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Jeffries Metal Hand Rests


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#1 Alan Day

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 05:18 PM

I have three Jeffries two Anglos and a converted Duet.The two Anglos have wooden hand rests but the duet has a brass probably originally plated hand bar, supported each end by an upright right angled bracket.This can just about be seen if you click on my site.I am interested to know was this metal handrest standard for duets (wooden for anglos) and if not is this unusual.
Many thanks
Al

#2 Paul Groff

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 05:50 PM

Hi Alan,

Almost all the Jeffries duets I have seen have had the metal handrests (handrails). I think this may also have been standard on the Jeffries anglos with 45 - 50 keys and more. I have a 45 key and a 50 key (both anglos, and clearly made as anglos -- i. e. , not duet conversions), and both have the metal handrails. They are both fretworked under the handrail (i. e., where the metal ends are visible between the two attachment points of the handrail). Some of the duets I have seen (and some anglos that look to have been duet conversions) with the Praed St address stamp have much less open fretwork and have no openings under the metal handrails.

One of the fanciest Lachenals that came through my shop (a real oddball without a Lachenal serial number, maybe "frankensteined" together from miscellaneous parts by someone who worked in the factory) is a very fancy A/E 40 key anglo with intricate, nickel-plated brass ends. This also had the metal handrails, with fretwork beneath them. These were quite short so have been (reversibly) replaced with wooden ones of a standard length, and the originals saved.

Paul

#3 JimLucas

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 05:57 PM

I have three Jeffries two Anglos and a converted Duet.The two Anglos have wooden hand rests but the duet has a brass probably originally plated hand bar, supported each end by an upright right angled bracket.This can just about be seen if you click on my site.I am interested to know was this metal handrest standard for duets (wooden for anglos) and if not is this unusual.

I have a Jeffries anglo with the metal hand rests. It's a 45-button instrument, but I'm convinced that it is not a converted duet. On the other hand, my 59-button Jeffries-made Crane duet has wooden hand bars, but I seem to recall that another 59-button Jeffries-made Crane duet I saw had the metal bars. A 50-button Jeffries-system duet I saw recently had the metal bars, but my 45-button Jeffries-system duet has wooden bars.

These are just individual data points. Among those whose experience I expect should give them a more informed persepctive are Paul Groff, Chris Algar, Randy Merris, Colin Dipper, and Stephen Chambers.

To my surprise I have found the raised-end Jeffries instruments I've tried are the most comfortable instruments (excepting Englishes, which are held differently) to hold and play. And so far, those Jeffries with raised ends that I've seen have all had the metal bars, but not all with metal bars have had raised ends.

#4 Paul Read

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 10:02 PM

I didn't know Jeffries ever made English concertinas. Does anyone have a picture?

#5 JimLucas

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 02:31 AM

I didn't know Jeffries ever made English concertinas.  Does anyone have a picture?

I'm sorry, but I guess I was unclear.

I just meant that my comments on holding and playing the concertina applied only to those instruments with the bar-and-strap handle, and that Englishes are different and outside the scope of this Topic.

I did not intend to suggest that Jeffries made Englishes. If anyone wants to pursue that question, I suggest they start a separate Topic (under History).

Edited by JimLucas, 06 February 2004 - 02:36 AM.


#6 madden

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 09:13 AM

I didn't know Jeffries ever made English concertinas.  Does anyone have a picture?

There is a Jeffries English at the Horniman, and I think that one can find a picture of it on their site.

I have another one. I will try to post a picture or two early next week.

Dan Madden

#7 Paul Groff

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 11:14 AM

Jim,

Back to the Jeffries with handrails/handrests/handbars, i. e., the duets and anglos... I suspect or possibly even remember that your little 45 key duet with wooden handrails had flat ends and the same type of fretwork I associate with the "early looking" (1890s?) 45 key anglos. (I mean something similar to that seen in the 50 key J. duet you recently pictured in the "multibutton Jeffries" thread). I wonder if, under the wooden handrail on your duet (so not currently visible from outside), there is fretwork. If so, it would suggest that this was constructed at least with the optional possibility of the metal rails in mind.

