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Charles Hunt

Indentifying A Crane Duet With Pictures

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I managed to copy some pictures off the Elderly website of the Crane Truimph Duet concertina I recently purchased. As you can see from the attachments, the reed pan was made by the Jones company. I believe the end plates may be those of a Crabb company concertina. Has anybody seen this beast before or one like it? Thanks for the replies I got earlier. I hope the attached pictures come through. All the best Charlie post-1316-1124851853_thumb.jpgpost-1316-1124851773_thumb.jpgpost-1316-1124851913_thumb.jpgpost-1316-1124851913_thumb.jpg

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I managed to copy some pictures off the Elderly website of the Crane Truimph Duet concertina I recently purchased.  As you can see from the attachments, the reed pan was made by the Jones company.  I believe the end plates may be those of a Crabb company concertina.  Has anybody seen this beast before or one like it?

Charlie,

 

That is an interesting and intriguing concertina, does it have a serial number ? Jones is supposed not to have made any duets, and Butterworth, who patented the system in 1896, sold his inventor's rights to Crane's (of Liverpool) who had them manufactured by Lachenal's as the Crane duet. The patent would have expired in 1910, but by then Jones' had gone out of business.

 

The system was alternatively described as the “Triumph” from 1912 onwards, when it was adopted by the Salvation Army (“Triumph” being their brand name for musical instruments).

 

The combination of a Jones instrument with Crabb ends could make sense when you consider that the Salvation Army contract passed from Jones', to Lachenal's, to Crabb's.

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Interestingly, the left hand side seems to have an Eb rather than the top G - suspiciously "hymn" style - is this common in Salvation Army concertinas? So far I've only come across the 48-keys layout with the top left hand row being EGF rather than EbE-F. (But then, I'm a concertina newbie, trying to catch up with Crane/Triumph info at the speed of light...)

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Interestingly, the left hand side seems to have an Eb rather than the top G - suspiciously "hymn" style - is this common in Salvation Army concertinas? So far I've only come across the 48-keys layout with the top left hand row being EGF rather than EbE-F.

Are you sure? In my experience, the standard 48-button Crane goes up to G in the left hand, but it's fully chromatic, i.e., it has both the Eb and the F#. This one, missing the F# and G, is still fully chromatic, just stopping at the F. Even the 42-button diagrammed in Crane's tutor is fully chromatic, though it stops at E. This leads me to suspect that Crane considered being fully chromatic over the range more important than playing in particular keys, such as G or Eb.

 

The exceptions are the left hand of the 35-button and the right hand of the 48-button, in both of which accidentals above the highest C are sacrificed to extend the range of natural notes upward. In both cases the high Eb is missing, which would seem contrary to your speculation. Interesting thought, though.

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Sorry, I got my left and my right confuddled (bad night's sleep last night!). Of course the left hand in a 48-keys has usually 4 chromatic rows of 5 keys. (20 keys) The right hand tends to miss the two accidentals in the top row. (28keys)

 

I won't correct my original post, but you know what I mean.

 

This still has your displayed model display an unusual layout, with 6 fully chromatic rows on the right (30 keys, like "normal" 55-keys models) but only 18 keys on the left hand side.

 

Intriguing!

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This still has your displayed model display an unusual layout, with 6 fully chromatic rows on the right (30 keys, like "normal" 55-keys models) but only 18 keys on the left hand side.

Did you miss Charles' earlier post about the instrument, where he said exactly that? It does make this instrument fully chromatic through its entire range on both sides.

 

I do think it's curious, though, that they should reduce the button count on the left-hand side while increasing the count on the right. It's not like the space freed up on the left could be moved to the right for use there.

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There is a serial number on the George Jones reed plate. It looks like this:

 

R

26928

 

I am not sure this is the serial number of the reed plate, or the serial number for the concertina. It also appears to have bone buttons although at least two of them have been obviously been replaced with something else. The buttons are ratty looking as you can see from the picture. I think the bellows is not totally dysfunctional, but probably needs repairing or replacement. Can anyone confirm that the aluminum end plates of the concertina look like Crabb concertinas? I am on the waiting list to get this one restored at the button box. Meanwhile I am working on learning the contradance waltz "Two Rivers" and driving my wife crazy. Charlie

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There is a serial number on the George Jones reed plate.  It looks like this:

 

        R

    26928

 

I am not sure this is the serial number of the reed plate, or the serial number for the concertina.

Charlie,

 

26928 is the serial number of the concertina, and a very late one for Jones (Wes Williams has commented "The highest number Jones I've noted is 27807"), probably from the early 1900's when two of his sons were running (ruining ? :huh: ) the business, so made at the time the Patent was still in force. The R signifies that it is the right hand end.

 

 

Can anyone confirm that the aluminum end plates of the concertina look like Crabb concertinas?

I can't say for sure, but Harry Crabb used aluminium to make cheap ends with simple designs in them (it is much easier to work than brass or nickel) when concertinas were out of favour and prices low.

 

Maybe Geoff Crabb would like to comment ?

