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Robert Gaskins

Wheatstone Concertina Ledgers Website Expanded

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The expanded Wheatstone Concertina Ledgers site,

with the 19thC Ledgers covering 1834-1891 added,

has just quietly gone live:

 

http://www.horniman.info

 

it may take a few hours before this becomes visible

everywhere.

 

This is the completed website, containing all 2,300+

pages from all 17 surviving ledgers, photographed at

the Horniman Museum, London. There are sales

ledgers from the late 1830s to the 1860s, cash

payments ledgers from the late 1840s, production

ledgers from the 1860s to the 1890s, plus later

production ledgers (released in 2003) covering

1910 to 1974--in all cases with gaps in coverage.

 

The entire collection is available free on the

website, and the identical files can also be

purchased from the online store on a low-cost

CD, shipped anywhere in the world.

 

This is an early announcement for

www.concertina.net readers. The Horniman Museum

plans to mention the site tomorrow (Saturday) at the

AGM of the Galpin Society, but the real public

announcement will come the first week in July

as part of a press event at the Museum in connection

with the reopening of the Library in its new location.

 

One point: ALL of the old site links to specific Ledgers

and Ledger pages are still exactly the same, unchanged. So

all links to specific information embedded in web pages,

printed articles, hand-written notes, concertina.net

postings, etc., will not be affected and will continue to

work as before.

 

The older Ledgers being released now contain a great

deal of important concertina history. The sales records

from the early years contain the names of purchasers.

For example, in November 1857 there is recorded serial

number #10443, sold to "His Highness Duleep Singh," the

head of the Punjabi ruling family after the British annexation

of 1849. This was an instrument costing 12 guineas.

(Link to page.)

 

There are many tantalizing names (though many are

difficult to read). In December 1852, an example of the

ill-fated early "Double" duet concertina, serial number 56,

was sold to one "Mr. Gascoigne" for eight guineas. For some

reason this caught my eye. (Link to page.)

 

In one of the earlier cash Ledgers, Louis Lachenal signs in

his own hand to receive his weekly payment (twenty-four

pounds sterling) from C. Wheatstone & Co. marked "Mr.

Lachenal to pay workmen". Stephen Chambers has discussed

this as part of his evidence for the role Lachenal played in the

Wheatstone organization. (Link to page.)

 

Margaret Birley, Keeper of Musical Instruments at the

Horniman Museum, has written an Introduction describing

the whole digitizing project and the goals for it: "(1) to

increase public access to these manuscripts in the Museum's

collection, (2) to promote worldwide scholarly research about

them, and (3) to better preserve the manuscripts by making

it unnecessary to handle them."

 

I have added a very long article describing exactly how

the scans and the webpages were made in semi-technical

detail, with the aim that other museums and libraries will be

encouraged to undertake similar efforts. This project cost

only about $50 in cash and took about 1,000 hours of

volunteer work--the equivalent of a couple of students for

a single summer.

 

Robert Gaskins

post-159-1119045222.jpg

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Well done Bob, a fantastic job !

 

The only thing now that you've made it public is, you've made me redundant around here, as I won't be needing to "look up" serial numbers for people anymore. :(

 

It's just as well that I'm going away to France in the morning, to hear some musette/accordéon swing/gypsy jazz music :) , and I should really be busy packing right now, not sitting at an overworked computer ...

 

À bientôt,

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  There are many tantalizing names (though many are

difficult to read).  In December 1852, an example of the

ill-fated early "Double" duet concertina, serial number 56,

was sold to one "Mr. Gascoigne" for eight guineas.  For some

reason this caught my eye.

 

Idly flipping to the previous page I noticed "Sgr. Regondi...........4738" -

no sum of money in the appropriate column, obviously - "on the house"

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Hey Bob.........I wonder if " Gaskins " is an anglicized version of "Gascoigne ".

Maybe that "double " duet is in a closety somewhere !!

Well done......important work.

Robin

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In December 1852, an example of the

ill-fated early "Double" duet concertina, serial number 56,

was sold to one "Mr. Gascoigne" for eight guineas.  For some

reason this caught my eye.  (...) Robert Gaskins

 

Another Double was sold (?) to (the same, or another?) Mr. Gascoigne on Jan. 6, 1864 - I cannot read what is written next: an address? Or is it something about 'hire' 'per month'? And why 12 years later a lower number than the one sold in 1852?

link:

Anyway: it is fun browsing through these pages!

Edited by Lemon

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Idly flipping to the previous page I noticed "Sgr. Regondi...........4738" -

no sum of money in the appropriate column, obviously  - "on the house"

Another one 'on the house':

1863, March 27 - Wheatstone - 0.0.0 - SH - 3705

link

Lachenal had to pay on December 12, 1863: link2

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And here's Mr. Gascoigne again ('hiring'?) on April 13, 1864 - number 2694 - link

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GOOD FOLKS: please note that the absence of a price in the ledgers does NOT mean that it was "on the house". . . . . . .a close look will reveal that there is often one or another piece of information missing from any particular entry. . . . . . .

 

FOR YOUR INFO: the sales ledgers contain 1,753 transactions that pertain to 972 women. . . . . .i am nearing completion of a major study of these particular entries. . . . .nearing completion = approximately another year or so............

 

Allan

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Well done Bob. I think this should keep everybody happy for months, if not years.

