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When (and in what way) did reeds change from "concertina" to "accordion" style?

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I understand that there is a distinction between "concertina reeds" and "accordion reeds", which if I'm not mistaken is mostly a matter of layout. As far as I can tell the design is essentially the same in that with both, each reed or pair of reeds is attached to a metal plate. The main difference being somewhat the size of that plate, but primarily how/where the plate is attached to the concertina? With accordion style the plates are "standard" large rectangles that usually need to be arranged in a block that sticks in to the bellows area, whereas the smaller concertina plates usually can be arranged all on a surface parallel to the outer end plates/handles. At some point the accordion style reeds/plates became easier and cheaper for manufacturers to get a hold of and most concertinas now are made that way.

 

If I'm even understanding the situation properly, my main question is really: at what point did that change happen? Presumedly if I buy a new entry-level concertina now it would have accordion style reeds. What about the many vintage boxes (my guess would be 1950's/60's era?) available on eBay for a few hundred dollars — do those still have the old-style reed arrangements?

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I'll leave aside the question of the differences between the 2 types of reeds except to say that there are many significant differences  in construction, layout, attachment and behaviour.  You should be able to search the archives for some in-depth discussion.

 

The German style concertina has always used accordion style reeds.  The  Italian and East German instruments that you can find on eBay (Scholer, Silvetta, Stagi, Hohner, etc) are constructed more like an accordion than a traditional English-style concertina, and use accordion reeds. I have a German-style concertina made for the English retailer Henry Harley (my avatar pic) which was made in the 1870s using both individual and gang-mounted accordion style reeds.

 

Traditional English-style concertinas (Anglo, English & Duet systems) have a more sophisticated button mechanism, and with very few exceptions used the traditional concertina reed for most of their history.  There were some experiments in the 1950s and 60s with different reed construction to lower the price, and Wheatstone produced the Mayfair line, which used a hybrid of the English style construction and action, and accordion reeds, but these weren't popular and weren't in production for very long.

 

Modern hybrids, which combine very high quality instrument construction and top grade accordion style reeds mounted parallel to the reed plates (Morse, Edgley, Herrington, Tedrow, etc.) are a pretty recent development, maybe making their appearance around 20 years ago?

 

None of the original English-style makers are still in business (Wheatstone nominally continues as a one man operation with very low production) but there are a number of modern makers building instruments with traditional reeds ( Kensington, Dipper, Carroll, Edgley etc)

 

And even more recent is the beginner hybrid like the Rochelle, which combines English-style design, accordion reeds and economical materials and labour to provide a budget, playable instrument.

 

I'm sure others will chime in.

 

Edited by Bill N
typos

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On 10/9/2018 at 11:26 PM, Bill N said:

...None of the original English-style makers are still in business (Wheatstone nominally continues as a one man operation with very low production) but there are a number of modern makers building instruments with traditional reeds ( Kensington, Dipper, Carroll, Edgley etc)....

 

The Dippers (Colin and Rosalie) are English! They are based in rural Wiltshire in the south of England.

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The Dippers (Colin and Rosalie) are English! They are based in rural Wiltshire in the south of England.

 

 

I don't think anyone doubted that  for a second (or said/implied they weren't)

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By "original English-style makers" I meant Lachenal, Jeffries, etc.  I referred to the Dippers as modern makers of traditionally constructed instruments. I've met the Dippers, and if they were part of the 1st wave of builders, they are remarkably well preserved 😎

 

 

Edited by Bill N

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2 hours ago, Bill N said:

By "original English-style makers" I meant Lachenal, Jeffries, etc.  I referred to the Dippers as modern makers of traditionally constructed instruments. I've met the Dippers, and if they were part of the 1st wave of builders, they are remarkably well preserved 😎

 

 

Ah - OK, I see what you mean now. I misunderstood your post, sorry. 

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