Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: 1 2 3 [4]   Go Down

Author Topic: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates  (Read 7265 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Owen Woods

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3891
  • melodeonmusic.com
    • The website and blog of Owen Woods
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #60 on: December 08, 2014, 04:21:04 PM »

Hah! Given that I can't get the bass end to work on my current box building project I wouldn't be so sure ;)

Anyway, it's not about the key or the voices, it's about the history and the aesthetics of a particularly unique type of box that I covet.
Logged
Bergflodt D/G 4 voice, Saltarelle Bouebe D/G, Super Preciosa D/Em, Hohner Impiliput B/C+C#

Latest blog post: In Any Weather

http://melodeonmusic.com/blog

pgroff

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1345
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2017, 01:07:40 PM »

Now to discuss an early Walters that has been known for some time, but for which I'm now able to show internal photographs, numbers, and letters (initials?).  This box with 15 melody keys, 8 voices (LLMMMMMM), and 4 basses was in Hugh O'Rourke's collection and has been on Ted McGraw's page for some time. It's now labeled with Hugh's name (reversibly). I estimate its date from 1929 - 1939, probably toward the early part of that range. It has some features in common with the John McKenna 1931 Walters and the enigmatic 23-key 4 voice Walters gold-grille "D/Db" that had a fingering chart attached, labeled "1929." But it also has some features in common with the Madden box that has an internal date of 1938. One of several reasons that I think this box may be quite early: it has a variant of the "staggered double pallet" action that we see on some of the very early 6 - 8 voice Baldonis and some of the 8 voice Walters. For a 15-key box in which every reedblock has 15 reedplates per side, that staggered action results in a very tall instrument - ca 14" - although at 7" in the other bellows dimension it's not too wide. Remarkably, this instrument is very easy to manage for songs, waltzes, and some dance tunes at reasonable tempos. Maybe not reels at blazing P. J. Conlon speed . . .  First photo courtesy of Hugh O'Rourke and Ted McGraw.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 01:47:54 PM by pgroff »
Logged

pgroff

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1345
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2017, 01:14:09 PM »

A comparison of that 15-key 8 voice Walters with two other ca. 1930s Walters:
Logged

pgroff

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1345
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2017, 01:18:31 PM »

Just comparing the "1929 patent (sic)" gold-grille Walters and the big white 15 key:
Logged

pgroff

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1345
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2017, 01:27:11 PM »

This white-grille 15 key box has a variant of the alphanumeric markings that I have often found on the aluminum soundboards of early Walters, that in some cases have seemed to be a code related to the original owner's name. These markings are usually covered up by the wooden support for the grille, which has been removed in the photo below.  In this case there are the letters "J K" and also a stamped "18." For comparison, the E. F. Madden box has engraved "E F 13" ( E, F, and the 13th letter of the alphabet = M ?) and also has a stamped "1"  Possibly the stamped numbers on these early Walters refer to a model number or to a batch number, or possibly they are related to the stamped serial numbers that we see in the postwar Walters. But the stamped numbers are not always present in my experience.



Logged

Theo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9871
  • Hohner Club Too
    • The Box Place
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2017, 01:56:48 PM »

Another unrelated example of a US manufacturer using a simple letter replacement code is Indian motorcycles 1901-1953.  Their model numbers were a single digit followed by two year numbers e.g. Model 3 made in 1936 would be 336 which was converted to letters as a prefix for the serial number eg CCF1234.  Perhaps this was common in US industry?
Logged
Theo Gibb

Day job: The Box Place. Follow me on Twitter and please like my Facebook page
Night job: Sunniside Up! Ceilidh Band

pgroff

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1345
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2017, 02:13:17 PM »

Hi Theo,

Great comparison. There are many kinds of numbering and codes found in manufactured products, either to aid in the manufacture, or to keep track of inventory, or to be true "serial numbers" that correspond to chronology, or to aid the owner in recovery in case of theft, etc etc.

The stampings, scratchings, engravings, and pencilings in many Walters boxes are handmade, like the instruments themselves (in many cases). They're diverse and inconsistent.  Sometimes the entire owner's name is written or scratched, sometimes a date (or model number, or color) is written or scratched, sometimes there are stampings of various types. From a dated receipt for one of the McNulty Walters, we know that the stamped "700 series" of numbers in some handmade postwar Walters were considered "serial numbers" by Walters himself (see discussion in an earlier post above). With the E. F. Madden box I'm pretty sure the "E F 13" does refer to the original owner's initials.

