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"Circular fret" Wheatstone English on eBay


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In case anyone is looking for one of these, there's one on eBay now at https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Concertina-musical-instrument-c-wheatstone-regents-street-london-squeeze-box/203295832804 .  Here's what it looks like.  There's no serial number visible or mentioned, but similar ones I've found online on the Horniman and Concertina Museum sites all seem to have been made in the 1840s.

 

s-l1600.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Geoff Wooff said:

There is  a serial number  visible, though  none too  clear,  and it  looks  like  818 perhaps ?

Good spotting!  I see 819, which puts it at 1844 or 1845 according to the Wheatstone ledgers.

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  • 2 months later...
Posted (edited)
On 3/8/2021 at 8:40 AM, alex_holden said:

What's with the odd thumb strap and angle plate arrangement (more visible in the other photos on the eBay listing)? Were they ever built like that or is it a user modification?

 

The "thumb" loops are clearly new.  I suspect Stephen C. could tell us whether something similar was ever original design.

 

My guess is that they're a modification by a user who didn't have the ability to replace the original thumb loops, though the metal hardware is there (but maybe not positioned properly).  Note that Stephen's avatar, identified as the first concertina that Wheatstone sold, has the sort of thumb loops that we're used to.

 

FWIW (and somewhat off topic) I have concertina that needs to have one thumb loop replaced, and currently in its place is only the long screw for holding the plate.  Since I hold the concertina by gripping between thumb and little finger rather than hanging it from my thumbs, I've discovered that I can still play without the loop... even with the instrument suspended in the air.  So if I had that one in my hands, I suspect I could play it unmodified, yet without using those "extra" loops.

Edited by JimLucas
fix typo
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3 hours ago, JimLucas said:

The "thumb" loops are clearly new.  I suspect Stephen C. could tell us whether something similar was ever original design.

 

My guess is that they're a modification by a user who didn't have the ability to replace the original thumb loops, though the metal hardware is there (but maybe not positioned properly)

 

I only have an old Polaroid of my own one of these, here with me in West Cork, but you'll see that the original thumb-straps on it are perfectly normal, as are the leather-covered finger rests.

 

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The instrument itself has interesting (and very topical at the moment) history to it, having been used to accompany psalms and hymns in Stoke Mandeville Old Church, which was closed in 1866 because it was considered unsafe.

 

The site of the church, and its graveyard, are presently undergoing a major archaeological investigation because they are about to be swept away by the construction of the controversial HS2 railway line: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/07/unique-opportunity-hs2-unearths-history-medieval-church

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