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nkgibbs

What Has Happened To This Poor Beast?

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There is a very strange Lachenal "Peerless" on ebay at the moment. The seller states that one end is wooden and the other bakerlite or plastic. Any ideas what might have befallen this beast?

Neil

Edited by nkgibbs

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I'm sure that the original end got damaged and somebody did a rather ugly d.i.y. job of replacing it. I have often seen, and had to replace, similar. :huh: :blink: :o :(

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I contacted the seller about the serial number and received a reply of #13908.

I have seen "The Peerless," which Lachenal made exclusively for Murdoch, with the following serial numbers--#27929, #99304, #106394, #11154, and #151309.

 

A Peerless with such a low number is suspect to me.

 

It could well be a case of a missing lead digit (i.e., #113908), which is a prevalent occurrence.

 

However, Murdoch was one of the early sellers of Lachenal under a vender label. I have seen a non-Peerless, but Murdoch, labeled Anglo with a low-range number of #14575.

 

To my knowledge, the approximate year of introduction of The Peerless for Murdoch is not known.

 

I did not want to bother the Ebay seller again.

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I did not want to bother the Ebay seller again.

 

Its just been bought by Chris Algar, so you should be able to continue your research.

 

Randy

 

I posted some questiuons about an unusual English some time ago on this forum

 

It seems to have some similarities to the ebay "peerless"

 

It has a Wheatstone paper label, but I'm not convinced it is a wheatstone. It shares with the peerless a feature I've only seen on one other concertina, and that is piercings in the edges/frames of the wooden ends.

 

I'd also like to ask about Murdoch. Who was (s)he? is there a first name? The reason for these questions is that my concertina has the initials MC engraved into the thumbstrap screws.

 

Here is a link to some pictures

 

Theo

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I posted some questiuons about an unusual English some time ago on this forum

 

It seems to have some similarities to the ebay "peerless"

 

It shares with the peerless a feature I've only seen on one other concertina, and that is piercings in the edges/frames of the wooden ends.

Those piercings in the sides are to be seen sometimes in fancy high-end instruments made by Lachenal's, including my own Anglo #83438 (and there's no "missing lead digit" there Randy ;) ) which is labelled "The Unique Anglo German, Manufactured by Lachenal & Co. Specially for J.W. Moore, Bradford", but is very similar to that "Peerless" on eBay.

 

It has a Wheatstone paper label, but I'm not convinced it is a wheatstone.

It can be hard to be sure when an instrument has been reworked and the original serial number can no longer be found, but I have been studying the remaining circle of the reedpan label and comparing it with those in a Wheatstone built by Louis Lachenal, and another instrument with his own label. As a result, it is quite apparent that they are Wheatstone reedpans.

 

As I mentioned, J.J. Vickers seem to have made excellent reeds, indeed they advertised as "Specialist in Steel Reed Fitting", charging £2,,10s "To put new steel reeds in English Concertina, 48 Keys", but only £1,,2s,,6d for an "Anglo-German Concertina, 30 Keys".

 

Their "Price List, Second-Hand Concertinas" makes mouth-watering reading, with a "56 key Edeophone ... magnificent tone, aluminium frames, made for a lady professional" for £11,,15s, or a choice of 5 Jeffries at prices from £3,,5s to £5,,15s.

 

I'd also like to ask about Murdoch.  Who was (s)he?  is there a first name?  The reason for these questions is that my concertina has the initials MC engraved into the thumbstrap screws.

John G. Murdoch & Co. were London dealers.

 

By the way, I'm sure that I have seen fancy top screws like those before, I will let you know when I find out where.

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Stephen

 

Many thanks for the invaluable information. I had thought the trail had gone cold on this one. So CM is clearly not JG Murdoch, but I'd love to hear if you do find anything similar.

 

So the reedpans are clearly Wheatstone, and the ends are Lachenal-style, the bellows look later than the rest, and it was retro-fitted with steel reeds by Vickers. This is a lady with a past!

 

And I have a pair of Wheatstone end plates from a large 8-sided Duet that also have pierced edges.

 

Theo

Edited by Theo

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So the reedpans are clearly Wheatstone, and the ends are Lachenal-style, the bellows look later than the rest, and it was retro-fitted with steel reeds by Vickers.  This is a lady with a past!

