According to The Abbott Magic Collection Volume 1 (p. 124), the Torturette was introduced in 1952. Based on an illusion by Percy Abbott called "Cabinet of Cheefoo," Torturette quickly became a hot item for Abbott's Magic.
Torturette is not a "compact device," in that it can't be folded or disassembled for easy packing. What it may lack in this area of inconvenience, it makes up for in "wow factor" if properly performed. I have used my original Abbott's version for several years, in numerous performances and it never ceased to deliver. Bear in mind, one important detail. The spikes are not fake. They are the real deal and can hurt you. Therefore, it was always my choice to use my own arm, as opposed to that of an audience member.
One distinctly positive thing about the Torturette is it's setup. Remove it straight from your "flight bag" and it's ready to go! It truly is a classic piece and can be successfully performed, surrounded, if one takes the time to practice with that purpose in mind.
Effect: The performer shows the Torturette to the audience, pulling the six inch spikes from their wooden "sheath." The performer runs his wand against the spikes, the sound unmistakably assuring the audience that they are indeed real. As if that's not enough, the magician then inserts an inflated balloon into the "square tube," then drops the spikes through and onto the balloon. The balloon pops and the magician, without hesitation, removes the spikes, then inserts his/her arm into the tube. This time, the performer is slower, even to the point of "forcing" the spikes through, as s/he grimaces in pain. The spikes are clearly seen as having gone completely through, as with the balloon. But this is magic! The performer then retrieves their arm displaying "no harm done!"Your Assistance Requested
While it's true that I have constructed many of the effects displayed on this site, it's also true that I am not the creator/originator of how they function. As such, I have researched, to the best of my ability, to give credit where it's due. On some, I am at a total loss as to who the creator is, so I simply left that portion of the description, blank.
If any visitor to my site here, knows or suspects they may know the creator, please use the button below to contact me, if you will and steer me in the right direction. I'll be happy to add you to that credit, for your assistance, provided you approve of my doing so.
Note: I included this particular video simply because it depicts the way I used to perform this effect by first inserting a balloon and then my arm. The "wow factor" from the audience seemed to double, after I began using the balloon first.