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Wheatstone Aeola 50 Keys Tortoise Shell Ends


David Hansen
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Wheatstone Aeola with raised tortoise shell ends. Model #17 Serial Number 33234. Made in 1934. 50 keys with air release button, 6-fold original bellows, steel reeds, riveted action, original leather case. It has the standard 48 key layout with the addition of a high D#/Eb on the left and a high C#/Db on the right. It has recently been tuned and overhauled by The Button Box. A change in my financial status dictates that I can no longer afford to have more than one top of the line concertina. All reasonable offers will be considered. I'm in the Santa Cruz mountains in California if anyone wants to come by and play it. It's really a wonderful sounding instrument.

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Edited by David Hansen
Corrected typo
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Very nice concertina  !

 

Thinking of  making an offer  but:

 

  With  a view  to  crossing international  borders,  could you , or  anybody else,  say  with any  certainty  whether the  material  of the verneered  ends  is  natural  tortoise ( turtle) shell  or  a  fine imitation  of it ?

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16 hours ago, David Hansen said:

Wheatstone Aeola with raised tortoise shell ends. Model #17 Serial Number 33234. Made in 1934. 50 keys with air release button, 6-fold original bellows, steel reeds, riveted action, original leather case. It has the standard 48 key layout with the addition of a high D#/Eb on the left and a high C#/Db on the right.

 

Interesting!  It seems to be identical to my own, including the same two "extra" notes in the same locations, except that mine has a black bellows   And mine has the same sort of thumbstrap mountings, but also (currently unused) thumb screws for what I suspect were the original thumbstraps.  Mine is serial #31979.

 

I do love the sound of mine, even though I believe it to be artificial "tortoiseshell".  I like different sounds for different kinds of music, and I think my TS is especially suited to baroque music, though I also use it for song accompaniment and "even" Irish and Morris.  8^)

Edited by JimLucas
added a bit
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15 hours ago, Geoff Wooff said:

Very nice concertina  !

 

Thinking of  making an offer  but:

 

  With  a view  to  crossing international  borders,  could you , or  anybody else,  say  with any  certainty  whether the  material  of the verneered  ends  is  natural  tortoise ( turtle) shell  or  a  fine imitation  of it ?

 

15 hours ago, David Hansen said:

I personally could not say with any certainty if the material is natural tortoise shell or not. I have heard that certain knowledgeable people can tell by burning a small piece of the material, I'm not willing to do that to a high end concertina!!!

 

FWIW:  The color and patterning of the "shell" are much like  mine, which I'm now certain is artificial, though I originally thought otherwise.

 

I do know of one instrument which I believe is true "tortoiseshell" (really shell of a sea turtle, probably hawksbill).  Both the color and patterning on that one are different.  How do I know it's "real"?  The fretwork was repaired by a knowledgeable craftsman-jeweler friend of mine, who had worked with tortoise shell (among other rare materials) before.  He kept it under constant gentle pressure in a constant-temperature oven for two months to reverse some warping of the broken shell.  That is neither necessary nor effective with the plastic imitations.

 

As for burning a piece, there must be other ways.  And definitely don't try the "burn" test with a red-hot rod while the "shell" is still on the instrument.  Some plastics are very flammable.  It occurs to me that a drop of nitric acid could also be a test, as real shell is protein, and nitric acid reacts in a specific way with protein.

 

But I would ask Wim Wakker, who I understand is quite knowledgeable on this particular subject (among many others, of course).  He has even noted that there are different kinds of artificial "tortoiseshell".  Ask him what tests he uses to distinguish the real from the "fake". 

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From days of vintage fishing tackle handling / Bakelite research, albeit via the more modern medium of I/net research.....   This 'mock' shell is possibly a form of bakelite given the age profile ?

 

"To determine whether an item is tortoise shell or Bakelite, there is another noninvasive step that does not require the destruction of any materials. Since Bakelite is formed of formaldehyde, if you simply rub your fingertips over the surface of the questionable substance quite hard until it begins to feel very hot, if the substance is Bakelite, you should be able to smell the acrid odour of formaldehyde clearly on your fingertips."

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On 2/18/2020 at 2:56 PM, Sprunghub said:

"To determine whether an item is tortoise shell or Bakelite, there is another noninvasive step that does not require the destruction of any materials. Since Bakelite is formed of formaldehyde, if you simply rub your fingertips over the surface of the questionable substance quite hard until it begins to feel very hot, if the substance is Bakelite, you should be able to smell the acrid odour of formaldehyde clearly on your fingertips."

 

Well, on  mine, I get no hint of formaldehyde.  However, the material also doesn't become "hot" -- or even "warm", -- no matter how hard I rub.

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22 hours ago, JimLucas said:

 

Well, on  mine, I get no hint of formaldehyde.  However, the material also doesn't become "hot" -- or even "warm", -- no matter how hard I rub.

Ditto for mine as well, no heat, no warmth. The ends on mine have  some sort of clear coat on them so the ends are glossy not like tortoise shell I've seen elsewhere.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That is a very good price! I flew over to the US 10 years ago to pick up a tort-Aeola - and paid considerably more.

Mine is 31xxx and 56-key. If there is no interest I would consider to sell on commission through the button-box.

Nice instrument, anyway...

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