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Indelible Dealer/repairer Stamps On Vintage Concertinas


Gan Ainm
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I once had a neighbour who believed he was providing a useful community service by trimming the trees on the public road in front of his house. That is, until he was informed by the local council that they considered what he was doing to be vandalism and that, if he did not "cease and desist", he would be prosecuted for defacing public property.

 

I notice that some dealers/repairers stamp their brand and/or contact details, directly onto the wood in ink, on the inside of concertinas which pass through their hands.

 

Is this a useful community service, or are they unintentionally defacing the instruments?

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I notice that some dealers/repairers stamp their brand and/or contact details, directly onto the wood in ink, on the inside of concertinas which pass through their hands.

 

Is this a useful community service, or are they unintentionally defacing the instruments?

I was going to say "no" -- to both, -- but I quickly reconsidered.

 

If it's internal, I wouldn't consider it "defacing", since it's doing no harm to the external face. Nor would I consider it to be damaging the historical integrity of the instrument, since I presume some other change was also made, and the stamp is documentation of that. I know that some dealers put their own external label on instruments they sold, but did any of them really add an internal stamp without an external one if they didn't do any work on the instrument?

 

As for a public service, my first thought was no... because so often the information is out of date, and not useful for contacting the seller, even if (s)he is still alive and has kept records of what work was done.

 

But I quickly realized that there's another kind of public service. Such stamps provide details of the history of the instrument. And however limited those historical details may be, they're far more than we have for most instruments. So yes, I think it's a public service.

 

I once had a neighbour who believed he was providing a useful community service by trimming the trees on the public road in front of his house. That is, until he was informed by the local council that they considered what he was doing to be vandalism and that, if he did not "cease and desist", he would be prosecuted for defacing public property.

While I can see how your thoughts might have strayed from this incident to the above, I don't think they're at all similar. As for your neighbor, if the trees aren't on his property, then he doesn't have the right to do anything to them without permission. One possible exception is that he may have a right to trim back portions of the trees that overhang -- treespass on? ;) -- his own property.

 

However, if he feels that their overgrowth is a nuisance, he could petition the local council to have something done about them... and possibly even volunteer to do it, with their permission. And if he considers the trees a danger (e.g., blocking motorists' view of a stop sign), he could even initiate a court suit to require the council to take remedial action.

Edited by JimLucas
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But I quickly realized that there's another kind of public service. Such stamps provide details of the history of the instrument. And however limited those historical details may be, they're far more than we have for most instruments. So yes, I think it's a public service.

Me too. Plus if the stamp says "Barleycorn Concertinas", or somesuch, it can enhance the resale value of the instrument, in that you can prove that it's been restored by an expert in the field. If an instrument has been returned to playability by an expert restorer, why shouldn't they leave their mark?

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Interesting question! I am a museum curator and heritage building professional, and current ethical codes in our business stipulate that any changes to an artifact (including heritage buildings) should be documented and identifiable. Some conservators and restorers go to the length of making the difference between old work and new work distinguishable. Typically, the would also provide an as found condition report, including photos or sketches, before beginning work, and then similar documentation of the changes they've made. As has already been said, this all becomes part of the provenance of the artifact. I would vote for the restorer's stamp, providing it does no damage.

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Interesting question! I am a museum curator and heritage building professional, and current ethical codes in our business stipulate that any changes to an artifact (including heritage buildings) should be documented and identifiable. Some conservators and restorers go to the length of making the difference between old work and new work distinguishable. Typically, the would also provide an as found condition report, including photos or sketches, before beginning work, and then similar documentation of the changes they've made. As has already been said, this all becomes part of the provenance of the artifact. I would vote for the restorer's stamp, providing it does no damage.

 

 

We had our local church painted last summer. The church is circa 1820, simple, yet very well built. The painter went up in the bell tower and painted his name and date on the beam work right above the bell. No one else in nearly 200 years had done such a thing.

 

If he had rebuild the carriage for the bell or shored up the belfry in some meaningful way it would be nice to see his name in pencil. For such a simple fix as painting the exterior I think his name is defacing the work of others.

 

So the question: ...what level of repair is a signature appropriate?

 

Randy

Edited by fiddlerjoebob
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I once had a neighbour who believed he was providing a useful community service by trimming the trees on the public road in front of his house. That is, until he was informed by the local council that they considered what he was doing to be vandalism and that, if he did not "cease and desist", he would be prosecuted for defacing public property.

 

I notice that some dealers/repairers stamp their brand and/or contact details, directly onto the wood in ink, on the inside of concertinas which pass through their hands.

 

Is this a useful community service, or are they unintentionally defacing the instruments?

 

I was brought up to believe that a good craftsman should be proud of his work, and be prepared to sign off and stamp/ mark his (or her) output.

 

I have a small 12mm dia rubber stamp, a DE monogram which I apply to the insides of the concertinas I service or restore. The ink is red so it is obvious, but not too stark against the light wood pad board. On the LH side of the stamp I note the year number currently 08; and the RH side I note the year's sequential job number. My comprehensive records of instrument history trace back to the job number YY-NN. The first job of y09 will be 09-01 etc. Re-visits to an instrument at a later date get a new job number, again noted against the stamp as before.

 

Why? I can recogise instruments that are 'mine'; I can answer questions, understand problems; and yes, manage 'after-sales' issues that can inevitable occur.

 

I see the discrete stamp as better than the big glossy sticky label, which will eventually peel off and leave a glue residue to collect dirt. I am also not ashamed to take 'credit or criticsm' for any work that I have done.

