Houdin, Jean Eugène Robert or Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (zhäN özhĕnˈ rōbĕrˈ ōdăNˈ) [key], 1805–71, French conjurer and magician. Originally a clockmaker, he was celebrated for his optical illusions and mechanical devices and for his attributing his "magic" to natural instead of supernatural means. Houdin was the first to use electromagnetism for his effects. He wrote an autobiography (1857) and Secrets of Prestidigitation and Magic (1868). Harry Houdini, who named himself for Houdin, wrote The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin (1908).
See H. R. Evans, The Master of Modern Magic (1932).