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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. Not directly relevant to the question but, as a point of interest, a couple of years ago I sold a very nice John Crabb (basically a "Jeffries" with no maker's stamp on it) to Matthew Curley - who founded OAIM 10 years ago, with his wife (flute and tinwhistle player) Kirsten Allstaff.
  2. And that's a big concertina (that I've worked on several times), a 6-7/8" raised-ended Wheatstone "tenor anglo" that's been converted to C/G.
  3. Yes, but it's being sold by a consignment company, not a player, so hardly surprising...
  4. I think they named it A.G. Duet to describe the dual nature of the instrument - four rows are the bisonoric Anglo-German element, whilst the fifth row is the unisonoric Duet one.
  5. Nope! Paul Davies had a big ebony-ended Aeola one 30-odd years ago, that was said to have been made for a boxer in the '20s, but we just found it unwieldy as an Anglo for playing Irish music. There must have been people who understood them back then though, and this New Model one seems a much handier size than the one Paul had.
  6. Indeed it can, I received some case hinges today - which I'd ordered from China five months ago (to the day)! 🙄
  7. In fact it appears to be what I suggested - an "AG Duet" like the Wheatstone ones I've seen, only made by Lachenal's...
  8. Wheatstone #30374 is listed in the legers as a 61-key "A G. Duet" - that is to say a large Anglo with a 5th row of low duet/drone notes. Or are you thinking of Jim Harvey's 68-key one, #30740, that started out as an "A.G. Duet" made in October 1925, and got converted to a Jeffries Duet by J.A. Travers in 1951? Of course, this Lachenal could turn out to be a Lachenal version of an "A.G. Duet"...
  9. Louis Lachenal died on 18th December 1861 aged 40, and the entries in the Post Office London Directory show that the business was then carried on by his widow, ‘Lachenal Elizabeth (Mrs,) concertina maker’, until the name of the firm changed to ‘Lachenal & Co.’ in 1874. Robert Carter (Detective E 117), E Division (Holborn) of the Metropolitan Police.
  10. Without trying it I'd hesitate to say what it might, or might not, be. But the handstraps bear the Maccann duet "patent number 4752" - whilst the button array is only five wide, rather than six like a Wicki layout, and Brian Hayden didn't come into the picture until more than 50 years after this concertina was made... It may even have been an unsuccessful "one-off" made for somebody and never played, especially when you see it appears to be in "mint" condition.
  11. I've seen a good few of them over the years, a "gimmick" from the 19th century Klingenthal makers. But I have something much rarer - a wavy-edged melodeon!
  12. Purple arrow 1E was the cheapest grade of 48-key English treble, in walnut finish. Red arrow B11 - I have no idea! (This is a most unusual page.) Orange arrow is the date of 35516, 16th October 1950 1D was a 46-key duet in rosewood.
  13. I was going to post a link to that when I got a chance: Wheatstone #28438
  14. Here's an old post of mine, from March 2005, about double-reeded concertinas, including "celestial" and "organ-toned" ones...
  15. 2E and 4E were both 48-key trebles. A 48-key rosewood baritone was number 13E, a 48-key Aeola baritone was number 14E, a 56-key Aeola baritone was number 15E.
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