in Spain.

A slightly longer review of the Casavalle Knives is here.
              Reflecto-Matic Knives
Chazpro: Reflecto-O-Knives

Color changing knives with a twist. These knives appear to be the tapered design of the Beyond Belief knives (and a few others as listed here). Chazpro took the idea of being able to custom print a design on the handle, and provided three different variations (or all available as a set):

Reflect-O-Money. The reflection of a dollar bill gets captured in the knife. With the routine provided, the reflection can be hit right out of the knife and unfolded, revealing a real dollar bill (bill not included, of course). Came with one knife. Originally $12.

Reflect-O-Matic. Similar to the above, but in this version the blue color of an unusual blue card is captured. Came with set of two knives. Originally $15.

Reflect-O-Cards. Included two effect - 1) capture the image of the card box 2) capture the image of the selected card. Came with set of two knives. Originally $15.

The set of all five knives was available for about $30.

Advertised in Stan Allen's Magic magazine, January 1998.

Daryl Color Changing Knives Daryl's Color Changing Knives

I don't believe these are available any longer, although the routine is available on Daryl's DVD Fooler Doolers Volume 1.

These knives feature a bit of a wider and flat knife, which may be more difficult to perform the moves with than a narrower, more rounded knife.

However, the unique feature of this set is the "thumbprint" on the two colored handle,  making it appear as if the color was painted on "live", and providing for a very unique routine.

Reviewed in June 2001 The Linking Ring
Reviewied in July 2001 Genii

Davenport's Demon Color Changing Knives
Image courtesy Potter & Potter Auctions
Davenport's London. Demon Color Changing Knives

A Two knife set with flat handles, no bolsters, and three rivets. From the early 1950's. Note the Demon Head logo on the end of the blade.

              Dusheck Giant Knife
Image courtesy The Magic Gadget Site
Steve Dusheck's
Giant Color-Changing Knife

A huge 5.5" knife designed after the Merrill Knife pattern.

Advertised in the July 1988 New Tops magazine.
El Duco Color
              Changing Knives
Image courtesy eBay seller Mulligan
Included a 9 page instruction manual
El Duco's Magic - El Duco's Knife Routine

These used the tapered knife design as seen in the Beyond Belief set and the Don Arthur set.

I don't notice the keyring in the photo, so this may be been removed by El Duco's to enhance handling.

Another photo I've seen of this set showed Red & Blue, so I expect there were various color combinations through the years.

Christer Gustavsson's El Duco Magic of Sweden.

                Color Changing Knives
Image from Magicref

Routine: The original Enardoe routine is one I consider a classic and is very well done. I don't know if it comes with any of the newer versions of this knife, however. The instructions came on a two-sided 8.5"x5.5" sheet with illustrations and a very logical routine that is not too hard for beginners.

Enardoe (E.O. Drane Co.):

The first color changing knife set I owned was from E.O. Drane, otherwise known as the Enardoe knives (E.O. Drane spelled backwards). This came standard as a two knife set: one regular and one gimmicked in black and white. They used to be available with either a regular all white knife or regular all black knife. This would expand the routine capabilities by obtaining two sets to provide a three knife set (well, four counting the two gimmicked knives). In my searches, however, the all-black knives don't seem to be available anymore.

The Enardoe knives used to be made by Imperial Knife Co. in the USA, and they are the "trick" knives in that only the magician can open them.

The knives are fairly flat, and the covers have a slight curve to them. They don't flash when laid on a table due to the bolsters, but their flatness and width make them slightly harder to handle, especially for smaller hands. They represent a good, basic set.

While the original Enardoe knives are no longer available, you can find replicas from several manufacturers for around $20. I believe the current sets are made by Morris, Empire (Loftus), and Royal Magic. The trick knife feature is a nice bonus. I have also seen on the Internet a Roy Rogers knife that appears to be similar. This might add to your patter potential as a final switch.

Fantastic Magic Co. color changing knives series 2
Fantastic Magic Co. Knives - older style, 2 blades

Fantastic Magic Co. Color Changing Knives
Fantastic Magic Co. Color Changing Knives, newer style

Fantastic Magic Company, Inc.

The Fantastic Magic Co., was originally owned by R.D. Merrill, and Gary Frank carried on the Merrill Color Changing Knives after purchasing the company in 1975. After production of the Merrill knives was ceased, Gary began to produce the knives seen in the top photo.

These were double bladed knives with a very nice finish and feel, with a good weight to them. The extra thickness from the two blades enhanced the handling. The base knives were made by the Colonial Knife Company in the USA.

After these knives were no longer available, Gary Frank had to switch to the knives in the bottom picture.

These knives have several advantages: 1) they aren't too wide; 2) they have bolsters at both ends, which makes them very symmetrical and eliminates any "show" when spectators view the knives from the ends; 3) the stag/smooth handle differences make finding the correct knife in your pocket easier; and 4) they look like regular pocket knives.

The knives are 2 & 7/8" long and a three knife set comes with Dr. Merrill's Classic Color Changing Knives and Paddle Routines booklet (a subset of the Merrill Knife book). Gary also offers a Visible Color change knife (also in B&W) for $20. In overall handling, I still prefer the Mogar knives, but Gary's knives represent a suitable alternative.

These (bottom) knives were also available from Mark Wilson, along with a short 18 minute DVD of Mark's straightforward color changing knife routine.

Frahme Color Changing Knives
Michael Frahme's Custom Color Changing Knives.

Michael made these knives just for himself and was kind enough to donate a few photos for this web site. They are not available for sale, but they do show what a nice set of custom knives can come out like. Michael wrote that the guys at Tannen's in NY wanted a set, but he had to tell them he didn't want to go into business. Michael used CASE peanut knives as the base.