 

Big headed? perhaps, but also traceable by new owners wanting history as well as current owners wanting revenge :( , or continued service ;)

 

Dave

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Hi Guys

 

I'm with Dave Elliot on this. As a collector of old mechanical pocket watches, all of them have repair marks scratched on inside of the case cover. The marks were supposedly used while the watch was in every day use. The repairer would have a record of work that was done over the years, supposedly coded by the repairer from his records. No marks on a watch almost a hundred years old meant there was no cleaning or lubrication. There was never a thought of defacement, or harm. It was used as a time saving device since the repairer could go right to their records without too much effort.

 

I don't have a problem with marks like that. In fact, the opposite. I believe it would be a record of a well kept and repaired piece of equipment. Also a part of it's history. My furnace has a tag for service and repair dates, My car has a little book I keep with it also for oil changes and such. Airplanes owners keep maintenance records in a logbook for such purposes.

 

Thanks

Leo

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Leo, I was always told that those marks were scratched in with a pin by 'Uncle' when you popped the watch; ergo lots of numbers in the back meant that it's owners were a bit boracic (so probably wouldn't have had it serviced I suppose).

 

(I like repairers stamps inside the instrument; they don't affect it's looks and are part of the history. I hate the concept of 'honest repairs'; it's PC applied to old buildings, Bill, and your painter is an oik, Bob. Dock his pay.)

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(I like repairers stamps inside the instrument; they don't affect it's looks and are part of the history. I hate the concept of 'honest repairs'; it's PC applied to old buildings, Bill, and your painter is an oik, Bob. Dock his pay.)

 

 

I'll agree with you about the painter- a discrete pencil signature would record his work for posterity without impeding the visual appeal of the church design.

 

I don't hold with those that would advocate, for instance, using a different coloured brick from the original to do a repair, but I do think it's important to have a way of telling old work from new, at least for significant buildings and artifacts. From lurking around these forums for a few days, it appears that there is some serious scholarship being done on early concertina design and construction. This kind of research is made more difficult by undocumented, indistinguishable repairs and changes.

 

As for the tree guy......

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From lurking around these forums for a few days, it appears that there is some serious scholarship being done on early concertina design and construction. This kind of research is made more difficult by undocumented, indistinguishable repairs and changes.

What you say is true, and I am one with an interest in the history of concertinas, both as a group and individually. But I also understand that not everyone considers either documentation or historical research to be a high priority.

 

I wonder, has historical research on classic cars been similarly hindered by the fact that auto mechanics don't routinely record who they are and what they've done on each car they repair or service?
:ph34r:

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I'm pleased to report that worry about historical research in old vehicles is not usually allowed to get in the way of people having fun with them. Cars are cut and bodged about in the interests of fun and serviceability. (Among the worst history butchers are the people who would style themselves as 'restorers' amusingly.)

 

That's me, I'm afraid; more interested in having fun with yesterday's left-overs than preserving history. It's capitalism that enforces the preservation part, not me.

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With quoting corrected:

 

I'm surprised that nobody has so far mentioned how useful such internal markings can be in identifying instruments that have been lost, or stolen. On occasion I've been able to restore such instruments to their rightful owners because of them... :unsure:
Plus if the stamp says "Barleycorn Concertinas", or somesuch, it can enhance the resale value of the instrument, in that you can prove that it's been restored by an expert in the field. If an instrument has been returned to playability by an expert restorer, why shouldn't they leave their mark?

but are dealers experts in the field of repair?some may be better than others,in my opinion the best repairers are those that also make the instruments,Dipper Wheatstone Connors etc.

dealers by their very nature are out to make as a big a profit as they can,and some of them may be tempted to do a repair ,that will perhaps last short term, rather than long term.

some dealers are better repairers than others but in my experience,the best repairers are Dipper Wheatstone and Connors.

Different dealers -- and repairers/restorers -- have different natures, and reputations. That's why the stamps are helpful... so the buyer can tell who was responsible for the work and judge accordingly. Chris Algar (Barleycorn Concertinas) has a very high reputation, one which in my experience is well deserved. Likewise for Colin Dipper and Steve Dickinson. I don't have personal experience with Mr. Connor, but others have recommended him, as well as a number of others. You say "in my experience". Would I be correct in assuming that you don't have personal experience with the various North American and Australian makers and repairers?

 

Since you didn't comment yourself on the post you quoted from Stephen, I guess you just intended to emphasize it? Good on you. His is a very important point.

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I'm surprised that nobody has so far mentioned how useful such internal markings can be in identifying instruments that have been lost, or stolen. On occasion I've been able to restore such instruments to their rightful owners because of them... :unsure:

 

I was just thinking the same thing. Maybe opening up my Tedrow and using the rubber stamp with name and PO Box. Good idea?

 

Alan

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I'm surprised that nobody has so far mentioned how useful such internal markings can be in identifying instruments that have been lost, or stolen. On occasion I've been able to restore such instruments to their rightful owners because of them... :unsure:
I was just thinking the same thing. Maybe opening up my Tedrow and using the rubber stamp with name and PO Box. Good idea?

Just remember to put it a fresh stamp if you move to a new address.

 

Here in Denmark a better alternative might be name and public registration number, which doesn't ever change and can be used to track down where you live. (Not that the government would give that information to any random seeker, but I think they would forward an important message, e.g., about found property.)

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How far would you go though? If every time a concertina was opened by a dealer/ repairer to fix something, and they add a stamp - you could end up with a collection of graffiti. At what point, is it fair to add a stamp/ mark? :)

Simply blowing the dust out of a reed shouldn't count, but if an instrument has needed frequent real repairs, the presence of myriad stamps might signal a warning to a potential buyer.

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