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My Father's Concertina

Lachenal Edeophone 48 button Salvation Army

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#1 Sallyann

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 05:23 PM

I have just dug out my father's concertina which he owned and played as a Salvation Army officer from the 1940's. I don't know anything about concertinas but have become interested as I realise that his is in good condition. It is a Lachenal Edeophone with 48 buttons and has a serial number of 58850. The leather box looks original too. Can someone tell me approximately when it may have been made and if it is valuable now?

#2 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 07:14 PM

I have just dug out my father's concertina which he owned and played as a Salvation Army officer from the 1940's. I don't know anything about concertinas but have become interested as I realise that his is in good condition. It is a Lachenal Edeophone with 48 buttons and has a serial number of 58850. The leather box looks original too. Can someone tell me approximately when it may have been made and if it is valuable now?

 

 

Hello Sallyann

Welcome to Concertina.net. I might be able to help you. Yes, the Salvation Army did use concertinas in their bands as their main instrument for a number of years before switching to brass instruments. The Lachenal Edeophone was Lachenal's top of the range model. They are twelve-sided and could be had with either wooden ends or metal ends. This shape was used in the making of English concertinas, mainly 48 key trebles and also in the making of Maccan system duet concertinas. Regarding the serial no. and dating the concertina  - unfortunately, the Lachenal records no longer exist, presumed destroyed, so dating a Lachenal concertina by its serial number involves a bit of guesswork. However, some original purchase receipts have survived, and the dates from these can be used to approximately date the year in which a concertina with a near serial number would have been made. I see that the serial number of your father's concertina is 58850. By coincidence, I happen to own a metal-ended Lachenal 48 key treble with the serial no. 58856, which, using the above dating method, from original purchase receipts, collected by Randy Merris, an American, who has done quite a bit of research into dating Lachenal concertinas, I have dated my concertina to have been made circa 1922. Lachenal were eventually taken over by the Wheatstone concertina company around 1935. 

 

As to the value, depending on its condition and whether it has metal or wooden ends (metal-ended ones are usually a little more expensive) it could be worth up to £2500 in its original case and therefore moderately valuable. What would be nice, is if you decided to keep the concertina and have a go at learning to play it!

 

Chris



#3 Sallyann

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 06:22 AM

Chris, great to hear from you - and so much information! I suspect that Dad may have bought it second hand, as he was not rich (a Salvo!) but he also liked quality. I think this one has wooden ends and it looks shiny and well cared for. I have memories of being with him in a country town in Australia when he used it in open air meetings on the street corner. Like most Salvos, he could play by ear and never had any formal training. I play the piano accordion but I can't really see myself playing the concertina and it is gathering dust in the shed. Anyway, it is lovely to know it is a good instrument. Thanks for the reply.
Sallyann

#4 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 07:25 PM

Chris, great to hear from you - and so much information! I suspect that Dad may have bought it second hand, as he was not rich (a Salvo!) but he also liked quality. I think this one has wooden ends and it looks shiny and well cared for. I have memories of being with him in a country town in Australia when he used it in open air meetings on the street corner. Like most Salvos, he could play by ear and never had any formal training. I play the piano accordion but I can't really see myself playing the concertina and it is gathering dust in the shed. Anyway, it is lovely to know it is a good instrument. Thanks for the reply.
Sallyann

 

 

Hello Sallyann

I am pleased that you found the information I gave you helpful. My wife, who also plays the piano accordeon and the English concertina, used to be a member of the Salvation Army but by the time she joined, in the 1980's, they had stopped using concertinas and had switched to using brass band instruments instead, which is a shame, I think. And if you really can't see yourself playing the concertina, I hope it will eventually find a good home with someone who does want to play it. Although they are much quieter than a PA, for example, what I like about concertinas, is their lightness and compactness. And with an English concertina, being fully chromatic, you can play in any key, should you wish, and many different types of music, not just folk music, which is the main type of music the concertina is more commonly associated with these days since its revival in the 1960's.

 

Chris



#5 Sallyann

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Posted 25 December 2014 - 08:42 PM

Chris,

How interesting that your wife has that background.  Concertinas were certainly more portable and did the job as a solo accompaniment.  I have had a try to work out the buttons and discovered that there is a middle button that is exactly the middle C on my piano, which is tuned to concert pitch.  There are two buttons on the right hand at the extreme end of rows that do not work but the rest do. A closer look reveals that the ends are metal and the whole thing seems to be in very good condition.  I shall read some more about chromatic concertinas and other interesting things.  I wish I could find out where this came from, but anyone who would know anything has passed on.  So at least I have put it in its historical context with your help. Thanks!

Sallyann



#6 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 02:45 AM

I shall read some more about chromatic concertinas...


