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Questions About Wheatstone Aeola


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#1 BruceB

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 03:56 PM

Hi everyone,

My new to me Wheatstone Tenor Aeola arrived yesterday from The Concertina Connection. It's everything I hoped it would be, and plays & sounds great.

The serial number on the left end is 33402. When I opened it up the serial number stamped on both reed pans is 34127. I'm wondering which is correct. I looked up both numbers in the Dickinson archive, and I think 34127 is correct. There isn't much information about 33402, but under 34127 it has the notation S/M. Five concertinas in a row, starting with 34126 have the S/M notation. On the right side of this concertina there is a metal plate with "S/M. Special" written on it. Seems like the plate matches the notation for 34127 in the ledger, no?

BTW, does anyone know what "S/M. Special" is? Was it a couple of concertinas made for someone, or something else? The fact that this is a TENOR Aeola is also interesting. Apparently, very few Tenor Aeolas exist. A major concertina dealer said he's seen exactly two of them in twenty years.

I'm just curious about both the mismatched numbers & the "S/M. Special" plate. It would be nice to know more about this concertina.

There are pictures, & a description of this concertina at the Concertina Connection website, listed as serial # 33402 Wheatstone Tenor Aeola, under Vintage instruments, and of course the Wheatstone production ledgers at the Horniman site.

bruce boysen

#2 goran rahm

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 04:26 AM

Bruce,
From your description it sounds as if the left end is not original since the ledger specifications on 34127 seem to match the rest.
This 'defect' ought to be reported back to Wim Wakker and could you please ask him if possible to find out the owner history of the instrument? I am particularly interested since the 48 key Aeola tenortreble is my definite favourite model and I have had 6 of them all having their first owners in Salvation Army.
34126 and 34129 belong to the same 'batch' as your S/M special and they were made for "Smålands Musikvaruhus" a retailer in Sweden and supplier firstly of
Salvation Army customers
Many S.A. metal Anglos (Lachenals) have "SA" included in the metal fretwork. The 34126 has got its "SM" in the wooden fretwork likewise.
BTW..."tenor" vs "tenortreble" can be of some interest. Wheatstones called this model "tenortreble". Steve Dickinson calls the same transposing model in F "tenor".

Goran Rahm

#3 BruceB

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 03:49 PM

Goran,
Thank you for the reply. Now I know what S/M. Special means.

I did ask Wim about the mismatched numbers and he didn't know, but said it's possible it was misstamped. It does seem like the actual serial number is the # stamped on the reed pans, 34127, as this matches the ledger entry.

I took the right end off today to check it out, and it is stamped inside with 33402. This matches the left end, which has 33402 on the outside metal plate, & stamped on the inside too. So, both ends have matching numbers (33402), and both reed pans have matching numbers (34127).

I don't know where this leaves us. Is it possible both ends are from a different concertina? If so, someone moved the "S/M. Special" plate on to the new ends. This seems unlikely to me, so I'm back to thinking it was somehow misstamped.

bruce boysen

#4 BruceB

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 03:57 PM

BTW..."tenor" vs "tenortreble" can be of some interest. Wheatstones called this model "tenortreble". Steve Dickinson calls the same transposing model in F "tenor".

Goran,
I don't quite understand what you're saying here.

I thought "tenortreble" referred to instruments with 56 buttons, with the full range of a treble plus the added notes at the bottom, down to "C".

Wim calls this a tenor, with 48 buttons, starting at "C" and with the top end of a treble missing.

Is this correct? If not, could you explain? Thank you.

bruce boysen

#5 goran rahm

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Posted 27 November 2003 - 03:38 AM

Goran,
Thank you for the reply. Now I know what S/M. Special means.

Goran now:At least we have one 'fact' :-)

Bruce:I did ask Wim about the mismatched numbers and he didn't know, but said it's possible it was misstamped. It does seem like the actual serial number is the # stamped on the reed pans, 34127, as this matches the ledger entry.

Goran now: I have never heard of a Wheatstone being "missstamped" but mixing of parts is common and has been done by makers as well as repairers. Check the bellows number too and the action board!

Bruce:I took the right end off today to check it out, and it is stamped inside with 33402. This matches the left end, which has 33402 on the outside metal plate, & stamped on the inside too. So, both ends have matching numbers (33402), and both reed pans have matching numbers (34127).

