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Mystery Concertina On Ebay?

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The vendor claims it's a Crabb concertina, but looks like something else to me.

What we know is that it has Crabb's stamp inside and that it doesn't have the Lachenal trademark stamp impressed into the handrails.

Any ideas?


I think that it could actually be a Crabb. You might consider sending a PM to Geoffrey Crabb to see if he'd like to comment on it.

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My father produced 'budget' instruments of similar style from the mid 1930's to the mid 1950's. The materials, construction and finish varied widely to match customer requirement and price.

Some instrument numbers in that period were prefixed with the year i.e. 37xxxx, 38xxxx, 39xxxx and 40xxxx.

The xxxx would be a normal allocated Crabb 4 digit number current at the time.

409592 was made for a wholesaler and down to the lowest price possible. It was the first in a batch of fourteen (8 x 20 button & 6 x 30 button) in June 1940. Although my father was not particularly proud of the look of these cheapest instruments, they worked quite well and importantly they provided an income during difficult times of constraint. However, I believe he made every effort to maintain normal reed quality.

The brief use of woodscrews instead of the usual machine screws as endbolts with 'nuts' in the bellows frames and the sometimes additional use of steel levers in these instruments was either to reserve any stock of usual materials for more expensive instruments or to reduce manufacture time/cost. (The lead up period and duration of the war reduced the availabilty of materials to zero for anything other that war work.)

The plain fretted end boxes were either exactly as or similar to those of earlier Lachenal models. They may have been salvaged from that firm on closure in 1933 or sourced, in bulk, from the same company that had previously supplied Lachenal. The 'universal' fretwork pattern was suitable for 20-31 button Anglo models and the 20 button piano layout Duet. (Jedcertina).

Concerning the internal stamp. Around 1926, a new stamp was made in the same style as a pre-1908 version, The J being replaced with an H.

Old. New.




Although a bit indistinct in the ebay pictures, if the instrument trully bears the J Crabb and Son stamp internally, I think we could excuse my dads mistake in selecting and using the wrong stamp, especially when producing fouteen instruments in that month, single handed.

Edited by Geoffrey Crabb
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...The lead up period and duration of the war reduced the availabilty of materials to zero for anything other that war work....


I don't think we appreciate what problems there were during and after the war. This 1950s article gives an insight.


The Bicycle I rode for many years was my father's which he bought new in 1946 and for which he had to obtain a permit, stating that his old bike had been destroyed when the house was bombed.


We do tend to forget but many of us will recall the austerity of those post war years, even if we were only very young.

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We do tend to forget but many of us will recall the austerity of those post war years, even if we were only very young.


Yes, indeed! We should write it all down, or tell it to the youngsters. I arrived in 1946, when the War was actually over, but I recall its effects on my parents.


For instance, the phrase "for the Duration" rings a bell. If I spent too long in the bathroom (playing submarines with the soap rather than washing my face) Mum would call, "Are you in there for the Duration?" meaning an indefinite but probably very long time. All restrictions of the previous years were "for the Duration (of Hostilities)."

And when she went shopping, Mum didn't look in her purse to see if she had enough money to feed us - it was more a matter of having enough Rationing Coupons!

My Dad's work allowed him to drive during the War, but on rationed petrol, of course. I recall seeing the headlamp black-out hoods gathering dust in the garage, and I still remember how, when we had a section of downhill road before us, Dad would switch off the car's ignition and "coast" down the hill, switching on and engaging the clutch again before we came to a standstill at the bottom. It had become second nature to him (though you'd probably wreck your car's electronics if you did that nowadays!)


It wasn't just the bombing and killing that changed people's lives!


Then, on the other hand, there was my mother playing her pre-war German autoharp and my father his Italian mandolin (bought during the war, but in the neutral Eire) with no qualms of conscience. And why shouldn't they, with Myra Hess playing Bach and Beethoven in her lunch-time concerts during the London Blitz!


Somehow, the War wasn't quite so "total" after all. The musicians, at least, formed a bulwark against totality. Let's hope we don't have to do so again!




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