Michael also sent me photos of the Weber knife case (see below)
Funtime Ganson Knives
India knives
Routine: The routine that comes with the "Ganson" set (top photo) is very good, and is simply a reprint of the routine as found in Ganson's Routined Manipulation (see the Books section for a full table of contents listing). The other set is titled Three Color Changing Pen Knife, and is provided on two single sided illustrated A4 sized sheets. It includes two basic routines, and describes The Paddle Move, The Flick, and The Switch.
Funtime Magic / "Ganson" Knives:

Around the year 2000, some inexpensive sets were made in India known as the Ganson knives, since with one of the sets a routine by Lewis Ganson (from his book, Routined Manipulation) is included. There were five knife colors available: black, white, red, blue, and white with colored stripes. The black, white, red and blue handles are plastic, with one rivet and probably glued the rest of the way. The striping on the white knife is achieved through a clear striped sticky paper. I didn't peel it off, but this idea could be used to make a regular knife into a color changing knife if you can find some clear tape with colored stripes on it, or for that matter, colored tape. The colors are "dull", rather than shiny. There is one bolster, and the liners and bolster are silver. The handles are rounded at the edges, which aids in the handling. Even though they are rounded, they don't flash easily as long as your angles are right, but you need to use more caution than with the flatter Enardoe knives. Also, because the color goes all the way to one end, you have to be sure to keep this end away from the audience because the non-bolster end does flash.

The knives are cheaply made with no country of origin stamped on the blades. They are difficult to open, and some don't close cleanly (each knife varies). The fit and finish is not so good, and there are significant gaps between the bolsters and the handles.

The sets also come with a brass bent metal knife holder, so you can keep the knives straight while in your pocket. However, the holders don't work so well because they use a single piece of elastic. When one knife is removed, the other knife now hangs too loosely in the holder. This can be easily remedied, however, by simply replacing the elastic with individual pieces.

I purchased two sets in order to obtain all the colors. Despite the low cost and cheap quality, these knives are decent to work with. They "work well", in my hands anyway, and they are inexpensive enough that if you lose one you won't be too upset! I could recommend these knives as a good first set. Their main advantage over the Enardoe knives is the variety of colors available, but I certainly give the Enardoe-style knives the edge in quality

J.P. Jackson CASE
              color changing knives
J.P. Jackson Color Changing Knives
Photo by Mike Rogers
              Jackson Color Changing Knives

J.P. Jackson Custom Knives:

There are probably many custom sets out there in magicland. J.P Jackson used to be found working at Brad Burt's Magic Shop in San Diego until Brad closed up his brick & mortar shop. Sadly, J.P. Jackson passed away in 2013.

J.P. made sets using CASE brand knives, which are excellent. The main problem has been in getting a supply of knives to work from however. CASE stopped making both the designs that J.P. used as his base. Thus, J.P. could only make sets as older knives are made available to him, which certainly drove up the price!

The top photo is of one of J.P.'s original sets. I had never seen a set of these knives until this photo was sent to me from Mike Rogers, who was kind enough to let me post it here. By the looks of the photo, they appear to be an excellent set. When Mike sent me the top photo, he stated that these knives were great, but that he still preferred his Sanders' knives.

In an interesting bit of trivia, J.P. re-acquired this set after Mike's passing, so they were of extra value to him!

In the early 2000's, J.P. was able to find another CASE design that made for a nice color changing knife set. The bottom photo at left from 2006. As with the above set, CASE no longer makes this knife either, so availability was an issue.

J.P. was still making knives back in 2006 on a case-by-case basis. I have no idea how many sets he may have made and sold.

Costs for custom knife sets will vary depending on the knives used and availability, but certainly plan on spending over $200 for a three knife set.
              Color Changing Knives
Photos courtesy Brad Jeffers
Kanter's Chameleon Knives:

The Kanter knives are one of the earliest color changing knives. on the market. They were advertised as early as 1936 in The Linking Ring magazine (International Brotherhood of Magicians) where they state, "most popular trick of 1935".  And the last page of the December 1935 "The Magic Wand" advertises Kanter's Chameleon Colour Changing Pocket Knife."

Though I haven't seen any personally, these appear to be a well made, two bladed knives. The bolsters at both ends would prevent flashing, and the thickness appears to aid the necessary sleights.

These photos sent to be by Brad Jeffers is a great representation.

One of the ad prints states, " "This is the pocket trick we brought out recently using a high-grade pocketknife which changes colors right before the spectator's eyes. It must be a good trick as we have sold several thousand of the original Kanter knives and, in addition, it is probably the most IMITATED trick on the market. Please note, we said IMITATED - we don't mean DUPLICATED ... for nobody has ever duplicated the Kanter knife"

Kanter's Magic Shop, Philadelphia, PA.
                Professional Color Changing Knives
Image courtesy Folini & Sons Magic
                Professional Color Changing Knives
Image courtesy eBay seller *go-n-go-n-gone*
Visible change knife, part of a red & white three knife set
The routine that was shown with the above set was just a single page of basic moves that "can be employed in conjunction with others of your own to provide a professional quality routine."

Keen's Professional Color Changing Knives

These knives are just about 3" long, with brass bolsters at both ends. This is a single blade knife.

I've seen two knife sets in white and blue, and a three knife set in red & white, which also included a split visible change knife.

The photos for the red & white set showed the main blade stamped with "Mexico".

Keen's Magic Gift Shop, Inc, Waco, TX

Lee Kibbey Custom Knives Lee Kibbey Custom Knives

MagicLanny makes a knife set based on a Winchester knife. The reviews on Richard Mendez' The Magic Museum site rates them very well.

