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Stephen Chambers

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    STEPHEN CHAMBERS had the misfortune to be stricken with the highly contagious concertina bug around the time he left school in 1970. He believes he caught it as a result of attending folk clubs in Derby and his native Burton-on-Trent, though he cannot rule out the malevolent influence of the "Concertina Consciousness" movement that was active at the time, not forgetting his becoming a member of the International Concertina Association at an early stage (as the result of an accidental meeting with ICA Secretary Jim Harvey on London's Battersea Bridge). In the early stages of the illness he rapidly progressed from simply listening to concertinas being played to seeking to have one of his own; an ambition he rapidly achieved with the purchase of an 1890s Wheatstone for £25 through an advert in the local newspaper, and his life has never been the same since. The progression of the bug to fully blown Concertina Acquisition Disorder, coupled with an interest in history and training as a librarian, has caused him to carry out research on the instruments murky past and to publish articles about it, but really he is only trying to mask the symptoms of his condition.

    He is the author of "Louis Lachenal : Engineer and Concertina Manufacturer" Part 1, "An Annotated Catalogue of Historic European Free-Reed Instruments ... " (based on the instruments exhibited at the Symposium "Harmonium und Handharmonika", at Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein, in November 1999) and "Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production and Serial Numbers", which stands (in the interim) for "Louis Lachenal" Part 2.

    All the above may now be viewed online, courtesy of Robert Gaskins, by clicking on the Home Page url below.

    His latest paper "Joseph Astley, Oldham Concertina Band
    and the MHJ Shield" was published in PICA (Papers of the International Concertina Association) Volume 4, 2007: http://www.concertina.org/archive/pica/pica_2007_4/pica4_2007_p31_44.pdf

    Stephen is the present custodian of the first Wheatstone concertina (his avatar), which was formerly the pride of Wheatstone's own collection. It was shown, & described as such, in the 1961 Pathe Newsreel "Concertina Factory", or "Concert in a Factory"(which can be viewed online at: http://www.britishpathe.com/product_display.php?searchword=concertina+factory).

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  1. It's interesting you should say that, in that eBay have made the purchase of a £7.00 teapot from Belfast (for delivery to Co. Cork) impossible for me by quoting an obscene "Postage: £13.10 Expedited Delivery to Ireland via eBay's Global Shipping Programme" + "Import charges: Est. £7.30 Amount confirmed at checkout" - so it would have cost me £27.40 altogether if I'd gone ahead with the transaction! 😲
  2. If you simply want to date your Anglo, it's most likely to have been made by Lachenal (which a photograph should confirm) and, if it is, we can give you a very good estimate of the year if you provide us with the serial number. But George Butler, and his family, had already left Dublin by 1833 and thereafter made instruments in London - NOT Dublin. Hence their Dublin retail premises being described as a 'Branch Establishment'. I've done some detailed genealogical research on the family, if you want to know more about them.
  3. But there's no reason why a perfectly decent concertina couldn't be made out of all this, even if some of the parts were made 70 years apart. And it just goes to show how consistently-made Lachenal's instruments were...
  4. Ah, I could see there was a 5-digit number there and came to a false conclusion - this is turning out to be even more of a "bitsa" ("bits of this and bits of that") than I first thought! You also have the bellows of Lachenal #59141 of 1923...
  5. Many thanks for the photos, all is now clear to me. So we have the ends of (Louis Lachenal-produced) Wheatstone #3990, which would have been the very-much the same as #3550, C-048 (with ivory buttons and 4-fold bellows) when it was sold on Feb. 11th 1853. And then we have the complete reed pans and bellows of Lachenal & Co. #35906 (made towards the end of 1897) which have been "married" (at some point in time) with those ends to make a viable instrument out of two that were no-longer viable. Also the later "spherical-ended" nickel-silver (not brass) buttons of #35906 have been swapped into the ends of #3990.
  6. Yes, yes, and yes, please do. I cannot possibly give you a definitive answer without seeing photographs of the actual instrument in question. The more you write, the more you obfuscate the matter and the more confused I become (for example, C047 is the work of a different maker for Wheatstone's, not Louis Lachenal), and you don't provide links, whilst a picture tells a thousand words! But I am beginning to wonder if you're perhaps trying to describe an instrument similar to #4247, C-118?
  7. This question goes way beyond simply dating a concertina that's known to be a Lachenal, in fact it's impossible to answer without seeing photographs of this mysterious and contradictory instrument - though it may have been modified/rebuilt in its life...
  8. If it's a Lachenal English, it would date from 1873.
  9. That one would date from the latter part of 1877.
  10. Having bought a concertina on the internet this evening that looks (from the photographs) like it was probably made by him, I realised that I hadn't yet looked for Thomas Henry Shakespeare on the recently available 1921 Census. The family are to be found at 211, Camberwell Road (as expected) with Thomas Shakespeare, age 74, "Tuner" working on his Own Account, his wife Julia Emily Shakespeare, age 50, "Household Duties/Home Work", sons Thos. James Shakespeare, age 19, "Sailor", and William Edward Shakespeare, age 14 years 9 months, "Whole Time - School".
  11. Theodore Kloba was probably the only person here who knew much about these, but he hasn't posted since 2015, and hasn't visited the forum since 2019... 🙁
  12. I was referring to how older concertinas usually have longer reed chambers than later ones, so that the chambers/compartments extend all the way to the doughnut in the middle of the reed-pan, instead of being blocked-off part-way. You should be able to clearly see the difference if you compare the left-hand reed-pans of your, and your pupil's, Lachenals. The easiest (and most commonly done) fix would be to cut pieces of cork about 1/8" thick and the full height of the chamber (including gasket), then trim them to the required width to fit snugly between the chamber walls at the desired point (compared with your pupil's one). If it only happens when you play the index finger C sharp, I can only think of two possibilities - either the pads are rubbing against each-other (but (looking at Cathy's one, made 3 years later, that seems unlikely), or the problem lies with the reed-pan - so is the chamois leather gasket between the two chambers compromised in some way, or is the nearby corner block detached/not holding the reed-pan up adequately there?
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