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Joseph Scates 358 with 1846 registered design plaque

David Helmore

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Hi Folks


Thought you might be interested to see this one. Originally I thought it was an early Wheatstone as it had a registered design plaque attached to one end dated November 21st 1846. However, after a bit more research (through the National Archives online searches), I found this registered design to be linked to Joseph Scates for 'Improved lever action with cylindrical fulcrum for the concertina, accordion, harmonium, melaphon (melephone) and seraphine' (Useful Registered Design Number 871, November 21st 1846). The instrument itself is of quite basic design and finish with single action only - I've never seen anything quite like it before!


I'm thinking it could perhaps have been put together purely to demonstrate the 'design improvements' above dating from around 1846, but interested to know your thoughts too?


It was purchased through a UK charity shop on ebay, so unfortuntaly no history is known. Someone has also tried to open it up in the past (misaligning the ends when they reassembled) with the loss of some parts that will need to be sensitively re-crafted.


Thanks for looking!











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The pine (?) baffles are interesting...has anyone every compared such wooden baffles in older concertinas to the Virzi toneplate and similar secondary soundboards found in stringed instruments? While cloth or leather baffles in a concertina will have a muting or damping effect, baffles of tone wood, even fairly rough, may act as soundboards for certain overtones. Having restored several fretted instruments that had such secondary soundboards inside, typically just below the main sound hole, I wonder about a "lost" soundboard technology when I see instruments with such boards. The prime example that is best known is, of course the secondary soundbox used by Mario Maccaferri inside his Grande Bouche guitars...based on designs by his teacher, Mozanni (ie dating back to the late 19th early 20th centuries). just a few thoughts, in case this has not been discussed in the distant past. 


best wishes, Robert

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Hi Robert


These wooden baffles are common In the early concertinas - from what I’ve seen,  later ones generally have cloth or even thin card baffles and in a lot of cases these have been removed. I’m sure others are more knowledgeable than me on this subject  though!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all


Thought you might be interested to see this.


My parents volunteer at the National Archives at Kew and were able to access the Joseph Scates registered design (871). I would like to acknowledge and thank the National Archives for allowing me to reproduce the images here for this registered design.


Here's a transcript of what it actually says:


1846 November 21 (the date of registration from the search)

Useful Registered Design Number 871


Improved Lever Action with Cylindrical fulcrum for the Concertina, Accordion, Harmonium, Melephon, and Seraphine.


Joseph Scates of 40 Frith Street, Soho Square




Fig 1 of the Drawings is an elevation of this improved lever and Fig 2 a plan of the same with its connections.

Fig 3 Is a detached view of the lever in elevation and plan and Fig 4 Is a side and end view of the support or fulcrum for the lever also detached from its connections.

The lever itself is made of a piece of wire bent into the shape represented at ‘a’ which forms the joint when put under the cylindrical neck ‘b’ of the fulcrum or support to which it is at all times kept in close contact by the action of the helical spring ‘c’.

The parts ‘c’, ‘d’, and ‘e’ are common to instruments of this sort and no improvement in the configuration of these is claimed but what is registered as being new in respect of shape and configuration are the lever ‘a’ and the cylindrical fulcrum or support ‘b’. 


JC Robertson & Co

Registration Agents

166 Fleet Street






IMG_2934 (2).JPG


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