Goran now:So in the end it will possibly be a 'majority decision' when you've found the bellows and action board numbers :-)....
I don't have the ledgers available right now...would you like to check what it says on 33402 !? 34127 we *know* was orignally a "SM special" so if 33402 was NOT it seems as if the SM plate may have been replaced...OR put on later (not unlikely at all if sold by "SM")

Bruce:I don't know where this leaves us. Is it possible both ends are from a different concertina? If so, someone moved the "S/M. Special" plate on to the new ends. This seems unlikely to me, so I'm back to thinking it was somehow misstamped.

Goran now: No......"misstamped" I regard as the least plausible explanation.Again check ledgers for 33402 !

Next:

Bruce:Goran,
I don't quite understand what you're saying here.

I thought "tenortreble" referred to instruments with 56 buttons, with the full range of a treble plus the added notes at the bottom, down to "C".

Goran now:I don't know the exact origin of the terms "tenortreble" and "baritonetreble" but Wheatstones have been consequent in using the terms as follows:

Treble is an instrument 'played/fingered' like the original Wheatstone 48 key instrument having "middle C" (c4) level with the centre of the left thumbstrap
They come with 40,48,56,64 keys or variants

Tenortreble is an instrument fingered like the treble usually extended 'downwards' to c3
The most common models are (48) 56 64 keys. The 48 which you have was introduced in the 1930s and seems to have been originally ordered by SA and appears in their tutor as a special model suited for SA work.

Baritonetreble also is fingered like the above extended down to f2 or even lower into the normal "bass" range and then could be called "bass" of course
but sometimes has got the f3 instead of c4 level with centre of left thumbstrap
They come with 48, 56,64,72 keys or abberations

"Baritones" however are transposing an octave down (when fingered like the treble)independently how many buttons there are on them.

Before the introduction of the term "tenortreble" the term "tenor" was used for instruments between treble and baritone and in midth of 19th century often single action (like baritones and basses) They could be made in various 'natural' keys
depending on the ensamble context. For string music doing the viola part you can practise some variants of transposing. For brass music a "tenor in F" (which is what Steve Dickinson offers nowadays) is suitable for parts of some Eb instruments conditionally that 'normal' concertinas do the Bb parts. You then consequently use a natural F baritone and F bass (often 'wrongly' called "Eb bass")for doing other Eb parts in the brass band arrangement.

Bruce:Wim calls this a tenor, with 48 buttons, starting at "C" and with the top end of a treble missing.

Goran now:It was presented as a "48 key tenortreble" by the maker. According to the above one can't really say it is 'wrong' since it is handy for general speaking calling the instruments after their range and according to practise with other types of instruments (including human voice) it is the *lowest note* that is the decisive factor.

Bruce:Is this correct? If not, could you explain? Thank you.

Goran now:Like said above maybe not entirely 'incorrect' to say "tenor" but I would say 'inconvenient' since the maker *Wheastones themselves* did call it "tenortreble" and it has been sold and talked about mainly like *that* since.
In my eyes it is most *correct* to use the term the maker put on *anything*....
unless there has been some general agreement of something else.

Goran Rahm

#6 BruceB

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Posted 27 November 2003 - 12:01 PM

Goran,
Thanks again. I do find the terminology somewhat confusing.

Ok, here's the serial number count.
Action boards & ends are both stamped 33402.
Reed Pans & bellows frames are both 34127.

No mention of "S/M" for 33402 in the production ledgers.

Whatever it is it plays amazingly well.

Bruce Boysen

#7 goran rahm

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 04:01 AM

Goran,
Thanks again. I do find the terminology somewhat confusing.

Goran:Hm... I could agree...but if there was something confusing in what I said
do get back and I will give it another try...:-)

Bruce:Ok, here's the serial number count.
Action boards & ends are both stamped 33402.
Reed Pans & bellows frames are both 34127.
No mention of "S/M" for 33402 in the production ledgers.

Goran: So, the conclusion I see is that it is a hybride from these two instruments. Unless there exists a 'living' instrument composed of the other parts in conjunction ( in that case they may have been unintentionally mixed...) one likely explanation from my view would be that the ends were completely ruined on 34127, the bellows beyond repair on 33402 and the SM label been moved from 34127 end to 33402 end.
I'm a bit curious about how much you paid for it (private mail if you like...) and one reflexion is the valuation of it since it is not 'the original instrument'.
Musically of course that is probably irrelevant since they could be expected to be equal from the start....and now (if 'the other one' exists...)
Have you asked Wim Waker about the 'provenance' ?

