P. T. (Percy) Selbit (1881–1938) was an English magician, inventor and writer who is credited with being the first person to perform the illusion of sawing a woman in half. Among magicians he was known for his inventiveness and entrepreneurial instinct and he is credited with creating a long list of successful stage illusions.
Early life and career
His birth name was Percy Thomas Tibbles and he was born in Hampstead, London. He developed an interest in magic in his youth, when he was apprenticed to a silversmith. The basement of the silversmith’s shop was leased to magician and inventor Charles Morritt who used it to develop new tricks and the young Tibbles would sneak in to study these when Morritt was away. Tibbles began doing a coin and card manipulation act under the stage name P. T. Selbit, which he created by spelling his last name backwards and dropping one of the “B”s. He also used Selbit as a pen name, working as a journalist for a theatrical paper, writing a magic handbook and editing a trade journal for magicians.