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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. Listings tend to describe ALL large square concertinas as Bandonions/Bandoneons, but they usually aren't, and this one isn't. Neither is it a Chemnitzer, but it may well be a Carlsfelder...
  2. Only, I've already posted a photo of my "Australian" Kalbe, which has 2-row German-concertina keyboards, projecting at 90%, on both ends... But so does the Colin Dipper "Franglo" 😉 Most confused/confusing...
  3. Here's one with an identity crisis, is it a concertina, or a melodeon, or a "Franglo"?
  4. It's a bellows-powered, free-reed instrument David, but not a concertina. Melophones were held more-like a guitar in order to be played: And I've got one of them too!
  5. Then there's the reversible, house -shaped, F/C & G/D double keyboard, "push-me-pull-you"
  6. I raise you my "Australian" Kalbe, that I got from Tasmania (if I remember rightly) - seen here on display at the OaC in Miltown Malbay, because that's the only photo that I have of it:
  7. The German concertina started off with only one row of keys (like the early accordions that, the inventor, Carl Friedrich Uhlig was seeking to improve upon) and I have half-a-dozen, or more, of those (from the 1840s, '50s. '60s) in my research collection - like this one that was made in Klingenthal in the 1850s:
  8. No, because brass reed-plates were standard and not something unusual, whilst "brass bound" was the normal term for furniture, boxes, etc. that were reinforced with brass. Edited link
  9. I'm trying to put together a reply to your personal messages to me Padraic, but it's a difficult subject and I'm not in great health for it. However, the simplistic answer is that there are no known "key players" of Irish traditional music on the concertina in the 19th century, since the concertina (and also the melodeon, mouth organ and tin whistle) were not deemed fit, or serious, instruments by the few people who collected/wrote about traditional music in those years. In the words of my friend Dan Worrall, who has researched/written about the use of the German/Anglo concertina in various cultures, and who gave a lecture titled ‘Pride of Place: The Origins of Anglo-German Concertina Playing in Clare and Beyond’ at the Concertina Cruinniú in Miltown Malbay: Dan has also written 'Notes on the Beginnings of Concertina Playing in Ireland, 1834–1930'
  10. I too have always found that dubious since, like I said, most Irish button accordion players had yet to work out how to play their instruments (in various key systems) in "concert pitch" D, G and A. But, for that matter, were "concert pitch" G chanters for Northumbrian pipes being made, let alone in general use, then? My past experiences have always been with sets that were pitched between F and F#...
  11. No, you could never buy them in DIY shops. They have always been made specially for concertinas. I see there is another type, which might be suitable (depending on the diameters of the thread and the knurled top - what sizes are they?), on that website: https://www.yodobashi.com/product/100000001001931661/ I have found I can get suitable ones, in brass or stainless steel, by post from a UK supplier, but they have a metric M3 thread and can only be bought in packs of 50.
  12. You'll find a lot about the subject in this post from 2004: https://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?/topic/1807-piano-accordions/&do=findComment&comment=17264
  13. Oh, but there was Daniel, a century earlier in fact - in that Bastari officially started out in 1952 (rather than 1949, which Dr. Marcello Bastari said in that interview). Before accordion manufacturing started in Italy pioneers of the business, such as Giacomo Alunni from Nocera Umbra in 1850, Giovanni Cingolani from Recanati in 1856, and Lorenzo Ploner from Trieste in 1862, started making concertinas.
  14. Steve Dickinson would have used brass because it's the best material for concertina springs. I find there's too much resistance in steel or phosphor-bronze.
  15. Yes, that's what I thought it would be like. Similarly tropicalised "campaign furniture" was made too, generally collapsible, or stacking, typically for army officers, missionaries and colonials.
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