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d.elliott

Crane Brothers

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I have a duet for servicing, clearly made by Lachenal, serial 586, light rosewood ends, very nice fretting. I has a Label which is 'Crane Bros'

 

It appears to have the Crane keyboard Layout, 20 keys LH side, 28keys RH side. Who are Crane Bros, are they related to the developer of the Crane system? I confess my total ignorance on this area of concertina history.

 

Can anyone advise a link to more background information?

 

Dave

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Hi Dave,

Crane Brothers were a large music firm in Liverpool, rather like Boosey & Hawkes were in London. But they don't seem to have made anything themselves - although presumably they would have had a workshop - and all the instruments they sold were re-badged from other makers. Quite a few of the harmoniums used by the SA have Crane markings on them, so they seem to have been a major supplier.

 

In the case of Crane Duets, they were all made by Lachenal from about 1898. At a later date (1912), Crane may have sold off any rights to the Salvation Army - although at the time the patent would have expired - who renamed them 'Triumph'. Lachenal continued to supply them, although other makers (eg. Wheatstone, Crabb, Jeffries) also made 'Cranes'.

 

The inventor of the Crane system, John Butterworth, of Macclesfield, was a piano tuner. The patent is here. I don't know quite how Crane came to have the rights, but perhaps their size and location made them a good target for Butterworth to sell his idea to.

 

There doesn't seem to be a unified source for info about Crane Bros on the net. You'll find lots of links which provide a small amount of info, but nothing that tries to tell the whole story.

Edited by wes williams

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Thanks Wes,

 

thats a lot more than I knew peviously, will the serial number be a Lachenal serial or crane serial?

 

regards

 

Dave

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I was recently asked for information in relation to Cranes of Liverpool and offer that information in addition to Wes’s contribution and hope my ramblings are of some interest.

 

Around the time of introduction of this type of duet, the Cranes business was styled as ‘Crane & Sons’ circa 1898, there is no reason to suppose that the ‘Sons’ did not subsequently trade as ‘Crane Brothers’

 

It has been established that a Patent application No 21,730 for the key layout and allocation of notes for this type of instrument was submitted 1st October 1896 and granted 1st October 1897 to John Butterworth, a piano tuner, of Macclesfield, Cheshire. Although the instruments sold by Cranes were called the Crane Patent Concertina the evidence does not confirm that they were the actual patentees. Of course it is possible that they acquired or bought the patent rights from Butterworth and it is interesting that he was a piano tuner and Cranes were a major distributor of piano's. Also Macclesfield is not that distant from Liverpool or Manchester where two of Cranes many branches were located so it is possible that Butterfield was in contact or even maybe employed as an agent to service Crane supplied pianos in the Macclesfield area and approached the company to sell his idea.

I believe that Lachenals involvement, like many others, was that of a manufacturer approached by Cranes to supply a particular type of instrument. At the moment I am not aware of evidence that Crane & Sons were manufacturers in their own right. It is also probable that Cranes already had dealt with Lachenal to supply English type instruments.

 

Although it is assumed by many that the name Crane is synonymous with a *duet type concertina some English type instruments, although rare, have appeared with a Crane label.

 

* It will be noticed that I have not used 'Duet' (capital D) in the above as Crane & Sons advertised the various models of the subject instrument collectively as:

'Cranes Patent English Combination Concertina'

 

I think that one maker (Who ?) first adopted the 'Duet' name to describe such an instrument and this was protected therefore others making similar concertinas chose/had to adopt a different name to avoid patent problems.

 

I personally tend to refer to instruments with the this key arrangement (Crane and Triumph) as Butterworth types.

 

It is true that Crabb were making instruments of the Butterworth and MacCann type by 1900 following the gradual and final withdrawal of Jeffries Anglo custom. Although protected by patents, I believe that the small output of Crabbs, mainly one-off orders, was of no concern to Wheatstone, Lachenal or others and that litigation to halt production would have proved more costly than effective. Early Crabb price lists refer to duet type of instrument as 'Double Action' concertinas, the name derived from the 'Double' concertina, a Wheatstone inception. The 'double action' term does cause some confusion as this was also used to describe the use of press and draw reeds.

Crabb Double Action concertinas of the Butterworth system normally had the five columns of keys closer together than the original patent as used on the Lachenal built Cranes, the Crabb spacing being that common to the English. Also the keys were not arranged in curved rows but as chevrons. It is evident from the Crabb records that the name Crane had been adopted generally to describe these concertinas and instruments of 35 to 80 buttons in various ranges and keys were made. With the closure of Lachenals, Crabb would produce instruments with the ‘patent’ (wide, curved) layout as required.

 

Geoff Crabb

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Thanks Geoff,

 

As you pointed out, Crane did go through a name change. They went from "& Sons" in the late 1800s to "Bros", and were back to "& Sons" again by the mid 1920s. There is a little snippet here which might be interesting, and googling for this theatre brings up quite a few links, all with the same basic info, but often with a slightly different take : NeptuneTheatre, Liverpool. They do seem to have supplied many pianos in the region.

 

In answer to Dave, yes, the numbers can be considered Lachenal. However, I believe they are a completely different series from the Lachenal Maccann. Because your number and others reported are so low, it seems impossible that the Maccann numbers could have only reached this high over the previous 15 years (although its not entirely impossible!). There is also evidence to suggest that Lachenal merged the two duet series numbers into one around 1918, continuing to use the Maccann series as the basis.

