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Wayland

Help Confirming A Possible Lachenal

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Hi all,

 

I recently had a hankering to learn concertina, so I've been reading and absorbing all sorts of information from all side. I figured my budget would allow me a 20 button anglo (that also matching the type of music I was interested in playing).

 

Anyway, I hesitated buying a cheap new instrument (good new ones costing $$$) so I've been watching eBay for a reasonable vintage instrument. I recently won this one ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...item=7329655708 ) with a hunch that it might be a Lachenal. The fretwork looks similar to others I've seen on the net.

 

I received it today and it looks and plays great (to my very untrained ears). The bellows are in wonderful shape and all the buttons respond well. I took off the right end to find a serial number and was amazed at the number I found:

 

921

 

I took a picture before reassembling everything just as a record.

 

Am I right in thinking that it most likely is a circa-1850 Lachenal? If not what else might it be (manufacturer, I mean). And if it is, what suggestion would you have for such an old instrument - such as for having it check out or maintaining its good shape?

 

Thanks from a very new member,

Wayland

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Hi Wayland,

 

The fact that its got STEEL REEDS stamped onto the hand rest suggests that it could be a Lachenal, although it would have to be a bit later than the 1850s. Does it have any other marks on the handle? Lachenal were in business as individual makers roughly 1858 - 1933, with anglos starting a few years later.

 

The usual way of deciding is to look at the pivots and levers joining the buttons and the pads. Did you get it that far apart?

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Wayland,

 

I would say that you got a good deal for $200 if, as you say, the bellows and reeds are in playable condition.

 

It looks like a Lachenal with the "steel reeds" logo beeing a good pointer. But the number you found inside will be a manufacturing batch number not the instrument's serial number. The date is certainly later than the 1850's.

 

Can you post any pictures of the innards?

 

Howard Mitchell

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Ok that makes sense, Howard.

 

Tell you what. I'll get a good set of pics of all the bits and pieces (inside and out) and post some links. Hopefully that'll help to determine a little more certainly the make and age.

 

Were some instruments only stamped with a batch number and not with a serial number?

 

Wes, is there anything in particular to look for on the buttons and levers?

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Ok that makes sense, Howard. 

Except (sorry Howard!) Lachenal didn't use batch numbers, that was Wheatstone. But Lachenal numbers can be tricky to read, and sometimes they get divided by the chamber walls on the reed pans, which makes people think they have two smaller numbers. With a Lachenal, the serial is usually stamped on almost all the main component assemblies (reed pans/ bellows/ends).

 

The 'action' characteristics vary with maker. Lachenal have a flat brass sheet post, and the lever pivots underneath it. Other makers (like Wheatstone and Jeffries) use a rivet as the pivot, and the post and lever are held together by the rivet.

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Ok that makes sense, Howard. 

Except (sorry Howard!) Lachenal didn't use batch numbers, that was Wheatstone. ...

 

Mea Culpa. My brain's still got jet lag. I'm with you, and I just checked the inside of my baritone Lachenal which has a "split number" on one of the reed pans.

 

Howard

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Unless I'm mistaken, the Lachenal Trade Mark is the image of a reed complete with reed shoe.

 

On the Lachenals I have encountered this is stamped on the inside of the handle facing the buttons with the word 'Trade' above it.

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Ok, I took a few pictures of the instrument. I even took the left side off this time, which led to another curiosity. Here are the pics...

 

Concertina pictures

 

The curiosity is that the left reed pan and action board look to have the number "924" stamped into them, while the right side has the number "921". The bellows also have "921" stamped on them. What an odd thing, this.

 

There were no other marks on the handles besides "STEEL REEDS" (and shown in the picture). And there were little or no further indication of any maker that I found.

 

Wayland

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At first glance, I don't think this is a Lachenal. I'd say perhaps a Jones, because the action posts are wire, rather than flat plate, but I'll leave it open to folks with more experience of the insides to comment, while I study it for longer.

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My first reaction was Jones, action driven to that conclusion, as well! However,to some extent, also pushed in that direction by the texture/ grain of the papers, and the fretting, its precision, shapes and particularly the shape/ precision of the serial number window on the LH side.

