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The Oldest Wheatstone In Private Hands


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#37 Howard Mitchell-Borts

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 06:55 PM

I called in to see Neil Wayne for a chat and a pint (or two) and took the opportunity (while he was out of the room*) to take some photographs of the pile of concertinas gathering in a corner.

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Anything that takes your fancy here as an early Wheatstone or something with unusual features?

Let's take a closer look.

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Now I'm always a sucker for the larger instruments, tenors and baritones, so I though I'd take a look at the one on the right.

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Well interesting, yes, but not what we're looking for.

How about this one -

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Very small number of buttons and although you can't see it in the picture it has the number XXXVIII (38). Many of the very early instrument of the open pallet type etc. didn't have numbers so I think this qualifies as a very early numbered instrument.

Lastly here's a look inside the instrument (it's a photo of a photo) -

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As you can see, the action is most unusual. The levers are wooden and they're connected to the pads by flexible pieces of leather and the pads are hinged on their outer edges and sprung with a torsion spring. I've not seen anything like this before!

Enjoy.

Howard Mitchell


*but with his permission

#38 JimLucas

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 11:42 PM

...Neil Wayne ... pile of concertinas.

Nice stuff. Thanks to the both of you.

One thing that interests me there is the fretwork on these instruments.

And that last photo could as well go into the Construction & Repair Forum.

#39 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 12:45 AM

Dear Stephen and others, Neither is *more worthwhile*....interpretation of second hand documentation and searching original 'own hand' documents are both important paths to historic knowledge.


But that is not what I said, the point I was making was :

You are putting up a totally hypothetical case, and challenging people to disprove it. What's the point ? Isn't it much more worthwhile to discuss the interpretation of the source material that does exist ?


Well I, for one, am not going to "argue the toss" (to quote another Topic) on theories that have no foundation, I honestly don't have the time to get drawn into such a pointless debate.

I have only one referrence for the possible use of *concertina* for "something else" :
Maria Dunkel:Bandonion und Konzertina p17 referring to
Rowland Wright:Dictionnaire des Instruments de Musique p42 :
concerning Debain calling a harmonium of his "concertina" and J.Alexandre being granted a 10 year patent 1839 for the same instrument as a "noevel instrument dit Concertina ou Piano-concertina"

And being so 'deep in the business'...is it not a bit remarkable if Charles Wheatstone in 1844 would not be aware of this Alexandre patent of 1939??


This Forum has already discussed contemporary newspaper evidence showing that "Wheatstone's Patent Concertina" was being performed on as early as 12th June 1834, as well as the evdence of Cock's [sic] Instruction Book for the Concertina (c. 1851-2) that "it was not till the end of the year 1833 that the instrument named the Concertina was invented". Also the reference from Charles Roylance, that, when Captain Gardnor bought the first instrument, "it was then called the "Symphonian" [sic] with bellows, and not until December the 27th in that year was it named the Concertina".

Yet you seem to be suggesting that Charles Wheatstone could have taken the name from Alexandre after the latter's 1839 Patent - when there is very solid (newspaper) evidence that the name was already being used by Wheatstone at least five years prior to that - surely it must be the other way around? By the way, we know that Alexandre did a lot of harmonium business with Wheatstone's, and even manufactured some English system concertinas.

In that light what does the formulation regarding "designation" mean?! ("generally known by that designation").. *generally*...


To which my reply is still :

... we know that Wheatstone's instrument had been described as a "Symphonium with bellows", and also as a Melophon/Melofon, not only as a concertina. 


So I believe that the writer is stating that, although the instrument has sometimes been called by other names, the one by which it is normally known is concertina. I have evidence that at least one player still referred to his English concertina as a symphonium in the 1890's, whilst others (e.g. George Bernard Shaw) even referred to them as "Wheatstones" irrespective of the maker !

So it still seems being of particular interest to search for as early original links to Wheatstone(s) as possible if this is the hypothesis for origin of the term that is to be prooven....


Did I say I had stopped looking ? Or that I had given you all my sources ?

