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Author Topic: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates  (Read 7258 times)

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pgroff

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2014, 07:19:33 AM »

I mentioned that Ted McGraw has made public some photos of Walters accordions on his website.  Proofreading the captions and organization of these materials that have been painstakingly assembled (and generously donated in many cases) is still in progress.  So I believe there will be some changes in the captions and presentation of the pages.  But there is a lot of exciting news for the public, who may not have had access to some of these images before.

One important example is the original Walters receipt for Ann "Ma" McNulty's 11-key 1-row box in Bb, dated Feb. 8, 1950.  At present, that receipt is shown at the top of this page:

http://www.tedmcgraw.com/Walters_McNulty.html

Note that Walters lists this accordion as "Serial No.  754."

I think this is a very important indication of the significance that Walters himself attached to the numbers in the 700s that I have described above, as seen stamped on the aluminum soundboards of some boxes ca. 1948 - early 1950s.

This accordion has not been rediscovered in recent years so any more news about it would be welcome!  I think this is not the 10-key square-button Walters that is currently shown in two photos on Ted's page (as of January 11, 2014 when I write this).  I think the 11-key Walters No. 754 in Bb is the one that is shown in Fig.  6 (P. 462)  of Ted's article on the McNulty family, which can be accessed here:
http://www.tedmcgraw.com/McNulty_Family.html

PG

Edited several months later to add: Ted has now fixed the page so that photos of both of the McNulty Walters boxes are shown -- neither accordion has yet been located by us in recent years.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2014, 02:27:50 PM by pgroff »
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pgroff

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2014, 11:33:25 PM »

Hi all,

Well, this one is really special, and has been kept a bit quiet for a few months.

But by permission of Seán Gilrane, producer of the new re-issue cd of recordings from the brilliant flute player John McKenna . . .

. . . here is John McKenna's 1931 Walters.

(photo courtesy of Seán Gilrane and Alan Morrisroe).

The cd and booklet are available here:

http://www.johnmckenna.ie/Release1

« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 11:50:57 PM by pgroff »
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komat

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #42 on: June 25, 2014, 11:43:11 PM »

That's beautiful
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mory

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2014, 08:26:33 AM »

Hi Paul,
probably not the right place so apologies, but kenakordeon posted this the other day from a private collection, do you think there is a possible manufacture relationship with some of the early one row American Irish boxes.
All the Best mory
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pgroff

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2014, 12:42:25 PM »

Hi mory,

Yes - and no --  I'll jot down a quick answer for you here and edit it later for detail and evidence, when I have more time.

1) Overall style and materials of that box (a chromatic with piano keys nearest the grille, I think this may be Frosini system) are related

2) That shop is known to have actually sold several Irish-american boxes

3) The double flags and eagle decoration were a reasonably common decorative motif and are known both from piano accordions and from Irish-American accordions.  There was one design in particular of two flags and eagle that is found on the grilles of some piano accordions by Iorio, Butti, and others, usually colored in with two US flags, but colored in with the Irish tricolour and a US flag on the Carmody box -- same underlying celluloid pattern.  That is different from the pattern on the instrument you mention here.

4) It looks to me like the current grille of that box is a chimera, made up of two separate pieces.  One (or both) of those pieces may be unoriginal to the accordion.  That piece (called the "gallery" in the 1920s) is fairly fragile when made up out of solid celluloid and often broken, then replaced.

More later.

PG
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mory

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #45 on: June 26, 2014, 07:53:57 PM »

Thanks Paul
look forward to the "edit" I guess the ends of the keyboard and front panel inlay were suggestive to me and the later grill as you say. Eye sights so bad at the moment can't make out the script under the flags at all but I know I've seen this basic design before. AtB mory
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pgroff

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #46 on: December 07, 2014, 02:15:08 PM »

Hi all,

Bumping up this thread in case the member who recently bought a "Butti" box on ebay would like to add info and photos here.

This was the auction:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/A-BUTTI-amp-SONS-SMALL-ITALIAN-ACCORDION-MID-1900-039-S-/271678764576

Note that the box resembles some of the 1940s - early 1950s Walters boxes, especially those with the serial numbers in the 700s mentioned above.  But the leaflets of the engraving on this Butti are "retuse" as botanists say -- they are each indented at the tip.  This is a style of engraving that I associate with Irish-American boxes sold in the mid 1950s or later.*  As well, there are no Irish or US flags in the engraving, so it is possible that the engraving on this Butti was intended to have " foliage / musical" themes (and specific shapes borrowed from the tradition of the Irish-American engraving, or the habits of the engraver) but may not necessarily have been intended to project Irish-American identity.  We tend to call the leaves engraved on the Irish-American boxes "shamrocks" -- but in fact they aren't too different from other stereotypic patterns of vine / leaf / floral engraving often used in decorating accordions (and banjos, etc) in the twentieth century.