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Hi contributors,

at Stephens invitation I offer the following rambles. Forgive me if they are not in any particular order.

 

This instrument is interesting and there could be various explanations as to its existence but without close ‘hands on’ examination I feel that I cannot offer full definitive comments.

 

I have no hesitation in saying that the tops (end plates) of the concertina in question are not of Crabb manufacture. From the pictures, the fretwork seems very poorly done and I feel sure that if work of this quality had been produced then it would not have been allowed to leave the workshop.

 

I believe that the instrument may have started life as a model with wooden ends and due to irreparable damaged these were cut off and replaced with metal ends. Because of the reduced thickness of these replacement ends, a ‘raise’ had to be incorporated to allow for the accommodation of bushing woods. For this instrument it appears that an Anglo type raising tool was used by the shape of the raised area.

In the Crabb workshop, the side veneers would have been removed and the sides built up to a level that would allow the fitting of bushing woods. The sides would then have been re-veneered and ‘flat’ metal ends cut and fitted.

 

The outward appearance of the ends of this instruments is reminiscent of the efforts of a now deceased player/repairer? Who I believe should be remembered more for their exceptional playing ability than their repair expertise.

 

It is true that Crabbs used aluminium for end plates and sometimes with very simple fretwork. In general, the use of aluminium became more prevalent in the years after WWII when brass and nickel-silver were difficult to obtain but there was a mass of surplus wartime aluminium in sheet form available. What stocks of brass/nickel that my father held were reserved for the more expensive instruments. The reason for simple patterns were that the price one could command for the majority of instruments then did not allow for the time required to cut the more intricate patterns.

An example of a typical Crabb with Aluminium end plates and simple fretwork is shown below.

 

 

It is possible that the instrument could have been a late ‘Jones’. Although it is assumed that ‘Jones’ did not make Duets, probably due to the lack of sightings of such instruments, experience has shown the appearance of instruments not usually associated with some makers. (I am still surprised by some of the instruments I am made aware of that were made by past members of my family).

 

I think that some of the smaller makers (Crabb included) did not respect then current Patent Rights and I believe that their output of instruments covered by Patents was not enough to warrant the attention or action of the Patent holder.

 

Whilst contracts may have existed between Jones / Lachenal and the Salvation Army, no such contract was held by Crabbs for the supply of instruments. When Lachenal ceased trading, use of the concertina within the Salvation Army was declining and any orders for new, used or instrument repairs were placed with whoever could supply.

It is interesting to note that up to the mid-1930’s, the Salvation Army kept their suppliers names a closely guarded secret, preferring all Salvationists to deal directly with the SA Supplies Division. Copies of ‘The Musician of the Salvation Army’ for 1937/8/9 carry articles about Wheatstone and Crabb instruments giving makers addresses and in our own case, advertisements. (About the only time Crabbs advertised).

 

Geoff

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I have no hesitation in saying that the tops (end plates) of the concertina in question are not of Crabb manufacture. From the pictures, the fretwork seems very poorly done and I feel sure that if work of this quality had been produced then it would not have been allowed to leave the workshop.

 

I believe that the instrument may have started life as a model with wooden ends and due to irreparable damaged these were cut off and replaced with metal ends. Because of the reduced thickness of these replacement ends, a ‘raise’ had to be incorporated to allow for the accommodation of bushing woods. For this instrument it appears that an Anglo type raising tool was used by the shape of the raised area.

In the Crabb workshop, the side veneers would have been removed and the sides built up to a level that would allow the fitting of bushing woods. The sides would then have been re-veneered and ‘flat’ metal ends cut and fitted.

 

The outward appearance of the ends of this instruments is reminiscent of the efforts of a now deceased player/repairer? Who I believe should be remembered more for their exceptional playing ability than their repair expertise.

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I have no hesitation in saying that the tops (end plates) of the concertina in question are not of Crabb manufacture. From the pictures, the fretwork seems very poorly done and I feel sure that if work of this quality had been produced then it would not have been allowed to leave the workshop.

 

I believe that the instrument may have started life as a model with wooden ends and due to irreparable damaged these were cut off and replaced with metal ends. Because of the reduced thickness of these replacement ends, a ‘raise’ had to be incorporated to allow for the accommodation of bushing woods. For this instrument it appears that an Anglo type raising tool was used by the shape of the raised area.

In the Crabb workshop, the side veneers would have been removed and the sides built up to a level that would allow the fitting of bushing woods. The sides would then have been re-veneered and ‘flat’ metal ends cut and fitted.

 

The outward appearance of the ends of this instruments is reminiscent of the efforts of a now deceased player/repairer? Who I believe should be remembered more for their exceptional playing ability than their repair expertise.

 

Thanks to all who responded to my question especially Mr. Crabb. This concertina is probably a "Frankenstein" put together from various parts and pieces of other concertinas. But I think it started its life as a Duet of some make. It will be interesting when the Button Box folks look at it for I have heard they are experts in the field although not more expert in identifying a Crabb than Mr. Crabb himself. Thanks again. Charlie

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This instrument is interesting and there could be various explanations as to its existence but without close ‘hands on’ examination I feel that I cannot offer full definitive comments.

