Dating your Concertina - A Summary Guide
Version 1.0; April 2001.
© 2001 Wes Williams.
A few queries to the discussion forum on
www.concertina.net ask for the date of a concertina, usually
from the serial number. This article summarises the information I
have, with much put into an easy to use table format, and discusses
how this information has been obtained. There is little original
research here. The source information used is mainly web related,
with a few extras from Neil Wayne's Free Reed magazines of the
early 1970s, recollections from the late Tommy Williams (a former Lachenal
employee) on his 'Springtime in Battersea' recording, and the late Frank
Butler's English Tutor. Some of the ideas seem to be new and many have
come about from discussion with other users of this site. Special thanks
must go to Roger Digby for the amount of Jeffries information he has provided,
to Brian Hayden for checking this article and suggesting further possibilities,
to David Aumann for his article and further assistance, and Randy Merris for
his Jeffries dating article.
I'd also like to thank the people who have posted me pictures and information,
those of you who have created concertina web pages, and in particular
Paul Schwartz for providing this splendid resource site for us all.
You'll find more detailed articles on some of the manufacturers elsewhere
on this site, and since research is continuing, check around for newer
revelations. I haven't seen any of the more recent magazines, so if you know
of any dating information, please let everybody know via the Discussion forum.
Your instrument, bill, or catalogue, etc. may just be the
missing link. I hope that you'll see by reading this article how information
that seems trivial can often provide useful clues. I will modify this article
as soon as anything major comes up. Let's make 2001 the year we finally get some
real advances in this field.
The data given here, with the exception of Wheatstone made concertinas, is
not accurate, and comes from speculation, so can only be used as a very
approximate guide. My opinions on production have been explained in the
Wheatstone section, although they apply generally to all the manufacturers.
I've made a lot of use of the Wayne Collection in the Horniman Museum,
London, via their Web site where you need to find the Free Reed Aerophones
Index for a picture and short description of each instrument.
There are three main indicators for dating concertinas; serial number, labels
and markings, and features. The serial number of an instrument is the best as
it is usually stamped in place. Labels and markings are a general indicator,
but were often replaced by the current ones when the instrument was returned
to the manufacturer for repair or service. Features have not been analysed to
any great extent, apart from Neil Wayne's analysis of early Wheatstones. I have
tried to give an outline of Jeffries features, but there is still plenty yet
to be done in dating research.
It is also worth noting that many 'Manufacturers' were re-labelling
instruments from the main makers. To date your instrument you may need
to look for a different manufacturer than what the instrument claims.
Many instruments were actually made by Jones or Lachenal, and 're-badged'.
This has happened throughout concertina history, and Richard Carlin has
recently written to say that the Matusewitch concertinas sold from New York in
the 1950s and 60s,were from two sources; Crabb from the early to late 1950s,
and Wheatstone later. The Horniman Museum web site is a good place to start
when trying to ascertain an original manufacturer.
We are lucky with Wheatstone concertinas, as records have
survived. You will be able to get a fairly accurate date for your
concertina from the table below. This data has been extracted
from Appendix 1 of Chris Timson's 'Concertina FAQ' which comes
originally from Nigel Pickles.
The ledgers from which this data came are in The Horniman. The
original Wheatstone company virtually closed around 1959. A small amount of
production continued in the workshops of subsidiaries of the owners, Boosey
and Hawkes, but the operation was eventually sold and taken over
in the mid 1970s by Steve Dickinson, whose Wheatstone instruments
commenced with the serial number 60000. In recent months a few
instruments have appeared with serial numbers in the high
fifty thousands. These appear to be made by Wheatstone in the
1950s, so the story is not yet complete. My suggestion for
these is that you treat the the thousands number as the year of
manufacturer (e.g. 58000 = 1958). These numbers have not been included
in the table.