They can be purchased directly, and sets are occasionally found available on e-Bay.

I have heard good things about these knives from others as well, and they are available in a variety of materials, as seen in the photo.

Photo to come!
Long, Chad: Flash!

A variation of the color changing knives using USB-style Flash Drives instead of knives. Includes 2 small flash drives, 1 long flash drive, and full color instructions (the drives are custom made and are not working memory sticks).

              Jorgancievski Color Changing Knives
MagicToad made knives in a wide variety of colors!
Magic Toad Knives

(Metodie Jorgancievski - the Magic Toad).

Custom knives similar in style to Mogar knives, and in a wide variety of colors. I purchased a set and really like the handle material, and since the knife style is similar to Mogar's, the handling is excellent.
Merrill Knives - Japan
Merrill Knives - Japan
                Color Changing Knife - Pakistan
Merrill Knives - Pakistan
Merrill Million to One Knife
There was even a Hot Rod knife
Merrill -
                angled visible change
Note the diagonal join on the visible change knife
(Photo courtesy Craig Brooks of AtlantisMagic)

 Routines: Merrill's Knife Book would have likely been purchased along with these knives. It is fully described in the Books section and is an excellent resource no matter what set of knives you own. Gary Frank sells the Merrill Knife Book, along with a more inexpensive "extract" in booklet format.

Merrill Knives:

by Dr. R.D. Merrill. These knives are nice, but sadly no longer commercially available (production of the silver bolstered knives ceased in 1977). My first introduction to these knives was the purchased of a used set in red and white, with a third visible change knife. After purchasing, I was informed that the set I obtained were not "original" Merrill knives, but later generation copies. These later generation Merrill-type knives have brass bolsters and were made in Pakistan. The originals have silver bolsters and were made in Japan.

I have since obtained a set of "original" Merrill's as well, shown here in the top photo. The colors are pearlized, and look very normal for a knife. The knife is fairly flat, but narrower and more square than the Enardoe knives, so they handle very easily. The flatness (along with bolsters at both ends) also helps them not to flash, and they can be laid on the table without fear. The blades open and close well with a good snap. Three rivets hold each cover on.

Original Merrill's came in Red/White or Black/White, and in the later years, more colors were made available.

For me, these knives are about perfect. If you can find a set, I highly recommend them. Even the inferior Pakistani-made sets are pretty good (since they've copied the basic Merrill design), though the fit and finish leave much to be desired.

The middle photo is a set of knives manufactured in Pakistan. The fit and finish of the Pakistan made knives was not at the same level of excellence as the original Merrill's.

The next photo shows the Merrill "Million to One" knife, issued in a Jumbo size, to be used as a "Hot Rod" style knife. This knife was available in the late 60's, early 70's, and is likely quite a collectors item (this photo courtesy Gary Frank). As seen below, Ray Szwec re-introduced this concept, which is now available from Joe Mogar.

Finally, Craig Brooks of Atlantis Magic wrote that Gary Frank informed him that the earliest Merrill knives feature a diagonal join on the two-color handle (as shown in bottom photo on the left) rather than the horizontal join as found on the later knives (compare to top photo). Apparently there were complaints that the join was challenging to conceal, so the design was changed to a horizontal join instead. (Earlier I had assumed the diagonal was harder to manufacturer to close tolerances).

An article on R.D. Merrill and his knives can be read here.
Mogar Knives
Mogar stag
Photos by Magicref

Routines: The routines supplied with Joe's knives are very good, and the routine you get depends on the set purchased. All sets come with a separate set of illustrated instructions that explain the moves, including The Master Twist, Push Through, Push Thru Change, Push In Vanish, and Twirl Change. The routines that I have seen are Mogars's Fantasy Knives and Mogar's Miracle Knife Routine; both of which are well done and clearly explained
Joe Mogar Color Changing Knives:

Joe Mogar knives have become (in my opinion) the "industry standard", and for good reason. They are reasonably priced, good quality, well designed, and come in a wide variety of colors. In addition, jumbo and miniature knives are available to add to the variety of magic possibilities.

There is no country of origin stamped on the blades, and the fit and finish is good. In addition, the Mogar knives fit the bill as a workable pocket knife. They open well, and have a good snap. The colors are solid, and I can say the knife looks like a pocket knife should.

There are a ton of color and material combinations available, the photos here show only a few.

The single bolster and liners are made of brass, and the covers are put in place by three rivets that look the same on both sides. As stated, a wide variety of colors are available: red, white, black, yellow, and green just some examples. A visible color change knife is available, as are some specialty knives such as an American Flag knife.

Joe also makes the Whit Haydn knives, which feature black stag handles (see bottom photo). The black stag-type handle allows you to easily determine which side is which when reaching for a knife in your pocket. There is no shield. 

The covers are rounded, and this is my only mis-giving with the Mogar knives. If you aren't careful with your angles, the knives could flash, though this shouldn't be a problem for most routines. If this does bother you, Joe also makes a line of "Perfect Knives" that have silk-screened colors under clear covers, with no possibility of flashing!

Knives are about $30 each for the regular knives, and more for specialty knives. Joe sells complete sets with good routines and vinyl carrying cases.

All the knives handle very well, and I highly recommend them. Overall, I rate them higher than the Ganson and Enardoe products, and on par with the Merrill knives.

