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Wheatstone & Co.


Andie
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Hi all,

 

I wonder if anyone could tell me who "www.wheatstone.co.uk" are. Are they the real Wheatstone of old? If not who are they and what are the instuments like that they make? From their pricelist what every they are they certainly cost an arm and a leg, " and maybe a few other body parts as well if you want added extras!"

 

Thanks in advance for any info.

 

Cheers!

 

Andie

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Hi Andie,

 

Wheatstone is still in business! I spoke yesterday to Steve Dickinson via telephone to order a 40 button Aeola anglo. He advised me that his current waiting list is 5 years - yes, I have to wait 5 long.... years. (I will need to wait that long to save enough money for my request (5,620 GBP). Steve advised me that he only makes/manufactures about 12 instruments per year. Each instrument is hand-made.

 

Steve Dickinson bought the rights, parts, tools etc. from the original Wheatstone business in the mid 1970's. With regards to Steve's product... he definitely makes better concertinas than what was made in the 1950's and 1960's. Steve and his wife live in Suffolk, England.

 

I believe that there are many C.net members who live in the UK and who know him personally. There is a lot of info. on the Wheatstone Company, past and present, on this website. Check out the opening index or content list.

 

 

Cheers, Ben

Edited by Ben Otto
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Hi all,

 

I wonder if anyone could tell me who "www.wheatstone.co.uk" are. Are they the real Wheatstone of old? If not who are they and what are the instuments like that they make? From their pricelist what every they are they certainly cost an arm and a leg, " and maybe a few other body parts as well if you want added extras!"

 

Thanks in advance for any info.

 

Cheers!

 

Andie

 

Steve Makes fabulous concertinas; you would be hard pressed to choose between a 'Dickenson' and a Dipper. They bear no resemblance whatsoever to the Wheatstones of the 50's and 60's and are of the quality of the top Wheatstone period, top quality instruments..... although they seem expensive, if you take inflation into account, they are not rerally any dearer than the best quality instruments produced in the 1920's

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Hi Andie,

Like people have said above, its the same company but a different owner, and Steve makes concertinas as they were made in the 1920s, using the same equipment that Wheatstones used where possible.

 

How come? Well, in 1941 Edward Chidley (who jointly owned Wheatstone with his brother Percy) died intestate, and some of the company shares were sold outside the family to Besson and Co. Their father, also Edward, had owned Wheatstone since the late 1860s. Besson were taken over by Boosey and Hawkes in 1948, and after a couple of moves, Wheatstones were much reduced and then moved to a small workshop at Boosey & Hawkes factory in Edgware in 1961. They continued there until the last employee, Sid Watkins, died in late 1974. Steve had been interested in the work being done at Wheatstone, and rumour has it that he managed to salvage a lot of Wheatstone tooling that B&H had scrapped from the skips. Steve finally managed to persuade B&H to sell him the Wheatstone company about a year later. That enough?

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Reminds me of a guy living in Moscow during the communist era.

He'd saved and saved and finally had enough to order a car.

"I'd like a new Lada please."

"Certainly comrade, what colour would you like?"

"Oh," he says, "Red would be nice."

"Right comrade.....there's a ten year waiting list."

"Ten years..........TEN YEARS.......would that be in the morning or the afternoon?"

"Why do you need to know?"

"I've got the plumber coming in the morning."

 

Phil

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How come? Well, in 1941 Edward Chidley (who jointly owned Wheatstone with his brother Percy) died intestate, and some of the company shares were sold outside the family to Besson and Co. Their father, also Edward, had owned Wheatstone since the late 1860s. Besson were taken over by Boosey and Hawkes in 1948, and after a couple of moves, Wheatstones were much reduced and then moved to a small workshop at Boosey & Hawkes factory in Edgware in 1961. They continued there until the last employee, Sid Watkins, died in late 1974. Steve had been interested in the work being done at Wheatstone, and rumour has it that he managed to salvage a lot of Wheatstone tooling that B&H had scrapped from the skips. Steve finally managed to persuade B&H to sell him the Wheatstone company about a year later. That enough?

This pretty well jibes with the story as I heard it, which also included Steve actually apprenticing with Watkins (free) for some time. One day he came to the shop to find it all disassembled and locked up. Sid had died the night before and B&H was ready to sell it all for scrap. Then the story picks up as above.

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Hi again,

 

Jokes aside ............. "only joking Phil!" Thanks for all the information regarding Wheatstone & Co. Incredible to believe that the company still exists albeit in its current form.

 

It is tempting to get in the queue for one of those instrument by I fear that Arthitis would set in by the time the clock was to strike "Concertina".

 

Thanks again for the info ........... history is an amazing thing!

 

Regards,

 

Andie

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Reminds me of a guy living in Moscow during the communist era.

He'd saved and saved and finally had enough to order a car.

"I'd like a new Lada please."

"Certainly comrade, what colour would you like?"

"Oh," he says, "Red would be nice."

"Right comrade.....there's a ten year waiting list."

"Ten years..........TEN YEARS.......would that be in the morning or the afternoon?"

"Why do you need to know?"

"I've got the plumber coming in the morning."

 

Phil

 

No, no. Life wasn't THAT bad.

The line was only Five short years, just like Dickenson's.

If only I was into that sound!

But tell, so if I'm to order an instrument, and the price was $10000. By the time of purchase the new instruments are priced at$15000. Do I still pay meager $10K and the Proprietor is at a huge loss? Why then named Proprietor doesn't offer financing? Easy for the customers, profitable for the seller. Does it mean Concertina makers are simply bad businessmen?

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He advised me that his current waiting list is 5 years - yes, I have to wait 5 long.... years. (I will need to wait that long to save enough money for my request (5,620 GBP). Steve advised me that he only makes/manufactures about 12 instruments per year. Each instrument is hand-made.

 

£5,620 plus VAT (17.5%) over six years - it's £3 a day. That's a sandwich plus a couple of pastries (or a pint and a half of beer).

 

It's the Concertina Diet!

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so if I'm to order an instrument, and the price was $10000. By the time of purchase the new instruments are priced at$15000. Do I still pay meager $10K and the Proprietor is at a huge loss?

Nope! (As you'd expect, really).

 

I remember Colin Dipper lending me a baritone anglo that had been left with him for repair some thirteen years before, but which the owner had never returned to collect. Five years later he emerged from the undergrowth and claimed back his anglo. I remember Colin telling me the owner was somewhat disgruntled that he wasn't charged the estimated price of some eighteen years before. I reckon he did well not to be charged eighteen years worth of storage charges.

 

Chris

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