Staff at the Horniman are transcribing the Wheatstone records, and
some of the early ones show that a lot of entries relate to hire and part
exchange, and that instruments were not sold in serial number order. You
should especially expect errors in dates with low numbers. These records
are a fascinating source of information. They show things like George Case
buying concertinas throughout 1851, and even 'Mr Lachenal' buying a
concertina when he must have already been producing his own.
The 'Concertina FAQ' source data comes with the year of the ledger,
and the serial number that the ledger starts with. For instance, the
ledger for serial numbers 5000 to 6999 starts in 1853, and the
ledger for 7000 to 7999 starts in 1854. It would be impossible
to try to extract a date with any greater accuracy, since the
1853 ledger could have started as early as January, or as late as
December.The same range applies to the 1854 ledger. So we have a
possible range of one month to two years for the 1853 ledger, and
a theoretical production range between 1000 and 24000 instruments
per annum! These dates must therefore be used with caution. I've averaged the
production figures to produce the table, as I feel that the skilled labour
pool would not be able to support wild swings of production. I've also
changed the figures to give a year/approximate number format as in
the rest of the table.
The rising rate of production at Wheatstone starts to level from the mid
to late 1850s onwards,showing the effect of Lachenal and various other
There is an uncertainty period during the 1860s, when William,
Charles Wheatstone's brother, died. William had run the company,
but from his death in 1862 until Charles took over management around
1867, the records do show a lot of fluctuation. Could some kind of
mis-management have happened? If you look at the figures before
and after this period however, they do show reasonably smooth
production changes when plotted out.
Various political conflicts have affected production
throughout the years, but World War 1 and 2 (1914-1918 and
1939-1945) had major effects on production, especially during
the periods immediately following.
Louis Lachenal was the tool maker, and later manager, at Wheatstone, leaving
them to set up his own business about 1850. Early price lists show a medal
awarded to the company from an 1851 Exhibition. Lachenal applied
production techniques to produce concertinas in greater quantities
and at cheaper prices than Wheatstone. Lachenal's records were
said to have been willfully destroyed when the company folded
and was sold off in 1936.
Geoff Wooff gave three formulae for Lachenal instruments in
the Australian publication "The Concertina Magazine", sometime
in the early 1980s. Notice that each type of instrument has its
- For the English system: (serial number divided by 769) +1850
- For the Anglo system: (serial number divided by 4176) + 1850
- For the Duet system: (serial number divided by 111 ) + 1873
David Aumann (DA) has published some more ideas on this site,
specifically relating to the Anglo. I believe that David's
figures produce a better estimate of date, but I have modified
his graph slightly to produce something that agrees with some
ideas I've had on Duet numbering (see later) which moved one of his points five
years earlier, and I've assumed a final output of 201000 by 1936. A few
instruments with numbers above 200000 have appeared on the web, but
none higher than 201000. The only data that does need more investigation is the
start date. While 1850 seems a good approximation of the date that Lachenal
started, it is not known that he immediately started producing Anglos. George
Jones's account of his life implies that Anglos were being sold to Scates in
Dublin around 1853, and Neville Crabb's notes claim that the anglo was invented
by one of his ancestors in company with Nickolds, a former Wheatstone employee who
left about 1848. Anglos do not seem to appear from Wheatstone until about 1900
if the Horniman is anything to go by!
The Lachenal English formula is a good guide. It should
probably be more of an S shape rather than a straight line,
though less bendy than that for the Anglo in the DA article. A
confirmation of the validity of this formula can be made when we
consider the Edeophone English models. According to Neil Wayne,
the first instruments to use this model marking were six sided
and appeared around 1890, with the 12 sided models appearing
later. In the Horniman, the lowest six sided Edeophone is No.
31249, and the lowest twelve sided No. 38694. The formula would
put these as 1890 and 1900, which is very close to Neil's dates.
An additional confirmation comes from a Lachenal price list in the Museum
section of this site. The list dates between 1889 (the last medal shown)
and 1897/8 (1897 medal shown on later lists). The illustrator has bodly shown an
English with a serial number 37281, which the table dates to 1897/8.