Goran Rahm

#8 BruceB

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 12:07 AM

Goran,
I did hear again from Wim. The concertina came from New Zealand. That doesn't mean much as it could have moved around quite a bit since it was made in the mid 1930's. It would be fun to discover exactly how it came to have two serial numbers, but unless a former owner sees this and offers more information, I think we're out of luck.
bruce boysen

#9 JimLucas

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 02:58 AM

Action boards & ends are both stamped 33402.
Reed Pans & bellows frames are both 34127.

It seems unreasonable to me that some parts of one instrument would be accidentally stamped with the serial number of a different instrument which shows in the Wheatstone ledgers two years earlier/later. Instead, the two instruments must have been both apart in the same shop at some point and the ends of 33402 put together with the reed pans of 34127. Perhaps this was done deliberately because of end damage to 34127 and reed pan damage to 33402, but I wonder if there isn't somewhere an instrument with the 33402 bellows and reed pans and the 34127 ends.

No mention of "S/M" for 33402 in the production ledgers.

This means nothing. The ledgers are quite inconsistent as to what "special" features were recorded and what were not for any particular instrument. Custom keyboard layouts and detailing for a particular purchaser seem to be particularly missing. The "S/M" plates may well have been original kit for 33402, or even added later by the S/M dealer.

34126 and 34129 belong to the same 'batch' as your S/M special and they were made for "Smålands Musikvaruhus" a retailer in Sweden and supplier firstly of Salvation Army customers... The 34126 has got its "SM" in the wooden fretwork...

Göran, didn't this come up a while back with regard to another instrument? I don't remember whether it was one on eBay or one mentioned here on concertina.net, but I seem to recall that it was also an instrument that had such a brass plate, rather than having the "SM" design in the fretwork. Do you remember that? (Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to access the old Forum to search for any posts on the matter.) Or was it maybe this same instrument on eBay, with Wim winning the auction? I just don't remember.

The concertina came from New Zealand.

It would be very interesting to know how it (they?) got from Sweden to New Zealand. Not too surprising, really. We Americans tend to forget that Europeans emigrated to places other than the US. ;)

#10 goran rahm

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 03:36 AM

Jim:Göran, didn't this come up a while back with regard to another instrument? I don't remember whether it was one on eBay or one mentioned here on concertina.net, but I seem to recall that it was also an instrument that had such a brass plate, rather than having the "SM" design in the fretwork. Do you remember that? (Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to access the old Forum to search for any posts on the matter.) Or was it maybe this same instrument on eBay, with Wim winning the auction? I just don't remember.

Goran: Nor do I...:-) but I have a vague feeling of the same.....

QUOTE
The concertina came from New Zealand.

Jim:It would be very interesting to know how it (they?) got from Sweden to New Zealand. Not too surprising, really. We Americans tend to forget that Europeans emigrated to places other than the US.

Goran:Remember it has been a SA- instrument. SA officers do literally go 'round the World' ....so not very surprising. I will ask around a little when I have a chance.
Like I said before a mixture of the two instruments by accident seems rather unlikely...I believe in the intentional hypothesis: making one 'working' instrument out of two 'wrecks' and in that case not done by a regular repairer either since then some *repair* job had been more likely or at least access to a new or replaced bellows. Making new Aeola ends is not so very attractive for a hobby craftsman. It could quite well have been done by "SM" themselves for instance or some other *SA* related service anywhere.....but having two of this fairly rare model at the same time would be very fortunate anyhow....I almost could bet SM did it all.. and then some time it went off with a 'missionary' somewhere....

#11 martyn

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 07:28 AM

The one point that has not been raised by anyone yet is - why was the original action of this instrument removed and replaced with a modern one? Surely if it was to save weight the difference would be minimal.

Regards.

Martyn

#12 JimLucas

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 08:24 AM

The one point that has not been raised by anyone yet is - why was the original action of this instrument removed and replaced with a modern one?  Surely if it was to save weight the difference would be minimal.

Martyn, you confuse me. As far as I can tell, nobody asked "why", because nobody said it happened. Nor did anyone before you say anything about saving weight. Where did you get that idea?

I believe it has been fairly well established -- if you read the entire thread -- that the ends of one instrument have been mated to the bellows and reed pans of another, but nothing was said to indicate that the action within an end was removed or replaced.