 

Dave

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Unless I'm mistaken,  the Lachenal Trade Mark is the image of a reed complete with reed shoe.

 

On the Lachenals I have encountered this is stamped on the inside of the handle facing the buttons with the word 'Trade' above it.

That's correct for later instruments Tony, but the trade mark only arrived in the late 1870s, so earlier instruments don't have it. But nothing about this instrument looks Lachenal to me; the woods used are a different variety to Lachenal, the number stamp uses a different font, etc. Unless anybody else has any suggestions, it looks like the opinion here is going to be for Jones.

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Unless anybody else has any suggestions, it looks like the opinion here is going to be for Jones.

 

Ok. Thanks everybody. That does lead to the next logical question, then. Working on the assumtion that it is a Jones, is there any information available that could be used to date it? I'm the terribly curious sort.

 

Wisely or unwisely (for one of the reeds is now out of tune) I took it apart again last night and found something new. I've added a picture to the list above of a tag that was attached to the bellows under the left reed pan. It is partially torn off, but what I can read leads me to think that it might be a tag added from a previous servicing. Cleveland, Ohio, USA was not, I'm sure any sort of epicenter for concertina manufacturing.

 

Wayland

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Unless anybody else has any suggestions, it looks like the opinion here is going to be for Jones.

 

Ok. Thanks everybody. That does lead to the next logical question, then. Working on the assumtion that it is a Jones, is there any information available that could be used to date it? I'm the terribly curious sort.

 

Wayland

 

If it is a Jones then the serial number puts it around 1855

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One final thought and I'll let this thread fade away.

 

On the right fretwork, there is an obvious repair job. I surmise that the label I found inside the bellows was from a repair shop and has nothing to do with the original manufacture of the instrument. Indeed, the label mentions all sorts of instruments (accordians, brass, stringed instruments). Further, the address shown (214 Ontario St, Cleveland, Ohio) no longer exists. That address is now directly under the 50-yard line of Cleveland Brows Stadium, and before that Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The latter was erected in 1931. This makes the repair work at least that old.

 

It is amazing how much history some of these instruments have.

 

Thanks again, everybody.

 

Wayland

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I surmise that the label I found inside the bellows was from a repair shop....  That address is now directly under the 50-yard line of Cleveland Browns Stadium,...

"Why was I digging in the middle of the football field? Well, officer, I was hoping I might find a lovely old Wheatstone or Jeffries that someone forgot to remove from the basement before it was filled in. What's that? Oh, I think it would have been well protected by the original case. What? You're taking me into custody? Why? ... 'To protect me from angry fans when they arrive for tomorrow's game'? But that's silly. Surely they understand the importance of a fine vintage concertina! 'No', you say? Sigh! :("

Edited by JimLucas

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Working on the assumtion that it is a Jones, is there any information available that could be used to date it?  I'm the terribly curious sort.

Wayland

If it is a Jones then the serial number puts it around 1855

The serial numbers need to be used with caution. They are derived from a simple start date/end date/highest serial graph. Although Jones literature claimed 'founded 1850', Jones implies that he started making anglos not long before Jabez Austin's death in 1857 (read this). We just don't know enough about Jones instruments numbers (single series? multiple series? model coded? etc), so if this is a Jones, it wil be driving another point into the serial versus date graph. But Stephen Chambers has arrived back, so perhaps he will have some insights.

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... Stephen Chambers has arrived back, so perhaps he will have some insights.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

 

 

Thanks Wes, I hope I might be able to offer a few insights, and even make an informed guess as to the possible identity of the maker.

 

Those of us who repair, and/or deal in concertinas occasionally come across this maker's work, but it has taken me the last couple of days to find all my previous posts & emails about these instruments, and to do a little research on the names that have come up in the process.

 

Firstly, I believe Wayland's instrument, # 921/4 (more pictures here);

 

Tidder921-4action1.jpg

Tidder921-4right_reed.jpg

 

is of the same model, and the work of the same maker as # 3116 seen, and photographed, by Jim Lucas in his local library, (more photos here):

 

Tidder3116L-action.jpg

Tidder3116R-reedpan-top.jpg

 

Note especially the "signature" greenish timber used for the reed pan and pad board (though it's more pronounced in some than others).

