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Early Wheatstone 56 Key


Pete Dunk
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Not really unusual for early instruments but somewhat rare.

Geoff,

 

It's a rare'un alright, but nothing like as early as the seller claims. It would appear to have originally been an Edward Chidley (i) era (1865-1902) Wheatstone, with his typical riveted reeds, and the 81 is only a batch number, indeed I have a more normal double-action riveted reed 56-key here at the moment, with the rather odd batch number 17B, and also no serial number. Unfortunately the serial number was usually only on the LH paper label at that time - so if that label is lost, you no longer have the number, and I haven't managed to find a (highly unusual) single-action 56-key treble in the surviving Wheatstone ledgers of the day, so maybe it was made after December 1891 when those finish... :(

 

It's a pity about the ghastly replacement ends somebody has put on it! :blink:

 

Edited to add Edward Chidley's dates, and note on serial number.

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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Not really unusual for early instruments but somewhat rare.

Geoff,

It's a rare'un alright, but nothing like as early as the seller claims. It would appear to have originally been an Edward Chidley (i) era Wheatstone, with his typical riveted reeds, and 81 is maybe a batch number, but I haven't managed to find a (highly unusual) single-action 56-key treble in the surviving Wheatstone ledgers of the day, so maybe it was made after December 1891 when those finish... :(

It's a pity about the ghastly replacement ends somebody has put on it! :blink:

 

The problem with those, as I perceive it, is the wrong direction of playing. They'll be selling like those legendary hot cakes, and most instruments today would have been single action, have they made them play on the pull.

Other than that, I think single action is a would-be-supreme type, because it allows for natural breathing, like while singing, and forces a player to shape the phrazes accordingly.

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Not really unusual for early instruments but somewhat rare.

Geoff,

 

It's a rare'un alright, but nothing like as early as the seller claims. It would appear to have originally been an Edward Chidley (i) era Wheatstone, with his typical riveted reeds, and 81 is maybe a batch number, but I haven't managed to find a (highly unusual) single-action 56-key treble in the surviving Wheatstone ledgers of the day, so maybe it was made after December 1891 when those finish... :(

 

It's a pity about the ghastly replacement ends somebody has put on it! :blink:

 

Since this thread seems to have superseded the one I started a couple of hours ago on the same subject, may I just repeat that I had a look at this rare beast tonight, and apart from the ends that seem to have been made by a monkey with a hacksaw, it is in remarkably good nick. Bellows and gills are sound, and there's a lovely clean set of riveted steel reeds. I wonder if anyone has seen a single-action extended treble before?

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... this thread seems to have superseded the one I started a couple of hours ago on the same subject ...

David,

 

In fact it preceded it, though only by 14 minutes! :huh:

 

It seems that tallship posted while you were busy typing... :unsure:

 

... I had a look at this rare beast tonight, and apart from the ends that seem to have been made by a monkey with a hacksaw, it is in remarkably good nick. Bellows and gills are sound, and there's a lovely clean set of riveted steel reeds.

Good to hear that the rest of it is in better nick than the ends, but even if they were original and perfect, the price would still be outrageous. :rolleyes:

 

Maybe the monkey was a frustrated playright and would rather have been given a typewriter? ;)

 

I wonder if anyone has seen a single-action extended treble before?

I, for one, haven't - it seems a strange combination...

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Oh dear, I see the seller has now amended their description saying:

 

Pre-Victorian c Nov 1836 – Genuine Item No 81

But I'm afraid the instrument is of completely different construction to one so early (I have examples), and bears a Victorian label. :(

Maybe the seller read my comment, as the description has again been amended to read:

 

Victorian – Please research before Bidding

Though, of course, Victoria didn't come to the throne until 20th June 1837, and Wheatstone's only used those "By Her Majesty's Letters Patent" labels after the granting of their 1844 Patent, and they only used those riveted steel reeds after Edward Chidley started manufacturing for them, with #18000 sold on 28th April 1865... :unsure:

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I'm still puzzled as to why Wheatstone ever built a single-action treble, given that it seems to have no advantage whatsoever over the standard push/pull arrangement. Admittedly, you can get a bellows-full of air at remarkable speed when it doesn't all have to pass through a single small orifice, and it's a surprisingly silent process too - but those are only mitigating factors. With a baritone or bass, where you may need a lot of air, and are unlikely to be playing rapid tunes, I can see the attraction, but why on earth would anyone actually choose single action in a treble?

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I'm still puzzled as to why Wheatstone ever built a single-action treble, given that it seems to have no advantage whatsoever over the standard push/pull arrangement.

In earlier years they made some single-action trebles for cheapness, but by the time this one must have been made, I'd guess it must have been a "special order" for somebody. Maybe the customer wanted to save weight, and/or only half the number of reeds to go out of tune?

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I'm still puzzled as to why Wheatstone ever built a single-action treble, given that it seems to have no advantage whatsoever over the standard push/pull arrangement.

In earlier years they made some single-action trebles for cheapness, but by the time this one must have been made, I'd guess it must have been a "special order" for somebody. Maybe the customer wanted to save weight, and/or only half the number of reeds to go out of tune?

 

 

Have you seen the cracks in the ends? "two or three buttons need attention"? Two OR Three? Or may be all four? Or, God forbid, five? Looks like it needs lots of work and single action been unusual - I'm not rushing to buy.

On the other hand, I don't see why single action is so surprizing? I'm personally surprized they didn't pick up.

Half the weight, 2/3rd the price, automatic rhythm - all is attractive.

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