How about this one ? :

A far more successful instrument ... is the concertina, the invention of Messsrs. Wheatstone. Shortly after the introduction of the Aeolina by this firm ... they effected a considerable improvement upon it, by enclosing the reeds and plate in a small box, and adding valves to open any of the notes at pleasure : this was called the symphonion ... The substitution of bellows for the action of the mouth, and certain other improvements consequent thereupon, transformed this instrument into the concertina.

(Quoted from : London Journal (Newton's) Vol. xxxix, 1851, pp. 384-5.)


You feel I'm picky about it?...We do not have (as far as I have seen or heard) for *concertina*anything like: Quote(CW):"I have given the name of Symphonium"...


I know that you have a problem with the expression "Wheatstone's Patent Concertina", but I think it significant, in this context, that the firm published music both for "Wheatstone's Patent Symphonion" and for "Wheatstone's Patent Concertina", so both evidently had exactly the same status in their eyes.

I find it rather tricky to sort out what is being alluded to in many details here...


That is probably to do with the fact that the document would have been drawn-up by a Patent Lawyer, they would always try to reveal as little as possible about the invention, while attempting to make the claims as broad as possible. Clarity is never their forte, nor would it be seen as desirable by them.

The "Symphonium" is NOT a patented 'instrument'


I don't believe that case would hold up in a court of law.

The "Concertina" (Wheatstones concertina) is NOT a patented 'instrument'


Nor that one !

Wheatstone most certainly did patent the principle of his (later) concertina in 1829 (as the Symphonium with bellows), he did not need to do so again, nor would he have been permitted to do so again under Patent Law.

Again a reminder... that the 1844 patent explicitely was NOT presenting any claims regarding the particular 'squeezebox concept' ..only the specified "improvements 1-7"...


Exactly ! When his 1829 patent expired, in 1844, he took out a second patent for "improvements" to his original patent - this is a classic ploy in Patent Law, to attempt to extend the life of the patent. However, it was easily evaded, simply by not incorporating Wheatstone's "improvements", and hence failed to prevent other London makers (Scates, Nickolds etc.) from making English concertinas after that date.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 23 March 2008 - 06:40 AM.


#40 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 01:33 AM

...Neil Wayne ... pile of concertinas.


Nice stuff.  Thanks to the both of you.


I'll second that !

One thing that interests me there is the fretwork on these instruments.


Yes, XXXVIII must be the oldest-known concertina with fretwork. When you consider that the earliest (known) numbered instrument, XXXII, was made with open pallets, then this must be one of the very first to have had its action covered. (Which is probably just as well, as the mechanism looks extremely fragile. Maybe this particular action is the reason why they introduced the "frets" in the first place ?)

(P.S. I've got some nice "swaps" Neil !) :)

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 15 January 2004 - 11:24 PM.


#41 goran rahm

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 05:51 AM

Wes:"One possible answer to your question lies in Stephen's 1999 Michaelstein paper:

QUOTE
p191, Note 32 (extract):
Also Eulenstein's Three Divertimentos for Wheatstone's Patent Concertina .. Equally Adapted for Symphonion was published by Wheatstone & Co. circa 1835

..but Stephen may wish to change this if he has any more recent information. Surely the title indicates the early age of this piece with its mention of the symphonion?"

Goran:That is good Wes!... at least an early document from ("signed") *Wheatstone(s)* printing the term concertina.
The expression "Wheatstone's patent concertina" remains ambiguous since as I have said *concertina* was NOT mentioned in the 1829 patent. Now...are there any patent papers between 1829 and 1844 that may shed any more light on the issue??
The formulation does not exclude the alternative 'general' meaning of *concertina*.

Goran Rahm

#42 goran rahm

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 07:19 AM

QUOTE (Stephen Chambers Posted on Jan 13 2004 @ 10:35 PM)
You are putting up a totally hypothetical case, and challenging people to disprove it. What's the point ? Isn't it much more worthwhile to discuss the interpretation of the source material that does exist ?