I've chosen to add an arbitrary bit of bending to try to improve early
accuracy from Mark Berry:'I have a Lachenal English #5063..the hand written
date inside the bellows says 1869.
The Duet formula is a bit of a mystery to me. If anybody has
the article (or knows Geoff) I'd appreciate some information on
how the figures came about. Since most Duets are MacCann system,
the date of 1873 in the formula would seem to be a bit too early.
Although Wheatstone did patent a duet system very early on,
records show that very few were ever sold. The MacCann patent was
made in 1884. The formula gives 1879 for my own MacCann (No. 689),
but it must be after 1884, as it has the MacCann patent number
stamped onto the handle.
I know that a Duet, No. 4683 was sold in April 1929, and
assuming this wasn't a second hand sale, this suggests that
around 4500 were sold in 45 years; about 100 per annum on
average, which is similar to the formula. So that part is
There are two Duets in the Horniman with unreasonably high
serial numbers. These are a 46 key MacCann No. 43438, very similar
to my own, and a different system No.50584 (possibly Crane, although
this was supposed to have been invented in 1896). It
may be that these have been numbered incorrectly by human error,
but I suspect they may be early prototype models that have been numbered
using the Anglo numbering system. If these numbers are plotted on
the DA graph, they produce dates around 1890/91 and 1894/5. If
David's results were about 5 or 6 years out in this region (and I
don't think he'd be worried by this modification, which I've used
in the Anglo Table), the MacCann Duet number would make sense. It
would also suggest that the numbering system for Duets was
introduced after 1884, possibly even after 1888 if the other
Horniman Duet is used.
Using these ideas produces a modified formula used in
the Table for Duets. I don't think S shape curves are worth using
- Lachenal Duets : 1884 + (Serial Number divided by 104)
George Jones detailed his own life story in an account that
may be found on the web in Don Nichols Concertina pages. After various jobs
in the concertina industry, he went to work for a Mr Austin around 1850.
The Horniman has a single item made by Jabez Austin, probably the
same person. This is an English, serial no. 161. Jones ended up
taking over the company by 1853, which continued until around
1909, although Jones himself retired in 1899, dying in 1919. A
more accurate date for the end of the company is 1905, since the
company went bankrupt after being left by Jones to his two sons
on his retirement. Jones also produced instruments with modified
fretwork for other dealers. The highest number Jones I've noted is
27807.So he produced around 500 instruments a year on average.There is
also a recorded instrument that may be used as graph improvement
point, No 3295 is fitted with 'Broad Steel' reeds, which were
introduced by Jones around 1865/70. Although this could have been an
earlier instrument, I've used it as an 1865 point in an attempt
to quantify Jones's increasing production output.
Neville Crabb's notes on the company for Roger Digby's article on this
site allows us to set a start date of 1860. I have recorded Crabb numbers
of around 17500 in 1963/64 and 18200 in 1967/8. These do not make sense, as
they suggest output of 100-200 per yearover this period. Neville Crabb implies
in the article that output would have been in the tens rather than hundreds,
and that in future (after 1978) they were hoping to make 20-25 per year.
The numbers are : 1963: 17477, 1964: 17555, 1967 :18216, 1968(December): 18264,
the latter being John Kirkpatrick's anglo, which is a standard production Crabb.
Analysing 1963/64 gives 40 to 80 per year, and 67/68 gives 24 - 48 per year.
So what is the leap in number between 1964 and 1967 ? The only explanations I
can give is that a sequential numbering system was not being used, or the
numbers noted for 63/4 were reconditioned instruments. So I've decided to fix a
point at the 1968 figure for the formula, but this will probably lead to gross
inaccuracies in numbering for instruments after 1968, so the Table only extends
Brian Hayden suggested that Crabb would save 'special' numbers for distinct
instruments, for instance the first ever Hayden Duet system was made by Crabb
and given the 'special' number 18500. Brian ordered this in 1971, but it wasn't
delivered until 1976/77, so 18500 could be ascribed to anywhere near this
period. Perhaps this gives a clue to the sudden jump in the mid 1960s.
