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Who's Concertina ?

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These pictures are of a fully restored 21 key, Bflat/F anglo with single set of brass reeds on aluminium back plates. Left hand reeds standing, right hand flat, originally mounted on string, wooden mechanism with no less than 5 bellows frames. The bellows papers are hand made copies of a surviving original paper and all metal decorative brass parts made from sheet (originally aluminium... dust). This concertina was a pile of bits when I go it, no two single pieces of wood or card joined together, including the belows frames and there was no name plate. Actually now a very nice instrument.


Any help with age or history greatly appreciated, not concerned with value.

Has anyone a picture or know of ANY concertina make with 5 bellows frames?


Thanks Roy Whiteley. www.accordionmagic.com




Edited by accordionmagic

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The restoration looks quite good.


As to the make, well, it looks something like the old concertina my uncle has. His wife purchased it as a gift for him out of the Montgomery Wards catalog 60 years ago. The appearance of the edge bevels and holes around the circumference of the ends as well as the multiple bellows dividers with decorative metal is quite similar to his.


It's been several months since I saw this concertina so I'm fuzzy on other aspects. Generally my thought at the time (based on the tone) was that it was of German make, but it had no label of any kind and the box was long since gone.


This may not be the right spot for it, but since I've gone this far, I'll relate a short story about my uncle's concertina. As mentioned, it was received as a gift, though I don't know what inspired the choice since he didn't know how to play a concertina and neither did anyone else in his small town.


Though he put in much time attempting to learn to play it, he had little success and eventually gave up in frustration. Over the years children were born and they experimented with it too. While it was a novelty as a noise-maker, no one was ever able to make music with it and eventually the children grew up and the concertina was consigned to the back of a closet.


When one of his daughters mentioned to me last winter that her father had an old concertina, I made a point to pay a visit and ask about it. My uncle related the history and produced the instrument. While it showed a little overall wear from the passage of many years, I was surprised to find all the notes still sounded, even if some were a bit reluctant.


I proceeded to play a few simple Irish tunes on it with my uncle, his wife and one daughter (now 55+) present. To hear music flow readily forth from this instrument after 60 confounding and uncooperative years in the house was as magical for them as if I'd pulled a rabbit out of a hat.




Bruce McCaskey

Edited by Bruce McCaskey

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That looks like a very nice job Roy !


However, this instrument is of German manufacture, and should more correctly be described as a German concertina, rather than an anglo (short for "Anglo-German", which denotes an instrument of English construction, but German fingering). Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to say who made most of these German concertinas, but the majority were made in Klingenthal, Saxony, on the Czech border (the region being formerly known as Bohemia).


Having five bellows frames is not unique, but was sometimes done to produce a slightly more expensive model, with stronger bellows (the Magdeburg accordion maker, Gessner, even took out a patent for accordion bellows that had frames in all the folds).

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