Jump to content

Jeffries Maccann Duet


Recommended Posts

Hello All, I'm new to this site but already excited about the breadth of knowledge found here, and willingness to share it.

I just bought a duet concertina from Ebay. It looked pretty wrecked in the pictures, and having taken delivery, the whole instrument is filthy and the glue lines are coming apart, but the reed work is cleaning up very nicely, with hardly any rust, and no signs of heavy thinning by previous tuning, and no serious wharping of the reed pans Etc. One question though - it was advertised as probably a Lachenal, and it looks like one to my relatively un-tutored eye, but it has Jeffries bellows papers. The bellows look like they belong on the instrument. Did Jeffries make a Mccann duet with 46 keys? It has the number 2175 stamped into the bass end reed pan. Any information would be most welcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are some pictures of my recent acquisition. A bit of preliminary exploration reveals that two of the reeds, presumably later replacements, are in alluminium frames which have deteriorated badly, but the condition of the rest of the reed work makes me optimistic. The levers are hook type, which I recall were a Lachenal trade-mark, but those Jeffries bellows - perhaps it is a cobble together? but its all there and very restorable.

post-12335-0-23833700-1476898054_thumb.jpg

post-12335-0-32105300-1476898087_thumb.jpg

post-12335-0-33387000-1476898122_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The presence of Jeffries style bellows (as evidenced by their embossing and bellows papers) should not be regarded as implying any family history. The hook action does immediately brings Lachenal to mind. One way to see if there are any Jeffries reeds hiding in those reed pans is to measure the thickness of the brass shoes. I don't remember the dimension normally associated with Jeffries reeds but they are substantially thicker than those made by Lachenal and Wheatstone. Hopefully some more knowledgeable member of our little band will step forward with that information. More than likely though is that this is a Lachenal possibly mated with a cast off Jeffries bellows (you didn't provide a bellows picture) or just one made up to look like a Jeffries bellows.

 

Ross Schlabach

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never seen a Jeffries with a serial number and 2175 is within the range of Lachenal duets. The fretwork pattern is typical of Lachenal, as is the action design. Bellows papers are easily replaced. I can see no evidence that this is anything other than a Lachenal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for these informative replies. The bellows and their frames match up very well to the ends, which made me think they might be the originals, but it looks like not. I shall begin a careful restoration, and no doubt be seeking more advice from this forum. The two deteriorated reeds in alloy frames, although having been cleaned up are sounding fine, should probably be replaced. Is there a source of Lachenal reeds anywhere?

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did see that on ebay, and yes, everything about it is Lachenal except the bellows, which do look like Jeffries bellows, they are thicker than Lachenal ones and have the different papers.

I thought it likely that it had been repaired by Jeffries at some point, and they replaced the bellows.

It's not just the papers, the leather looks thicker. But it's not likely that an original Jeffries set would have fitted it, so it looks like they made a set for it.

 

I think it's likely that Jeffries did a lot of repair jobs, as well as making new concertinas, and the original set might have got damaged beyond repair. The bellows were obviously fitted a very long time ago, as they look just as old as the ends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Theo, Yes, I take your point about not replacing if they work. The problem is that they are very eroded - to perhaps half their intended thickness at points, and I fear they may collapse after a few removals and re-fits. Possibly also a thined, uneven plate may affect the way the reed behaves? I don't know. Just idly wondered how possible it is to obtain spares these days. I remember in my youth, you just bought a battered Lachenal for a few quid, and used it for spares. Not now though!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't imagine what kind of aluminium they can have been using.

I just pulled an old Settimio Soprani accordion to bits, and the aluminium-mounts of the reeds look like they just left the factory.

Even though they must be about 75 years old, or older. And the steel reeds look just as good.

