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Phil Roe

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A gent at work has kindly just given me an anglo. It has no markings on it whatsoever but came in what looks like the original box. This had the following written on a label in the lid:


"Nur die mit gesetzl geschutzter Swan-Marke eingebrannten Concernas sind die echten.


Picture of swan in a circle with HANDELS_FABRIK_MARKE written inside.


Only concertinas with the registered Swan Trade-Mark are genuine and originals"


Can nayone shed any light on what this might be and its likely age please.


The thing seems to play but as an English player, having three rows of buttons on each end seems very strange and none of the notes make the noise I expect!


Phil. Roe

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I'm afraid I'm not much good on non-English made boxes, but since no one else has chipped in, and at the risk of stating what will be obvious to many:


Its German!


But a little more might help! The German phrase and the English 'only genuine with...' mean the same. HANDELS_FABRIK_MARKE is 'Trade Mark'. I can narrow down where it was made from a small accordion I have, picture below, with the same trade mark and 'Made in Saxony'. So it was probably made by one of the many manufacturers around the Klingenthal area.


Without a picture, or more info on the maker, it would be very difficult to put a date on it.


Sorry! ..wes


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HANDELS_FABRIK_MARKE  is 'Trade Mark'.  I can narrow down where it was made from a small accordion I have, picture below, with the same trade mark and 'Made in Saxony'. So it was probably made by one of the many manufacturers around the Klingenthal area.



You are right in your inference about the place of manufacture, it was made by the firm of Otto Weidlich (established 1873), in Brunndobra, Klingenthal.


Many German manufacturers did not bother to register their trade marks in England, but Weidlich did (he seems to have been a major exporter to England), and it is number 31,825 of 22nd March 1883. As shown in the Trade Marks Journal, it consists of a circle enclosing the words "HANDELS-FABRIK-MARKE" above a swan, which appears to be swimming on a tray of water (?) bearing the words "TRADE MARK", and the motto "SEMPER SURSUM" ["always aim high"] on a ribbon.


The firm doesn't seem to have survived into the post WWII era.



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Thank you for this. The trademark is printed on the box lid and is exactly the same as the accordian. Sadly the anglo itself has no unique serial numbers either inside or outside so I won't be able to get much further.


One final question though, looking at the inner workings (which are entirely different from my Wheatstone English with sets of 10 reeds riveted on just 3 removalbe reed pans at each end ), some of the notes have leather flaps and others don't. This does seem to affect whether the note is playing properly? Again any ideas why, this seems to defy the laws of physics.





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Dear Phil,


Yes, these German concertinas are put together very differently than your Wheatstone!


They were designed to go together with much less of the costly fitting work (e.g., a flat plate of 10 reeds rests on a flat "comb" of air chambers, compared to the exact fit of each reed to its slot in your Wheatstone). The actions, bellows, etc. were also made to work for a while, but not to be as beautifully repairable as the London makes. Still, with all the compromises of materials and workmanship, a good German concertina can be fun to play when well-restored. I have a particular interest in recording the original tunings of these, and would make an offer for yours if you wanted to sell it. Sadly, it won't bring the money a good Wheatstone would. Most often these are obtained in the way you received yours.


The reeds that sound the highest pitches (smallest reeds) often do not have reed leathers (equivalent to the "valves" glued to the reedpan of your Wheatstone). Actually, your Wheatstone may not have valves, either, for the highest notes. Remember that an individual reed tongue (vibrator) in either instrument will only sound in one air direction (when air is moving in such a way that it hits the reed tongue, then passes through the slot below it). The valves or reed leathers function to prevent air being lost around the adjacent reedtongue associated with the same chamber, that is not sounding. Lots of air can be lost around the big lower reeds, that are sprung up fairly high from the reed plate or reedframe, but little is lost around the highest-pitched reeds. In fact, sometimes the highest reeds will not sound properly if there is a valve for their adjacent reed.


Of course, another reason for lack of reed leathers on your "Swan" is that some may have fallen off!



Edited by Paul Groff
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  • 16 years later...

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