Advertised in Genii starting around Dec 1999

The full line of colors and variations can be found on Joe's website:

Joe Mogar / Magic Stars Studio, NJ

mogar tiny knives Mogar Tiny Knives: Joe Mogar also makes some other interesting knives, including a Rainbow Knife, a Hot Rod knife (by Ray Szwec, see below), large jumbo knives, a flag knife, bone handled knives, and others. The photo at right are the tiny knives. See Joe's website for the latest prices and availability.
                Powell Color Changing Swiss Army Knife
Routine: I was also disappointed because I was hoping that at least my purchase might include a good routine, but alas, Dave's instructions were pretty meager. The instruction sheet is ©1992, and is a single-sided yellow sheet about 7"x6" sheet with three illustrations.

Routine: Two knives are shown and examined. Blue knife is put in pocket. The remaining knife is vanished (using your favorite method) and returns with the other knife. A white knife is removed from the pocket, and changes to Blue. It changes color a few times, until it vanishes and both knives are now removed again for examination.
Dave Powell's Color Changing Swiss Army Knife.

I purchased these knives in Aug 2006, and as far as I know they were the last set left at Midwest Magic. I had put off buying a Swiss Army knife because these knives are a bit too wide and shallow and make handling a bit more difficult. However, since I carry a similar knife on my keychain all the time, I figured I should at least have a set in my collection, and they weren't too expensive (which is important for my budget!)

Although my suspicions held out, overall I was pleasantly surprised. Handling is similar to the Enardoe knives. That is, in my smaller hands at least, the moves are quite doable, but don't come quite as easy as with the Mogar knives, and I have to make sure my hands are a bit "tacky" and not too dry. The knives are very short, however, so they feel very comfortable in the hands. The stark contrast between the blue and the white makes up for their small size in visibility.

One other negative, besides the wideness, is the lack of bolsters makes these knives subject to flashing, so you have to be careful with the handling. I would use these knives in a more casual setting, perhaps taking the knife off your keychain to show a quick trick, since close scrutiny could betray the secret.

Although I don't think Dave Powell's version is available any more, I have seen occasional references to Color Changing Swiss Army Knives during Google searches.

Advertised in the Summer 1992 Club 71 magazine from Repro Magic
David Regal
              Color Changing Knives
Image from Magicref

David Regal's Color Changing Knives

A Custom-Made Four Knife Set. Designed from the ground up. Textured handles to allow identification by touch. Includes a Swiss Army Knife climax.

Knives consist of:
a. Black Stag knife
b. Stag/Pearl
c. Pearl knife
d. Stag/Swiss Army

Purchase includes online video instructions.

Knives measure 3" in length (closed) and have a single blade.They have a good weight to them and feel sturdy. Knife handles are not marked with country of origin. Fit and finish is good. In the set I purchased there is a slight gap between one white handle and the bolster, but the gap is filled in with what I guess in an epoxy The other knives have no gaps.

List Price $125.

David Regal;
Riser CCK
Photo courtesy James Riser
James Riser's Color Changing Knives

James Riser has started making small runs of color changing knives. They are currently available two or three knife sets in Red/LightBlue, Red/Yellow, Purple/Yellow, Navy Blue/Red, Purple/Red, Light Blue/Yellow, or Red/Green.

They look to me much like the same knife base as Joe Mogar's knives, but I don't own a set to make a side-by-side comparison.

James' work is always of top quality, and at $60 a set (as of Nov 2009), they are quite affordable.

I don't believe they come with a routine.
Riveting the
Riveting the Handle

Rodger Lovins Hot Knife
Rodger Lovins' Hot Knife
Rodger Lovins Transformed Knives
Image from
                Lovins Magnum Color Changing Knife
                Lovins Magnum Color Changing Knives
Magnum Color Changing knives, based on a Boker base
                Lovins Color Changing Knives
Image courtesy eBay seller kerman**848

Rodger Lovins' Color Changing Knives

Rodger Lovins' has released at least four separate color changing knife products.

Rodger Lovins' Hot Knife

An updated version of the "Hot Rod" effect in color changing knife form.

Appears to be a three-bladed knife, with bone handles and nickel silver bolsters. While the Merrill version and the Ray Szwec/Joe Mogar version use multiple handle pieces to make up the rainbow, this knife appears to have the colors just painted on.

Reviewed in the April 2007 Genii.
Reviewed in the August 2007 The Linking Ring.
Reviewed in the April 2007 Magic magazine.

Transformed Knives.

The Transformed Knife collection features a three bladed knife, with stainless steel blades, brass liners, and silver bolsters. The knives feature a Pearl White and Brown Jigged Bone handles for good contrast. Size is 3.5" long by 0.5" wide. The single gimmicked knife is available alone as the Ultimate Color Changing Knife as well.

Transformed Knives were advertised around 2012.

Magnum Color Changing Knife Set (I think also called "Our Very Best" set).

Made from Boker, two bladed knives. The basic change is a Stag to Perl, but also to a start Red for the final climax, though no routine is provided.

Knives are 3 & 1/16" long, and fairly deep at 1/2" at the center.

These knives are hefty. Quality of construction is very good.

Lists for about $150 for a three knife set.

Rodger Lovins' Color Changing Knife.

This set is designed off a base from Chimney Rock Knives, I believe.  This is a three-bladed knife.

Colors available were Sunset Yellow with Antique Red, Black Pearl, or Burnt Amber.

From the description at Penguin Magic: "This Sunset Yellow with Burnt Amber color changing knife is built to last! It is a custom made, high quality knife with 3 high polished stainless steel blades, solid brass liners and pins and nickel silver bolsters. This knife has deep etched thumb pulls located on both sides of every blade for an extra added subtlety. The slightly rounded shape makes the "paddle move" easy to perform and very deceptive. The size is 3 ½ inches long, ½ inch wide and ¾ inches tall. This is not a cheap dollar store knife. The machine work is precise in every detail. The handles are absolutely beautiful. A matching Sunset Yellow ungimmicked knife is also available in a limited supply."

