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Dowright

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  1. It is interesting that the serial number--No. 48055--is clearly shown on the left end, but another serial number--No. 49506--is just as clearly shown on the reed pan. Did Lachenal mismatch the exterior and interior serial numbers. Or did Colin or someone else swap a reed pan from another instrument? Such swapping is not all that rare, but more often is done with lower-grade hexagonal Lachenals. Its a shame if it took two used Edeophones to come up with one playable instrument.
  2. On Walter Dale, see the attachment, which is an excerpt from Appendix II of my article, "Dutch Daly: Comedy and Concertinas on the Variety Stage," Papers of the International Concertina Association (PICA), 4 (2007), 1-26; archived in the PICA section of the ICA website at www.concertina.org. The appendix also includes profiles of a number of other variety-stage concertinists (including Alexander Prince) in Great Britain and the US. More theatre and circus performers on concertina are profiled in my "Miniature and Semi-miniature Concertinas," forthcoming in PICA 2012. Walter John Dale.doc
  3. Several Anglo concertina tutors--the earliest in the 1850s and the latest in 1905 showed an unusual key layout for 28-key Anglos. Later British-made 28-Key Anglos had the 4-key configuration in the top row (accidental-note row) on each side of an instrument. However, the unusual layout (see attachment) had the 4-key configuration on the bottom row on each side of the instrument. The F# that is usually in the left-side G row (bottom row) was moved to the index-finger position of the top row in the unusual 28-key layout. (Layouts for 20-key C/G Anglos in the early tutors had the F# in the usual little-finger position in the left-side G row.) The unusual 28-key layout also featured a Bb scale pattern (skipping the index-finger keys on each side) in the top row, making for a Bb/C/G instrument in which the top row doubled as a Bb row and an accidental-note row. Both the 4-key-bottom-row and Bb-scale-top-row ideas never took hold with later makers, but the unusual key layout continued to appear in tutors. Presumably, an early tutor writer saw such a German-made instrument--one of the very few ever made--and described it in a tutor, and later tutor writers simply "borrowed" the layout for their tutors. The propensity for tutor writers' borrowing from others is well known. (See my "Back to the Future: DeVille's The Concertina and How to Play It and Other Tutors"; www.concertina.net/rm_backfuture.html or www.concertina.com/merris/back-to-future/index.htm.) A second unusual 28-key layout was that of Rock Chidley, who described it in his Chidley's Instructions for the German Fingering Concertina (London: R. Chidley, 1858). The Chidley layout is shown in an attachment. In his layout, the 4-key configuration is in the top row on the left side and in the bottom row on the right side of the instrument. In his layout, the F# key is moved from the usual pinky-finger positon to the index-finger postion of the left-side G row. It appears that the idea was that playing the F# would be easier with the index finger than with the little finger. (But the 20-key Anglo player still had to use the F# in the usual 4th-finger position and, to my mind, without a great deal of difficulty for most players.) My questions: 1. Has anyone ever seen one of the 28-key Anglos with the 4-key-bottom-row layout? 2. Has anyone ever seen a 28-key Anglo with the Rock Chidley layout? Those most likely would include Stephen Chambers--an expert on German-made (and English-made) concertinas--and Chris Algar (Barleycorn Concertinas), who has seen more concertinas than just about anyone. But, to my knowledge, neither Stephen or Chris, has seen either of them. Maybe, a member from Germany or elsewhere on the Continent has seen one of the first type?
  4. For what it is worth: In my research on the Lachenal family and businesses, I have been in contact with descendents of the Lachenal family. Though undocumented, it has been handed down through the family that Lachenal purchased screws from Nettlefold & Chamberlain and purchased bolts from the Patent Nut and Bolt Co. These companies were later folded into the formation of GKN (Guest, Keen & Nettlefold), along with other companies. An 1868 advertisement for the Patent Nut and Bolt Co. is shown in the attachement.
  5. This information may have been posted elsewhere at concertina.net. If so, I repeat: The Jed in Jedcertina represents the initials of the patentee, John E. Dallas. The patent number is No. 489776, and the Lachenal model number is No. 7561. I do not have the patent year, but it would have been around 1929-1930. I have seen over a dozen of the Jedcertinas, with serial numbers ranging from No. 199274 to No. 201057.
