Do I Have A Jeffries?
Posted 10 October 2005 - 11:03 AM
The more I see of Jeffries instruments the more I wonder if that is what I have. The only name on it is on the RHS metal end where it is marked 'H.E.Hare' at the apex of the RHS. Despite a thorough search I can find no serial numbers.
It was restored by Andy Norman about 6 years ago but he may not remember it from so long back. I think that he [?] replaced the wooden ends, which look to be new with substantially rebuilt pads and action, but the bellows look original. The straps are obviously original and they were once bright green with gold tooling which is echoed on the edges of the ends. The bellows papers have a different design.
I would be truly grateful to anyone who can shed light on the prevenance of this instrument.
Posted 10 October 2005 - 11:31 AM
The whistles are common.
You are in with a good chance
Posted 10 October 2005 - 01:22 PM
The fretwork is identical to my Jeffries
You are in with a good chance
The Fretwork may not be the safest indicator, I recently bought my son a concertina which has the very same fretwork but was identified by both seller (a dealer I know as very reliable) and the man who restored it for him (Colin Dipper) as 'Crabb??' (including the questionmarks). It's a lovely concertina though, whoever made it.
Edited by Peter Laban, 11 October 2005 - 03:27 AM.
Posted 10 October 2005 - 02:15 PM
Posted 11 October 2005 - 04:53 AM
Posted 11 October 2005 - 09:14 AM
That just about sums it up, Daniel - we usually say about instruments of this type, even with Jeffries markings, that they were at least partially made by Crabb. But we've also seen instruments like this branded as Ball Beavon. Since Jeffries of this type usually have stamped letter markings, and this has no Crabb markings, it looks like it was probably made by Crabb for sale by another dealer under his own name. 'H.E.Hare' hasn't popped up as concertina dealer anywhere in my researches.
I have one of these too (31 ivory buttons on mine) which was restored by Stephen Chambers about 25 years ago. No one seems to know for sure whether they were made by Jeffries or Crabb, but both Stephen and Neil Wayne thought that mine was more likely a Crabb if they had to make a choice.
Posted 14 October 2005 - 10:47 AM
Posted 15 October 2005 - 03:11 PM
In many cases if there are no Crabb identifying marks within an instrument , I simply have to put my hand up and say “I do not know” to avoid the possibility of disappointing and in some cases really upsetting people. Instruments should be judged on their condition, suitability, performance and price, not necessarily just on the name. I am often disappointed to see available Crabb instruments being dismissed out of hand because they are not of another make. Still, because of this, some bargains have been acquired.
The following has been published before but to those not familiar with the connection between Crabb and Jeffries, it may be of interest. Based chiefly on information passed down two family generations to myself, I have little reason to doubt the content but as always new evidence may come to light that might cause change. It concentrates mainly on the Crabb/Jeffries connection and will not define the maker of a particular instrument but may explain the reason for confusion.
During the period 1860-1903, John Crabb and his son, Henry Thomas Crabb, made concertinas both wood and metal ended. Although predominantly Anglo, some very fine English and Double concertinas were also made. The sales records for the period 1885-1889 shows additionally that they were engaged in the bulk making of cases for all types of instrument and that they produced ‘turned’ work in various materials.
Although not prolific makers, many of the Anglo concertinas were made to the order of various dealers, suppliers etc. At that time competition meant earning a living was hard. Crabbs like many of the other makers were not averse to selling their work unlabelled to ensure an income. As they lived on the premises it was usual for them to work eighteen hours a day, seven days a week to cope with demand. It is conceivable that they worked in co-operation with Charles Crabb, John Crabbs brother, who became an established Concertina and Reed Maker in his own right upon leaving Lachenals. It is also highly likely that outworkers were also employed.
Most of the metal ended Anglo’s were basic, good sounding, robust, functional, concertinas. Polished German silver ends, guilded end bands and fancy papers on the bellows did visually enhance an otherwise hastily put together instrument. This is evident on examination of the finish of the inside of the wooden parts of these ‘early’ models. The reeds, as always, demanded the lions share of the time expended on each instrument and the selling price and the quantity required precluded the niceties seen in other main makes.
Instruments made for resale generally had no cartouche provided on the right hand end for a name stamp unless requested.
Some dealers provided their own stamp to the Crabb workshop so that the ends could be stamped during manufacture e.g. ‘T Bostock’. Others would stamp either the metal top somewhere or the exterior woodwork e.g. early Jeffries, Ball Beavon, Peerless (Murdoch)etc.
Metal ended instruments made for direct sale from the workshop were stamped or engraved in the usual place on the right hand end ‘J Crabb - Maker‘. The left hand end had no cartouche, the identity number being pencilled or later impressed inside the instrument.
Sometime in the period stated above, Charles Jeffries Senior (Charlie) approached John Crabb as to the supply of Anglo concertinas.
It is now accepted that Charlie Jeffries was a brush maker by trade and who also appears to have played the Anglo concertina.
During the winter months he would make brushes that he would sell during the summer. To announce his arrival in many of the villages he visited he would play the concertina. Obviously he needed something loud and at the time Crabbs may have made the strongest sounding Anglo’s. (Re-tempered hard steel reed tongues should not be solely attributed to Jeffries.)