Having seen the auction photos, I predicted that this box might be numbered, and with a number greater than 763 (No. 763 is a Walters with the earlier style of leaflet), and dating from the mid-1950s.  The new owner tells me that this A. Butti box is in fact numbered, with a stamp on the aluminum soundboard and penciled numbers on the bellows frames:  805.

PG

* Though not all of those later Walters boxes have the retuse leaflets, the earlier boxes seem never to have them (in the central engraving surrounding the lyre).
« Last Edit: December 07, 2014, 08:23:26 PM by pgroff »
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hickory-wind

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2014, 03:14:26 PM »

Keyboard, levers and bellows frame all black walnut. All in excellent shape except the engraved keyboard plate. 3 of the button return springs are broken. More info and pictures soon.

Scott
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hickory-wind

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2014, 10:49:37 PM »

Photos of A. Butti & Son button accordion.

Six voice LLMMMM key of D with switch for low reeds.
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hickory-wind

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2014, 10:58:56 PM »

Black walnut for many parts including keyboard, levers, front grill holder blocks.
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hickory-wind

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #50 on: December 07, 2014, 11:02:55 PM »

Black walnut bellows frames. Several broken lever return springs.
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hickory-wind

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #51 on: December 07, 2014, 11:05:11 PM »

Bellows in excellent condition. Black walnut reedblock bases.
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hickory-wind

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #52 on: December 07, 2014, 11:09:00 PM »

Chiclet buttons & numbered levers. Keyboard cover is in 30 pieces, pushed together for this photo.
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hickory-wind

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #53 on: December 07, 2014, 11:10:07 PM »

Brief demo video here:
http://youtu.be/WyTDtoTfo0U

Foam rubber chunks under levers with broken springs as temporary fix.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2014, 11:15:30 PM by hickory-wind »
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Owen Woods

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #54 on: December 08, 2014, 12:11:44 AM »

Nice! Shame about the fingerplate, but it wouldn't be difficult to get one fabricated. I'm still hoping for a 4+v 1.4 row square buttoned 4 bass D/C#. In my dreams...
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pgroff

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2014, 12:13:44 AM »

Thanks Scott!

No doubt in my mind that your Butti was made by the same guy who built many of the 1940s - 50s Walters.

Ukebert -- boxes close to the one you describe have been showing up several times per year (more commonly 15 key than 14 melody keys, but close enough). Have you been in touch with Ray?

In any case, once you're established in the working world & on a payroll for a few years, if it's still a priority for you to find a nice 15-key, I'm absolutely sure that you'll have your chance. You might first have to do as many of us did, to let a few go by with regret when we couldn't afford them. Then when the time comes you might perhaps make a sacrifice by selling something else that may be precious to you -- but a little less important than the one you seek.  Or, in time you may play a few of the models that you think you want . . .  and you might realize that, in reality, they have drawbacks. 

I myself like the 13 key and 15 key boxes, but they wouldn't suit everyone. ;)

PG
« Last Edit: December 08, 2014, 12:26:55 AM by pgroff »
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hickory-wind

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2014, 03:46:57 AM »

Nice! Shame about the fingerplate, but it wouldn't be difficult to get one fabricated. I'm still hoping for a 4+v 1.4 row square buttoned 4 bass D/C#. In my dreams...

How about a Baldoni Bartoli 6V 1.5 row D/C#? No need to dream- it could be yours.

Love to hear it on your new album:)

Scott
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Lars

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2014, 10:09:27 AM »

Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures and desciptions! I had a low bid, but was quickly pushed out of the game - it's nice to know it went to someone who is going to work on it, and is able to get it going again.
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Owen Woods

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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2014, 01:16:46 PM »

Nice! Shame about the fingerplate, but it wouldn't be difficult to get one fabricated. I'm still hoping for a 4+v 1.4 row square buttoned 4 bass D/C#. In my dreams...

How about a Baldoni Bartoli 6V 1.5 row D/C#? No need to dream- it could be yours.

Love to hear it on your new album:)

Scott

Yup, that's the sort of thing! Unfortunately for me though I have no money whatsoever (genuinely no money whatsoever) :(
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Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #59 on: December 08, 2014, 01:56:25 PM »


Yup, that's the sort of thing!

The 13-15 button layout is really a nice way to get more or less chromatic scales out of a 6 voice instrument without having too bulky an instrument. Thus the reason I went for that very thing when I made my first box last year (less than 30 cms in height but still with all pallets in a row) - hopefully the reeds will soon get there, though 15 months of delays and more broken promises than I can count from the reedmaker suggests otherwise... With your CNC and laser gizmos and skills, I'm sure you could whip one of these out in no time.
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