And what type wooden handrails are on the Jeffries Crane? Typical, low, Jeffries-anglo style, or the higher ones (often with a cutout shaped like two intersecting circles) that you often find on Wheatstone and Lachenal Cranes?

It should be mentioned that while the Jeffries duets and anglos with metal handrails often have strapscrews on the wooden casework (as in a typical, smaller Jeffries anglo), the straps are also secured to the top of the metal handrail between thumb and forefinger, so the casework strapscrews seem mainly cosmetic (or maybe serve the function of retaining some extra length of strap for adjustment). On the beautiful, flat-ended and finely fretworked "early type" 45 keys, breaks in the fretwork are commonly found where the metal rails are attached. This apparent vulnerability to damage may be due to an initial failure to scale up the strength of the metal ends to cope with the weight of the instrument. Pushing (and pulling) forces during playing are probably highly concentrated by this mode of attachment of the handrails, and damage from knocking around may also be a factor. In an early leather hexagonal case, when set down hard or dropped on the hexagonal end the whole weight of such an instrument will rest against these attachment points.

Paul

Edited by Paul Groff, 06 February 2004 - 11:15 AM.


#8 Robin Harrison

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 12:28 PM

Just a picture of my 45 key Jeffries to show others what we're talking about.
Robin

#9 Robin Harrison

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 12:30 PM

Missed !

#10 JimLucas

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 07:22 PM

And what type wooden handrails are on the Jeffries Crane? Typical, low, Jeffries-anglo style, or the higher ones (often with a cutout shaped like two intersecting circles) that you often find on Wheatstone and Lachenal Cranes?

The latter.

#11 Chris Timson

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 06:40 AM

I have a Jeffries anglo with the metal hand rests.  It's a 45-button instrument, but I'm convinced that it is not a converted duet.

This is also true of my 45-button Jeffries G/D.

Among those whose experience I expect should give them a more informed persepctive are Paul Groff, Chris Algar, Randy Merris, Colin Dipper, and Stephen Chambers.

I am seeing Colin with my 45-button next week, I shall try and remember to ask.

To my surprise I have found the raised-end Jeffries instruments I've tried are the most comfortable instruments (excepting Englishes, which are held differently) to hold and play.

I think this is because the metal hand rest is higher. It is interesting that the hand rests of Dipper concertinas are also higher than average,for example see this photo of my Dipper baritone:-

Posted Image

It is notable that this, like the Jeffries, is very comfortable. I must ask Colin if he evolved his design from the Jeffries or independently.

Chris

#12 Roger Digby

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 08:19 AM

I can also testify to a metal support on an Anglo. It's a 38 G/D (ex Kilroy) and I am convinced it has never been retuned. It is high pitch and uneven temperament - both features which a retuned Duet would probably have removed.
Were there Duets as small as 38s?
On the subject of Jeffries as a maker of English system instruments, the receipt from 1920 which is in the Museum section of this site, proudly proclaims him as an 'English and Anglo-German Concertina Manufacturer'. Mind you, I've never seen one!
Best wishes
Roger

#13 Alan Day

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 08:25 AM

I wonder if we are missing an important point here,that could it be that owing to the extra buttons /extra notes around the periphery of the instrument ,some under the hand that the open metal hand rest provided a duel role of providing the extra strength for the rest ,but also allowing full sound under the hand.
I would be interested in your comments on this theory.
Al

#14 Paul Groff

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 09:03 AM

Alan,

I think there is a lot to your theory. This is what I was getting at indirectly when I noted my observations about fretworking in the ends under the metal rails. In my experience, such under-rail fretworking (which I also noted in the fancy "Lachenal") shows up in the earliest metal-rail instruments and may be a clue to the motivation behind the metal type of handrail. Of course, even if there were no fretwork beneath it the open area under a metal rail would allow sound to come more easily from the fretwork openings covered by the heel of the hand.

