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drekth

Early Lachenal Concertinas

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I'm a new Member...so Hello to Everyone.

 

I have a query re Louis Lachenal's early Instruments. I am aware of course that his instrument endscrews are machine threaded affixed into tapped endplates in the bellows ends, but...........

is anything known about his very early Instruments? Did he utilize wood screws?

 

I have recently acquired a 48 Button English which has such end screws and to all intents is a Lachenal with the usual internal reed labels. The valve levers look like 'Lachenals'. Stamped internally with the usual 'L' and 'R', but no 'stamped' maker's number. Instead there is a double digit number hand written in old fashioned style on the Bellows and Reed Pans.

 

I have attached a couple of photos and would welcome any comments please - Is it a Lachenal?

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The reed-pan lable says it's a Louis Lachenal, and the instrument has every appearance of being an example of his cheapest English-system model. He certainly used wood screws on some of his cheaper Anglos (because I've got some), but I don't recall seeing them on an English before - though you haven't shown the screws in question...

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Thanks for the info Stephen - very re-assuring. The wood-screws in this Instrument are round top slotted 3 gauge x 1 3/8inches long - very rusty - it took me 2 hours to get them out by carefully cleaning and deepening the slots with a junior hacksaw blade. They were quite corroded although the rest of the instrument is clean and very good...except...the pad boards have split in several places. I have tried to obtain new woodscrews of the same gauge but no luck so far, although I have traced some 4s gauge of the same length.

 

The hand-written number in the Concertina is '37' written in an old fashioned flowery style.

 

regards,

 

Drekth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hand written number within the concertina is '37' written in an old style of writing...rather flowery.

 

 

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Dear Drekth

 

Thanks for posting these very interesting photos. I have a very early Lach Duet(t) [ser. 1150] that from the look of it is a little earlier than the example you have. That is to say that the "37" you have found on it is unlikely to be a serial. If you can find one you'll be able to date it (approximately). I hope you'll post what you find out about it. And good luck locating the appropriate replacement screws. Does it play? It may be in old pitch if it hasn't been re-tuned.

 

All the best.

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Hello novascotian and thank you for your interest.

The handwritten '37s' are a mystery.....they are written in the exact places where you would expect to find stamped serial numbers on the majority of 'Lachenals'. i.e. in the top corners of both reed pans adjacent to L' and 'R' on the respective ends and similarly on both bellows ends (see photos). There are no stamped numbers anywhere. What other purpose would these numbers serve if not a serial number?

 

"Does it play?" you ask... well not yet..the reeds are in good condition, but the pad boards are split and one would expect a few notes all at once if one tried to play it....and...I can't re-assemble it until I get some new screws and re-assemble it. It will probably be in old pitch.

I suspect that this instrument may have become unplayable early in its life due to the split pad boards it may have been considered un-repairable, replaced into its box, stored and forgotten...hence its good condition.

regards

derkth

 

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I have a very early Lach Duet(t) [ser. 1150] that from the look of it is a little earlier than the example you have.

Lachenal Englishes, anglos, and duets had independent runs of serial numbers. By the time your duet #1150 was made, it appears that Lachenal would have produced more than 30 thousand Englishes (and more than 70 thousand anglos).

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Lachenal always used used machine screws into tapped plate nuts, Jones however used wood screws on some of their lower grade instruments.

 

The 37 is what i would associate with a jig/ batch/ instrument I/D in the workshops, and is not a serial number.

 

Silly question, have you looked under the pad boards under the end frame areas?

 

I might suspect that the original machined screws had sheared, and someone substituted wood screws as a convenient fix. Personally I would lift the chamois end-frame gaskets & look for evidence of a plate nut. Either way, I would fit plate nuts and BA set screws

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Or get a set of these endbolts http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/111284965073 and either use the screw in inserts that come with them or buy an M2.5 tap and recut the threads in the plate nuts that are probably hiding under the chamois.

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Lachenal always used used machine screws into tapped plate nuts,

 

Then I don't have several early Lachenal Anglos (that are probably contemporary with this English) with original woodscrews?

 

Like this 28-key one, #5086:

 

003-1.jpg

 

 

 

Personally I would lift the chamois end-frame gaskets & look for evidence of a plate nut.

 

001.jpg

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The 37 is what i would associate with a jig/ batch/ instrument I/D in the workshops, and is not a serial number.

 

It doesn't appear to be a serial number, because (as I have written in Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production and Serial Numbers) Louis Lachenal probably started the numbering of his own production of English concertinas at 6000, and Lachenal's stamped the numbers into the woodwork - but I don't think I've ever seen a batch number on a Lachenal before. :unsure:

 

Even the woodscrews are interesting (which is why I asked the OP about them) because they don't taper like normal screws:

 

002.jpg

Quite likely they were made by Lachenal - who is said to have first become involved in concertina making because he made screws (whilst I have been told by the Lachenal family that Nettlefold - of GKN - was his apprentice).

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I have a very early Lach Duet(t) [ser. 1150] that from the look of it is a little earlier than the example you have.

