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Chris Timson

Lachenal Accordeaphone in its full glory

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Hi all.

 

Some of you will know that we have owned a Lachenal Accordeaphone (surely among the world's rarest musical instruments) for a good few years now but we hadn't made much of it as it needed quite extensive renovation and it has proved a problem finding a repairer who would take the job on. Well I am now pleased to report that Jake Middleton-Metcalf of Wolverton Concertinas has taken the job on with great fortitude and triumphed! Yesterday we got the machine back, beautifully renovated.

 

The Accordeaphone was intended to be Lachenal's answer to the piano accordion, which in the 1930s was sweeping all before it. It has three reeds on each note and uses concertina reeds and methods of construction throughout. The button layout is that of an English concertina. 20 were made but only 8 were sold by the time Lachenal went bankrupt. Wheatstone bought their stock and scrapped the remaining 12. Of the 8 sold we only know where four are and this is one of them.

 

In this video Anne Gregson plays The Lark in the Clear Air on the beast.

 

Chris

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And here's what the ends of these beasts look like, from Neil Wayne's collection (photo taken in 1979).

 

Gary

Concertina_060.JPG

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That'll be the unplayable one in the Horniman. Colin Dipper's is the same black finish. Ours is ... a bit strange.

 

accphone1.jpg

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Thank you for posting the video, I really enjoyed hearing that. I was not really able to get much of a tune out of it - being an anglo player. 

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I expect you will know something of the history of Sid Ive?

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If you do, John, we would very much love to hear. After quite a bit of searching all we do know is this: a) according to the professional card affixed inside the instrument case he lived in Wood Green, London N22; b) according to a 1950's Concertina World the Holloway (I think it was) branch of the ICA thanked him for the loan of some concertinas.

 

It's not much to build a picture on ...

 

Chris

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I vaguely recall being asked about the name in the context of ICA membership, and it was found in the membership book. From memory, I am thinking the last entry found was around 1971.

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That's something, thanks. I have a picture of a man born around the beginning of the 20th century and a music hall/variety performer in the 30s and 40s, which ties with the time the Accordeaphones were made in the mid 1930s and the paint job he had done to it. As an older man he belonged to the ICA and loaned concertinas to new players. Could be pure fantasy but at least it ties up with the little we know.

 

Chris

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It seems he may well have been present at the very first meeting of the ICA:

 

"According to the information in Newsletter 200, 1972 which is in the digital archive of the ICA, there was an Inaugural meeting on 27 September 1952 of the International Concertina Association. See below:

 

“No.2 Newsletter was issued in October 1952. It is not signed and bears no address so we do not know who wrote it. Among the names mentioned in it are: Fred Read, Alf Edwards, Charlie Parslay, Wilfred Pearce, J. Floyd, Inga Webb, Sylvia Webb, Cheetham Walters, Helen Bland, Father Loveless,Al Coomber, Herbert Greene, Sid Ive, Rosa Loader, Teddy Stream, Con Courtney, J. Mearns, Thomas Murphy, A.G.Peters." (My italics).

 

This is from newsletter no. 150 in 1968: "Very pleasant to have good wishes from Syd Ive, whose baritone concertina is in regular use by the Holloway Monday class".

 

Chris

 

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