#13 Chris Ghent

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 08:43 AM

The concertina came from New Zealand.

The Sallies were big on concertinas in NZ, as in the rest of the English speaking world.

My first experience of a concertina was in a small town called Wanganui (we called it a city, but it still doesn't have a post code) in the North Island where I was brought up. It was a Friday night in the 50s, which then meant fish and chips for dinner, late night shopping, and the best time to be in town. In this instance it was winter, and after all the excitment I was walking with my parents away from the main street towards our car. In the distance under a streetlight was a group of Sallie Army singers, and one was playing a concertina. I didn't know what it was then, all I knew was the feeling like there was a small church in a box. I wanted to stop near them and listen, but can still feel my mother's disapproval as she dragged me away. It wasn't just that they were making an exhibition of themselves; the Sallies were different tribe, not as bad as Catholics mind you, but it still it wouldn't be done to be seen looking like they were acceptable. Thank dog those days are gone. I listened as long as I could as we walked away. I have sometimes wondered whether he was a great player or I was in a susceptible mood, but I have never forgotten the way the sound echoed down the street between the tall brick walls, and the memory was in my mind when I decided many years later to buy a concertina.

Whenever I saw Sallies for a few years I would look for a concertina but they were well on the way to changing over to brass instruments and I never saw another. I was told recently people would write to the Sallies from the UK in the 70s looking for instruments and those still in the back of the cupboard at the Citadel were sold overseas at that time.

Chris

#14 BruceB

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 09:10 AM

Everyone,
There are photos, sound files & a listing of the complete rebuild that Concertina Connnection did to this instrument. It's under the Vintage Instruments catagory, "#33402 Tenor Wheatstone Aeola".

When The Concertina Connection says a complete rebuild, they mean it. Both the actions are new, all new valves, pads, and "all" the interior leathers are new. The bellows are new and the ends are newly French Polished. Everything that moves (except the reeds) or seals air has pretty much been replaced, so it's the best of both a vintage & new instrument. Concertina Connection regularly does this, it's not just this one. They do a wonderful job.

It plays excellently. The reeds are very responsive, and can be played at a very low volume. I can play it in the room next to my wife and not wake her if I'm careful. This is a first for me. I can slowly drop the volume on every reed until I can just barely hear the note & hold it there. It uses so little air compared to the other concertinas I've owned that it seems almost amazing. It plays so fast, the quickest flick on a button causes the reed to speak clearly. It's a joy to play. I've played three other Aeolas in the last few months and this one plays far better than any of them.

Whatever the history it sure is wonderful to play.
bruce boysen

#15 martyn

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 09:19 AM

Jim,

Thanks for your reply. If you take a look at the Concertina Connection web site and look under vintage restored instruments you will see a picture of the inside of this instrument. It clearly states "replacement action". I was wondering why it was replaced as an Aeola action should last virtually forever.

Martyn

Edited by martyn, 30 November 2003 - 07:34 AM.


#16 BruceB

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 09:25 AM

The one point that has not been raised by anyone yet is - why was the original action of this instrument removed and replaced with a modern one? Surely if it was to save weight the difference would be minimal.

Regards.

Martyn

Martyn,
They replace the action purely to make the concertinas play better. The action they put in is very solid & smooth, they talk about it on their site. I'm sold on the value of doing this after a few days of playing it. The feel is very sold & precise.
bruce boysen

#17 martyn

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 09:41 AM

Bruce,

Thanks for your reply.

It certainly sounds like a very nice concertina.

All the best.

Martyn

#18 JimLucas

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 10:34 AM

...take a look at the Concertina Connection web site and look under vintage restored instruments you will see a picture of the inside of this instrument.  It clearly states "replacement action".

Thanks for the clarification, Martyn. I hadn't realized you were referring to information provided outside this forum.

I think Bruce has explained pretty well. Wim does consider the riveted action -- both Wheatstone's and his own -- to be superior, so he may replace non-riveted actions as a matter of course on better instruments. He said he did that on his own superb Edeophone.

I was wondering why it was replaced as an edeophone action should last virtually forever.

(Aeola, but your question is still valid. :)) What I think we don't know is the condition of the action before restoration. It might have been in poor shape... or not. And was it a non-reveted action, or did Wim replace a Wheatstone riveted action with his own version? Maybe he would say? It would be nice to have before and after pictures to show the kind of restoration he does.




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