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arkwright

Unusual Fretwork On An English

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Has anyone ever seen this style of fretwork on an English concertina? The thumb loop buckle says "Wheatstone" but may not be original. The openings may represent birds in flight? I wonder if a woodworker made this end to replace an end that had been damaged? The interior of the concertina looks 19th century with brass reeds.post-12333-0-41196600-1500845375_thumb.jpg

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It's a little known fact that some of the early manufacturers kept specially trained hamsters to gnaw out the fretwork. Having discovered that the hamster was quite capable of memorizing the pattern of a maze, if there was a food reward at the end of it, it was but a short step to devise a maze in the form of a fretwork template, rewarding the industrious creatures only if they gnawed as they went. Occasionally, however, a hamster would go rogue, chomp through the walls of the template, and produce fretwork with no discernible pattern or symmetry. This appears to be one of those cases, and one can only sympathise with the maker. However, on a more positive note, this kind of occurrence did give rise to a small but profitable business in the production of warm and fashionable hamster-skin gloves.

Edited by david robertson

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It's a little known fact that some of the early manufacturers kept specially trained hamsters to gnaw out the fretwork. Having discovered that the hamster was quite capable of memorizing the pattern of a maze, if there was a food reward at the end of it, it was but a short step to devise a maze in the form of a fretwork template, rewarding the industrious creatures only if they gnawed as they went. Occasionally, however, a hamster would go rogue, chomp through the walls of the template, and produce fretwork with no discernible pattern or symmetry. This appears to be one of those cases, and one can only sympathise with the maker. However, on a more positive note, this kind of occurrence did give rise to a small but profitable business in the production of warm and fashionable hamster-skin gloves.

 

coh this forum is so great for accurate historical information! I am going STRAIGHT to pet-smart to get myself a selection of young vigorous looking hamsters to help me in the workshop.

Edited by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Yes, and the musicality of the hamster is also much underrated.

 

We autoharpers spend far too much time tuning our 36 strings (or playing with off-tune strings), so someone on an autoharp forum suggested fitting a hamster wheel to each tuning-pin (worm and pinion, or the like) and putting hamsters in them. Each hamster would be trained to tolerate the pitch of its string, and if the string slipped, it would react by running in the appropriate direction.

 

I reckon the reason why this never caught on is the costs. You'd have to feed the 36 hamsters daily, even when you weren't playing.

 

;)

 

Cheers,

John

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John,

You don't need to keep and feed the hamsters all the time, you could rent them from a glove maker and return them when you had finished tuning.

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