 

I commented on that one :

I mentioned this maker recently, but can't yet put a name to him !

 

Whoever he was, he seems to have made a few thousand anglos, which look superficially like Lachenals, but didn't label them. Examples are known with the names of reed organ dealers/repairers stamped inside them, so perhaps he came to concertina making from that side of the trade ?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

 

 

My previous reference to him was in connection with a supposedly Wheatstone 30-key concertina being sold at auction :

Rather a curious item. The ends of the instrument look like the work of a recognised but anonymous maker, whom we have yet to identify ...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

 

Tidder-Wheatstone.jpg

 

... which reminded me strongly of one, with the dealers name stamped inside it;

 

 

A. BLAKER

Portable Harmonium Manufacturer,

Pianoforte Tuner, &c.,

WHITFIELD STREET

TOTTENHAM COURT RD.

 

that I had years ago, and recorded in my card index as follows :

 

"Oval-shaped rubber stamp inside 30-key anglo of similar appearance to

Lachenal, dark stained ends, fat white buttons, provision for 32 keys, small

hole for wind, greenish coloured wood for pallet board, high rails, 5-fold

green bellows, # 2405."

Whilst Chris Algar emailed last year that "Over the years I've had about eight concertinas (both English and Anglo) which have all obviously been produced by the same maker but I have never been able to attribute them. They are basically all relatively cheap concertinas with Lachenal-type reedpans and action (but not by Lachenal). They have quite distinctive ends - usually in a dull mahogany colour, steel or brass reeds and distinctive bellows which have huge sticking-out gussets and a cheap version of Lachenal papers. They are usually stamped inside with a rubber stamp and are 2000-3000 numbers, which imply that a considerable number were made. I've never had a marked one but my friend Mike Acott has one stamped Jones & Co, Manufacturers 22 Bridge St Bristol."

 

I have found both A. Blaker, "Portable harmonium maker and small goods dealer" and Jones & Co., "Pianos, American organs, harmonium and musicsellers" in my 1903 Musical Opinion and Music Trade Review Directory, and Google produced the following (from The Free-Reed Organ in England, by Robert J. Allan) :

 

 

A. Blaker (c.1900-21)

A manufacturer of portable harmoniums working at 9 Whitfield Street, Tottenham Court Road, London in 1900, 20 Whitfield Street in 1914 and 39 Store Street in 1921.

And

 

Jones and Co. (c.1864-1904)

John Jones of 21-22 Bridge Street, Bristol was granted a British patent number 9860 on 7th July 1884 for a combined harmonium and American organ, the latter being in the top of the case. There was a second patent number 4304 of 7th April 1885.

 

Jones had a factory at Broad Plain, Bristol and advertised as makers of "combination orchestral Bristol organs for home, church or mansion from 6 guineas''. Their products were also known as the Chordalian organ in 1887. ...

 

Jones and Co. were taken over in 1898 by Ernest Crichton who had a business at 38 Regent Street, Clifton, Bustol from 1866. He opened another branch in Cheltenham in 1904 but no longer did original manufacture.

So the question then arises : Was there a manufacturer, in the reed organ trade during the years that the above were in business, who was also a concertina maker, but whose instruments we are not familiar with ?

 

And the answer appears to be yes :

 

W.H. Tidder (c.1895-1914)

W.H. Tidder and Sons (as the business bacame known) worked at 228 Mile End Road, London from c.1895 to 1906 and had other related businesses e.g. making steel reeds c. 1896 and at other addresses. They started as seraphine, harmonium and concertina makers but later made American organs and portable harmoniums up to at least 1914.

Indeed, unpublished information that you have compiled, Wes, would seem to indicate that Wm. Henry Tidder was a concertina maker at least between 1884-1921, but who has ever seen one of his (labelled) instruments ?

 

Could these be they ? huh.gif

 

 

Layout edited, for clarity.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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