  6. Wally provides a good reason for attending the Noel Hill Irish Concertina School in the Midwest, which starts on August 12 and concludes on Friday, August 17. As if another good reason were needed, given: The best instruction by the best Irish concertina player. In a week, Noel provides enough material (including slow and up-to-temp audios) to work on until next summer and beyond. Excellent accomodations at the Marydale Retreat Center, Erlanger, Kentucky (very near the Cincinnati Airport; free airport pick-up/delivery by Marydale staff). Excellent food, three times a day. Reasonable cost for a week of fun and a year's worth of instruction. Grand mix of new arrivals and returning players who love to share about all things pertaining to the Anglo concertina, Irish music, etc. An opportunity to visit the Carroll Concertina facilities to see how they are made. And, of course, the Noel Hill concert on August 12. Is it too late? I think that space is still available. Check out www.noelhill.com, click on "The Noel Hill Irish Concertina School," and call Linda--right away! Hope to meet you there.
  7. My preceding post should have indicated that, in the early 1930s, Lachenal made the first of the few Edeophone Anglos. The only Lachenal one for which I have information is No. 4860, 40-Key Anglo Edeophone, Metal Ends, Bone Buttons, 7-fold bellows: left-side stamp, 4860, and right-side stamp, Edeophone Anglo, Lachenal & Co. This concertina was sold through Bonham's auction house some time ago. At the time of its manufacture, Lachenal Anglo serial numbers were in the 201,000 range, but they were building some Lachenal New Model Anglos and the new Lachenal Edeophones with serial numbers from their Maccann/Crane duet serial number series. Presumably, they liked 4-digit numbers, rather than 6-digit numbers, for the stampings on these instruments, given that the serial numbers were shown on the exterior. Unfortunately, I do not have information on the keys of No. 4860, but it certainly might have been in D/A, like the later Wheatstone ones.
  8. Anglo concertinas pitch in D/A and, in particular, Lachenal ones are rare. I have serial numbers and descriptions for 2,400 Lachenal Anglo concertinas with serial numbers ranging from No. 106 to No. 201258. Of these Lachenal Anglos, only one is pitched in D/A. And that one is a 22-key miniature (3/3/4 inches across the flat of the ends), No. 136493. I have attached a photo. Then, there are the 40-key D/A Wheatstone Edeophones made in the mid-1930s. These include Wheatstone No. 33301, No. 33302, No. 33303, and No. 33527 (the one owned by Grey Larsen). On the Wheatstone Edeophones, see Neil Wayne, Margaret Birley, and Robert Gaskins, "A Wheatstone Twelve-Sided 'Edeophone' Concertina with Pre-Maccann Chromatic Duet Fingering," http://www.concertina.com/wheatstone-edeophone/index.htm. I have attached photos of each end on No. 33301.
  9. For the history and a description of this tutor, see Randall Merris, "Back to the Future: De Ville's The Concertina and How to Play It and Other Tutors" at www.concertina.com/back-to-future/index.htm. You will find that: (1) The original 1905 publication was Paul De Ville, The Eclipse Self Instructor For Concertina, 1905. (2) De Ville ripped off the contents of two earlier tutors by Elias Howe, Jr. (Not the sewing machine inventor) (3) Contents in De Ville's book were later ripped off by Bob Kail in "The Best Concertina Method--Yet! (1975) (He did not even bother to reset the type.) (4) The Annex in the Merris article contains a full index for De Ville's book. Date of printing: Retail prices for the De Ville book are shown on the covers of the various printings. For example, the price on the cover shown in the Merris article indicates a 1970s printing.
  10. I recently have finished an article on miniatures concertinas, which will appear in Papers of the International Concertina Association (PICA) 2012. I now have a little time to turn my attention to a couple issues that have intrigued me for some time. 1. Tuning. As I use my electronic tuners to tune my instruments, I cannot understand how the tuning was done before the advent of strobe tuners and other electronic tuners. The Conn firm invented the strobe tuner in 1936. What was used before then? Did the makers have extensive collections of tuning forks? Was a lot of the tuning done by ear? (That would have required piano-tuner-quality hearing in the extreme, especially for the very high pitched notes such as those on miniature concertinas.) Back in the nineteenth century, they even used non-standard tunings (such as A 448) and tunings with separate notes for G# and Ab, D# and Eb, etc. I just cannot see how they did the tuning without electronic equipment, 2. Vendors. In making over 250,000 concertinas, Lachenal must have had a lot of vendors who supplied raw materials and, maybe, parts or even some types of sub-components. I do a little research on stringed instruments, especially those of the Gibson company. I have a list of their pre-World War II vendors--case makers (11 firms), engravers (6 firms), electroplaters (7 firms), lacquer and other finishing suppliers (11 firms), hardwood lumber and veneer sellers (15 firms), and vendors of other products and sub-components such as buttons, tuners, inlays, etc. (18 firms). Of course, Gibson was making guitars, mandolins, and banjos and needed different materials than concertina makers, but the need for suppliers was on a similar scale. Gibson has made thousands of instruments, but still do not compare to the voluminous output of Lachenal concertinas. Through oral tradition passed down to living relatives in the Lachenal family, I have learned that Lachenal purchased screws and bolts from companies that were later merged into the modern GKN company (formerly, Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds)--in particular, screws from Nettlefolds and bolts from the Patent Nut and Bolt Co.--clear back in the mid-1800s. These are the only vendors of whom I am aware. But in making a quarter million concertinas, they must have had many vendors for raw wood, brass, steel, leather, inlays, ets. And it seems that suppliers of finished parts might have been involved. Any information on the tuning issue or parts suppliers for Lachenal (or other concertina makers) would be much appreciated. I have sent an email to Geoffrey Crabb, concerning Crabb vendors, but I have not heard from Geoffery yet.