Pads that open under the hand and in the "interior" of the soundboard (pad board), not around the edges, can result in notes whose harmonics are shaded differently - at least to the player's ears. As I have noted before, I find that in many good instruments these differences in timbre become much less noticeable a few feet away, due to loss of high harmonics, but they can be distracting to the player.

As the number of buttons on a Jeffries anglo or duet increases beyond 31, the interior positions for pads are used more and more, and it is certainly possible that in the early instruments with 45 + buttons the metal rails and under-rail fretworking were put in to open up (and even up) the sound.

On the other hand, as I have noted, there are certain models of later Praed-St. stamped Jeffries duets with 50 and more keys that have very closed-in fretwork all around and have solid, unfretted metal ends under the rails. Maybe this was another (more muted) approach to making the sound more even (not that these are quiet instruments!).

Roger, I have never seen a 38 key with the metal rails. Very interesting! Do you think you hear more of the sound of the "hand-shaded" notes than with a typical, wooden-handrailed, 38? I have never seen a Jeffries duet that small -- anyone else? Jim Lucas's early 45 key is I think the smallest I've seen, which again raises the interesting question whether its metal ends are fretworked under the wooden handrails.

Paul

(edited to remove nonsense!)

Edited by Paul Groff, 14 February 2004 - 03:36 PM.


#15 JimLucas

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 12:24 PM

To my surprise I have found the raised-end Jeffries instruments I've tried are the most comfortable instruments to hold and play.

I think this is because the metal hand rest is higher.

Height may have something to do with it, but "higher" isn't necessarily what it seems, and I wonder if it's the whole story. Here are some measurements from four instruments (these are crude; any measurement could be off by ½ mm):
.. 1) 30-button flat C/G Ceilidh: The bar is 1.3 cm thick, 1.5 cm high on either side and 1.7 cm high along the center, with the curvature spread uniformly across the thickness. The buttons rise about 6 mm above the end when up, 2 mm when down; these correspond to 1.1cm and 1.5 cm below the top of the bar.
.. 2) 38-button flat C/G Jeffries: The bar is 1.4 cm thick, 1.9 cm high on either side and 2.0 cm high along the center, with the curvature concentrated along the edge (really more like a smoothing of the otherwise-sharp edge) and the top essentially flat. The buttons rise about 7 mm above the end when up, 2 mm when down; these correspond to 1.3 cm and 1.8 cm below the top of the bar.
.. 3) 38-button flat G/D Jeffries: The bar is 1.4 cm thick, 1.7 cm high on either side and 1.9 cm high along the center. It's rounded on top, though not uniformly, being somewhat flatter toward the center. The buttons rise about 7 mm above the end when up, 2 mm when down; these correspond to 1.2 cm and 1.7 cm below the top of the bar.
.. 4) 45-button raised-end C/G (originally Bb?) Jeffries: The bar is 2 cm thick, 1.3 cm above the non-raised part of the end on either side and 2.3 cm above along the center. It's uniformly rounded on top, essentially semicircular [see correction below], probably a circular-cross-section tube cut in half lengthwise. The buttons rise about 7 mm above the raised part of the end when up, 2.5 mm when down. The raised part of the end is about 5 mm above the non-raised part, so the differences between button heights and the top of the bar are 1.1 cm and 1.55 cm, actually slightly less than on the other instruments. I'm pretty sure the bar's more rounded top is also significant as I shift my hand when I move my fingers from row to row, and the greater total width, as well.

....Added later as an Edit: Above I say that the cross-section of the metal bar is "essentially semicircular". I have just looked more closely and I realize that it's "flatter" than that. It's closer to a quarter-circular arc. That's still significantly more arched -- and more angled at the front and back edges -- than any wooden hand bars I've tried.

Edited by JimLucas, 15 February 2004 - 08:19 AM.


