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English Or German?


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#1 Takayuki YAGI

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 04:05 AM

Just found this miniature on ebay. http://www.ebay.com/itm/381947955957

Action mechanism looks English to me but reeds are riveted directly on one reed plate like early German concertina.

In addition, arc shaped layout of the reed plate is new to me.

 

Is this English make or German make ??

 

--

Taka



#2 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 01:08 PM

German, with some English aspects, I would say. 
The ends and big buttons and big end screws all look German, and the green gauze mesh inside the fretwork looks typically German. The single reed plate is typical of German manufacture, except for the curved shape. 
But the bellows and the action look typically English.
 
The reeds look to be German Silver, not steel, and I see at least one broken one, which wouldn't be easy to replace.
 
I'd say that the German action doesn't lend itself to a miniature, so maybe that's why they used an English one. 
But the English-looking bellows seem to show an effort to make it look like an English made one.


#3 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 08:37 PM

Most confusing!

 

It has many similarities with instruments made by Nickolds, but the reedpans are marked D and B (for Diskant and Bass) in the German manner, instead of R and L (Right and Left) in the English fashion. :huh:

 

I've a small 26-key somewhere with many similarities - I'll have to dig it out for comparison...



#4 alex_holden

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 02:50 AM

The air button arrangement is particularly interesting.

#5 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 08:17 AM

The air button arrangement is particularly interesting.

 

That "trap-door" style of hinged flap is common on early Anglos, usually by Nickolds or Jones.

 

It derives from the early German concertinas, which derived from early accordions - in fact it's very similar to the arrangement found on those German 10-key melodeons that don't have spoon bass buttons, and on Cajun accordions.



#6 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 10:41 AM

I've a small 26-key somewhere with many similarities - I'll have to dig it out for comparison...

 

Found it! And it is obviously built by the same people, in a very English style except that they've use fruitwood (with mahogany veneers) and it too is marked D and B (for Diskant and Bass) in the German manner.

 

If I'm reading the description right, the 20-key (on eBay) is only 12.5cm. (4 13/16") across the flats, whilst my 26-key is 13.5cm. (5 5/16").

 

Maybe nobody's noticed, but the inside-row lefthand buttons are aligned one step above the outside row ones. It's something you'll occasionally see on very early German concertinas, which was sometimes copied by early Anglo makers in England, and it's something (known as "Artistic fingering") that you'll sometimes find on (untouched) 38-key Jeffries instruments - I've converted several of them to "normal" fingering over the years.



#7 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 11:17 AM

The ends and big buttons and big end screws all look German, and the green gauze mesh inside the fretwork looks typically German.

 

The ends and big buttons, and half-round-headed woodscrews all look typical of many early English-made Anglos to me, and there was always a fabric or leather "baffle" inside the ends.

 

But the bellows and the action look typically English.

 

The bellows construction and materials are actually typically German for their day, but the action is the same as you'd find in Nickolds concertinas.
 
I'd say that the German action doesn't lend itself to a miniature ...

 

I'd call this one a "semi-miniature" myself, and German builders made plenty of those using their actions...

 

I think these were aimed squarely at the "Anglo" (rather than the "German") concertina market, where they would have been very competitively priced.


Edited by Stephen Chambers, 04 February 2017 - 11:18 AM.


#8 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 07:56 PM

Stephen: did Nickolds (or any English maker) ever use this type of reedpan?

 

Most confusing!

 

It has many similarities with instruments made by Nickolds, but the reedpans are marked D and B (for Diskant and Bass) in the German manner, instead of R and L (Right and Left) in the English fashion. :huh:

 

I've a small 26-key somewhere with many similarities - I'll have to dig it out for comparison...



#9 wes williams

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 08:12 PM

Stephen,

This 'hybrid' construction brings to mind Henry Harley's instruments, although I've only ever seen four sided instruments from him. On the other hand, we've got importers like Ebblewhite offering this kind of thing. Could this instrument have been intended as a demonstration model for a slightly higher quality instrument build?



#10 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 09:49 AM

Stephen: did Nickolds (or any English maker) ever use this type of reedpan?

 

No. When I first saw the photos of my 26-key example on eBay, it looked so much like a Nickolds that I thought it must be by them and that they were trying to make a cheaper, smaller instrument.

