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synchopepper

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Can anyone steer me to information available regarding how Wheatstone's early patents protected or did not protect him against the other concertina manufacturers that sprang up? Did the other manufactures work around the Wheatstone patents like Lachenal's hook and eye action? Which were Wheatstones most important patents concerning the concertina? Did his competition improve the product with alternative designs?

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This is a huge question ! But you will find that much of this ground has already been gone over, not only ad nauseam in this Concertina History forum (take a look at the thread "The Oldest Wheatstone in Private Hands"), but also in my paper on Louis Lachenal Part 1 (link here), and my forthcoming PICA article (which I am proof-reading today).

 

However, the brief answer is yes, the 1829 Patent effectively prevented anyone else from building English concertinas until it expired, in 1844 (when Joseph Scates left Wheatstone's, to become a maker himself), and Louis Lachenal did not start to manufacture in his own name until after Wheatstone's 1844 Patent had expired. In the meantime, other manufacturers did bring out alternative designs, but this was often to avoid infringing the 1844 Patent, which could only cover specific "Improvements" to the concertina (a classic ploy to try to extend the life of an original Patent), but not the instrument itself. (You cannot patent the same thing for a second time !)

 

Edited to add second paragraph.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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