Indeed she is ! But the ends are not at all imcompatible with the reedpans. Louis Lachenal started to make concertinas for Wheatstone's, with that fretwork, in 1848, and continued to do so until late 1865/early 1866 (see my paper Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production and Serial Numbers in PICA). The instrument was built entirely by Louis Lachenal, regardless of the fact that it appears to have been made for Wheatstone's.

 

And I have a pair of Wheatstone end plates from a large 8-sided Duet that also have pierced edges.

The idea seems to go back to mid-19th century German concertinas with "trumpet holes" in the sides, and is most commonly seen on Anglos, but also on Englishes, and the odd duet.

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I'd also like to ask about Murdoch.  Who was (s)he?  is there a first name?  The reason for these questions is that my concertina has the initials MC engraved into the thumbstrap screws.

As Stephen said, John G Murdoch were London dealers. They seem to have started in the mid 1880s, as I can't find anything for them before 1888. They were at 91 & 93 Farringdon Rd until 1914, but by 1921 were at Hatton Garden. About 1934 they became Murdoch Trading Co. moving to Clerkenwell Rd, sole selling agents for the Beltona professional Accordeon and the National Accordeon.

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I'd also like to ask about Murdoch.  Who was (s)he?  is there a first name?  The reason for these questions is that my concertina has the initials MC engraved into the thumbstrap screws.
As Stephen said, John G Murdoch were London dealers. They seem to have started in the mid 1880s, as I can't find anything for them before 1888. They were at 91 & 93 Farringdon Rd until 1914, but by 1921 were at Hatton Garden. About 1934 they became Murdoch Trading Co. moving to Clerkenwell Rd, sole selling agents for the Beltona professional Accordeon and the National Accordeon.

Wes,

 

I've just found a very interesting article about J.G. Murdoch, and Beltona, here on the Musical Traditions website, which mentions that :

 

Beltona was a part of John G Murdoch & Co Ltd, a company that had been founded in 1871 as a printer and publisher. Later they branched out into music publishing, importers, retailers and manufacturers of organs and pianos, agents for Edison and Columbia, musical instrument wholesalers, pram, mangle and toy manufacturers and more. Eventually they would have all these diverse enterprises plus a large chain of retail music and furniture shops. This then was the background from which Beltona emerged.

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I'm posting this email I received from a non-member. --Paul.

 

------------------------------

 

Would you pass this obituary of Murdoch on to whoever has been asking for information? As a non-member of the forum (which I found via Google) I can send it direct. Murdoch was my great grandfather. Colin Smythe

 

Born in 1830 at Huntingtower, Perthshire. Early in life he was apprenticed to block cutting for printing on cotton, but block printing having been supplanted by machine printing immediately after the end of his apprenticeship, he preferred not to be tied to a decaying trade and signed articles for a second apprenticeship to the new process. As an apprenticeship in those days was invariably for seven years, he was about 27 years old [ie 1857] before his apprenticeship days were over, although he had begun at the age of 13. After being engaged for several years as a machine printer he began to long for a wider field for his energies, and although his employers were reluctant to part with him, and promised him rapid promotion if he would remain, he relinquished the cotton printing and connected himself with the firm of Messrs. Collins & Co. , of Glasgow, who were developing business rapidly as publishers of Family Bibles and similar works. He established successful agencies for their publications in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and other towns in the North of England. In 1871 he came to London and began publishing on his own account, his principal business continuing to be in Family Bibles, of which he issued editions in Welsh and Dutch, as well as English. At that time the Family Bible was more popular than it is today, and Mr Murdoch’s annual output for a number of years was more than 30,000, which were supplied to all parts of the Empire.

 

It was the custom in those days to give a premium plate to purchasers of the Family Bible and this eventually led Mr Murdoch into print publishing. At the time when the oleograph was in it prime and publishers were eager to issue first-class pictures in the artistic style, he established a great business in this department. He secured paintings from some of the most eminent artists of the day, such as the late Alphonse de Neuville, Richard Beavis, Frederick Goodall, R.A., Phil Morris, A.R.A., Robert Müller, and others, and from these he reproduced pictures in the best style of colour printing then extant. Several of these pictures had the good fortune to attract the attention of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria, and owing to her patronage and the merits of the pictures themselves, they commanded an enormous sale.