From Neville's figures, a single worker could make 25 - 30 per year, and with
a workforce of around six in the early 70s, I wonder what the other five would
be doing. Perhaps he was being cautious, but if half that labour was going to
repairs, an output nearer 80 could have been expected.
Wheatstone figures imply that output was reasonably good until 1939, zero until
1946, and from then on it was minimal. I approximated the figures with
18200 in 1967 (since it exists), and an output of 20 per annum for
1946 - 1967. This gave me a 1939/45 total of 17800 which I expected to find in
the early 1960s. Clearly these figures do not tie up, so you should use the
formula for later numbers with considerable caution.
In the article Neville says that during 1889-95, three 30 key anglos per week
were being made (for Jeffries?), so we have a minimum of 150 per annum for that
period. I have also heard it said (Tommy Williams?)
that Crabb produced most of the Duets for Wheatstones in latter years.
Neville's notes give us the label/address markings for the company:
- 1860 : J Crabb and Sons, Spring Street, Clerkenwell
- 1891 : 158,Liverpool Road, Islington
- 1908 : H Crabb.
- 1923 : H Crabb and Son
I have calculated a simple line approximation, but with zero production
during 1939 to 1945. This gives an average production of 182 per year, and a
- Date = 1860 + (Serial No. divided by 182)
- Add 7 years for any date after 1938.
We can establish a general correctness for this formula from the only Horniman
numbered Crabb, No.8961. This would be estimated at 1910, and its label is 'H
Crabb', so putting it within 1908 - 1923.
Neville died in early 1989. Since the later period is within living memory, does
anybody have any more suggestions? I'd appreciate details from any of you that
have Crabbs numbered over 17,000.
Charlie Jeffries is an enigma. His anglos are considered by
most players to be the best, but little seems to be known about
him. I've seen very few Duets and only know of two English system
instruments. No numbering system is known, the Horniman lists only
one of his instruments as being numbered (No 33), and I've only
noted one other, a 50 key Duet with 84 stamped internally and made
by his sons (Jeffries Bros), although Paul Schwartz and I have
handwritten numbers inside our Bb/F C.Jeffries instruments
(his 16, mine 37). A Jeffries recently sold on ebay shows a similar
handwritten number 2.
At the time of writing,the article by Randall Merris on this site on dating
Jeffries is being updated, but nothing in this section disagrees with the
original article. I've had to rewrite this section seven times already;
as soon as I finish and pass it out for comment, something new
appears and upsets it! I've extensively quoted my sources here, and the
most common ones are abbreviated as FR - Free Reed Magazine, TW - Tommy
Williams. The discussion is about anglos, unless otherwise noted. Because its
so difficult to describe the features in words, I've included a few photos
as a guide
I will be perfectly happy to be proved wrong on anything about Jeffries!
Tommy Williams described Charlie Jeffries as a 'tinker'. For those of you
not familiar with this term, it means a person who mends pots and pans,
sharpens knives, and deals in various scrap metal objects. Tommy also pointed
out that the Jeffries company was the only one that was not started by someone
who had previously been employed in the trade. The story of Jeffries
early life seems to be of his travelling with his barrow, and playing his
concertina to attract the attention of people in the surrounding houses
or busking for pennies when business was quiet.
When people became interested in his concertina, he would offer to sell
them one. His main customers at this early time were the ordinary people,
not the higher circles of society where Wheatstone instruments were
the norm. Eventually the sale of concertinas became his main occupation.
Earliest Jeffries around 1868/70, 20 or 26 key wooden ended anglos, signed
'Charlie Jeffries, his own make' in ink on inside (FR).
