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Reed Shoes

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#28438 is 12" with 64 keys? My 80-button duet is onlyl 11". No wonder they made it with Dural ends! I can only guess that it's one of those fabled "contrabass" Englishes that reaches an octave below a cello.


#32601 is an "Octophone"? What in the world is that?


And on page 123 you note #32811 and #32822, but you seem to have overlooked #32815. Maybe that page was too "light" to read? :)

Edited by JimLucas
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  Maybe that page was too "light" to read? :)

Or maybe the Duralumin shoes were "too light to reed"?

A catalogue of instruments made with Dural is "light reading", while reeds with Dural shoes are "light reeding"?

And the lamp used by the person who assembles the instruments is a "reeding light"?


Please, somebody, stop us! :o

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  • 2 years later...
Using the online Wheatstone Concertina Ledgers from the

Horniman Museum, it's possible to get some idea of when

aluminium reedshoes might have first been used. The

production ledgers for the twentieth century do not record

the material for the reedshoes, but they do record the

material for the ends. Suitable aluminium alloys for both

purposes appeared at the same time, so what we can learn

about concertina makers' use of aluminium ends can

provide pretty good hints about reedshoes as well.


More amazing, Wheatstone was making Duralumin-ended

instruments as early as 1920! It's hard to say whether

they would have begun with Duralumin ends or Duralumin reed

shoes; the reed shoes probably represent the greater mass,

but Steve Dickinson tells me that when he made Duralumin

reed shoes he found that the tools got damaged a lot because

of the hardness (though he is still willing to make them).


The Wheatstone works may have been ahead in using such

materials, but it would be necessary to argue that if

Wheatstone could make a Duralumin-ended instrument as early

as 1920, anyone else could have made one as well.


But surely this was a very exotic material in 1920. It wouldn't

be very likely that anyone used Duralumin in making a concertina,

either for reedshoes or ends, much before 1920, and a fortiori not

before 1910.




With tin hat on, I re-open another old thread! B) Much edited, but I hope that I've retained the key elements of Bob's original posting.


I have Wheatstone English No.25750, which the Wheatstone ledger records as 2nd December 1912. This is a 48 key Aeola Treble model, but is non-standard in that the dimension is 6.25" (instead of 6.50" or 6.75"). Accepting that some ledgers prior to 1910 are missing, I have yet to find another of this size/specification.


This instrument is in amazing condition; it had new thumb-straps during its 1993 service, new pads etc., but is in largely original condition.


The reed-frames are brass for the smallest reeds, but aluminium alloy for the remainder. A quick count suggests that 75% are aluminium.


The resulting instrument is quite light. What puzzles me is whether the brass reed-frames were used for purposes of tone, or being "new" technology, aluminium alloy was considered too risky for the smallest reed-frames.



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  • 2 weeks later...
Can someone tell me what impact replacing brass reed shoes with aluminium shoes will have on sound quality and performance. These are the screw and clamp variety and not the pinched reed type shoes.
[/the only problem with aluminium shoes, is if the instrument gets accidentally wet,from my own experience

its more problematical thenthan brass shoes.

Dick, what experimental setup did you use for gathering your data? Anything like Dave Prebble's? :unsure:

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