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SteveS

French Harmonium Reeds?

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I recently acquired a Wheatstone single action bass for restoration - I estimate from around 1850 - havent yet found the serial number.

Looking at the reeds yesterday I noticed that they had French note names impressed into the reed frames, along with the usual C, C# etc.

All reeds are square edged, and are screwed to the reed pan as is common with large reeds in bass concertinas.

Set me wondering if these could be French-made harmonium reeds?

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37652735_10216411194890555_4566358960809967616_n.jpg

Edited by SteveS

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Wheatstone made harmoniums too, so using them in a bass concertina is probably no great surprise. Perhaps harmonium reeds were stamped with Do Re Mi etc. so that they could be understood when exported.

 

It looks as though your bass has valves for re-filling the bellows in the ends. I had a previous bass and found these valves refilled the bellows relatively slowly. Mine has “gills” in the bellows, which refills them very quickly. It was built in 1886 and the bellows valves still work perfectly. I think they are original.

 

As your bass is single acting, there are no valves for the reeds. This might make the reeds very responsive, so it could play pretty quickly (until you run out of air, of course). Mine is fast enough to play melodies at a reasonable speed, but this is quite hard work.

 

Do you know what range it covers?

 

Steve

Edited by Lofty
Minor correction again

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12 hours ago, Lofty said:

Wheatstone made harmoniums too, so using them in a bass concertina is probably no great surprise. Perhaps harmonium reeds were stamped with Do Re Mi etc. so that they could be understood when exported.

 

It looks as though your bass has valves for re-filling the bellows in the ends. I had a previous bass and found these valves refilled the bellows relatively slowly. Mine has “gills” in the bellows, which refills them very quickly. It was built in 1886 and the bellows valves still work perfectly. I think they are original.

 

As it is single acting, there are no valves for the reeds. This might make the reeds very responsive, so it could play pretty quickly (until you run out of air, of course). Mine is fast enough to play melodies at a reasonable speed, but this is quite hard work.

 

Do you know what range it covers?

 

Steve

I wasn't aware that Wheatstone also made harmoniums - thanks for that info.

My bass also has gills underneath - though maybe these are a later addition.

I don't have access to the bass right now, but I believe it to be a 44 key C bass.

It's unplayable and needs restoration, but the reeds look to be in good condition.

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These are the reeds in my Wheatstone single action baritone. They look very similar with the double rivets but they're fixed with domed screws rather than countersunk.

No tonic sofa here, just the normal note names.

 

Mitch

reeds1.jpg

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6 hours ago, SteveS said:

I wasn't aware that Wheatstone also made harmoniums - thanks for that info.

My bass also has gills underneath - though maybe these are a later addition.

I don't have access to the bass right now, but I believe it to be a 44 key C bass.

It's unplayable and needs restoration, but the reeds look to be in good condition.

 

See http://www.concertina.com/pricelists/wheatstone-english/Wheatstone-MDRA-1859.pdf for information on Wheatstone harmoniums.

 

Steve

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Further research shows that Wheatstone also imported harmoniums made by Alexandre in France

 

Perhaps the reeds were taken out of an Alexandre harmonium to build a one-off or a prototype bass. This would explain the markings on the reeds.

 

Steve

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