This section is from the book "Secrets Of The Great Mysteries", by Oudini. Also available from Amazon: Secrets Of The Great Mysteries.
This trick is one of the best I have ever exhibited in public, for it appears to the audience to be impossible to execute, and is extremely mystifying. It is, however, not difficult if the secret is known.
When the curtain rises the iron box is seen in the centre of the stage, with six chairs on either side of it for the use of the committee from the audience, while they are waiting for the performer to appear after making his escape from the box. An attendant in livery makes arrangements for the performer, and the committee referees the proceedings. The box is very solid, made of one-eight inch iron sheets, and strongly riveted at all angles and corners. The cover is the same. Four holes, one in each side of the cover, come opposite similar holes in the top edge of the box. These are for the bolts to pass through to fasten the cover on.
Fig. 1. Iron box.
The committee thoroughly examines the box, inside and out, cover, bolts, etc., until satisfied that all are perfect. The performer now comes on the stage, addresses the audience, accepting the challenge to escape from the box and issues a challenge to them for anyone to bring him any article they may wish for him to escape from, under certain restrictions. He then steps into the box. The cover is placed on by the committee and the bolts passed out from the inside through the holes just mentioned, and shown in Fig. 1. The nuts are screwed on tightly and the cotter pins put in place, so that the nuts cannot be removed or the bolts screwed out of the nuts.
The cabinet is now placed in position around the box, and the committee is seated, and waits for the appearance of the performer after his escape. In a few minutes he appears and the box is immediately examined. It is found to be exactly as it was left by the committee, with all the bolts, etc., in place and no means of escape found.