  11. Andrew,

    Regarding your interest in Lachenal and C&S serial numbers for Crane duets: I can provide you with some information, if you contact me through my email at rmerris@merris.org.

    I have a database of over 400 Crane and Maccanb duets by Lachenal.

    Best wishes, Randy Merris

  12. Please count me to participate in whatever you plan. And what do you think about the following idea aimed at attracting some new players in the area? We approach David Eisner at House of Musical Traditions (HMT), Tacoma Park to promote a one-day "Introduction to the Concertina Event" (or some other billing). Randy Stein et al could handle the English concertina demo presentation, us Anglo boys could handle the Anglo part, maybe there is a duet player in the area who could do a duet demo, I could make a presentation based on material from the many articles that I have written about te history of concertinas and concertinists, and we could all participate in a discussion/Q&A session. If Wendy Morrison is still associated with HMT, maybe we could enlist her participation. Maybe HMT could have a few concertinas in stock and available for sale. If the rest of us have any for sale, we could bring them along. I have wanted to approach David about such an event, but have thought that it would be more effective to come to him as a group. Please post your thoughts on such an event. Randy Merris McLean, VA
  13. FYI: I will be writing an article about the dating of Lachenal concertinas, including Lachenal duets (possibly as a separate piece). The highest numbered Lachanals that I have encountered are: Anglo: No. 201089 English: No. 60498 Maccann duet: No. 4850 Crane/Triumph: No. 4960 There were three serial number series for Lachenal duets: 1. Maccann duet series up to advent of the Crane duet 2. Crane duet series 3. Maccann/Crane series. The Crane series was merged into the Maccann series in about 1910, when the Butterworth patent for the Crane duet had expired, and the Triumph was about to be introduced. Thus, in my database for Cranes (130 instruments), there are none in the serial number range betweeen No. 1172 and No. 2060. [Note that there is also a separate below-5000 serial number series for early Lachenal Anglos.] Tentative dating for yours: "The late war years": circa 1915-1917.
  14. My estimate of the year of manufacture generally agrees with Wes William's estimation. My database includes the following: No. 162849, 20-key; Original bill of sale from 1898. (Caution: Bill of sale per se is no guarantee for dating, since it may be for a used instrument.) No 176211. 30 key; repaired by G&H Wood, 1911. (Note: I have found that the first repair/retuning of an instrument is often in the range of 5-10 years after purchase, although earlier may be in order for a newer instrument that has a particular "glich.") No. 169404, 20 key; "T. Walpole, Liverpool, July 24, 1903". This could be handwriting from the time when the original purchase was made. (Caution: However, most of the handwritten inscriptions inside concertinas seem to be from later, particulalrly, at the time of the first repair/retuning.) Putting this information together, my best "point estimate" for the manufacture/sale of your No. 175273 is circa 1906.
  15. Related material--right here, for more than a decade, on the home page of www.concertina.net: See Buyer's Guide (left column of home page), "Concertina Cases: New is Often Better." As indicated in the short article, the only thing worse than a vertical Lachenal or Jones wood case is a vertical Jeffries leather case that has shrunk over time. I have closet shelves full of both the wood and leather ones, which I could not sell with a clear conscience. But people continue to buy them. See the vertical wood case on the Ebay UK auction, right now (see www.ebay.co.uk). Four bidders so far, and currently at 34 British pounds. Incidentally (tongue in cheek), I think that those clever Chinese invented the vertical hexagonal concertina case--before the concertina itself was invented!!! The attached image was on the front page of the Style section of the Washington Post, a couple weeks ago. The interior of the case is lined with wallpaper from the White House. It is the only surviving piece of the wall paper, given that the rest was destroyed when the White House was burned during the War of 1812. Sure looks like a vertical concertina case to me.
