Jump to content

Strange Wheatstone


DDF
 Share

Recommended Posts

Looks like an instrument with a double bellows:

 

Sometimes made for Music Hall performers;. the two ends seperating for novelty effects OR... could it be an attempt to control the air pressure for each side of the instrument... thus making for better volume control ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like an instrument with a double bellows:Sometimes made for Music Hall performers;. the two ends seperating for novelty effects OR... could it be an attempt to control the air pressure for each side of the instrument... thus making for better volume control ?

Perhaps it was easier to splice together two five fold bellows rather than cobbling together a ten fold bellows mold they would hardly ever use. While I have seen bastari /stagi bellows collapse when played, I am not sure a Wheatstone bellows could. On the other side of that, if each fold were to collapse slightly under vacuum, by the time you got yo the center of a ten fold bellows, the bellows frames may not exert enough influence to stave off collapse. Lots of big bellows on continental concertinas have one or even two center frames. Given that the pressure is a function is a function of end area and end force ( by your hands) the pressure on the reed's should be the same. Given the uneven width of the center frames, it looks a bit like an afterthought.

Dana

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like an instrument with a double bellows:Sometimes made for Music Hall performers;. the two ends seperating for novelty effects OR... could it be an attempt to control the air pressure for each side of the instrument... thus making for better volume control ?

Perhaps it was easier to splice together two five fold bellows rather than cobbling together a ten fold bellows mold they would hardly ever use. While I have seen bastari /stagi bellows collapse when played, I am not sure a Wheatstone bellows could. On the other side of that, if each fold were to collapse slightly under vacuum, by the time you got yo the center of a ten fold bellows, the bellows frames may not exert enough influence to stave off collapse. Lots of big bellows on continental concertinas have one or even two center frames. Given that the pressure is a function is a function of end area and end force ( by your hands) the pressure on the reed's should be the same. Given the uneven width of the center frames, it looks a bit like an afterthought.Dana

I certainly suspect separable ends... for a clown act, perhaps?

 

Dana, it looks to me as if that center frame has a seam, as if it's made in two parts. If it were just for stiffening, that would seem an unnecessary complication in construction.

 

Geoff, I don't see how you could separately control the pressure in the two ends unless the center frame were fixed. Apparently, Wheatstone did try that idea as an option with his "double" models (a marketing failure, alas), with the center partition attached to a supporting stand. I remember once seeing an illustration showing such a supporting stand. (I think it was from an advertising brochure. Wish I could remember where I saw it.)

 

But is there nobody here who lives close enough to go see it and report back?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My guess would be if we could see the back view the other end of that centre joint/dovetail it would be a different size so when the bellows are fully compressed they can be slid apart .I think the idea of making a ten fold bellows out of two fives makes sense but I don't think that type of joint would be used.David.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My guess would be if we could see the back view the other end of that centre joint/dovetail it would be a different size so when the bellows are fully compressed they can be slid apart .I think the idea of making a ten fold bellows out of two fives makes sense but I don't think that type of joint would be used.

 

I'm guessing the "partition" is two boards held together by a linear dovetail across their faces, so that a pull in a particular direction could slide them apart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like an instrument with a double bellows...the two ends seperating for novelty...

 

I'm intrigued - does that mean that it would be possible to pull on one end while

simultaneously pushing on the other?

 

Only if some external constraint was preventing the partition from moving.

Or, with the ends no longer connected, by holding the one end with its bellows down (pull) and the other end with its bellows up (push).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only if some external constraint was preventing the partition from moving.

 

Yes, that's the 'conclusion' I came to.

 

My (limited) knowledge of the ingenuity of stage magicians and illusionists in preparing

their tricks(*) makes me think that any enterprising music hall/variety artist worth his or

her salt would have no trouble devising such a constraint which would (probably) not be

apparent to the audience - thus preserving the glamour and mystery of the act.

 

I see from the original auction posting that there is some paperwork available with this

item, from Wheatstone's ledgers. Shouldn't that give a clue as to who and what this

instrument was made for? Needs a concertina.netter to go and have a look of course.

 

Roger

 

(*) They really do do it with mirrors! See, for example, books by Jim Steinmeyer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only if some external constraint was preventing the partition from moving.

Yes, that's the 'conclusion' I came to.

 

...any enterprising music hall/variety artist worth his or her salt would have no trouble devising such a constraint which would (probably) not be

apparent to the audience - thus preserving the glamour and mystery of the act.

Seems reasonable that it could be done, but I'm not sure it would be worth the trouble. Would a typical music hall audience even notice that the performer was pulling with one end while pushing with the other (with the concertina as a whole not moving), much less realize that it shouldn't be possible?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The auctioneer has posted a whole series of new photos:

 

http://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/adampartridge/catalogue-id-adam-p10092/lot-489f1d74-1489-453b-861a-a62c00f75d61

 

The ones of the bellows show a sort of dovetailing join - which would seem to confirm the conclusion that the bellows can be detached.

 

The final photo shows the case containing some rather intriguing templates/plates that might have something to do with this arrangement. The Horniman [Concertina Museum] photos cited above show something broadly similar within the bellows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would a typical music hall audience even notice that the performer was pulling with one end while pushing with the other (with the concertina as a whole not moving), much less realize that it shouldn't be possible?

I think they probably would, Jim. The concertina was not a curiosity in those days, as it is now. Regular music-hall-goers would have been familiar with the visual impression of the concertinist moving his hands apart-together-apart-together as he played, with the bellows becoming longer and shorter again in the process.

 

If the postulated, immovable centre rib were present, the image could change to a person swinging his arms left and right in parallel, with the bellows remaining the same length all the time. Also, the concertina as a whole would appear to be moving, which it doesn't when played normally. (Most of us rest an end on one knee to keep the instrument from moving about, don't we!)

 

All this would strike most people as incongruous, even if they couldn't quite put their finger on what was happening.

 

Cheers,

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the postulated, immovable centre rib were present, the image could change to a person swinging his arms left and right in parallel, with the bellows remaining the same length all the time. Also, the concertina as a whole would appear to be moving, which it doesn't when played normally. (Most of us rest an end on one knee to keep the instrument from moving about, don't we!)

Perhaps if the centre were supported well enough by the hidden mechanism, they could temporarily let go of the bass end and continue to play the melody while doing something else like mopping their brow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps if the centre were supported well enough by the hidden mechanism, they could temporarily let go of the bass end and continue to play the melody while doing something else like mopping their brow.

Good one. I hadn't thought of that.

Maybe to take a drink from a pint glass? ;)

 

But do we have any record of any act trying such a mechanism?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...