#16 Alan Day

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 05:51 PM

From what you are saying Jim all your hand rests rise in the centre, all mine are parrallel (Width and height).Is it only on the raised Jeffries that this is the case? I must admit I have never seen one with raised ends so what your saying is new to me..
As my hand sits on the back edge of the hand rest the rounded edges are what makes my converted duet more comfortable to play. The metal rest is higher than the wooden one and it is strange but all the years I have been playing it ,it is something I have never noticed until tonight.The other interesting thing is that the gap between the duet handrest and strap is much smaller than my other concertinas.I have obviously taken up the difference in height of the hand rest when adjusting the strap.
Something else I have discovered with a little help from my friends.
Many thanks
Al

#17 JimLucas

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 02:17 AM

From what you are saying Jim all your hand rests rise in the centre...

Not higher in the center than at the sides, but rounded "front to back".
As I said, the most "rounded" one is the metal one, which is like a piece of pipe sliced lengthwise.
...Just like in the photo provided by Robin Harrison.

.........[From here until the next quote was added during "editing".]
Don't know how/why I missed it earlier, but I just looked on Alan's web site and saw the pictures of his instrument with the metal handles. The handles look essentially the same as mine, Robin's, and the ones on a Jeffries duet I reported on a while back.

...all mine are parrallel (Width and height).

So are mine.

I must admit I have never seen one with raised ends....

Look at Robin's photo.

As my hand sits on the back edge of the hand rest the rounded edges are what makes my converted duet more comfortable to play.

I believe this is what I said in the last sentence of my previous post.

The metal rest is higher than the wooden one and it is strange but all the years I have been playing it ,it is something I have never noticed until tonight.

Alan, you seem to be saying that your metal hand rest is higher and thus your hands' distance above the buttons is greater than with your wooden ones. Yes? I noted that with the raised ends my hands' distance above the buttons is actually less, even though the bars' height above the non-raised part of the ends is greater.

But if I understand you correctly, we both seem to prefer the rounded cross-section of the metal handles, though I prefer mine which are lower to the buttons, while you prefer yours which are higher to the buttons. For this reason I question whether "height" is the critical factor. I'll add to that the further observation of an instrument I didn't include in my previous listing: My Jeffries-made Crane duet has wooden bars which are 2.3-2.4 cm high above flat ends, 1.4 cm thick, and slightly but uniformly rounded on top. I don't find the added height to be an improvement; instead I find myself wishing that the bars were as rounded as the metal bars on the 45-button, raised-ended anglo. Being able to "roll" my hand forward and back on the bar seems to matter.

Also, I'm not convinced that the 2-3 mm differences in height I reported before are that significant. Certainly they're small compared to the differences in hand size among players. If height were such a critical factor, I think one would find significant differences in preferred height among players with different hand sizes. (Well, that's still possible, since only a few individuals have contriubuted to this Topic so far, and none of us have reported our hand sizes here. :))

The other interesting thing is that the gap between the  duet handrest and strap is much smaller than my other concertinas.

Not so with me.

I have obviously taken up the difference in height of the hand rest when adjusting the strap.

The only thing that's obvious to me is that you've adjusted the strap differently. That you did so to compensate for the bar's height is not at all obvious, especially considering that originally you didn't even realize you'd done it. I'll propose another possible motivation: that with a flat-topped bar you want a looser strap in order to roll your hand forward and back to reach the different buttons, while the semi-circular [correction: quarter-circular] contour of the metal bar permits such "rolling" motion with a tighter strap. (Please take that as a question, not as a claim, but consider it as you analyze what you do when you play.)

By the way, this seems to have turned into more of an "Ergonomics" topic than "History". But I won't try to move it. Instead, I think I'll put a notice in Ergonomics to come look at this Topic here. ;)

Edited by JimLucas, 15 February 2004 - 08:24 AM.


#18 Roger Digby

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 03:33 AM

Now that I am back at home and able to check the fact I can also state that my 31 F/C raised end Jeffries has metal rests.With just 31 keys there is loads of room on the reed pans and yet the space below the wrists has been chosen in spite of room being available on the 'sides'. The same is true of my 31 G/D (wooden rests) so I can contribute no evidence for this part of the pan being avoided.
Best wishes
Roger




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