  16. Is it a Jeffries Anglo original or a Jeffries duet conversion? How does one tell? Open it and look for solder on some of the reeds. I have owned 45-key and 50-key Jeffries Anglo originals and Jeffries duet conversions (including a 50-key duet that is now a 50-key Bb/F Anglo). To get the reed pitches needed for the conversion, it is necessary to lower the pitches of some of the reeds. Extensive filing, if possible, would both heavily weaken reeds and destroy the wonderful Jeffries tone. So solder is applied to the tip of the relevant reeds--just a few of them. If you find such solder, it indicates that the instrument started out as a Jeffries duet. If you do not find such solder, it almost certainly started out as an Anglo. I say 'almost certainly', because it is conceivable but extremely unlikely that, in place of the solder, new reeds (beware: likely non-Jeffries reeds) may have been substituted or the Jeffries reeds were radically filed (beware: extremely weakened and break-prone thin Jeffries reeds) in lieu of adding solder to make the conversion. How do the reeds sound? Remarkably, the reeds that have been soldered still have that wonderful Jeffries tone--on, or nearly on, a par with the Jeffries reeds that have not been soldered. What about the extra weight of these 45-50 key Jeffries concertinas--originals or conversions. Sure, if you have 90 to 100 reeds and corresponding reed shoes, the instrument is heavier, but what I would describe as "marginally heavier." In my view, too much is made of a few extra ounces of weight for some makes of concertinas. First of all, the concertina usually rests on the knee. (But consider the large Maccann duets that professionals such as Percy Honri and Alexander Prince played while standing and usually without a neck strap!!!! And they seemed to manage just fine!!!) So adjusting to the extra ounces of weight should not be much problem, except maybe for a child. What to do with all those keys? In my case, I simply ignore a bunch of them (even though they are in tune) and just play the core keys, pretty much those of a 30-key Anglo. But the extra keys are there for the player who is highly chord-accompaniment oriented. My 50-key Bb/F conversion is a fine instrument with that wonderful Jeffries tone. I have a buyer who is just waiting for the funds to acquire it. He loves it!! What about the fact that it is in Bb/F? In my view too much is made of C/G/ C/G C/G ....unless it is someone who has only one instrument and is a sessions player. The professional Anglo players have known for a long time that Bb/F is a great key combination, but now the Bb/F is becoming more and more popular with non-professionals also. (Of course, G/D, Ab/Eb, A/D, et al also have their places.)
  17. A Message for Potential First-Time Participants: From the above chat, you may get the idea that this is a gathering of a bunch of concertinists who have known each other for some time. It is true that there is a group of "regulars". But the "regulars" are very welcoming to the several new participants. You will be a full-fledged member of the "NHICS Club" in a flash. On another point: Do not think of it as a week of learning. Think of it as a year. You will receive enough material to keep you busy over the long winter and until Midwest NHICS 2012--which you will want to attend, of course.
  18. Dan, You forgot to mention that you bought the G/D Linota from me. And I bought it from an accordion dealer (since retired) who had a very strong dislike for concertinas. Thus, it was relatively cheap. Attention all accordion dealers who do not like concertinas: Please contact me.