 

Maybe the wax is good for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, very strange. The tongues are near perfect with just the usual traces of rust, but the frames look as if they have been in an acid bath! There is still just enough metal to keep working, but only just. The rest of the instrument is very dirty, and certain sections, presumably relating to the main keys used, are black with what looks and smells like soot. Are we looking at the instrument of a railwayman from the steam era? Very little rust though, and no sign of water ingress. Having removed the old jeffries looking bellows, which are dried up and cracking, I find that the serial numbers on the frames match the number on the reed pans, so the suggestion of a replacement by Jeffries at some point looks like a possibility.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since the ally-framed reeds are replacements, I would say that they probably got in that state before they were fitted.

They might be cut from old melodeon reeds, which were shallower to start with.

Are the aluminium reeds riveted, or fixed with the two screws?

 

Also, if they are an old replacement, they might be zinc, not ally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They are fixed with two screws, and look like other ally frames I have now seen on photos. I will call on the expertise of a colleague at the university where I work, and get him to check the metal. It could be zinc.They have deteriorated in situ, as the sections eroded away are still in the pan in the form of oxide,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it were mine I'd play it until the alloy framed reeds cause trouble then worry about it. It may happen fairly soon but it may not, and even when one gives up it shouldn't damage anything else. Even then you'll still have the note the other way to finish the piece on..

 

Most repairers seem to have a store of spare reeds they can simply find replacements from. I'd do your basic recovery (as it sounds like this is part of the fun for you) then hand it over and let them find reeds and a spare button to match and tune it too. If you aim to play it yourself get the holes bushed as well, wood straight on bone rattles like old skellingtons.

 

Wheatstone and Lach used aluminium in some lightweight instruments. Lach' ones (I think particularly the early ones) can corode frighteningly. There was an edeophone on Ebay some years ago that must have been a rather nice instrument once upon a time and coroded shoes had basically written it off. Rather sad.

 

You don't say what notes they are. They may be a mod to add a couple of low bass notes, maybe done at the works. One is probably a D? I have a similar box (mine has brass reeds) and I don't remember a reed in the middle of the bass pan like that. I haven't had to look for a while mind you.

 

You can do a lot with a 46. I have big duets for written music but often pick up a 46 for choice when I'm playing by ear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe galvanic corrosion?

Both aluminium and zinc are less 'noble' than steel and will sacrifice themselves to protect the more noble metal. The white powder is either zinc or aluminium oxide. Galvanic corrosion requires the two dissimilar metals to be electrically connected and in an electrolyte which is normally liquid, but long-term high humidity might be sufficient - especially in coastal areas or on board a ship. Moist, salty air might be a reasonable electrolyte, especially over a long stretch of time.

Some aluminium alloys are much less susceptible to galvanic corrosion than straight aluminum. I suspect that early reed shoes would have been made from straight aluminium. Later concertinas used Dural which is a better behaving alloy of aluminium.

Correction: What I said about Dural, or Duralumin, is wrong. It is actually much more prone to corrosion than straight aluminium so maybe that is what was used in reed shoes. Duralumin was thought to be a miracle metal in the 1920s - very light and hard/stiff. It was used to make Zeppelins. I can see why concertina makers wanted to use it instead of brass.

Edited by Don Taylor
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes will probably leave the ally frames in as long as they last. Quite a way to go before I have a playable instrument though. I will clean up the woodwork, action, and clean and tune the reeds before renewing the bellows. I'm not a pro, but have done loads of reed work over the years just for fun. Bellows though - this is new to me and I am at the bottom end of the learning curve but looking forward to the challenge. Bob's exccellent site is an inspiration, and set me on the hunt for goatskin and acid free card.

Dirge, you are correct, this is all part of the fun for me. I have pleanty of instruments to play already, mostly melodeons and an 18th century harpsichord, but foolishly sold a lovely 81 key duet 35 years ago, before getting to grips with it, and now regret it.

Good tip about insulating anodes, I renewed mine last year and still have some of the stuff on board I think. Will look it out next time I'm there.

I'm not under any illusions that this is going to be a quick project, as I want to do it well and have lots to learn. (Any one got a duet for sale!!)

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...