The description includes what must be the earliest recorded mention of a "Hoop-Pass" to prove suspension. The Hoop-Pass, when an object is passed through a hoop to prove it is not suspended by strings, is a favourite trick of stage magicians and is achieved by either through slight of hand, viewer confusion, or a gimmicked hoop that allows the suspending mechanism to pass through.
Slight of hand can be used to suggest a hoop has passed over an object suspended by an invisible thread (Example). However, usually the hoop never passes over the suspending mechanism, and viewers are just confused into thinking it has: for example, a hidden support may be S-Shaped to allow a hoop to traverse the same horizontal space, but at different heights from different sides, or serial supports may be used, each removed or replaced as the hoop travels*. An example of large scale viewer confusion can be seen in John Gaughan's "Flying" routine for David Copperfield (Video) - if you look carefully you can see the hoops never actually pass over the point from which he's suspended, but instead rotate around it. Often, the hoop is just used to lead the audience into thinking a suspension method is possible, only to disproved it - thereby increasing their amazement while simultaneously distracting them from the real suspension. For example, the Hoop-Pass is often used to show no wires are used in the Chair Suspension, while the assistant is being supported by the gimmicked chair in full view1.
Split rings have been used for illusions at least as far back as the description of "To Put a Ring Through Your Cheeke" in the Discoverie Of Witchcraft (1584)*. Rings with a split in them have been used in the "Chinese" Ring Linking routine since at least the beginning of the 1500s, and possibly as early as the 1200s*. Modern gimmicked hoops are now more sophisticated at disguising the split and often have apparently seemless locking mechanisms.
Other than our record, the Hoop-Pass is only recorded reasonably recently (early 20th Century, essentially mirroring the rise of the large-scale levitation), though the presence of the hoop as a magician's prop through the ages makes its first appearance hard to determine2.