Comments by Neville Crabb and TW suggest that early Jeffries
instruments may have been made by Crabb. According to Shay Fogarty, writing
'The very earliest Jeffries are very similar to Crabb models made
in the 1860s or 70s. The way to see this is to check the siting
of the levers on the left side for the C drone and the G# Bflat
they don't criss-cross but the G# lever is a short stumpy one and
its difficult to replace the pad and get enough spring pressure
on it. The Horniman may have one of these (see photo), and it shows
similarities to some of the early Crabbs in its metal fret patterns.
By 1890 Jeffries made the whole instrument (FR). The metal ended ones have 'C.Jeffries'
and 'Maker' stamped between the buttons, which may also be stamped onto
the wood of the ends. At some time during this period Jeffries was working from
White Lion Passage, Edgware Road (FR). I've used Paul Schwartz's Jeffries to illustrate
this period in the photos.
C.Jeffries, Praed Street
Jeffries Brothers, Praed Street
Around 1900 Jeffries moved to 23 Praed Street (FR). The instruments then gained
the address stamp for Praed Street. This was in a elliptical area in
front of the buttons. Bob DeVellis has some nice photos of one on his web pages.
This is the only apparent difference in fret patterns between the 1890s
and the Praed Street instruments. Pete McClelland of Hobgoblin met a
relative of Jeffries about ten years ago, who was certain that Charlie
Jeffries had died in 1906, so the firm must have continued under his sons.
An unattributed article in FR says that he had three sons; Charles, William
and Thomas, but TW says he had four. Throughout the issues of FR, Neil Wayne
advertises for instruments made by 'G.Jeffries,W.Jeffries' so this may be
clue to the fourth son.
Sometime after 1920, so about 15 years after Charles Senior's death, the
name of the company changed to Jeffries Brothers. I currently think that this
was caused by a split between the sons, with Charles Junior leaving to set up
on his own in Kilburn, North London. The firm of Jeffries Brothers continued to
make anglos and duets, and photos may seen on this site. I believe that the
firm ceased trading about 1926. When talking of the Lachenal closure, Tommy
Williams says 'like the Jeffries brothers, there was a lot of fiddling going on'
implying that Jeffries Brothers may have closed for more reasons than just
lack of demand.
C.Jeffries, Aldershot Road
On the Aldershot Road Jeffries I have used in the photograph,the address is
stamped in the metal, along the edges of the two rear sides, with a small flower
motif at the central point. For the reason I've given above, I believe that
instruments bearing this mark were made by Charles Junior. An unattributed
article in FR implies that he could still have been alive, and living in
Kilburn, as late as the 1950s.
Various points support this idea. The alternative explanation is that
Aldershot Road is a pre Praed St. address, so I've used that as the idea to
1. Gerry Bailey reports on his Jeffries: "It has 'C. JEFFRIES
MAKER' stamped into the metal by the buttons on each side, and in
the wooden ends. But it also has 'NEW ADDRESS 12 ALDERSHOT ROAD,
KILBURN NW6' also stamped, but this time rather clumsily, into
the wood on the r.h. end." This a 1890s instrument, with
a standard fret pattern, thus dating the address to post 1890s.
2. TW said that 'the son turned out some of his own', and also says 'the
first Charlie Jeffries', when talking about C.Jeffries Senior. He also uses the
phrase 'died some time back back' when talking about the sons, which reinforces
a comparatively recent death to the 1970s.
3. Aldershot Road Anglos and a Jeffries Bros. Duet show similarities
in the design of the fret above the palm rest. This may be seen in the photo
section. I've examined pictures of other maker's anglos for similarities, in an
attempt to link to an earlier date, but none of them resemble the
Aldershot Road instruments.
4.Aldershot Road is a small side street in the outer London area, while Praed
Street is a busy main central London thoroughfare. This suggests a smaller
business. If the business split, the assets would have been
shared between the brothers, and this may then have represented Charles Junior's
share of the business. The numbered Jeffries Brothers Duet noted above is
stamped Praed Street, but has handwritten notes on how to play by 'C.Jeffries
of 12, Aldershot Road, Kilburn, NW'.