              Transposing Color Changing Knives
Ronjo Color Changing Knives
Ronjo Transposing Color Changing Knives.

These knives were inexpensive at $15 for a set of three, and are about the same size as the Swiss Army knives above. Because the color is inlaid in the handle instead of going all the way to the edges, these knives will never flash. However, they are also a bit too wide to make the handling easy. Thus, even though they are designed for the beginner, they are not all that easy for the beginner to use. Instructions are sparse, taking up 4 panels of a 4.25"x11" sheet, with no illustrations. Made in China.

Routine Outline: Red Knife & White Knife in fist. Red knife removed and changes to White; Red knife revealed in fist. Red knife to pocket & White one in fist; White turns to Red and White knife is removed from pocket.  Red knife left in fist and White returned to pocket. Fist is opened to reveal White knife, Red is removed from pocket, and all can be examined.

Also supports the Ronjo Trick-Key Chain system. This is a series of tricks that you can carry with you on a specially designed key-chain. See Ronjo's website for details.

Sanders Knives
Image courtesy Steve Goldstein
Steve stated that his favorite knife was the one with no handles, which made for a great climax.

Sander's Color Changing Knives
J.P. Jackson's set of Sanders Knives
Photo courtesy PotterAuctions

Sanders' Knives:

The Jimmy Sanders' knives seem to be considered by those who own them to be the best ever available.

Since I have never seen a set in person, it is difficult for me to comment. Mike Rogers had sent me a photo of his personal set that was almost 50 years old, and stated that these knives "were made for the trick and they are perfect."

The large blade is stamped "SAMCO TENN" for Sanders' Manufacturing Company, Tennessee. The original set came with three knives, one with a removable bone handle so you could even have the handle disappear! In his book, "The Complete Mike Rogers", Mike states that the routine included with the knives "tended to be lengthy, but good".

Obvious features from the photo include: 1) Bolsters on both ends; 2) looks like a real knife, with multiple blades; 3) Even though the knives appear flat in the photo, the multiple blades will necessarily thicken the knife, enhancing the ability to perform the knife moves.

Length 2 7/8", width 5/16". Three blade knives.
Standard colors were S-294 Pearl Finish, S-294A Stag, S-294B Stag/Pearl handles. Other colors were also available: black, red, green, yellow, and a small knife. In one routine the handle appears to come off.

Sanders' knives go for considerable money when you can find them.

The set to the left belongs to Steve Goldstein. You can see that the knives were available in quite a variety of colors and materials

Advertised as early as the October 1939 issue of Genii Magazine.

sparkle knives Sparkle Knives:

These knives look like Merrill Pakistani knives, but with very glitzy handles.

(photo courtesy Ray Szwec)
              Stanley Ken Booke Color Changing Knives
Image courtesy KTMagic Auction
Harry Stanley Color Changing Knives

Included 6 page illustrated Ken Brooke routine The knifes are of Stainless Steel blades and by Sheffield of England. Came with one white knife, one tortoise color knife and one white/tortoise. Included a carrying case.

Stanfield's Colorusing Knife
Image from an unknown e-Bay seller
Included a 10 page manuscript.
Stanfield's Colorfusing Knife:

Another set from the past, John C. Stanfield's Colorfusing Knife. Note that the knives include a ring at the end to hold a keychain. At the beginning of the routine, the knife would be removed from the keychain. The color changes would occur. At the end the knife is tossed into the hand holding the keychain with keys, and immediately the hand is opened to reveal the knife is back on the chain.

Most of the articles I've seen credit John Stanfield with the split color, "visible" color change knife. With this knife, one portion of the handle is seen to be red and the other portion green as the knife passes through the fingers.  Thus, the spectator sees the color change actually taking place!

The Stanfield knives are approximately 3 inches long (closed).

Advertised in Hugard's Magic Monthly, June 1952.
Advertised in The Sphinx, December 1952.

Reviewed in The Linking Ring, August 1952.

Stanfields, East Point, Georgia.

Hot Rod Knife
Ray Szwec Hot Rod Knife:

Ray Szwec had Joe Mogar produce a rainbow knife that can be used for the popular Hot Rod effect. This knife could make an excellent addition to any Color Changing Knife routine. After the knife explodes into a 6 color rainbow knife, you ask the spectator to pick a number from one to six. The knife then changes to the corresponding color for a triumphant climax. As seen in the Jan 2003 issue of Genii and the June 2002 issue of The Linking Ring.

(see also Ray's custom knives, further below)
Szwec Knive
Ray Szwec Knives
Szwec Small
Ray Szwec Custom
Color Changing Knives

Some years ago Ray came up with the idea of making a Hot Rod Color Changing Knife (without knowing about the earlier Merrill version). Joe Mogar is currently making this knife along with Joe's other excellent knives (see above).

Recently, Ray has begun experimenting on a small scale with some of his own knives and has been offering them on e-Bay. Pictured to the left is a set that was sold on e-Bay. A set that I purchased are shown below (the three larger knives to the left).

The knives are of Chinese origin, but are well made. The size is over 3", so they are a bit unusual to handle, but the weight is great! I can't do some of the normal color changing knife moves (such as some vanishes) since these knives stick out of my hands, but they are certainly suitable for many routines.

The only other downside of this current crop is the inclusion of the Crest on the handle. In my view, the color change should be a simple as possible, and the inclusion of the emblem just complicates it a bit. Ray tells me he is planning on making some other versions soon that don't include the Crest. On the other hand, such an emblem is a part of many ordinary knives, so it certainly isn't totally out of place.

