Goldin presented several sawing illusions that involved a box. To audiences they all appeared largely similar but they involved differing methods, which were steadily improved as time went on and as earlier methods were exposed. His first performance was at the Society of American Magicians annual banquet at the McAlpin Hotel, New York, on 3 June 1921.
On that occasion the trick was not well received. The box he used was large and not very deceptive and instead of an attractive woman he employed a bellboy as an assistant. The impression given was that he was clumsily and hurriedly trying to cash in on Selbit's success in Britain. However fellow magician Howard Thurston, who was in the audience, realised the potential of the trick and persuaded Goldin to let him help in its development.
Thurston employed an established magician and prop builder named Harry Jansen to perfect the illusion. Jansen's improved version of the apparatus featured a smaller box from which the victim's head and feet would protrude during the sawing. Goldin, Thurston and various other magicians employed by Goldin toured the United States performing this trick with great success at theatres belonging to the Keith-Orpheum group. Goldin had great promotional acumen and was fond of resorting to legal action to block anyone else, including Selbit, from competing with him in the USA. As a result Goldin was sometimes wrongly credited as the originator of the sawing illusion.
The basic form of Goldin's box sawings was as follows. The magician presents a box which is similar in size and proportion to that used in the Selbit sawing but which is already in a horizontal position. An assistant climbs into the box and lies down. In the process her head and hands are seen to emerge from holes in one end of the box and her feet from the other. The box is closed and then sawn through across the middle. Dividers are placed into the box either side of the cut and it is then pulled apart so the sections can be seen clearly separated. The assistant's head and hands are seen sticking out of one section and her feet out of the other. The box is then pushed together again and opened and the assistant emerges unharmed.