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Questions About Wheatstone Aeola


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#37 goran rahm

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 05:42 AM

Paul:Mine was 33622. I didn't have any problem with it so it's interesting that Wim states that it's worse than Lachenal.

Goran: There is a lot in that actually. We all have in fact a fairly limited experience from various instruments and what we usually do have is knowledge about mechanical devices 50-150 years old...hardly *ever* we come across instrument in original condition and fairly seldom comparable new or new-ish instruments.
This results in considerable bias in judgements.
Despite the *technical* improvements and advantages there may be present the
*musical* significance may vary a lot first of all and secondly the ultimate *initial* performance capacity of an instrument may be more or less reduced by ageing and wear.
I can hardly from my viewpoint see any (or merely marginal) differences between hook action or various riveted types of action regarding either 'fastness', 'smoothness' or 'precision' *conditionally* that everything is in perfect order.

Concerning 'fastness' of an intrument *generally* this is so much depending on reed quality and function that this has to be completely eliminated as a bias factor.

The quality *stability* of the button may be more important when playing polyphonic pieces than single notes and if bushings and buttons are perfect the
stability of the post/lever connection has little (if any) extra importance.

Friction of this connection may be important for fastness of course. Greater stability is expected to mean increased friction and the fork connection of the
Wakker-Geuns model risks causing extra friction IF subject to sideways forces as well as the riveted Wheatstone action does.
One theoretical additional improvement in this aspect would be adding a ball (or hemispherical washer) between each side of the lever and the post.
But like I said...IF bushings are perfect and the fitting of the button too there is enough stability anywayand hardly significant sideway forces present.The situation could be improved by other means as well ...like increasing the length of the buttons (firstly the distance between its guiding 'channels' in the action board and end plate respectively) or stabilizing the connection between button and lever.

Goran Rahm

#38 Shay Fogarty

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 07:42 AM

Hi folks,
Just adding my piece on the S/M special. I was interested in such a one on e-bay a few months back during the summer. I mentioned the fact to Steve Chambers a very authoritative concertina historian and his explanation of the S/M was Sergei Matusowitch (hope spelling is correct) a noted concertist from New York. As i recall the e-bay sale went to Concertina Connection and the tina came from the States.

This adds to the confusion I'm afraid.

One last thing. I wonder were the reed pans replaced at some later stage with lower/higher reeds ?

#39 JimLucas

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 12:51 PM

Steve Chambers ... explanation of the S/M was Sergei Matusewitch a noted concertist from New York.

This adds to the confusion I'm afraid.

I don't think so. Steve made a good guess, but I suspect he would confirm it as just a guess. The other evidence overwhelmingly indicates it was incorrect.

..1) It is reported to have been in New Zealand for some time before reaching America.
..2) The serial number stamped on its reed pans is within a sequence of 5 instruments indicated in the Wheatstone ledger with the notation "S/M", at least two others of which Göran reports as existing in Sweden and being associated with the Swedish instrument dealer "Smålands Musikvaruhus", one of these identified with "SM" in the fretwork. I would consider this to be pretty strong evidence of the "S/M" referring to that dealer.
..3) It seems unlikely that over a period of 7 months 5 instruments would be built specially for Sergei Matusewitch, who was more noted for his accordion playing than the concertina. He could play concertina, but his father Gergory and brother Boris were the ones noted for performing on the concertina.
..4) There are other instruments in the ledgers marked with the name "Matusewitch", not "S/M", not only from later years when the brothers acted as American importers, but one or more individual instruments with earlier dates, which I think are more likely to have been special orders for the Matesuwitch's themselves.

One last thing. I wonder were the reed pans replaced at some  later stage with lower/higher reeds ?


Interesting thought. The model 17 is designated in my old price lists as a treble, model 19 being the tenor-treble. But an appended letter indicates a variant, and my lists don't include a 17A, so I don't know for sure what that might be. Both serial numbers on the instrument are marked 17A in the ledger. Other comparisions of instruments vs. ledger entries (discussions in the old Forum) indicate that the model number was more reliable as an indicator of an instrument's size than of its range. (An instrument with normal treble range but the size of a "piccolo" (octave higher) English being designated "piccolo" in the ledger, e.g.) So it seems likely to me that the lower reeds were original.

I think this is more than confirmed by Göran's report that those other two instruments in the sequence were both also 48-button tenor (or tenor-treble, depending on your teminology) instruments. I would even surmise that this is what distinguishes the 17A designation from the plain 17.

#40 Robert Gaskins

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 11:56 PM

A number of Wheatstone English concertina pricelists from Chris Algar's archives are posted on the web, at

Twelve English Concertina Pricelists, c.1915 to c.1956

These have been dated as well as can be by internal evidence.

The latest one lacking any mention of model 17A is a list dated to c.1929.

The first list showing model 17A is a list dated to c.1930, which contains on page four a hand-written insertion in red ink at the bottom of the "Tenor-Treble" list saying "17A" and "48 keys from Tenor C to F above 3rd Ledger line".

The next-following list, dated to c.1931, contains the same information properly set in type and properly arranged in numeric order.

These Wheatstone English lists from Chris Algar can very often provide useful hints for interpreting the Wheatstone Concertina Ledgers at the Horniman website.

