Real Magic of Newton’s Apple is the Smiles
NORTH LIMA, Ohio – When Murray Davis, founder and president of Newton’s Magic Apples, saw his brother do a trick with an orange, the idea to create a magic-apple toy flashed through his brain, he says.
The toy Davis created two years ago is named after Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered the law of gravity when an apple fell on his head one afternoon while he was sitting under an apple tree. Or so the story goes. When performed properly and with a little practice, the toy appears to defy the law of gravity.
“It’s a hobby, not a retirement plan,” Davis says. “I enjoy making them and they’re not really hard to make. That’s why I like it. It’s simple and it’s kind of like folk art.”
The first step people need to take in using the magic apple is to rest the apple on their palm and place a thumb from that same hand in the hole in the back. Next, one waves his other hand over top of the apple while making noises to distract the audience, Davis says.
Then by raising the thumb inside the apple and lifting it off their palm, would-be magicians create the illusion that the apply is floating, he says. While some people can perform the trick instantly, he urges others to practice before a mirror.
Hiding the thumb behind the apple is the key to seeing the audience react, Davis says. It was a long process to get to where he is today, but through trial and error, the magic apple was born and Davis gave people the apples and asked them for their reactions, he says. He made a few improvements after the feedback and decided to put the apples up for sale on Etsy (list price is $9.89).
After two months, Davis finally had his first sale. When he received positive reviews, he knew that he created a product that people enjoy, he says.
“The real magic is the smiles that the apple puts on people’s faces,” Davis says. “Children especially love Newton’s Magic Apples and that makes me especially happy.”
When he applied to be a part of the Amazon Handmade platform, Davis didn’t think his new toy would be accepted because he didn’t consider it a handcrafted product, he says. When it was accepted, Davis was “thrilled” and put up his own artisan profile, he says.
This year, Davis took part in the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Lisbon where he sold a dozen Magic Apples, he says. Most people who take an interest in the toy are educators who appreciate it as a learning tool, introducing children to Newton and his discovery of the Law of Gravity, he says.
For more than 50 years, the Davis family has owned the Davis Motel in North Lima. After being in the family business 40 years, Davis says he wanted to find a hobby that he would enjoy.
“I’m getting older, so it’s hard to be physically able to do activities. I wanted to do something and just fell into this,” he says. “I always enjoyed modeling as a kid making airplanes, so it’s very similar to that activity.”
It costs Davis $2 to make one Magic Apple, which includes the foam apple, tape, glue and the side piece that’s used for the magic trick. Apart from Amazon and Etsy, Davis sells them for $5 at the motel. He’s even sold a Magic Apple to a person in Germany.
“Our whole life, my dad has always been trying to make us smile, make us laugh and it brings him so much joy just to make kids smile,” says his daughter, Allison Davis. “I was surprised when he was trying to develop a toy like this and his dedication is inspirational.”
After her dad saw one kid smile, his goal became “Oh wow, I’m going to keep doing this no matter what,” Allison says. When families come into the motel, her dad’s goal is to make their children smile every time, she says.
“We could use some more magic in this world,” Murray says. “We live in a pretty dark world anymore. A little magic would help.”
Pictured: Murray Davis and his daughter, Allison, demonstrate how his Newton’s Magic Apples defy gravity.
Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.