 

About the same period the trade in photograph albums arose to great proportions in England, and as it had been for many years the practice to put a family portrait register into the Family Bible, it was an easy transition for the great Family Bible publisher to become an album publisher as well, and that on a large scale.

 

This album publishing had a great influence on the future of Mr Murdoch’s business, for, strange to say, it formed the base of the extensive musical business for which Messrs. Murdoch & Co. are now well known. The stages of this curious development are simple enough when understood. In many of the portrait albums it became the custom to supply a little Swiss musical box which played as the album was opened. This Mr Murdoch supplied in many of his albums, and speedily he found himself interested not only in that but in all kinds of musical boxes, up to the very largest and most expensive. The business in musical boxes grew rapidly, and customers on all sides began to press for instruments of other kinds, so that in a short time there grew up a considerable trade in pianofortes and organs and all sorts of musical instruments.

 

Early in 1883 Mr Murdoch’s business was amalgamated with that of Messrs. John and Alexander Dow (an offspring, several years previous) and converted into a private company, Mr Murdoch becoming the chairman and Messrs. John Dow, George Murdoch, and Alexander Dow the other directors. This company has followed the lines laid down by Mr Murdoch, and has grown steadily from that time until now.

 

The business in pianos and organs eventually became so large that it was found necessary to start factories to supply the needs of the company, and from these have emerged the well-known concerns of Spencer & Co., who have lately become pianoforte makers to H.R.H. the Princess of Wales, and Malcolm & Co., organ and Phoneon makers, Regent’s Park. In both these concerns Mr Murdoch was the senior partner, and his sons, Mr J.G.Murdoch Junr and Mr James Murdoch, the respective managing partners.

 

During the building of this great business, Messrs Murdoch & Co. have ever been zealous that all their concerns should be conducted in the most straightforward manner, and that the goods manufactured and sold by them should be strictly in accordance with their description, and of sound quality. As time has passed, even the most violent of their opponents have come to see that the businesses established by Mr Murdoch and his company have been a help to the musical instrument trade, and that they are amongst its most useful members.

 

Mr Murdoch was a most loveable man, and everyone who came in personal touch with him found him to be a real friend. In him was to be seen none of the bluster and overbearing character usually associated with a successful business career. The marvellous success which converted a working cotton printer of 1857 into the great manufacturer and merchant of 1902 was due to a rare sympathy with men, which drew out their best from those with whom he was associated – a clearness of mind which saw plainly the practical; a shrewdness of judgment that saved him from making many mistakes; a courage that boldly seized the occasion; and a quiet perseverance that grappled with and overcame whatever difficulties lay in his path. Combined with these rare business qualities, he possessed a mind of lofty religious character. Throughout his life he never failed to meet an engagement and never broke a promise.

 

Mr Murdoch took an active part in the political life of St Pancras, and more than once was invited to stand for Parliament. In 1892 he was candidate for East Renfrewshire, a district familiar to him since boyhood, and he made a capital fight, greatly reducing the majority against his side; but the times were against him, and he shared with many others the disastrous fortunes of his party throughout the country.

 

The world is poorer for the passing of Mr Murdoch, and those who were in touch with him have sustained a loss in his death that time can never make good, but his influence remains, and they who are left in charge of the businesses founded by him have doubtless received an inspiration that will carry them forward on the principles he laid down.

 

 

 

He died in 1902.

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And Murdoch's advertised inside the back cover of Professor Maccann's Concertinists Guide [1888] :

 

"Lachenal's Concertinas, all styles and qualities. English, Anglos, and Duet. Moderate Prices, Hire Purchace Terms. John G. Murdoch & Co., Ld., 91 & 93, Farringdon Rd., E.C. ; 9 & 10, Broad St. Corner, Birmingham ; 47, Pilgrim St., Newcastle ; King St., South Shields ; 77, Nielson St., Edinburgh ; 83 & 85, Union St., Glasgow."

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To my knowledge, the approximate year of introduction of The Peerless for Murdoch is not known.

Randy,

 

I was just looking through my photocopies from the Trade Marks Journal (for something else), and found that Murdoch's applied to register "THE PEERLESS" as a Trade Mark on 5th June 1884, application number 37,884.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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