Stephen add:"Well I, for one, am not going to "argue the toss" (to quote another Topic) on theories that have no foundation, I honestly don't have the time to get drawn into such a debate."

Goran:Hmm..one theory/hypothesis is no different from another in principle.
Maybe we rather make a restart if things should be sorted out better?
1) Are we aiming for the same target? I'm not sure..
2) I search for the origin of the term *concertina* firstly and what it stood for primarily
3) Secondly how its connection with Wheatstone(s) and Uhlig respectively came up respectively
4) Thirdly whether the meaning of the term changed some time which of course is depending on the outcome of 1)

We have no definite answer neither to 2) 3) or 4)
Some alternative hypothesises may be formulated....please!

(We do have some very interesting documents but their importance may only be evaluated in relation to what hypothesis is to be prooved...)


And being so 'deep in the business'...is it not a bit remarkable if Charles Wheatstone in 1844 would not be aware of this Alexandre patent of 1939??

Stephen:"This Forum has already discussed contemporary newspaper evidence showing that "Wheatstone's Patent Concertina" was being performed on as early as 12th June 1834, as well as the evdence of Cock's Instruction Book for the Concertina (c. 1851-2) that "it was not till the end of the year 1833 that the instrument named the Concertina was invented".

Goran:That brings us back to what *concertina* stands for in respective cases...
The Cock formulation again raises the questioning whether a *concertina* was invented 1829 or not (with regard to figure 45 in the patent)..dilemma?

Stephen:"Also the reference from Charles Roylance, that, when Captain Gardnor bought the first instrument, "it was then called the "Symphonian" with bellows, and not until December the 27th in that year was it named the Concertina"."

Goran:Yes, yes...a "second hand" and late (was it 35 years later?) statement...

Stephen:"Yet you seem to suggest that Charles Wheatstone could have taken the name from Alexandre after the latter's 1839 Patent ? I do not recall that Alexandre claimed to have invented the word, but his firm did do a lot of harmonium business with Wheatstone's, they even manufactured some English system concertinas !"

Goran:Well, actually not suggesting anything specifically, only finding a possible indication that the term had wider use than we assume. If the connection between Wheatstone(s) and Alexandre was this close it seems in both cases surprising to me that they mention the term *concertina* in patent applications (1839 and 1844 respectively) without any notice about its origin or its specific meaning. IF *one* of them (we assume CW...) had come up with the term 1833....Wheatstones publishes music for *concertina* 1835 (documented) AND THAT "Wheatstones patent concertina" was the specific "Symphonium with bellows" (now 1833?called "concertina") the use of the term in the Alexandre patent seems to be
a good reason for patent protest or legal conflict. Still as you say Alexandre and Wheatstones were business related...
Maybe court minutes could be a source of information...:-)?

QUOTE (Stephen Chambers Posted on Jan 10 2004 @ 06:36 AM)
... we know that Wheatstone's instrument had been described as a "Symphonium with bellows", and also as a Melophon/Melofon, not only as a concertina.

Goran:Yes, in my view pointing rather in the direction that the term *concertina* was not that specific! "Melophon" still in 1846 was it?.... and the "Wheatstone concertina" being one specific example among *concertinas*
Any idea how Alexandre actually promoted/marketed his *concertina* ?? and possible press comments on it?

QUOTE (Stephen)
A far more successful instrument ... is the concertina, the invention of Messsrs. Wheatstone. Shortly after the introduction of the Aeolina by this firm ... they effected a considerable improvement upon it, by enclosing the reeds and plate in a small box, and adding valves to open any of the notes at pleasure : this was called the symphonion ... The substitution of bellows for the action of the mouth, and certain other improvements cosequent thereupon, transformed this instrument into the concertina.

From : London Journal (Newton's) Vol. xxxix, 1851, pp. 384-5.

Goran: Does not add anything new as far as I see. One seemingly strange detail in it though is the formulation "introduction of the Aeolina by this firm"...Possibly by that is meant that Wheatstones 'introduced' it to England...??