Ray also started making a set of smaller knives based on a Marbles' Cutlery Small Doctors pocket knife. A comparison with Ray's larger knives is shown to the right, and a closer look at the new model is below. Ray only makes a two-knife version in this smaller size because of the need to custom make one handle.

While many Marbles' knives are made in the USA (and are quite pricey), the newest owner has begun a set of "international" knives that are made in China and are less expensive. The quality of these knives appears to be pretty good, with nice fit & finish and a good "snap" to the spring.

The Marbles' knife is 3 1/4" and features two blades: a spear blade and a special "spatula" blade. My only compliant with this knife as a base is that it is a bit too square. The knife almost turns over on its own in your hand if you are not careful. I did find a good use for this, however, as this "rolling" makes easy a quick color change by simply waving one hand over the other. If this knife were single bladed, I think it would have been perfect!

Ray's craftsmanship is good. The bone handle is smooth and meets the bolsters well. He has taken the extra step to duplicate the rivets as seen on the bone handle side, which is a lot of extra work.

You can look for Ray's knives on e-Bay (seller buckthornroad) or contact him personally at: szwec <at> (replace the <at> with the normal @ symbol; done this way to help Ray avoid automatic spammers!)
tamariz knives

Routines: I do not have any information on the routine that would have come with this set.
Juan Tamariz' Color Changing Knives.

Stevens Magic Emporium had these in their catalog for some time, but they don't seem to be available any longer. They look very similar to the Jose de la Torre knives below, with a dull finish, and include a ring on one end as shown in the photo. These knives are featured in Stevens' Greater Magic Library Volume 41 featuring Juan Tamariz (thus the name).

They also appear to be the knives described in Jose De La Torre's translation of Ascanio's World of Knives. Jose De La Torre recommends the key-ring ring to aid in identifying the knife in your pocket. Also, though hard to see in this photo, the knives only have two rivets, making them more symmetrical when flipped.

I have never handled these knives, so I cannot comment on their use, but they look to be the right size and shape and are probably worth getting! A few years ago, you could get a set of these for about $65 for a three knife set.

tannen knives
Photo courtesy Ray Szwec

Tony Spina
              Definitive Color Changing Knives
Image from Magicref

Tannen's Magic - Tony Spina:
Definitive Color Changing Knives

These "knives" are unique in that there are no real blades, which makes them safe for handling. They appear to be real pocket knives, but there is no real blade to open, making the safe for handling by your spectators.

They were designed with Formica handles inlaid to prevent any possibility of flashing.

The original set included the Merrill Knife Book. The two knife set with Merrill Knife book listed for $45 in the 1990's.

Even though they don't have working blades, I still don't think I'd risk taking them on my airline carry-on luggage! I can imagine trying to explain them to security.

A later ad in Magic by Tannen's states, "Yes, as promised, we now have completed The Visible Color Changing Knife", which could be added to your set along with a felt carrying case. The Visible Color Changing knife was listed for about $25.

Advertised in Genii, Feb 1995
Also in Magic, April 1995
Reviewed in Genii May 1995

TCC Presents
              Artisan Color Changing Knives
TCC Presents:
Artisan Color Changing Knives

Set of three black and white knives, and leather storage bag. Shell-white and Ink-black jade handles. Two bladed knives feature bolsters at both ends and beautiful Damascus patterned blades.

The knives are 2 & 15/16 inches (74.5mm) long in closed position.

While almost the same length as the Regal knives, these are more narrow and lighter. I really like these knives, but I have smaller hands so those with large hands might prefer something a bit more hefty.

Fit and finish is very nice, with no gaps between the handles and bolsters.

Blades are not stamped with country of origin.

Comes with online video instructions. $120.
Jose De La Torre Color Changing Knives
Color Changing Knives

Jose De La Torre Kolorfusing Knives
Kolorfusing Knife Set
Routines: Jose De La Torre authored the English translation of Ascanio's World of Knives. This is an excellent book, though currently out of print and difficult (and expensive!) to find. Hopefully it will be re-published as a future volume in the recent Ascanio books.
Jose De La Torre Color Changing Knives

I purchased this two knife set from e-Bay. According to the instructions, it was supposed to come with three knives (the full red knife was missing from the set). The instructions look original, and are © Jose M. De La Torre 1976. The red knife has some blemishes, and the white knife is slightly cracked at the edges, but overall they are in good shape.

The imprint on the blades are a bit difficult to read, but it looks like it says: "IPAYA INOXIDABLE" (the Ipaya is clear, the 2nd word is a bit pressed together). "Inoxidable" is a Spanish word for "Stainless Steel", Ipaya seems to be a place in Tanzania or perhaps Nigeria, Africa. So, perhaps these are African made knives (?).

The knives in the bottom photo appear to be identical to the Juan Tamariz' knives above, at least in design. I'm sure there have been several manufacturers of these style of knives through the years. The blades open cleanly, and overall the quality is very nice.

In handling, I still find the Mogar superior, but these knives are certainly fine and I know they are preferred by some. They seem to be exactly as defined in Jose's translation of Ascanio's World of Knives.

The Kolorfusing set includes the visible-color change knife. It retailed for around $35 in the mid 1990's.

These knives had a long existence, as I've seen ads for them as early as 1975, and later in 1994.

Reviewed in Genii, April 1975.
Reviewed in The New Tops, October 1994.

Jose's Studio, Bellevill, NJ.

Jose De
              La Torre Smash Climax Knives
Jose De La Torre: Smash Climax Knives

I got these miniature knives along with my purchase of the Pakistani-made Merrill-type knives, so I'm not positive these are Jose de la Torre's but they seem to match the description.

