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Kaspar Wicki 1896 Patent for concertina layout

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I am looking for more information on Kaspar Wicki, a man who invented the "block concept" layout for concertina and bellows instruments.


Some info on his system:



All I have found on the internet is that he was a Swiss man from Münster in Switzerland.

A mathematician?


I would like to know, did he really invented this layout?

Or did Charles Wheatstone already had a sketch of this layout on his working table?


After all, Wheatstone has made several duet systems.



The Wicki layout is related to the Paul von Janko piano keyboard layout.

The earliest mentioning about this whole tone keyboard layout I found was by Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (1606-1682) around 1654 in Prague.


I read about this in 2 fascinating articles by Patrizio Barbieri (one in Italian and one in German):

See: http://www.patriziobarbieri.it/articlespdf.htm


Patrizio Barbieri: “Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz: Uber die musikalischen Logarithmen” (point 3, pages 153-156)


Barbieri, Patrizio. "Gli ingegnosi cembali e 'violicembali' inventati da Juan Caramuel Lobkowitz per Ferdinando III (c. 1650): notizie inedite dal manoscritto Musica", Comune di Vigevano, Vigevano, 1990, pp. 91-112.


I would like to learn more about possible links between Caramuel and others (Conrad Hänfling, Paul von Janko, Heinrich Josef Vincent, Kaspar Wicki …)





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So far as I know Kaspar Wicki was the first person to discover this layout for free-reed musical instruments.

Unfortunately he never seems to have attempted to get them made in the Square (Bandoneon-like) form or approach any of the English makers (Wheatstone, Lachenal, Crabb, and others) in the concertina form. This (1896) is the same year that Butterworth patented what is now known as the "Crane System", which was taken up by the 3 above mentioned concertina makers.


It wasn't until nearly a hundred years later that whilst searching for an easier to play layout for the buttons on the the Duet concertina, that I independently rediscovered this excellent system.


I am willing to state unequivocally that Charles Wheatstone never had any sketch of this on his working table. CW was a scientist with a musical instrument background, but not so far as is known, was he a practicing musician.

He did however patent several (IMHO impractical) Duet-concertina systems one of which was isomorphic. How much he really invented himself is open to question; though he did manage to get his name attached to the "Wheatstone Bridge" and the Electric Telegraph.


You have come up with a much earlier first proposal for the Janko keyboard layout. The earlyest I had found was a Patent by Trotter in 1811, who again didn't promote it just at the time that the piano was beginning to become a very popular instrument.



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Thank's for your interesting reply.


The information on the "organum panarchicum" by Juan Caramuel Lobkowitz (year: around 1654) has been sent by email to the AMIS (an American Society for the Study of Instruments of Music), and tot het IMS (International Society of Musicologists).

I hope the specialists in organology and musicology will investigate on the history of this "organum panarchicum" , which is the earliest example of a "Janko" like keyboard.


It seems Caramuel invented these instruments for a king back in 1650-1655.

Maybe he had an obligation to keep his "inventions" a secret ??? I don't know.

It's up to the professional musicologists to do the research.


Anyhow, around 1709-1710 Conrad Hänfling published the exact type of keyboard in a publication in Berlin (in the Academy of Sciences). So it wasn't a secret anymore.

I read in an article that Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, one of the sons of J.S. Bach, told in his autobiography, that his father had seen these type of keyboards with his own eyes.



As for the Hayden duet layout on concertina, I think it is strange that Charles Wheatstone never tried a Hayden duet like layout on a concertina.

He made 1 type of isomorphic duet concertina, but he choose to go "vertical", whereas the Hayden goes more "horizontal" (I'm sorry for my fuzzy English)

This "vertical" design was not, ergonomically speeking, the best option. Maybe indeed, he did not play the concertina himself...


It's obvious a mirrored Hayden duet layout is the best ergonomical option. If there was just some virtoso player who could show us in a You Tube video....


For your information, an interesting German website about bandoneon/accordion/concertina history, with interesting photo gallery:







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