QUOTE (goran rahm Posted on Jan 14 2004 @ 10:04 AM)
You feel I'm picky about it?...We do not have (as far as I have seen or heard) for *concertina*anything like: Quote(CW):"I have given the name of Symphonium"...

Stephen:"I know that you have a problem with the expression "Wheatstone's Patent Concertina", but I think it significant, in this context, that the firm published music both for "Wheatstone's Patent Symphonion" and for "Wheatstone's Patent Concertina", so both evidently had exactly the same status in their eyes."

Goran:I can't say...."Symphonion" "Symphonium" "Symphonium with bellows" "Melophone" "Concertina"...a little irresolute...?

QUOTE (goran rahm Posted on Jan 14 2004 @ 10:04 AM )
The "Symphonium" is NOT a patented 'instrument'

Stephen:I don't believe that case would hold up in a court of law.

QUOTE (goran rahm Posted on Jan 14 2004 @ 10:04 AM)
The "Concertina" (Wheatstones concertina) is NOT a patented 'instrument'

Stephen:Nor that one !

Goran:If there were no legal conflicts we don't know...I simply judge from the explicit patent claims...the point being that you so often meet expressions like
"W patented the Symphonium"..."W patented the Concertina"...

Stephen:"Wheatstone most certainly did patent the principle of his (later) concertina in 1829 (as the Symphonium with bellows), he therefore could not do so again, and did not need to do so."

Goran: You certainly don't "patent" something you don't claim in the application but this of course does not hinder the common later legal conflicts...:-)
From the 1829 papers:
"I do not mean or intend hereby to claim as my invention any of the parts of which these said instruments may be composed which are already known or in use"

QUOTE (goran rahm Posted on Jan 14 2004 @ 10:04 AM)
Again a reminder... that the 1844 patent explicitely was NOT presenting any claims regarding the particular 'squeezebox concept' ..only the specified "improvements 1-7"...

Stephen:"Exactly ! When his original patent expired, in 1844. he took out a second patent for "improvements", which is a classic ploy, in Patent Law, to attempt to extend the life of the original patent. However, it was easily evaded and failed to prevent others from making concertinas."

Goran: Yes..so it ought to be agreed upon that there is no specific 'concertina patent' by Wheatstone if by 'concertina' is meant the instrument most commonly called so (shown in the figures of the 1844 papers)
unless!....some suitable generally accepted definition of *concertina* is used...

Goran Rahm

#43 JimLucas

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 07:42 AM

The expression "Wheatstone's patent concertina" remains ambiguous since as I have said *concertina* was NOT mentioned in the 1829 patent.

I've been trying to stay out of this one, since Stephen and Wes both know much more about the history -- and have more documentated sources to back up what they know -- than I do. But it appears necessary to point out that the sticking point in this debate is now Göran's inability or unwillingness to accept the fact that when it come to patents, names are irrelevant.

Designs and methods can be patented; names cannot be. A design or method need not be named to be "patented", nor does changing the name by which something is referred to alter its patent status. All that is needed is a clear description of a design or method.

In past discussions, Göran has indicated that he doesn't believe this to be true, and specifically that he believes the only thing that was patented by CW in 1829 was "the symphonium", because that is the only name that was used in the patent. That is why he doesn't accept that the "concertina" was patented by Wheatstone in 1829... or ever. The fact that Göran's belief is contrary to the law as I understand it has caused me to give up trying to come to an agreement with him on the "facts" of the issue.

#44 goran rahm

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 08:28 AM

A nonsense comment Jim...another excuse for starting one of these fruitless seemingly intentionally misinterpreting nitpicking combats....? This time I don't respond to it. Bring it up in the "Arguing the toss" topic if you like...or will it be necessary to establish a 'court of appeal' in another forum...??
Goran

#45 wes williams

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 08:41 AM

There is really nothing further I can add. There should be enough evidence here to convince almost every reader of the research into date of 'invention' and naming of the concertina pointing to about 1833.

Stephen:"Also the reference from Charles Roylance, that, when Captain Gardnor bought the first instrument, "it was then called the "Symphonian" with bellows, and not until December the 27th in that year was it named the Concertina"."

