Please excuse Geoff, obviously a non thoughtful shortcut by myself. Since your "1898" IS domed its place in the market competition sound likely but as I said we have to know for sure in what chronologic order these newish designs came up from respective makers.
I made the assumption because of your reported problems with the pad lift. Now - as it got domed ends - this surprises me even more since with metal ends it ought to gain some 3-4 mm extra space for pad lift compared to a same kind wooden ended instrument. I've got a 48 key sixsided domed wooden ended Wheatstone from 1905. I will take it apart tonight to examine it a little for comparisons. It is interesting what you say that maybe the model was "not fully developed" in 1898. I think mine also got 4 button washers originally. This routine which IS somewhat peculiar maybe reflect some problem with the lacking space you have described. Usually one thick or maybe 2 thin washers fix the damping allright. The other 2 just reduces the button travel ( and for what reason?) Muting the sound by reducing the pad lift IS a possibiity. I have muted some instrument by reducing the pad hole opening itself with tape strips. The result is quite interesting. Another method of course is using various kinds of "baffles" underneath the endplate.
Someone who really knows the order of appearance of the domed/raised ends Lachenals and Wheatstone is welcome reporting!
Poor mans choice between violin and concertina is another interesting subject. Here we are talking about top of the line concertinas and a rough guess of mine is that such an instrument cost at least 2 months wages for a worker. Saving that amount must have taken a lot of time...Not surprising if a low budget standard concertina would be more tempting, cost say 10-20% of the top one.
I have no reference regarding violins but industrial made German ones I actually guess ought to have been cheaper than even mid standard concertinas. Some documents around to tell?
By the way...when the Boyd label is presented in the fretwork what does it look like? On Lachenals integrated with the fretwork like the "SA" letters for Salvation Army models? On Wheatstones with a printed paper label replacing the original "C Wheatstone" label? Or engraved? Any photos somewhere?