They are excellent for use as a "smash climax" ending to a knife routine, where a flood of tiny knives falls from the performer's hand.

These knives are well made for such a small size. The knives do all open, and you can see how small they are in comparison to the dime.

As far as I know, these knives are no longer available, but Joe Mogar makes a set of tiny knives that could be used.

              Color Changing Knives
Image courtesy eBay seller jwells85018yi1
Twin Cities Magic
Ultra Color Changing Knives

These knives were made in the same Pakistan factory as the 2nd generation Merrill knives, so share the same, good handling features. The sparkle handles helps them stand out.
Eric Wolf Knives Eric Wolf's Color Changing Knives:

Eric Wolf produced various sets of color changing knives back in the late 1990's. A pair of knives cost around $90 a pair or so (if memory serves me correctly) and were well received. The handle covers are made of various materials, including walnut and maple wood. I had seen a pair at Denny & Lee's magic shop, but alas neglected to ask if I could handle them so I can't make any comments on performance!

The design at the top left in the photo is similar to the Bay Area Magic  Ultra Knives, but they did not include the rive in their handle design.

I had confused these knives in a previous edition of this page and I apologize!
scotty york knives
Image courtesy Michael Close

                York Color Changing Knives
Image of original prototypes from Tabman

: The routine was an integral part of this set. It was a complete 36 page book by Scott York: Original Handling and Presentation of The Color Changing Pocketknives. It is a very good routine, and a full description can be found in the Books section. 
Scotty York Knives:

I don't own a set of these knives, and sadly they are no longer available. According to a post on the Genii forum by Brad Jeffers, there were 8 different color combinations made. "The first ones produced were a set of 4 knives, 1 solid white, 1 solid black, 1 black/white and 1 black/yellow. In later sets the black/yellow was replaced with a black/red, the reason being that some people were concerned with there not being enough contrast between the white and yellow colors (although Scotty still prefers the original yellow). There was also another set of 3 knives made - the "colorfusing" set. This consists of a solid red knife, a red/white, and red/white knife with one side two thirds white and one third red, for a "visible" color change." The set pictured at the left appears to be a mix of these!

There are many good features about these knives: 1) they look just like a knife you would carry, including color choices; 2) bolsters on both ends help prevent flashing; 3) size and shape enhance the moves; 4) use of a stag handle aids locating the knife in your pocket.

Potential negatives include: 1) Shield on one side takes attention away from color change, and some people actually think this is a button that causes the knives to change color (!); 2) On the samples I saw, there were noticeable gaps between the covers and the bolsters, though the knives opened and closed well. I don't know who made the knives or if they are stamped with the name of the manufacturer (I forgot to look at the base of the blade).

The set of four knives originally sold for $48 in the mid 1990's.

The photo here was contributed by Michael Close.  The pictured set sold on e-Bay for over $150. A similar 4 knife set sold in April 2005 for $135.

Reviewed in Stan Allen's Magic magazine, January 1994.

Scotty York, FYEO Productions, Alexandria, VA.

              Magic Apple - Incredible Color Changing Swiss Army Knife
Image from The Magic Apple
The Magic Apple:
The Incredible Color Changing Swiss Army Knife
(Duffy Demetrus).

Includes two real Swiss Army Knives (one regular, one gaffed), detailed 3 page instructions for two routines with full color photos. Cost was just at $100.
This is a side by side comparison of several of the knives. From left to right: Ronjo; Powell Swiss Army Knife; Fantastic Magic Co. (new style), Merrill (Japan); Jose De La Torre; Fantastic Magic Co. (Older style); Ganson (India); Enardoe Style
Collection of
                Color Changing Knives
This is another side by side comparison. From left to right: Fantastic Magic Co. (old style); Mogar Knives; Tony Spina Definitive Knijves; Enardo Knives; and Casavalle Knives.

Knife Cases and Related Accessories: 

One of the potential problems in performing the Color Changing Knives routine is management of the knives in your pocket, especially if you are using three or more knives in your routine. Making sure you retrieve the correct knife facing the correct direction can be critical! Also, just carrying your knives in your pocket along with other items can scratch your investment.

I am not aware of too many cases on the market designed specifically for the Color Changing Knives. The following are a few that I know about (see also the knife case in the Tamariz Knife set pictured above):

Antonio Romero: The Perfect Hold Out
Romero, Antonio: The Perfect Hold Out

A new dimension pull. Includes instructional CD-ROM with video and three effects using the device. Routines are: 1) Super knives (which is why I included this here!), 2) Incredible Card to Wallet, and 3) Multiple Vanish; Four coins vanish $225
Starsinic Knife Cases Frank Starsinic at

Frank made a wide range of quality leather products (including Chop Cups!). He has added to his product line two different cases for carrying your knives. The first (top photo) is a leather "squeeze" case. The top part of the case holds up to 4 knives. You can arrange the knives in the desired order, and the open design allows them to be grabbed quickly without fumbling. In addition, the bottom part of the case features a squeeze closure, in which you can place a set of tiny knives for the famous Jose de la Torre Smash Climax ending.

The 2nd knife case is a zippered case that will protect your knives from other objects while in transit. In addition, it will hold the knives securely for easy access during your performance.

At the original time of this writing (Aug 2006), the zippered case was $29 and the squeeze case was $24.

Note: Frank closed his shop in 2020, but many of the leather products are now available at The Leather Connection
              Knife Case
Image from ad in May 1995 The Linking Ring
Louis Tannen Inc. Case for the Tony Spina's Definitive Color Changing Knives

Advertised in the mid-1990s. From the ad, "We are also manufacturing a leather knife holder, which will accommodate three knives, each in there [sic] own compartment so you can do your routine without fumbling for the knives. Thoughtfully designed with the performer in mind, and made of quality materials, it is perfect for use in the hip or shirt pocket or on a belt."
TCC Presents
              - Case for Color Changing Knives
TCC Presents -
Case for the Artisan Color Changing Knives

I don't believe this case is available separately, but is it well made. It came with their Artisan Color Changing Knives set.