Goran:Yes, yes...a "second hand" and late (was it 35 years later?) statement...


What does amaze me is Goran's only evidence is based on his interpretation of a "third hand" 1990s quote of a 1941 book, quoting an 1839 patent. And yet he even dismisses a "within living memory" quote if provided by anybody else!

Howard:
Many thanks for the pictures. The spring beyond the lever/pad has echos in German construction, so perhaps this was an experiment to try a mechanism style that had been seen in an early accordion?

Edited by wes williams, 15 January 2004 - 08:59 AM.


#46 stuart estell

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 10:37 AM

I called in to see Neil Wayne for a chat and a pint (or two) and took the opportunity (while he was out of the room*) to take some photographs of the pile of concertinas gathering in a corner.

Fascinating, thanks for doing that Howard.

#47 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 11:43 AM

M'lud, I let my case rest !

#48 JimLucas

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 11:50 AM

M'lud, I let my case rest !

Good idea! Rest it on the floor, take out your concertina, and let's play some music! :)

#49 goran rahm

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 01:02 PM

Wes:"What does amaze me is Goran's only evidence is based on his interpretation of a "third hand" 1990s quote of a 1941 book, quoting an 1839 patent. And yet he even dismisses a "within living memory" quote if provided by anybody else! "

Goran:We may cut this to diminutive pieces Wes...the above is not the clue!
The point today like yesterday remains being the difference between documents 'in own write' and 'second, third' or whatever hand *not original* statements. Just for curiosity..when was Roylance born and was he closely related to Wheatstones 1833??...1870??...does it really matter?? Still a not verified second hand statement.
The Alexandre issue concerns an official document as far as I understand containing the 'name' concertina...a patent 'title' usually being regarded as a 'heavy' piece of evidence. Most definitely some kind of protest would be expected from any one else with any sort of interest in the origin in the term....conditionally it became known of course...

Goran Rahm

#50 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 03:06 PM

Just for curiosity..when was Roylance born and was he closely related to Wheatstones 1833??...1870??

I shall let Charles Roylance answer for himself :

I think as a teacher of the English concertina since 1865, I may be allowed to say a few words on the above subject. I formed English concertina classes and my concertina band in 1869, and gave my first band concert on March 29th, 1870, at the Benjamin Franklin Hall in Castle Street, and my last band concert in Store Street Hall, Tottenham Court Road, on October 30th, 1890. ... I have worked very hard in the interest of the concertina, and published selections for concertina and piano, as also a concertina band journal, arranged for treble, alto, tenor and bass, with pianoforte accompaniment ... [the concertina] has not, and never will, make the headway it ought to unless rechristened by some other name. I have many times suggested this idea to manufacturers, and, happily, Messrs. Wheatstone have made the first move in the direction indicated by terming their new invention the "aeola".

(From a letter, by Charles Roylance, to the Editor of The Evening News and Post, quoted in Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review April 1, 1894, p. 454)

With a little support from George Jones :

I was pleased to see that my friend Mr. Roylance had taken up the subject of the English concertina.

(From a letter, by George Jones, ibid.)


Charles G. Roylance was born in Marylebone, London, about 1841. He taught, and was a major seller of, the concertina in central London's Tottenham Court Road area. I think it safe to assert that he was very much involved in the London concertina scene. He would, no doubt, have been familiar with most of the makers, especially with Wheatstone's (evidenced both by the above, and by a very large number of entries in that firm's ledgers) and George Jones (evidenced by the letter of support from Jones).

He is therefore a highly credible witness in matters relating to concertina history in general, and C. Wheatstone & Co. in particular.

...does it really matter??


Well you asked it ...

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 12 May 2004 - 04:56 PM.


#51 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 05:34 PM

The expression "Wheatstone's patent concertina" remains ambiguous since as I have said *concertina* was NOT mentioned in the 1829 patent.


I have been thinking about this, and have come to realise that the formula "***'s Patent ***" was the normal one used by inventors, in English-speaking countries, when describing/advertising their inventions. Examples, of other such musical inventions, that immediately spring to mind, are "Logier's Patent Chiroplast" (1814) and "Smith's Patent Box". That is why I do not find any ambiguity at all in its use by Wheatstone.