 

Later Edit: There doesn't seem to be any name change in Crane, and I'd got confused - and Dave has confirmed that this Crane instrument is stamped '& Sons' not 'Bros'.

Edited by wes williams

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Crane ... do seem to have supplied many pianos in the region.

And on this side of the Irish Sea too, they are not the only firm to have had branches in both Liverpool and Dublin; after all, they were only a ferry ride apart.

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Crabb Double Action concertinas of the Butterworth system normally had the five columns of keys closer together than the original patent as used on the Lachenal built Cranes, the Crabb spacing being that common to the English. Also the keys were not arranged in curved rows but as chevrons.

Given various other discussions of the relationship between Crabb and Jeffries, I'm suddenly wondering whether my 59-button, Jeffries-labelled, "Crane-system" (my usage, not anything inscribed on the instrument) might actually have been built by Crabb.

 

I'm very busy right now, but I'll try to get some photos up before too long, in case that would help.

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My Crane (48k) is likewise a Lachenal, but badged 'Crane & Sons, Patent-Concertina, London & Liverpool'. The Lachenal serial number inside is 256, so it must be very early. The right-hand support bar, stamped on one side with the Lachenal 'English Made' steel reed trade mark, is stamped on the other side 'C&S 844'. I don't know what that means.

 

Andrew

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Did I understand correctly that Wheatstone didn't make Crane duets at all? (excepting the special order exceptions that always seem to be there with concertinas)

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Dirge,

A quick look at the Horniman ledgers shows 3 Cranes from 1923 through 1924.

5 Cranes in 1925. 4 individual Cranes and what could be an order for 6 sequentially numbered Cranes in 1926.

 

I took a quick look at 1933 and 1934 which is after Wheatstone's absorbtion of Lachenal. Pages 152 and 153

show at least half a dozen 55b instruments and even more 35 button instruments. Could it have been a Salvationist order?

 

In the Chris Algar price lists archived at: http://www.concertina.com/english/index.ht...atstone-english in concertina.com Crane or Triumph duets don't seem to be mentioned until 1936 and then only as an option, not a specific item.

 

Perhaps they were only as scarce as Crane's teeth?

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas

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Dirge,

A quick look at the Horniman ledgers shows 3 Cranes from 1923 through 1924.

5 Cranes in 1925. 4 individual Cranes and what could be an order for 6 sequentially numbered Cranes in 1926.

 

 

I'm pretty sure that Geoffery Lakeman has one and showed up with it at the Northeast Squeeze In in 2004.

 

Kurt

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My Wheatstone aeola Crane duet is 1913 (26228). The ledger shows the word Crane appears in the column usually containing model numbers.

With only a very quick look, I can't see any earlier entries for Crane, though there are a number of duets listed with key counts that don't seem like Maccann or Wheatstone systems, (49 and 56 including air button presumably), which may well be Cranes, but not described as such.

Nothing particularly unusual about the construction of my Crane afaict. Typical aeola of the period.

I assume there are older ones I was unable to find. Any one got the time? Greg?

 

MC

Edited by malcolm clapp

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I assume there are older ones I was unable to find. Any one got the time? Greg?

MC

I'll be going through the ledgers looking for Cranes sometime in the future (next 12 months?). If anybody wants to do it earlier, I'd be pleased to have a copy of their list.

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My Wheatstone aeola Crane duet is 1913 (26228). The ledger shows the word Crane appears in the column usually containing model numbers.

With only a very quick look, I can't see any earlier entries for Crane, though there are a number of duets listed with key counts that don't seem like Maccann or Wheatstone systems, (49 and 56 including air button presumably), which may well be Cranes, but not described as such.

Nothing particularly unusual about the construction of my Crane afaict. Typical aeola of the period.

I assume there are older ones I was unable to find. Any one got the time? Greg?

 

MC

 

My morning cup of tea does not usually last that long! But I'll keep a log when the urge strikes.

 

Greg

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OK. I followed the morning tea with a "big" cup of coffee and (of course) an english! muffin. Here's is what I found:

 

1) 55key black duet for 1910

4) 55key black duets for 1911

8) 55key duets for 1912 (three of which were in sequence beginning with #25654

 

Now, what makes things vague is that the 1910 pricelist

http://www.concertina.com/pricelists/wheat...-Duet-c1910.pdf

has 55b and 56b duet instruments listed!

 

So I don't know if an air button was counted or even on some instruments which might be macaans or cranes. Bob Gaskins also has a diagram for a 55b Macann and says it is called a 56b in a 1930 pricelist:

http://www.concertina.com/pricelists/wheat...-Duet-c1910.pdf

 

In the "that's interesting" column I noted a 2", 8 key mini; six! 81b duets; a "special Oates? phone #25559;

and #25619 which has 84 keys and P.F. fingering.

 

I'm out of coffee and need to practice.

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas

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Any one got the time?

 

MC

 

 

It's 7:30 in the evening here. What is it where you are? :lol: :lol:

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Any one got the time?

 

MC

 

 

It's 7:30 in the evening here. What is it where you are? :lol: :lol:

 

 

Ask a policeman! B)

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Ask a policeman! B)

 

You can never find one when you want one, and they take too long to arrive when you call them! :rolleyes:

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