  19. I will be there. I have only missed two years from 2002 onward--one year, I missed because of a work assignment, and one year because my appendix was being removed (emergency or I would have scheduled the operation for later). (As I recall, the work assignement was the more painful.) I have two obligations that require my being there. My first obligation is sprinting from the classroom and copying Noel's music for distribution to the students. Noel himself will tell you that I am not so much of a concertina player, but I am one of the great photocopiers. My second obligation is to absorb Noel's chastisement about my slow progress on new tunes, as well as other assorted chides. Attention first time particiapants: Be assured that Daiv and I will be honored to be the recipients of all or most of our instructor's chiding. I look forward to meeting new attendees and to seeing all the regulars--Ross, Paulette, Larry, Jenny, Daiv, Greg, Wally, .... (Laura, Mike, Peter, Steve...will you be there?) Attention potential participants: The Marydale Center is in a lovely pastural setting, the interior of the Center is very comfortable and plenty spacious for our purposes, the food is real good, and the staff members are real nice--all that without even mentioning the wonderful learning experinece under the guidance of the Irish Musician of the Year, who has decades of experience teaching Irish concertina. Randy
  20. From the ICA Newsletter in 1969: WALTER LINTON (The Concertina Expert). Does anyone know anything about him? His name was mentioned in 'The World's Fair' amongst a list of old time entertainers. Clue? Any chance it could have been a son of Charles Linton (1865-1947) inventor of the 'Lintophone' system, who toured as a band 'The Lintons' c.1915-1925 with wife and two sons? Of course, it could have been a son, but it may be a little more doubtful given that Charles Linton was his stage name; he was christened Charles Gay. But maybe Walter was his son and choose to use only the family stage name. I think Wes is probably familiar with a short article on Charles Linton and the key layout for the Linton Duet System ("Lintophone"), which appeared in The Concertina Newsletter, Issue No. 11 (April 1973). The author of that piece, a family member, used the name "F. Linton-Gay." I wonder if Linton was the maiden name of Charles Linton's wife. It seem conceivable. After all, Tommy Elliott (born Tommy Varley) took the stage name Elliott, the maiden name of wife Hazel.
  21. Dowright says: "I have never seen inside, but I sure like the idea of seeing inside." Conceivably, the novelty buttons were a retro-fit. Could the original serial number have been lost with the original reed pan, if it was replaced in the retro-fit? But if so, shouldn't the serial number be in other end--the one without the novelty buttons? I have had about a half-dozen owners of Lachenal duets swear--almost under oath--that there were no serial numbers on their reed pans, action boxs, bellows frames, or anywhere else. The inability to provide a serial number seems to be more prevalent for duets than Lachenal Anglos or Englishes. It's a mystery to me.
  22. Unfortunately, you are gravitating very far astray with the estimation of the year of manufacture of your Lachenal Anglo concertina. The problem is with the so-called "confirmed" information in the Meredith piece at concertina.net. No. 74298 simply is not a serial number that is consistent with manufacture in the 1890s. Your concertina was probably made in the 1880s--maybe the early-to-mid-1880s. From the time of Elizebeth Lachenal's sale of the company under the name Louis Lachenal (circa 1873; henceforth, Lachenal & Co.) to the mid-1890s, Lachenal & Co. appears to have made over 100,000 Anglo concertinas (on the assumption that they used all or most of the sequential numbers in the Anglo serial number set). By the mid-1890s, the serial numbers of new Lachenal Anglo concertinas were above 140,000--nearly double your No. 74298. More precise dating estimation to follow in the future.
  23. I will be happy to assist you in estimating the year of manufacture for your Lachanal Maccann duet concertina, but will need the serial number. The number that you have provided is the number of the patent granted to John Hill Maccann--Patent No. 4752, Improvements in Concertinas, 12 March 1884. You should find the serial number (1 to 4 digits; lower than 5000) stamped inside the ends. I say "you should find", because it appears that a few Lachenal duets may not have had stamped serial numbers. A Lachenal without a serial number is very uncommon, but a few duets may have been among the exceptions.
  24. Okay, you guys, please cool it with the sarcastic replies. Unless proven otherwise, I will assume that pdxplayer's excessive enthusiasm is not an attempt to scam us, but is simply due to the fact that he not only knows less about concertinas than we do, but less than he thinks he does. He does seem to have done a little research on the web, but as the saying goes, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." If he didn't believe his own description, this should be the last place he would want to post such a notice. For pdxplayer: The instrument you have for sale is not unique (which pedants will tell you means it's the only one of its kind, so that your "very" is meaningless), nor even particularly rare, unless there's something special about it that's not in your description. 45 buttons and the fact that the buttons are bone suggest that it's one of Lachenal's lesser models, though with metal ends it wouldn't have been their very lowest quality. "serviced with new felts" is an ambiguous description at best, and quite likely an incorrect one, or at least incomplete. The felt components of a concertina are bushings, which aren't nearly as likely to need replacing as pads, valves, and possibly a few other parts. If instead of just "new felts" the instrument was given a full overhaul, then that would be worth noting, as well of the identity of the person who did the work. It does look to be in decent shape, though internal photos would be a significant help. Good luck on your sale, though I would recommend not expecting to get too high a price for it. If it in fact had 45 keys, it would be rare, if not unique. Of the 246 Lachenal Maccann duets for which I have information, there is not one with 45 keys. But alas, this one--like more than 100 others in my data--has 21 + 25 = 46 keys. Nothing unique there. But Jim was right on-the-money when he said not to expect a high price. Sold for only US$599.
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