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Well done Bob.  I think this should keep everybody happy for months, if not years.

I don't think we can praise Bob enough for the work and effort he has put into this! It is a real legacy to the concertina world, although Bob continues to modestly try to hide behind the fact that its a Horniman Museum work.

 

Some of us were lucky enough to be beta testers on the early site, and as Allan Atlas indicates above, some work has already started. We have already produced a draft index by date of C104a (the ledger containing the first 1500 instruments), since it was the only one that is not date based. So before anybody goes off into a research project, its probably worth checking here to see if anybody else is working along the same lines, or has already completed something you need to do.

 

All hands to the pumps!

 

best wishes ..wes

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I agree, this is big news for those interested in concertina history. It deserves a notice on the C.net home page; I'll put that on the list for the near future...

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FOLKS: that transaction for "Gascoigne": the name is followed by the annotation "10/6 per month hire". . . . . .this was the standard rental price during this period. . . . . .10 shillings/6 pence. . . . . . .

 

I'm pretty sure the Gascoigne referred to is a "MRS". . . . . . . earlier notices seem to make this clear. . . . . . the ledger in which the above transaction is recorded, however, does not normally indicate gender. . . . . . . .A SHAME. . . . . . .though one can sometimes ferret it out under the following circumstance: there will be an entry for a name. . . . . .then, the next entry will have a long dash (indicating that the name remains the same) prefixed by either a Mrs or Mr. . . . . thus indicating that the name stays the same but that the gender is changing. . . .

 

C1052 and 1053 are the two genderless ledgers...................Allan

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I'm posting this on behalf of Margaret Birley, Keeper of Musical Instruments, The Horniman Museum:

 

"The Horniman Museum owes a profound debt of gratitude to Bob Gaskins for his work in digitizing the extant ledgers of the concertina factory of C. Wheaststone & Co. He devised the plan for the project and undertook the work of creating the scans from the original documents, enhancing the readability of the digitized images, creating a database for the webpages, and preparing the website and CDs. It is through his good offices that the project has been realized. Not only the Horniman Museum but also other institutions and individuals wishing to publish paper records as electronic files may benefit from Bob Gaskins' work, as he has written a step by step guide 'How the Wheatsone Concertina Ledgers were Digitized for publication on the Web and CD', which is published on www.horniman.info"

 

 

 

Well done Bob.  I think this should keep everybody happy for months, if not years.

I don't think we can praise Bob enough for the work and effort he has put into this! It is a real legacy to the concertina world, although Bob continues to modestly try to hide behind the fact that its a Horniman Museum work.

 

Some of us were lucky enough to be beta testers on the early site, and as Allan Atlas indicates above, some work has already started. We have already produced a draft index by date of C104a (the ledger containing the first 1500 instruments), since it was the only one that is not date based. So before anybody goes off into a research project, its probably worth checking here to see if anybody else is working along the same lines, or has already completed something you need to do.

 

All hands to the pumps!

 

best wishes ..wes

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I am new to this forum and have just registered after a friend alerted me to the completion of the Wheatstone Ledgers on line.

 

I have spent the last hour or so look for my concertina in the ledgers, and whilst I have found the numbers immediately before nd after it have failed to find my own...4123.

 

Does anyone have any tips on how to locate something in the ledgers, or background on how the numbering systems worked...it seems to be gradually going up but not in strict order but then throws in things totally out of sequence. Were there a number of parallel series which covered different models perhaps.

 

Thanks,

 

Ian Lawther

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Does anyone have any tips on how to locate something in the ledgers, or background on how the numbering systems worked...it seems to be gradually going up but not in strict order but then throws in things totally out of sequence. Were there a number of parallel series which covered different models perhaps.

Ian,

 

I'm afraid the ledgers have been causing some of us lots of frustration for many years, and the parallel series theory has been suggested before, though surviving instruments seem not to confirm it. As you will have observed, the serial number of your concertina would seem to suggest an April 1852 date, but it isn't listed there with the others.

 

There was an English concertina "boom" going on at that time, and whilst the majority of Wheatstone's instruments were then being built by Louis Lachenal, it is evident that there were also others making for them. My speculation is that at this period Wheatstone's were probably assigning numbers when instruments were ordered, and that orders were not necessarily supplied in sequence, and not all orders were fulfilled (there appear to have been numbers that did not get used). Couple that with the probability that they kept quite large stocks of concertinas at the time, and that second hand instruments were being resold, and the greatly varying serial numbers may start to become more understandable, though I'm afraid it doesn't help to make sense of them.

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Does anyone have any tips on how to locate something in the ledgers...

Its very early days, but we can hope that sometime in the future there will be a co-ordinated effort in transcribing these ledgers, and producing indexes based on serial number, name of purchaser, model, cost, etc. Its quite difficult to see how to produce transcriptions with enough data to satisfy every possible requirement, but if anybody does happen to produce anything (for instance just all the serial numbers on a single page), I'd be happy to store them up for lookups in the meantime, as I already have C104a (1 -1500) transcribed as a starter.

 

I did a very quick study on a few months sales in a small sample transcription from the ledgers (provided by Margaret Birley's predecessor, Frances Palmer) which seemed to show distinct 'clumps' of serials - and as Stephen says above, Wheatstone were using multiple suppliers.

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