It can hold three knives, and there is a built-in divider so the knives don't hit against each other. There is a pin closure that works smoothly.

The ad copy says "leather" storage bag, but I'm not sure if it's true leather or a leatherette. It is nicely finished.
weber case 1
weber case 2
Photos courtesy Michael Frahme

Weber, Michael and Phil Varrichio: Double Edge Knife Case:

Scotty York talks of this case in his routine. This enables you to carry either a two knife or three knife set and not only protects your knives but also gives you control over the location of each colored knife. There is an additional pocket for holding and releasing the Smash Climax tiny knives for the finale. Came complete with a 19 page instructional manual by Phil Varrichio and Michael Weber, and the price was $40

As far as I know, this case is no longer available. Description and pricing were from an older listing at Denny & Lee's.

Reviewed in Genii, March 1997
Reviewed in Magic, December 1993
Metal Knive
Image from Magicref

Funtime Magic

This next image is of the simple holder that comes with the Funtime Magic (of India) "Ganson" knife sets. It consists of a piece of bent brass, with slots to allow the elastic band to fit through. The basic design is flawed, however. When two knives are in the holder, all is well. When one knife is removed however, the other knife now fits loosely, because a single piece of elastic is use. This can be easily remedied, however, by simply replacing the elastic with your own. Also, while this holder may work okay for a coat pocket. the metal edge is a bit rough for use in the pants pocket!

Mogar Holder

Joe Mogar Plastic Sleeve

This next holder is a simple and inexpensive solution provided with one of my sets of Joe Mogar knives. it is simply a plastic pouch that has been trimmed at the top so the knives can stick out for easy access. The pouch fits very flat, and will hold the knives securely enough for performance. It appears that the Frank Starsinic case will hold 4 knives in this same width that here only holds 3, because of the more precision fit.

Other knives I've seen reference to

Abbott's Color
              Changing Knife
From ad in Sphinx May 1949
Abbott's Color Changing Knife, advertised in Sphinx, May 1949.

The ad copy states, "This is a regular pocket knife made up especially for this trick. The Trick Knife is in Black Stag and White Pearl; duplicate knives are respectively in White Pearl and Black Stag. Each knife has two best-quality steel blades. Size of knives—3 inches long. i/2 inch wide, and V4 inch thick. The knives are the right size for easy working. Special instructions included for the Three-Knife Routine—Black Stag changes to White Pearl, which is examined, then changes back to Black Stag—and knife is again examined."

Sorry, no photo
Gamages Gamagic Colour Changing Knife

Advertised in the April 1936 The Magician Monthly. Ad copy stated, "A genuine pocket knife containing two blades is seen to change colour before the very eyes of the audience. Many novel moves may be performed with this amazing knife. It can also be examined."

Gamages, Holborn, London

              Color Changing Knives
Image from Magicref
Ireland Imperial Knives: Magicians Trick Knife Set

This is a set of Enardoe style knives, with the trick opening feature. I have them in this section instead of the above because even though I have the whole blister-pack, there is no manufacturer listed on the entire card. It does say "made in Ireland", and the knives are stamped "Imperial Ireland".

The routine includes the "through the pants pocket" effect, which I think a bit too "personal" for today's audiences, but this same approach could be adapted to be less sensitive.

I think from the 1980s?
Loftus Magic
              Color Changing Knives
From ad in Magic, March 2000
Loftus Color Changing Knife. advertised in Magic, March 2000.

Appears to be a replica of the E.O. Drane / Enardoe knives, with the "trick open & close" feature and the same general design.

Interesting that there is also an advertisement in The Linking Ring, January 1945 by Loftus Magic Co., Utah for what sounds like the same basic set, as the ad copy states, "we use the puzzle type knife", which is the feature that the knife can only be opened when you know the technique. The routine described sounded thorough, to include at the end the knife passing through the pants pocket, from where it is produced and can be examined.

Loftus International, Empire Magic.

Sorry, no Photo
Bob Solari Jumbo Color-Changing Knife Set.
Reviewed in MUM September 1996.

These were large 4.5" long and 3/4" wide knives, with one blue/red color changing knife and one blue knife. Did not come with instructions.
Photo courtesy Ray Szwec

Sparkle Knives:

These knives look like Merrill Pakistani knives, but with very glitzy handles.

I don't know the manufacturer of these knives or their "official" name.

German Color
              Changing Knife
German Color Changing Knife.

I've seen a few of these knives on eBay and such through the years. I don't know who makes them, but the blade is stamped "Germany". With no bolsters on either end, you'd need to be careful not to flash, and they are sort of "flat" so the sleights are a bit harder, but overall a nicely made knife. This is a black and white color changing knife.
Colour Changing Knives
Image courtesy MartinBreese
Martin Breese (seller): Colour Changing Knives

These were advertised by Martin Breese some time ago. His decription: "Two are blue/white and one is white/white and the other two are yellow/white and red/white.   I have never seen a set of knives like this as the blades can not be opened and these knives have been purpose made.   I would think that they were probably made quite a while ago.  They handle well and are nicely balanced."

Manufacturer unknown.
Unknown Color
              Changing Knives One
Image courtesy eBay seller AshsMagicChicago

Set of unknown manufacture knives. Very flat so would not flash.

Please send me any comments, suggestions, information on other sets!