Lachenal Englishes, anglos, and duets had independent runs of serial numbers. By the time your duet #1150 was made, it appears that Lachenal would have produced more than 30 thousand Englishes (and more than 70 thousand anglos).

 

Yes, I know. And that would make the number 37 a very early box. By the look of it I'd be surprised. But I'm really an Anglo player, so what do I know.

 

Dear Drekth

 

Thanks for posting these very interesting photos. I have a very early Lach Duet(t) [ser. 1150] that from the look of it is a little earlier than the example you have. That is to say that the "37" you have found on it is unlikely to be a serial. If you can find one you'll be able to date it (approximately). I hope you'll post what you find out about it. And good luck locating the appropriate replacement screws. Does it play? It may be in old pitch if it hasn't been re-tuned.

 

All the best.

"...in its box." Is it in its original box? That might provide a clue to its age. My Duet box is very different from the boxes I've seen from the late 1880s. The clasps on mine look mid rather than late Victorian. I'd love to see a photo if you do have an original box.

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Lachenal Englishes, anglos, and duets had independent runs of serial numbers. By the time your duet #1150 was made, it appears that Lachenal would have produced more than 30 thousand Englishes (and more than 70 thousand anglos).

Yes, I know. And that would make the number 37 a very early box.

Except that, as Stephen pointed out:

...Louis Lachenal probably started the numbering of his own production of English concertinas at 6000....

So if that 37 were a serial number, the instrument would be a significantly pre-Lachenal Lachenal. Hmm.

 

"...in its box." Is it in its original box? That might provide a clue to its age. My Duet box is very different from the boxes I've seen from the late 1880s. The clasps on mine look mid rather than late Victorian.

"Mid Victorian" would be when? The earliest Lachenal duets date from the mid-1880s, and your #1150 from the mid-1890s. Could your case be older than your instrument?

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Hello again and many thanks to all members for their observations and comments, all of which are very welcome despite the differing views.

I think I must accept Stephen Chamber's informations that Lachenal did use woodscrews for some of his instruments before changing to machine thread screws (as probably did other early makers of concertinas).

 

D.Elliot says that Lachenal 'always used woodscrews, but I can't accept that.

 

Thanks Theo for your comments, as always very practical. I had a look at the self tapping inserts - they look very good.

 

I have looked everywhere on this instrument for a stamped number but absolutely no sign of one and I have peeled back the chamois to search for threaded inset endscrew plates but again - no evidence of anything but wood screws which in this case have parallel shanks and tapered woodscrew threads unlike the sample photo by

 

Member's references to batch numbers made me look again at other pencilled marks on the instrument which at first I thought were the letters 'UG'. These appear on the end frames between the pad levers at each end and also on the inner side of the fretted ends (see photos). However, I now believe these to be '46'. So we have '37' on the bellows and reed plates section and '46' on the action boxes. ????? Perhaps the '37s' are a maker's number after all and the '46s' a batch number?

 

One member has very kindly donated a set of woodscrews of the same gauge as those removed - many thanks to him.

 

One thing still puzzles me...... Obviously a Concertina Maker does not 'tool up' for one instrument and Louis Lachenal was an excellent Engineer with experience second to none. He had access to 'stamps' for the 'L' and 'R' imprints and had (previous to setting up his own company) worked for Wheatstone I understand. So making stamps for numbering would have been easy to obtain and use.

 

Did Lachenal have sections assembled by others? Could the 37 have been written in as a temporary measure and then the permanent imprinted number overlooked?.

 

All conjecture perhaps, but I am satisfied that the Instrument IS by Louis Lachenal.

 

 

 

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D.Elliot says that Lachenal 'always used woodscrews, but I can't accept that.

You don't need to. Read his post, again. He said the opposite.

 

Lachenal always used used machine screws into tapped plate nuts....

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Hello Jim.

 

Apologies, you are correct I got it the wrong way round.....my typing and computer skills are not the best and my excuse is that next year I will be 80 - but still learning...........

 

regards

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Pure conjecture, but perhaps the bellows, complete with frames, were replaced at some stage, maybe by Jones or even by Crabbs.

 

I own a 20 key Crabb anglo with original bellows (as confirmed by Geoff Crabb) from the 1940s with similar looking wood screws. There is no stamped number on the bellows frame, but there are indistinct pencilled marks (along with L and R) in the same position as yours.

 

Drekth. a photo or two of your bellows might help identify whether it is an original set or a replacement.

Edited by malcolm clapp

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...my excuse is that next year I will be 80 - but still learning...........

 

No excuse.

As the saying goes, "you're never too young to learn." ;)

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Hello Malcolm Crabb,

Many thanks for your observations which I have noted with interest.

I am of the opinion that the Bellows and the Reed Pans have always been together if only that the pencilled numbers in both are the same, but....I have attached a couple of photos for your perusal. The Bellows are in very good condition as are the reed pans (which have the Louis Lachenal reed identification circular labels) and I doubt that they are replacements.

It is interesting that your concertina should have similar pencilled markings to mine but no stamped numbers. I'm not sure that this similarity will prove anything except that pencilling in 'numbers' in early concertinas appears to have been a common practice.

 

regards

Drekth

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