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PwH

Crabb English No.889360

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Hi All (and especially Mr Crabb)

 

I have owned an English 48 button concertina for about 33yrs now but never really learned to play. It's now time to do so and I've put it in for refurbishment. On opening it up Terry Birtles of Coventry Accordians found the name of Crabb and the number 889360 inside. There is a dealer stamp in there too but I can't remember the details. Metal keys and badged as Texas All Star Band instruments (or maybe Dallas- haven't got it in front of me and the memory ain't what it used to be!). Any info would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks , Peter H

Edited by PwH

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... badged as Texas All Star Band instruments (or maybe Dallas- haven't got it in front of me and the memory ain't what it used to be!).

Peter,

 

Dallas would make sense, as Harry Crabb was building concertinas for them in the 1930s.

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Dallas would make sense, as Harry Crabb was building concertinas for them in the 1930s.

 

Stephen,

Thanks , I'm 99% sure you're right, but that begs the question - Dallas All Stars as in basketball team? If so what was one of their instruments doing in a junk shop in Melton Mowbray in the early seventies? Or is there no connection at all with the USA? Very puzzling!

 

Cheers, Peter H

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Hi Peter,

As Stephen has said, Crabb instruments were supplied to J E Dallas and most other instrument dealers for a considerable number of years.

 

Your query is interesting in that normally Crabb numbers never exceeded 5 digits, however, during the late 1930’s there is possible evidence in the existing records that the year was included in some numbers*. Unfortunately, it seems that for the period 1935 –1941, the instrument details were recorded on poor quality cards, only the last one of which has survived today.

*This card shows that instruments made between Feb 39 – Jul 40 had the usual ID number preceded, I presume, by the year number. The first two instruments incidentally being ‘48 English’ for J E Dallas, the numbers being 399435 & 399436.

 

Taking this into consideration, if the number of the instrument in question (889360) has been misread and the first digit is perhaps a 3 then I feel sure that it was made in 1938.

 

Most Crabb instruments made for dealers at that time were generally made down to a price and although the reeds were originally of the best quality, savings were made in the construction and external finish.

 

Picture of a typical dealer supplied Crabb 48 Treble English of the period.

 

Geoff

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Hi Peter,

just out of curiosity, at which junk shop in Melton Mowbray did you buy your concertina? It must be something about Melton Mowbray 'cos I bought My Joseph Scates' english' at ' Yesteryear' (at least I think it was there-they being the only ?? antique shop in the location around the time I bought the concertina -1977-1980) As I still live in Melton I'll keep an eye out around the town ;)

You never know B)

chris

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Dallas would make sense, as Harry Crabb was building concertinas for them in the 1930s.
Dallas All Stars as in basketball team?

Peter,

 

No, there is no connection with the USA.

 

JE Dallas and Son (aka "Jedson") were manufacturers of banjos and mandolins in London, and important wholesalers of musical instruments between the two World Wars. They had dealt with Lachenal's until the closure of that firm (c. 1933) and became major customers of Crabb's in the late 1930s, listing Crabb concertinas in their wholesale catalogues.

 

Edited to add:

 

The "Jedcertina" (JE Dallas concertina) was a piano-system concertina made specially for them, originally by Lachenal's and later by Harry Crabb.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Hi Guys, and thanks for the replies,

 

I now know an awful lot more about my box than I did before (which was pretty much nothing I must admit). Isn't the internet a marvelous thing!

 

Stephen, thanks for the info about JE dallas, I've had a look at it again and it is badged "Dallas 'ALL STAR TESTED' band instruments". So we know who had it made and sold it.

 

Geoff, you're right, the number is 389360, every part is numbered and some are more distinct than others but it's definitely a 38 at the beginning. So I suppose it was made in 1938 then? On the inside of each reedplate? is the stamp "CRABB & SON MAKERS LONDON" and inside one end mechanism is the oval rubber stamp in red ink "R WHITTEN FOR CONCERTINAS 79 Upland Rd, Barry Rd, E. Dulwich" (last word very indistinct, I think it's Dulwich). The endplates are totally flat, with no felt bushings on the keys (price engineering?) I think the keys may be aluminium but can't be sure. It certainly resembles the picture you posted. Will try to post some photo's later

 

Chris, the junkshop was in a part of town that suffered heavily when they built the inner "bypass" or thruway, i think it might be gone now. Haven't been back much for years so cant be sure. I remember they had a lovely banjo as well but I couldnt afford both. Seem to remember paying a fiver for the concertina which was about half a weeks wages at the time- crazy world we live in, kids get more pocket money now!!

 

All the Best, Peter H

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Hi Peter

sounds a bit like 'Doreens' if it is -she is still in business but on Mill Street.

must have a look soon ;)

chris

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sounds a bit like 'Doreens'

Chris

Think you are right - did she used to be on the corner of King st and Sage Cross st or somewhere around there?

 

Peter

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post-3847-1176050520_thumb.jpgpost-3847-1176050540_thumb.jpg

And a couple more, strangely some of the reeds are mounted in brass and the rest in steel. Why is this?

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Just a guess on my part, but the brass reed shoes seem to be on smaller reeds. I'd also guess that the bright silver colored reed shoes might be aluminum rather than steel, used to reduce the weight of the instrument.

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The clue may be Geoff's 'dealers instruments being down to a price' comment; alloy was usual by then but they had some old brass frames to get rid of...

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... they had some old brass frames to get rid of...

Looks like that's the case here alright, otherwise you'd expect the smallest frames to be brass too.

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Hi Peter

that sounds like the spot. I never saw any concertinas there tho :(

chris

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Hi Peter

that sounds like the spot. I never saw any concertinas there tho :(

chris

By the sound of things I must have just beaten you to it, by about 5 yrs! lucky me! :)

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Hi All,

Having had a look round some of the forums here I've been encouraged to try and fettle this one myself. I've managed to get the actions going pretty well by resetting a few lever posts and reglueing some pads. I even managed to refelt one of the button/lever joints-

However I can't get the reed pans to seal properly and on inspection they are both shrunken in size by up to 1mm and warped across the grain by some 5 mm or so :( . Is there anything I can do about this, or is it a terminal condition? I've thought about resetting the bellows blocks and building up the ribs to fit , or trying to straighten the pans with moisture and a press but am afraid to try such radical measures without some expert advice. All help gratefully received . :) Thanks, PwH.

Edited by PwH

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Well, just a bit of an update, my box is now working well and sounds grand. Have to confess I bottled out of doing it myself and gave it to a man I met in a pub to sort out. (One Pete Grassby from Coventry). He has done a really nice job, had the bellows done by a chap in Wales and sorted the rest himself including swapping one of the reed pans for a spare from a scrap machine. Gave me a years guarantee on the work including any settling in and tuning issues. I am very happy with his work and would happily recommend him. Now all I have to do is learn to play.! I am about half way through Frank Butlers 'The Concertina' as I write and boning up on a few carols as well. Might even play in public sometime next year :-) Merry Christmas everybody !

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