5. These instruments have many keys (40+), suggesting a later Jeffries
period. I had thought they were not Duet conversions, as Duets seemed to have
a row configuration of 7/6/7/6 buttons on the right hand side, whereas these
seem to have an extended anglo layout. The left hands have only a few extra
buttons on the back row, again in an extended anglo pattern compared to
a 38 key. However Brian Hayden has confirmed that this button layout would be
typical of a smaller Jeffries duet.
Brian Hayden pointed out that the logical date for invention of the
Duet would be before 1900, when the other systems were coming into being
(MacCann 1884, Crane 1896).
Almost all Duets I have seen are Jeffries Bros. Photos of a Duet
marked 'C.Jeffries, Praed Street' do appear on this site, but it bears no
resemblance to any other pattern of Jeffries, being restricted in its fret
patterns with large areas of plain metal. The fret is however of a finer cut,
a characteristic of earlier instruments. A receipt from C.Jeffries, Praed St.
dated October 1920, appears to be signed by T.Jeffries (Thomas?) and is
headed 'English and Anglo German Concertina Manufacturers'. No mention of Duets!
Can we speculate that the Jeffries Duet was an invention of the sons, sometime
The gold bellows markings appear to be made by two operations of a single
pattern stamp. From various photos, it seems that earlier bellows were stamped to
ensure that the patterns joined in the centre. Later bellows seem to
have a gap at the centre. The latter type stamps end in an open ellipse at the
corners, whereas the earlier type appear to have an additional small filled
ellipse after the open ellipse.
To give us something to start with, I've put together a small pictorial
guide to Jeffries features based on metal ended anglos. Note that
Jeffries Brothers instruments fret patterns vary considerably, and if you have
a 'C.Jeffries, Praed St.' that does not fit the guide, it could be a
transitional instrument of around the 1920s. If your Jeffries doesn't fit in
the classification though, please let me know.
|| This photo, courtesy of The Horniman Museum, London,
is of an early period Jeffries. It does not have the standard
Jeffries fret pattern of the next two photos. Notably different features are
the open ellipse for a name insert, the 'spikey circle' air button surround
(which also appears in a symmetrically opposite position), and the heart
shaped fret motif between the buttons and the palm rest. Any
information on Jeffries instruments of this, or similar types, would be very
| These two photos show the evolution of the standard
Jeffries fret pattern from the 1890s period (upper) to the 1920s Jeffries
Brothers (lower). The name plate was introduced around 1900, with the 23
Praed Street marking. Earlier instruments just have the 'C.Jeffries' and
'Maker' stamped between the buttons. Later instruments are generally made with a
thicker width of fret, and the air button surround pattern has changed.
||This photo shows an Aldershot Road instrument. The small inset
shows the area between the buttons and the palm rest of a Jeffries Bros.
Duet from Nick Robertshaw's 'Concertina Spotters Guide'. Both instruments are
similar in this area. None of the fret pattern has any similarities to
the photos above, apart from the name ellipse. The name in the ellipse
is C.Jeffries, and the address is stamped along the two edges below
the palm rest, with a small flower motif at the corner where the two edges
join. Metal palm rests also seem to be a later feature.
Neil Wayne's account of the early concertina years shows that
many of the early makers were originally workers at Wheatstone. A
lot of the industry was supplied by small companies, or even
individuals, who specialised in making a certain part of the
concertina. It was therefore possible for someone to set up as a
manufacturer if they had enough knowledge of the suppliers. With the
limited information available, it is impossible to produce any real dating
information for these smaller manufacturers. The following descriptions give
what little information I have, which I've only given if I have more data than
the instruments in the Horniman.
Joseph Scates - 40 Frith Street,Soho.
A former Wheatstone Tuner, Scates set up sometime around 1848/49. He quickly
sold out to George Case around 1851 and set up in Dublin as:
Many, if not all, of his Dublin labelled instruments were supplied by Lachenal
or Jones.The highest serial number in the Horniman is 547.
