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Geoffrey Crabb

Dating Crabb Concertinas

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As some will know, health issues have caused me to step back somewhat from concertina related issues, so, due to requests for dating information regarding  Crabb instruments, I offer the attached information that may be found useful or at least interesting.

I have tried to provide all the information that I believe to be relevant, based on the records that exist and that furnished by current/past owners of these instruments.


To those awaiting replies to dating and other enquiries, I apologise.



Crabb Dating Document.docx

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Thank you Geoff!

This information is a valuable resource and I'm so glad you decided to make it available. As one in possession of two instruments form the first page, it is fun to have an idea of where they fall in the history of this great family of concertinas. There are some very interesting notes that you have included.


Any idea why the numbering started with 8071? I am not at all surprised they start at a high number, but one wonders if it was an arbitrary number, or had some meaning.


It is curious that the stamped numbers were not used consistently for resold instruments until 1895. Were early J Crabb instruments with stamped numbers indicative of an instrument that was not originally build for resale? I have one from that late 1880s that is stamped, but also appears to be sold by Ball Beavon. Perhaps it was not commissioned, but resold and stamped externally by Ball Beavon later?


It is also really interesting that the total number of instruments produced per year appears to have hovered so consistently right around 20/year from 1876-1907. There are a few dips, but usually followed by a jump the following year, which makes me wonder if the numbers were assigned when the instrument was completed or when it was started. I'm also curious about the 337 number in the final table. The serial numbers progress from 8321 in 1889 to 8503 in 1895, so that sounds like a total of 182 in 7 years or 26 per year.


All very interesting. Thanks again for sharing!




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