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Early J Crabb & Son Crane Duet

Geoffrey Crabb

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To avoid getting involved in the discussion and introduce possible thread drift in the Buy and Sell topic regarding the Crabb Crane Duet on Ebay



I thought it better to offer my observations about the actual instrument here.

Note. Keys = buttons.

There should be no doubt that it is of Crabb manufacture and if inscribed J Crabb & Son either on the single cartouche (right side) or inside, then it would have been made between 1896 (Butterworth Patent date) and 1908 (business name changed to H Crabb). A four digit internal ID number, if present, would indicate the actual date from the records.

In comparison with Crane models available from other makers at this time, this may have been one of the earliest examples, if not the earliest, with this number of keys (60 + wind key).

It will be seen that the Crabb narrow ‘chevron’ layout of the keys, which differed from the Butterworth/Lachenal wider curved arrangement, was already being employed.

The number of keys, the presence of the left side odd ‘outrigger’ key and thumb key, the elaborate fretwork and gilded bellows suggest that, like all Crabb Crane duets above 55 keys, the instrument would have been built to meet an individual customers requirement.


Whilst many Crabb Crane Duets do exist, it is extremely rare to come across one with the J Crabb name.



Edited by Geoffrey Crabb
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