It seems that he was an astute business man. Very often he was approached with enquiries about his concertina and he would offer to procure instruments for the enquirers. When back in London he would come to John Crabb and order the quantity required. When ready he would collect them, and after stamping his name on the instrument ends, between the keys (a practice that he continued for some time on instruments that he assembled or eventually made), would deliver them to his customers when next visiting their area, making a substantial profit on each instrument. The earlier instruments would be marked or have a Crabb identity number pencilled inside. Unfortunately in many cases these details may have been erased, between leaving the workshop and arriving at the end customer.
Eventually Charlie Jeffries realised that selling concertinas was more profitable than making brushes. He approached the Crabb workshop with a view to buying ready made parts that he could assemble thus acquiring them even cheaper.
A deal was agreed (date?) and parts including reeds and pans were made and supplied to him. It was said that when Charlie Jeffries visited the workshops he was not allowed to see the parts being manufactured to protect Crabbs future income.
From that time, Charlie Jeffries, possibly with his son(s) began to assemble his ‘own’ instruments and became established as a Concertina ‘Maker’
Later, at some time, it has to be believed that he did acquire the knowledge or capabilities to produce the parts because of the continuance of the business through his four sons. The parts being direct copies of those supplied by Crabbs adds to the identity confusion.
Once Charlie Jeffries began making the parts etc. the association with Crabbs ended.
The accepted 30/31 key Jeffries Anglo fretwork pattern was in use by Crabbs from 1860 and can be seen in their wood top models of the period.
There is actual evidence that a fretwork patterns used by ‘Jeffries’ in the 1920s first appear on John Crabb instruments some 20 odd years before..
All variations of the Anglo were made by Crabbs up to 50+ keyed models. Many with ‘effects’ included.
Contrary to some reports, Crabbs continued making Anglo concertinas as well as starting to make the ‘new’ Crane (Butterworth) duet. They at no time held the patent for the Crane but made large numbers of them as they became popular specialising in the larger range instruments (59 – 80 key). They continued to make English (all models ) and some very odd special concertinas as required right up until the closure of the firm in 1989.
Posted 15 October 2005 - 10:47 PM
[quote name='Geoffrey Crabb' date='Oct 15 2005, 03:11 PM']
Once Charlie Jeffries began making the parts etc. the association with Crabbs ended.[QUOTE]
Can you tell from your records, or even speculate, the approximate date of the end of this association?
[/QUOTE]...parts including reeds and pans were made and supplied to him.[QUOTE]
Is there any evidence that the parts supplied were of different specifications to those used on Crabb labelled concertinas? Or those made for Ball Beavon or other distributors?
Posted 16 October 2005 - 02:18 AM
Adding a little more: I have seen Jeffries with with both design and constructional shortcuts, particularly in the duet manufacture; and several times I have come accross Jeffries fakes, Lachenals with false stampings and Jefferies bellows papers covering original Lachenal papers.
All that is gold papered need not be glitter!
I am not trying to detract from Jeffries, but it seems to me that the Crabb family were 'masters' not just 'makers and marketers', retaining 'hands on' skills and experience through a family system. A knowledge and experience base that developed and grew over many years.
Posted 17 October 2005 - 08:20 AM
Posted 17 October 2005 - 04:12 PM
A brief response.
>Can you tell from your records, or even speculate, the approximate date of the end of this association?
Nothing is evident and I would have said possibly 1890 but I have received enquiries today about an Anglo clearly marked 'Jeffries' between the keys that bears a Crabb 8*** number inside for 1895 and has the J Crabb rubber stamping on the innerside side of the end box. So you see the problem.
>Is there any evidence that the parts supplied were of different specifications to those used on Crabb labelled concertinas? Or those made for Ball Beavon or other distributors?
Again no. As far as I know all the parts should have been of the same spec. Differences in the hardness of the reeds is sometimes mentioned and a cause of this could be as follows:
The reed tongues were all hard tempered after careful initial voicing (profiling) requiring the minimum of fine tuning/balancing. It must be remembered that many Crabb instruments supplied direct to the public were in the home key of B or Bb those to Jeffries mainly in C. Later alterations i.e. repitching to C etc. will effect the hardness of the reeds. My father, if replacing tongues to the early Crabb instruments would re-temper the steel to match the original, something generally not done by other repairers.
thanks for the kind words re: my forefathers. There really are some good Crabb concertinas out there.
I am sorry that my reply to your direct email did not reach you. It seemed to have been turned back 'Mailbox is inactive'. I repeat the reply here.
'Quite honestly if I have handled it, I cannot remember in retrospect due
to the number of instruments I have been asked to inspect over the past few
years. Generally though if the instrument does not have any apparent
markings/names on it or if there is a number inside (four digit 8***
usually) then it probably is a Crabb. These can be as good as anything
bearing the Jeffries name.
To all, regards
Edited by Geoffrey Crabb, 17 October 2005 - 04:17 PM.
Posted 17 October 2005 - 09:51 PM
Although my concertina is distinctly different from Keeper's, it also falls into the the same Crabb/Jeffries category. Its actually stamped with the classic 'C. Jeffries Maker' between the keys', but Mr Dipper believes it was almost certianly built by Crabbs. Anyway, there is certainly enough doubt about it to make your post very pertainent and interesting reading.
I'd also like to support your view of, 'judge a concertina on its performance, not its name'. I don't really care if mine is a Crabb or a Jeffries. Its a great instrument and I love it to bits.
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