 

But closer inspection, once I had it, revealed the use of fruitwood (which is something I've only seen on German concertinas), veneered rather than solid mahogany (when English makers had easy access to mahogany and only used it in solid form), and those D and B markings - all of which say that these are German.

 

But maybe there are parallels to be drawn with "Tidder" and similar concertinas from later in the 19th century...



#11 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 10:07 AM

Stephen,

This 'hybrid' construction brings to mind Henry Harley's instruments, although I've only ever seen four sided instruments from him.

 

Harley's started out as typical German four-sided instruments, made by Ernst Bässler at Grünberg in Saxony (one of mine still has his "trademark" cornucopia pattern of holes on it), that were then modified/"Angloified" by, or for, Henry Harley

 

On the other hand, we've got importers like Ebblewhite offering this kind of thing. Could this instrument have been intended as a demonstration model for a slightly higher quality instrument build?

 

I've got a 26-key version and somebody else has said they have one too, so it would seem there are a few of them around - so I'd reckon they were  probably in production at some stage, maybe in the 1860s?



#12 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 12:20 PM

Has anybody ever seen a full size concertina with this layout? It still seems to be size related to me.

The early German concertinas looked to me like they had tightly packed reeds, even the full-size ones that I've seen.

 

This seems to use the available space better, and allows for more room around the reeds. 



#13 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 04:12 PM

I just noticed this one on ebay. It's described as a miniature, five inches across the ends :

 

It's obviously got the typical german lever action, confirming what Stephen said above about miniatures with the German action.

It's a shame they haven't shown the reeds or the action. It looks old, so is probably the single reed plate style. 

 

The bellows look more German to me, in that they don't slope inwards so much from the ends as the one in the OP, which makes that one look more English style to me. But it's only six fairly deep folds, so quite English looking otherwise.



#14 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 11:02 PM

Has anybody ever seen a full size concertina with this layout?

 

I have more than one full-size example of an early Anglo with the same lever arrangement, including button holes that pierce the action board, but they all have normal reedpan construction.

 

It still seems to be size related to me.

 

This seems to use the available space better, and allows for more room around the reeds.

 

I've already said that my first thought about my 26-key was that "they were trying to make a cheaper, smaller instrument."

 

 

The early German concertinas looked to me like they had tightly packed reeds, even the full-size ones that I've seen.

 

In the more "usual" older German models the reeds are riveted onto two zinc plates, with 5 reeds on either side of each, but that's wasteful of space.

 

The semi-circular arrangement on one plate, in the eBay 20-key and my 26-key, is much more space-saving and efficient.



#15 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 11:49 PM

I just noticed this one on ebay. It's described as a miniature, five inches across the ends :

 

It's obviously got the typical german lever action, confirming what Stephen said above about miniatures with the German action.

 

I'd think of 5" as being "small" (or "semi-mimiature") compared with a standard 6" (or 6 1/4") model, otherwise we'd have to find a different term to describe the likes of my 2" Wheatstone miniature (that belonged to "Miss Linda Martell, the comedy girl with her concertinas")...

 

 

The bellows look more German to me, in that they don't slope inwards so much from the ends as the one in the OP, which makes that one look more English style to me. But it's only six fairly deep folds, so quite English looking otherwise.

 

That "shoulder" to the bellows frames does look more "English", and no doubt the instrument was meant to have that appearance, but details like the one-piece folded-card internal construction (without hinges) and the external leather valleys being glued over the gussets are decidedly not "English", whilst it's not uncommon to find a lot more leather (like that) in early German bellows...



#16 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 09:01 AM

Stephen, I was wondering what the tone is like on yours? Does the extra space for the reeds allow for bigger reeds in general?

The reeds in old German concertinas always look tiny to me, although I've never compared like for like.

These on the one in the OP look a reasonable size, but it's hard to compare without handling it.



#17 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:38 AM

I just noticed this one on ebay. It's described as a miniature, five inches across the ends :

I can't believe that the one I linked sold for £142 plus postage. 

Are smaller concertinas worth such a premium? I've seen full size ones similar to that one sell for about thirty pounds.



#18 Takayuki YAGI

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 03:32 AM

Thank you all for your insights to the original post.

For some reason it came up again on ebay. http://www.ebay.com/itm/391727245198






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