... when it come to patents, names are irrelevant.
Designs and methods can be patented; names cannot be.  A design or method need not be named to be "patented", nor does changing the name by which something is referred to alter its patent status.  All that is needed is a clear description of a design or method.


Exactly ! That is the nub of the matter.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 12 May 2004 - 04:59 PM.


#52 goran rahm

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 04:36 AM

... [the concertina] has not, and never will, make the headway it ought to unless rechristened by some other name. I have many times suggested this idea to manufacturers, and, happily, Messrs. Wheatstone have made the first move in the direction indicated by terming their new invention the "aeola".

(From a letter, by Charles Roylance, to the Editor of The Evening News and Post, quoted in Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review April 1, 1894, p. 454)

Goran:Many thanks Stephen for the information on Roylance. The above raises more questions of course...WHY did Roylance have this opinion about the name??
Since it was ambiguous from the start? Since it had became ambiguous when this was written....due to the diversity of concertina types and qualities....??

QUOTE (goran rahm Posted on Jan 15 2004 @ 06:02 PM)
...does it really matter??

Stephen:"Well you asked it ... "

Goran:It IS of great interest of course! But it hardly matters for the ultimate knowledge either of 1) the origin of the term concertina 2) whether it originally referred to Wheatstone's "Symphonium with bellows" or an unspecificed free reed instrument concept 3) the personal responsibility of CW or anyone else

Goran Rahm

#53 goran rahm

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 04:52 AM

QUOTE (goran rahm @ Jan 15 2004 @ 11:51 AM)
The expression "Wheatstone's patent concertina" remains ambiguous since as I have said *concertina* was NOT mentioned in the 1829 patent.

QUOTE (JimLucas Posted on Jan 15 2004 @ 12:42 PM)
... when it come to patents, names are irrelevant.
Designs and methods can be patented; names cannot be. A design or method need not be named to be "patented", nor does changing the name by which something is referred to alter its patent status. All that is needed is a clear description of a design or method.

Stephen:"Exactly ! That is the nub of the matter."

Goran:In order not to get stuck in a state of nonprogressive arguing (like I hinted at yesterday) maybe a restart with more precise formulations of aims in the form of an expressed hypothesis and the requirements for proving it might help.
As a matter of fact I have NOT been hung up on the issue of 'patenting names' as Jim alleged. (Read me better!) On the contrary I have read the patents closely (which Jim seemingly has not...but Stephen most certainly has!) and the "nub" remains being *the claims* of a patent.
Associated to that of course in this 'case' is the analogous but different matter of claiming a name, for patent or otherwise.

Again I suggest that we all set up the 'theory' or 'hypothesis' that should be
examined in order not to keep on confusing the matters.

Goran Rahm

#54 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 02:57 PM

Goran:Many thanks Stephen for the information on Roylance. The above raises more questions of course...WHY did Roylance have this opinion about the name??
Since it was ambiguous from the start? Since it had became ambiguous when this was written....due to the diversity of concertina types and qualities....??


I shall let Charles Roylance answer for himself :

... but with all my efforts I have found that, owing to its odious name "concertina" (being associated in the minds of most persons as referring to that wretched toy the "German concertina"), it has not, and never will, make the headway it ought to, unless rechristened by some other name. ... Why do not our leading manufacturers publicly offer a prize for the best new and appropriate name ? Now is the time.

(From the same letter, by Charles Roylance, to the Editor of The Evening News and Post, quoted in Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review April 1, 1894, p. 454)


Roylance's letter was one of the first salvos in a war of words, which can be followed in the pages of Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review, that produced much useful information on concertina history, but sometimes got just as heated as some of the exchanges in this Forum. (Nothing new then !)

I shall next turn my attention to that correspondence, but I will do so in the "6-sided, 'pinhole' Aeolas" Topic, where I believe it more properly belongs.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 16 January 2004 - 11:24 PM.





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