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Concertinas Of War?

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This box has the ends completely sheathed in metal, as are also all the corners of the bellows. I have heard that concertinas were an item of issue to the troops in the Russian army. Could this be an "armored" concertina? It would certainly hurt if thrown at somebody.

Cheers,

Geo

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This box has the ends completely sheathed in metal,

 

Which box? Surely you don't mean your Dipper? Did you intend to include a picture?

 

I've seen a number of instruments on eBay -- of German make, I believe -- which had metal covering the corners of both the ends and the bellows. I never thought the purpose was combat, though.

 

As for the rumor about the Russian army, I'm curious where you might have heard that. I've heard they were used in the schools, but I hadn't heard about the army.

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Jim,

Yes, the picture did not upload. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong!

The interesting thing about this box is that the complete end is sheathed in metal, with added metal staps on the corners of the ends, plus the corner straps on the bellows. It really is constructed to take abuse! (that should offer some occasion for comments.)

I posted this only in semi-seriousness; it is the end of the dog-days silly season.

I am sending an email to the Russian Cultural Centre regarding the use of concertinas by the army.

Cheers,

Geo

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Here is Geo's picture -- I'll try uploading it. I need to learn how to do this anyway. Geo's version was very big and at very high resolution. I made it 4X smaller, making the file 16X smaller. Here we go.

 

Ken

post-9-1062850044.jpg

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Hi George and all,

 

I have had a dozen of these over the years, all double reeded in brass reeds, octave tuned, 10 reeds/zinc plate, wooden action, old style German type air valve. Most were stamped "made in USSR occupied Germany" which suggests they were made for export to an english-speaking country in the years after WW2. I may be stretching my memory here but I believe every last one was in high pitch F/C (old German concertina tuning with just-tuned chords, of course). An Irish friend recalls having seen one in Ireland in the hands of a family member, and they do have the mellow old "prewar melodeon" sound suitable for the old-style jigs, polkas, flings, and simple reels that were favored by traditional Irish players before English-made concertinas became more common there and concertina music more technically advanced. All in all, a last blast of the old decent quality brass-reeded prewar style -- but I don't know why they used metal sheathing. Perhaps for a military effect, perhaps because the metal was available and celluloid was temporarily not (or more expensive), perhaps for durability... I'll be interested in the results of your research. The last really nice two of these I had went as a pair (dueling set?) to an excellent Quebecois/Irish player in Vermont who appreciated them for the unique traditional sound noted above. I think I do have an unrestored one in my Cambridge shop if you need a parts donor or to fix up so that you'll have a pair that play in tune together.

 

Re: postwar production in occupied countries, I have a large, lightweight wooden suitcase lined with purple silk and sheathed entirely in riveted aircraft aluminum. A veteran told me these were produced in post WW2 occupied Japan out of recycled Zeros! Swords into ploughshares...

 

Paul

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For anyone interested,

 

It looks like there's another one of these on ebay at the moment, labeled "Araldo." Keeping in mind that these usually cost more to restore than they end up being "worth" in today's market, this might be a fun project for someone.

 

Paul

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Can we use this thread and picture to state some of the obvious 'German' features to look for that you don't see (except very rarely?) in English made instruments?

 

a. The bellows have divided sections.

b. The bellows have metal corners.

c. The button rows are parallel to one of the edges.

d. The buttons are a large diameter.

e. The handle/strap is almost in the center of the instrument.

 

Any more?

 

...wes

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Wes

 

I think you are referring to externally visible characteristics that would enable (e. g.) an ebay buyer to know from a photo if the instrument is German (or Austrian or Czechoslovakian etc.).

 

You often see nice looking 20 keyed German instruments with nice fretwork in wooden or (thin) metal ends that could be mistaken for English make. Usually they have only 3 or 4 wood screws in each side functioning as "endbolts" and this can be visible in photos. Some of these look to have been made for export to England or the U. S., possibly to mimic the English makes.

 

I have a VERY nicely made one of these with nickel-silver reeds that does have the rows of buttons parallel to a corner, not an edge, of the hexagon. The end design including fretwork is identical to the INSIDE hexagon of the instrument shown on the cover of the DeVille tutor (later editions; is this photo in the 1905 edition of which I have only seen the cover?)

 

Paul

Edited by Paul Groff

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I gather that the reason for the "divided" bellows, i.e, with usually two frames in the bellows, is that the double reeded instruments had the reeds mounted on boxes that are raised over the pan. Thus requiring a larger bellows length. However I have a single reed Scholer which has the reeds mounted on the pan, that has a "normal" (7) number of folds.

Cheers,

Geo

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Paul,

 

Yes, I was refering to the external characteristics, and perhaps I should say 'non-English' construction, rather than 'German'. I've been asked before how to indentify

'German' rather than 'English' so I was trying to give a guide, especially since we can now post photos.

 

For anybody interested in the inner construction, there is a good site:

http://www.uni-bamberg.de/ppp/ethnomusikol...na/K-Men%fc.htm

 

best wishes ..wes

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Wes,

 

As I'm sure you know, another external clue can be missing button-caps, often visible even in bad photos. Many of the "German" (non-English made) 20-key anglos had wooden buttons with bone, later celluloid or plastic, caps. If the cap has come off and you see the wooden part of the button more or less level with the surface, that can be evidence. Or if the wooden part of the button has come unglued from a wooden action lever, the wooden lever may be visible through the hole and again this is external evidence of typical German construction. Typical English-made instruments have metal levers penetrating a hole in the button, so they don't present this appearance when a button is broken or loose.

 

I have usually found the "3 or 4" vs. "6" screw/bolt heads per side rule to be the most useful when there is any doubt (i. e. when the German instrument is fancy), but I should have pointed out that some beautiful English-made miniatures have fewer than six endbolts/side.

 

Does Andrew Norman visit this site? I have never met him in person but from a phone conversation I understood he collected old 20 key anglos and might add to your list of characteristics. In a month or two I might be able to send you some photos of the early 20 key I mentioned with button rows parallel to a corner (if that makes sense?). In fact, in my Cambridge shop I think I also have a small early German metal ended solo-tuned Eb/Bb, again with nickel-silver reeds, with the same "English-appearing" geometry.

 

Best wishes, Paul

 

Addition (edited): I forgot to mention that some of the early "German" type instruments had wooden buttons with cuplike metal caps (like the buttons of some melodeons); again these were typically mounted on wooden levers.

Edited by Paul Groff

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Wes,

Interesting German Web site. However there were only two pictures of a 20b Scholer; and nothing about same in the text that I clould find. Interesting that the particular model illustrated had only one bellows frame. Bye the bye, the pictures of roses on the sides of the bellows ends seems to be a Scholer "trade mark".

Cheers,

Geo

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Question to all & sundry,

The current Hohners appear to be of the Stagi/Bastari genre. Were old ones of the traditional "German" manufacture, with wooden levers & large buttons?

Cheers,

Geo

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Wes,

 

Aren't ebay photos fun for "windows" shopping? Last night another of the early German type 20 keys that mimics the English makes closed. It had nice wooden fretwork, 4 screw heads per side, button rows "parallel to a corner," and evidently bone- or celluloid-capped wooden buttons.

Of course, I never had it in hand for fuller examination, this is just my "field identification" (as in bird watching). Whoever receives it, tell us more.

 

Now I think there is a German made instrument with 6 screw or bolt heads per side (again with button rows "parallel to a corner"). So much for my rule - if it really is German, this would be the first such I've seen. Of course the Italian made 6-sided instruments often have 6 screw heads/side, but we weren't initially talking about them. Whoever receives it, tell us more, please.

 

Regards, Paul

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