Geoff,

 

A wise caveat that should probably be taken as read in any attempt to diagnose either the history of, or problems with, any concertina.

 

The outward appearance of the ends of this instruments is reminiscent of the efforts of a now deceased player/repairer? Who I believe should be remembered more for their exceptional playing ability than their repair expertise.

Tommy certainly made aluminium ends, I have one of his unfinished "efforts" at making an end for an Æola duet. :o

 

I think that some of the smaller makers (Crabb included) did not respect then current Patent Rights and I believe that their output of instruments covered by Patents was not enough to warrant the attention or action of the Patent holder.

Indeed, the same might be said to apply to the Registered Design for the Æola (which is still in force) ? ;)

 

Whilst contracts may have existed between Jones / Lachenal and the Salvation Army, no such contract was held by Crabbs for the supply of instruments. When Lachenal ceased trading, use of the concertina within the Salvation Army was declining and any orders for new, used or instrument repairs were  placed with whoever could supply.

It is interesting to note that up to the mid-1930’s, the Salvation Army kept their suppliers names a closely guarded secret, preferring all Salvationists to deal directly with the SA Supplies Division. Copies of ‘The Musician of the Salvation  Army’ for 1937/8/9 carry articles about Wheatstone and Crabb instruments giving makers addresses and in our own case, advertisements. (About the only time Crabbs advertised).

What I should have made clear was that though both Jones' and Lachenal's seem to have had formal contracts to supply the Salvation Army (George Jones having to dress in uniform to attend meetings with General Booth), much of the Salvation Army work passed to Crabb's with Mr. Ballinger (one of the former partners in Lachenal's), who according to Tommy Williamas "turned over all the Salvation Army orders to Harry Crabb, whose father was dead then, rather than let Wheatstone's have it." However, it seems that Wheatstone's also benefitted from Lachenal's link with the Salvation Army, after their acquisition of that firm, as the instruments shown on the covers of the later editions of the S. A. tutors were of Wheatstone manufacture, no wonder they produced quite a few Edeophone "Triumph" duets !

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It is possible that the instrument could have been a late ‘Jones’. Although  it is assumed that ‘Jones’ did not make Duets,  probably due to  the lack of sightings of such instruments, experience has shown the appearance of instruments not usually associated with some makers.  (I am still surprised by some of the instruments I am made aware of that were made by past members of my family).

I think the 'Jones did not make duets' came originally from Frank Butler, who also said his grandfather had 'a marked aversion to them'. But if this instrument was a late 'Jones', perhaps it represents something Jones's sons were trying out, rather like Edward Chidley junior did with Wheatstone (about the same time) after taking over from his father - introducing the Aeola, and reintroducing the Duet and the Anglo.

 

I'm glad you've commented on the aluminium ends as probably being later, since I suspect the material used is duralumin - an alloy we all now call aluminium and invented in 1908/10 (dates differ) as part of the German military research. Although aluminium would have been available c.1905 ( London's Eros statue was cast from it in 1893) it was soft, and a lot less stable than duralumin and would have shown some corrosion. Duralumin was in general used by 1920, and Wheatstone records (SD01 page 138) show they were making ends from it at this time.

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... rather like Edward Chidley junior did with Wheatstone (about the same time) after taking over from his father - introducing the Aeola ...

Perhaps I should point out that Wes means the octagonal Æola here. The Æola was first introduced, as an "artistic" hexagonal instrument with "pencil" frets, by Edward Chidley senior.

 

 

Although aluminium would have been available c.1905 ( London's Eros statue was cast from it in 1893) it was soft, and a lot less stable than duralumin and would have shown some corrosion.

The first concertina makers to use aluminium were "those truly progressive makers, Messrs. Lachenal" (to quote a letter on the subject from J. A. Black to the editor of Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review, published on 1st January 1895), but those early lightweight Edeophones with aluminium shoes are indeed inclined to suffer corrosion problems, sometimes of a very serious nature.

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An example of a typical Crabb with Aluminium end plates and simple fretwork is shown below.

And I see that Chris Algar now has an H. Crabb & Sons 45-key Crane duet, with simple aluminium ends, #14070, listed on eBay:

 

18_1.jpg

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Stephen: I saw this Crabb, which has similar aluminum type ends to my Jones Crane Duet. I think the ends on my Jones are more primitive yet than the ones on the Crabb that is for sale. Too bad the Crabb is only 45K or I would be interested. Incidentally, the Jones Crane Duet was checked out by the Button Box and they convinced me that I would be better off investing in another instrument. I took thier advice and now have a nice Lachenal Salvation Army metal ended 48k, which I bought from Chris Algar. The Button Box did a great job tuning it and tweaking the action. Some day I might have a go at restoring the Jones just to learn something about repair. I am enjoying learning to play the Crane although I find it slow going. Charlie

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