FWIW, a quick flip through the ledgers seems to show the earliest model 17A listed as dating from March 1930, and identified as a "T.T." This tends to confirm the dates assigned to the price lists. The Ledger page for this instrument is

Model 17A Tenor Treble serial #32289, 7 March 1930

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#41 Robin Harrison

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 06:46 PM

re. S\M
Does anyone else remeber the E-bay sale of four Matusowitch English concertinas maybe four years ago ? They were part of an estate sale in Florida.
They were made for him (the family\school) and none had the S\M stamp.
Two stood out .One was a tortoishell Aeola from the fifties;bought by the Button Box ( but apparently a dog) and the other was also a tortoishell ended,gold buttoned,red-bellowed Aeola 56 key from the classic period.
I would guess if they were made for him he would have the S\M on these instruments .
(By way of diversion [or thread creep if you like]............I remember these quite well as I was going to bid on the old Aeola.I phoned lots of people and eventually decided not bid,but what was interesting was that the seller described the end plates as "some plastic type material" .............anybody in the "know" could see they were tortoiseshell.Turns out he was hoping for an overseas sale and was conversant with the then CITES Convention and the prohibition of end-dangered species.)
Regards Robin

#42 goran rahm

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 02:56 AM

Interesting Robin....and like I have said before the origin of the "S/M" label(s) shall not be questioned. It stands for - "S"målands "M"usikvaruhus - a retail enterprise in Sweden and they have informed me about their procedure in ordering these instruments and putting the labels on them.

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#43 Shay Fogarty

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 10:52 AM

I was interested in an Aeola on e-bay during the summer which had S/M special on the end. I asked Steve Chambers about this and he suggested that it was made fo Sergei Matusowitch. Looking at the Steve Dickinson ledgers on the Horniman museum site you'll see that there are quite a few made for this SM. The Aeola was sold to Concertina Connection and then appeared some months later presumably refurbished completely by them as there was a new bellows and action. Also the Aeola on e-bay was sold in the US if I recall correctly.
Regarding the numbering of the pans and ends I wonder were the reeds replaced at a later stage and new pans put in?

#44 goran rahm

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 12:04 PM

Shay:"I was interested in an Aeola on e-bay during the summer which had S/M special on the end. I asked Steve Chambers about this and he suggested that it was made fo Sergei Matusowitch. Looking at the Steve Dickinson ledgers on the Horniman museum site you'll see that there are quite a few made for this SM."

Goran: Not to be repeating myself see my previous reply...Steve Chambers had a guess.... but not correct. Have you counted the S/M instruments in the ledgers? Curious to hear how many you found...I guess not more than a couple of dozens maybe.

Shay:"The Aeola was sold to Concertina Connection and then appeared some months later presumably refurbished completely by them as there was a new bellows and action. Also the Aeola on e-bay was sold in the US if I recall correctly.
Regarding the numbering of the pans and ends I wonder were the reeds replaced at a later stage and new pans put in?"

Goran:No reason to believe that the reeds were replaced separately since a presumingly original reed pan came along with them. The fit of reeds in the original reed pan usually is so precise that even replacing them with another contemporary reedworks mostly is revealed by unexpected misfittings. As has been said before the most likely history means that reeds+reed pan+bellows frame came from one instrument and action board+endplates from another one and S/M label seemingly from the first....or was put on later...

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#45 conzertino

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 06:06 AM

I recently bought this particular 48-key tenor Aeola under consignment off Wim Wacker. Does anybody know, what happened to the instrument between 2003 and 2009? Who was it's last owner?

#46 John Adey

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:05 PM

I recently bought this particular 48-key tenor Aeola under consignment off Wim Wacker. Does anybody know, what happened to the instrument between 2003 and 2009? Who was it's last owner?


Presumably it was owned by the guy who sent it to me from France, a gentleman by the name of Zwien Regelink. I returned it after trying it and deciding against, then, I think, it was bought by you. But surely you have this information anyway since the owner will have sent it to you directly.
Wim Wacker acted as an intermediary only, holding the money until the potential purchaser was definite that he or she wanted to complete the deal; the instrument was sent out, and returned to in my case, the man named above. I do have his 'phone number, but so should you if you kept the packaging.

#47 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 08:38 PM

I hadn't seen this thread before, it was "before my time" here.

Steve Chambers ... explanation of the S/M was Sergei Matusewitch a noted concertist from New York.

This adds to the confusion I'm afraid.

I don't think so. Steve made a good guess, but I suspect he would confirm it as just a guess. The other evidence overwhelmingly indicates it was incorrect.

Exactly so! I met Shay in the street (near St. Stephen's Green in Dublin, I seem to recall) and he asked me if I had any idea what "S M Special" might mean, on an Aeola for sale in America - so I hazarded a guess.

#48 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 09:02 PM

The first list showing model 17A is a list dated to c.1930, which contains on page four a hand-written insertion in red ink at the bottom of the "Tenor-Treble" list saying "17A" and "48 keys from Tenor C to F above 3rd Ledger line".

The next-following list, dated to c.1931, contains the same information properly set in type and properly arranged in numeric order.

The 1935 "New Edition, Revised and enlarged" of The Salvation Army Tutor for the English Concertina has an advertisement in the back of it for these tenors, describing them as a "New Model English Concertina" and stating they are "no larger than the 'Triumph' Concertina bearing the same number of keys, but possess... the same compass ... A lower range is thus provided which enables a player to render almost any kind of music, whatever its demands may be. This improved compass thus obviates criticism of the English Concertina."

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 20 September 2009 - 09:23 PM.





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