So let me chime in at this point. "Fully chromatic", as Chris has correctly mentioned, does not necessarily rule out sort of a diatonic organisation of the keyboard. I'm playing a 48 keyed English concertina like Chris does (and you might hold in your hands), and it has all the "white keys" of your PA in the two center rows on each side, with the accidentals seated just aside where you'd expect and need them. The alternating allocation of tones switching from right to left and back and forth again gives you fifths and triads right under your fingers. You might try that out...

Best wishes and season's greetings - Wolf

#7 Sallyann

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 06:22 AM

Thanks Wolf - it is all becoming more and more interesting.  I have explored the buttons and it is true to say that my accordion plaing helps me to make sense of the buttons.  I feel like I have entered an alternative universe! :)

Sallyann



#8 d.elliott

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 12:47 PM

. I play the piano accordion but I can't really see myself playing the concertina and it is gathering dust in the shed. Anyway, it is lovely to know it is a good instrument. y.

Sallyann

 

Sallyan,

 

the thought of such an instrument being stored in a shed, presumably unheated, and subject to damp and climatic conditions makes me cringe. There is a high probability of condensation on the reeds and subsequent corrosion damage, wood work warping etc. 

 

It would be a good idea if you dropped the ends off and had the internals inspected for internal & reed condition. If you are comfortable with doing this within your family or circle of friends then I am sure one of the forum members could oblige. How ever You might like to consider keeping the concertina in the house, and not in a false roof or cellar either!

 

I don't know where you are based but I am in Sheffield UK.

 

Dave



#9 Peter Laban

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 01:13 PM

the thought of such an instrument being stored in a shed, presumably unheated, and subject to damp and climatic conditions makes me cringe. There is a high probability of condensation on the reeds and subsequent corrosion damage, wood work warping etc.


Sallyann did mention Australia in an earlier post so she may well have the advantage of a dry climate. Unlike, I must add, some of us who see things just sitting in the house decay and rust.

#10 malcolm clapp

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 09:56 PM

Dry climate? Hmmm. Not where 95% of Australians live, so likely Dave's comments are very relevant and justified.

 

(You've been watching too much Oz TV and tourist ads, Peter :unsure: :unsure: :unsure: )

 

Probably a little less wet than Ireland though. My last visit, 10 glorious days, when it only rained twice: once from Monday to Thursday and once from Friday to the following Thursday.... (though I must say that everything was beautifully green and I had a wonderful time).


Edited by malcolm clapp, 28 December 2014 - 10:08 PM.


#11 Sallyann

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 04:17 AM

Ha - thanks for the commentary on our climate and concern for the instrument.  I am in Melbourne so we have everything from frosts in winter to 45 degree heat in summer.  I have to say though, it is not a lot different in  the house.  The concertina nearly went to the op shop but I rescued it for sentimental reasons and haven't given it a thought since until now.  Dad died in 1994 so I can't reverse what has happened since then but I promise to look after it now! 



#12 Dowright

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 09:05 AM

Chris Drinkwater mentioned me (Dowright = Merris) in suggesting circa 1922 for the manufacture of your Lachenal concertina. I thought you would appreciate a little more information.

 

A Lachenal sales receipt for 10 July 1923 shows that Mr. E. Perkins purchased No. 58885, a 56-key Edeophone. Another sales reciept for 10 July 1923 shows that his brother, Mr. A. E. Perkins, purchased No. 58887, a 48-key Edeophone with raised wood ends, metal buttons, steel reeds, 6-fold bellows, and bowing valves.

 

However, the sales receipt for a 56-key Edeophone with a higher serial number--No. 59086--was sold on 2 April 1923. more than 3 months before the puchases by the Perkins brothers.

 

This points to the fact that Lachenal carried an inventory (as did Wheatstone et al). A buyer could walk into the small Lachenal showroom and below the large photo of Dutch Daly (music-hall comedian and concertinist) was a display of new Lachenal concertinas that could be purchased and taken home the same day. Some of the concertinas may have been in the display case for months. This contrasts with today, when there is a long wait for completion of a custom instrument, and the manufacture date is almost always very close to the sales date.

 

Thus, I concur with Chris's dating of c.1922.


Edited by Dowright, 29 December 2014 - 09:07 AM.


#13 David Barnert

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 09:46 AM

It would be a good idea if you dropped the ends off and had the internals inspected for internal & reed condition.

 

But (and I expect Dave would agree) don't take both ends off at the same time.



#14 Sallyann

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 06:27 PM

My goodness!  This concertina parallel universe just gets more intriguing.  Thanks for the confirming information, Dowright - that makes sense and I will settle for the c1922 date.  I just wish I had asked a few questions when Dad was still around, and not just about the concertina.  I do know that Dad's grandfather was a concert pianist, and that the Cornish musical traditions have come down through our family, but, like Dad, I play some instruments only by ear.  That helps me to play the piano accordion, so I can imagine how Dad conquered the concertina.

Thanks again for all the information.

Sallyann







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