Illinois History Minutes

September 27 Illinois History Minute


It’s September 27th, and Blackstone the Magician was born in Chicago on this day in 1885. Born Henry Boughton, the man who became Harry Blackstone gained fame as a magician and illusionist, not only on stage, but also in comic books, on the radio, and even in TV commercials.

In a breakfast cereal ad, Blackstone urges children to send off for his magic tricks, telling them: “Boys and girls, what fun you’ll have with my tricks, fooling your friends --- even Dad!” One of Blackstone’s most famous tricks was the Floating Lightbulb, a lightbulb that stayed lit, as Blackstone sent it floating through a hoop and out over the heads of the audience.

The National Weather Service began fulltime operations at its new central Illinois office at the Logan County Airport in Lincoln on this day in 1995, replacing offices in Peoria and Springfield. Government weather service in Illinois dates back to 1870, when the Army Signal Service opened an office in Chicago.