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Stephen Chambers

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About 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. The "Made in Germany East" designation seems to have been more of a 1950's thing.
  2. I use 1" binding tape from a sewing shop. It seems to be very similar to what Jeffries used.
  3. The process for taking the (first modern) 1841 Census was that "census forms were delivered to every household a few days before the day of the census. These were to be completed by the householder and collected by the enumerator on 7 June, the day after the census. The Population Act 1840 created an offence of refusing to answer a census question, or providing false information. Failure to comply with the demand to complete a census form was an offence and penalised by a fine. The enumerator would help in the completion of the form if, for example, the householder was illiterate." (Wikipedia) So, unless everyone in the household was illiterate, the information provided was filled in by the family, and had (by law) to be accurate. "Signor" Alsepti was criticised, in print, in his lifetime (1895), for having "deemed it expedient to adopt an Italian pseudonym."
  4. Here's a video of Cathy Cook playing the rosewood-ended Crabb I'm selling, though the sound quality doesn't really do justice to the richness and sweetness of the instrument's tone:
  5. Since you've asked about this again, let me clarify. Bowing valves were never fitted as "standard" on Edeophones (or any other Lachenal English concertina), though the slots for them were always provided in the fretwork - rather they were free "optional extras" available when you were buying a new one, but most people didn't opt for them. They appear to have still been available up until Lachenal's closed down in 1933. Does that answer your question? Or is there something I'm not grasping?
  6. Edited to add image, because Photobucket is majorly down now, after two weeks without images:
  7. Stephen Chambers


    That's wrong big-time Theo! Firstly , Geoff Crabb has seen the instrument (in Kilrush, about 15 years ago - it's one I'd been keeping!) and agrees with me that it is an early John Crabb. Secondly you're confusing the four-digit number 1887 for a five-digit (century later) one in the 1887X series. (There are also some six digit numbers, from the 1930s, when Harry Crabb started prefixing four-digit numbers with the last two digits of the year of manufacture.) Whilst the surviving Crabb records are very incomplete, full of gaps, start only in the 1880s, and aren't really "serial" as such - Geoff prefers to think of them more as "identification numbers".
  8. A very presentable "proper" concertina, that plays well, and with (the all-important) concertina reeds.
  9. Sorry Randy, I posted it in a hurry, with Christmas and all. 😄 No, you're (all-of) 5 digits out, it's "177733"! And I'm only a year out with my guesstimate on the date...
  10. They were still an optional extra on the last-known Lachenal price list, circa 1930: http://www.concertina.com/pricelists/lachenal/Lachenal-Pricelist-All-c1930.pdf
  11. Lachenal 26-key C/G ("concert pitch"), mahogany-ended, Anglo concertina, in exceptionally good (almost unused) condition, plus case. It has freshly tuned steel reeds and all the notes most people will ever want, including low A on the draw. A very presentable "real" concertina, with (the all-important) concertina reeds. Seeing that my image-hosting service, Photobucket, is down (and growing ever-more problematic) over the last few days so that my photos are no-longer displaying here, I'm posting an external link to my listing on the Irish classifieds site DoneDeal, where the same images CAN be seen: https://www.donedeal.ie/keyboards-for-sale/lachenal-c-g-anglo-concertina-c-1905-with-case/23801175
  12. Seeing that my image-hosting service, Photobucket, is down (and growing ever-more problematic) over the past 5 days so that my photos are no-longer displaying here, I'm posting an external link - now deleted.
  13. I expect it would have been Rev. William Isaac Hillier: http://www.picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;s08761&pos=2131&action=zoom&id=11884 Only I wonder which two instruments? With two concertinas, it'd probably be John Hill Maccann: http://www.concertina.com/maccann-duet/howtoplay/images/P05.htm
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