- Joseph Scates, Manufacturer and Professor of the Concertina,
- 15, Westmorland Street, Dublin.
George Case - 32 New Bond Street.
'Professor' Case seems to have been much more of a musician and tutor, although
Neil Wayne says that he originally worked for Wheatstone. He produced many
tutors and arrangements. From 1851 to around 1856 he had his own company, which
George Jones says was taken over from Scates, and later sold to Boosey.
The earliest 'Case/Boosey' labelled instrument in the Horniman is No.1571, and
the nearest 'Case' to that No 960. However Case was buying from Wheatstones
in 1851 and 1852,(as was Boosey) so it is possible that some Case labelled
instruments may carry Wheatstone serial numbers.
Boosey took over Case around 1856, and their instruments are classified in
the Horniman as "George Case of Boosey and ..." where the name following 'and'
has variations.Here are some instruments and their labels.
There are no Case/Boosey instruments numbered over 4000 in the Horniman.
Boosey and Co were at 296, Regent Street during the late 1890s.
- 1571 Boosey and Sons
- 2788 Boosey and Sons, Holles Street,London.
- 3169 Boosey and Chin(g)
- 3946 Boosey and Co, Regent Street,London.
William Dove - 20 Poland Street, Oxford Street.
Dove, another Wheatstone worker, started manufacturing around 1850. He did not
remain in business for long, and the company was taken over by Keith Prowse
.The two Horniman Dove instruments are Nos.217 and 234, and the lowest
and highest Prowse No 1156 (Keith, Prowse and Vicker) and No.4842. It is
interesting to note that 'Mr. W Prowse' purchased 16 concertinas from
Wheatstone during 1851 (but none in 1852), and a 'Thomas Prowse' English has
just been offered for sale (Feb. 2001) by Hobgoblin. Keith, Prowse and Co
operated from 48, Cheapside in the late 1890s.
Nickolds - Woodbridge St, Clerkenwell.
Nickolds was the toolmaker at Wheatstone, and was replaced by Lachenal when he
left around 1848. He had two sons, also workers at Wheatstone. The Horniman has
a few instruments,those up to No.8310 are 'Nickolds Brothers', whereas No.8335
is 'F.C.Nickolds'. Neville Crabb's notes say that John Crabb also left
Wheatstone with Nickolds to form 'Nickolds, Crabb & Co.' before forming his
own company about 1860.
The Chidley family were believed to be related to the Wheatstones. Rock Chidley
produced the well known ivory ended instrument for Wheatstone in 1848, and I have
a 1959 receipt from Wheatstone showing one of the Chidleys as a director. Rock
Chidley left Wheatstone sometime around 1850, and set up in Oxford Street. A Chidley
48 key English, No.1698, has been reported with a '135 High Holborn, London' address.
According to Tommy Williams, the West Street premises used by Wheatstones from
1897 onwards were the 'old Chidley place'. If we assume that the Chidley company
continued until 1897, and use the Horniman highest Chidley (5204),we can
approximate a straight line date formula :
- 1850 + ( Serial Number divided by 112)
but this is so speculative that I haven't included it in the Table.
T.Shakespeare - 110 Oakley Street, London SW
The Horniman has only one instrument, No. 5954. It is possible that the same
Mr. Shakespeare may have lived in Camberwell Road about 1908, as a maker of
that name has been reported, making individually crafted instruments. Tommy
Williams said that Shakespeare made up his instruments from other makers parts,
which would explain the high number of the Horniman instrument.
I cannot emphasise strongly enough how most of the figures in this table are
pure speculation. The table uses the formulae and sources I've quoted above,
with some simple interpolation. I'd suggest you allow a minimum margin of
10 years either way on any date except Wheatstone. To quote David Aumann:
"It's all a bit academic, but lots of us would like to know how old our box
- 1945 and after
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