Once I was shown pictures of a 1930s Walters soundboard with part of the alphanumeric engraving peeking out, partially obscured by that wooden grille support. I was able to convince my correspondent to remove the wooden piece and expose the full engraving, which was " M J 3"  Now, at first the name on the front of this accordion did not seem to fit my guess that the accordion's original owner had the initials "MJC" (M J, 3rd letter of the alphabet).   But - later, when that accordion's nameplate was removed, it was found to have a different original owner's name engraved directly on the casework celluloid of the box (that had been concealed under the later-installed nameplate). That earlier name had initials " M J G " or possibly " M J C " (the G resembles a C in the style used by Walters at that time). Still sort of a mystery, but possibly either the person who did the soundboard engraving or (oops) the person who engraved the front of the accordion misunderstood the intended name.

PG
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 02:20:52 PM by pgroff »
Logged

triskel

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2576
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #67 on: August 14, 2017, 03:24:36 PM »

Now to discuss an early Walters that has been known for some time, but for which I'm now able to show internal photographs, numbers, and letters (initials?).  This box with 15 melody keys, 8 voices (LLMMMMMM), and 4 basses was in Hugh O'Rourke's collection and has been on Ted McGraw's page for some time.

I'd be intrigued to compare it with the Iorio that Danny O'Mahony has, which was made for his grand uncle Tom Carmody. In fact (rightly or wrongly) I'd associate that "long-model" style with Iorio. And look at the shape of the keyboard ends, in comparison!

Next time I see him, with that box, I must try and get some photos of it "with the hood off"...
Logged

triskel

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2576
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #68 on: August 14, 2017, 03:36:05 PM »

With the E. F. Madden box I'm pretty sure the "E F 13" does refer to the original owner's initials.

Once I was shown pictures of a 1930s Walters soundboard with part of the alphanumeric engraving peeking out, partially obscured by that wooden grille support. I was able to convince my correspondent to remove the wooden piece and expose the full engraving, which was " M J 3"  Now, at first the name on the front of this accordion did not seem to fit my guess that the accordion's original owner had the initials "MJC" (M J, 3rd letter of the alphabet).

I'm reminded of the way Framus put the date of manufacture onto their stringed instruments, as the last 3 digits (though it's the first 3 on some earlier instruments) following a hyphen at the end of the serial number. The first two of those digits are the year, and the last is a letter of the alphabet that's said to represent the month - only, seeing that they run from A to M (so there are 13 of them!  ???) I've realised it can't represent one month as such, and (strictly speaking) it's actually a period of 4 weeks...
Logged

pgroff

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1345
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #69 on: August 14, 2017, 04:09:30 PM »

Now to discuss an early Walters that has been known for some time, but for which I'm now able to show internal photographs, numbers, and letters (initials?).  This box with 15 melody keys, 8 voices (LLMMMMMM), and 4 basses was in Hugh O'Rourke's collection and has been on Ted McGraw's page for some time.

I'd be intrigued to compare it with the Iorio that Danny O'Mahony has, which was made for his grand uncle Tom Carmody. In fact (rightly or wrongly) I'd associate that "long-model" style with Iorio. And look at the shape of the keyboard ends, in comparison!

Next time I see him, with that box, I must try and get some photos of it "with the hood off"...

Hi triskel,

It would be great to see internal details (and possible markings?) of Danny's Carmody Iorio. Or of the Lawless 11-key 1-row / 4 bass Iorio . . .

I agree, there are a lot of similarities between the early Walters and the (few known) Iorio-labeled Irish-American accordions.  I now suspect that the Eddie Dunne box might have been labeled Iorio (hard to see in the photo). Possibly also the Denis Casey box. Of course, in the pre-war years Iorio imported some instruments and parts from Italy, as well as doing some manufacture, so the picture will still be complicated. Iorio instruments are also known that have distinctive decorative features overlapping with Baldoni-Bartoli accordions (as do Majestic banjos!).

I think Danny told me that his Carmody Iorio box is 6 voice. If so, it might have a single long pallet per each of the 17 melody keys (17 pallets in a row still makes for a tall box!). Or the Carmody Iorio might have "staggered double pallets" as with the 15 key white-grille Walters we're discussing (also seen in the 6 voice F. Likely Baldoni box and the unlabeled 6 voice McAleer "Baldoni-like" box that closely resembles the Likely box). Or the Carmody Iorio might have one of the variants of the "in-line double pallet" action (2 pallets per melody button, but lined up, as in the Corbett 8 voice Walters, or some 8 voice Baldoni-Bartolis like the "Jack" box). Or something else!  They were experimenting with many approaches to action design for the Irish boxes during this time period.

Johnny Caples had a big box like this also - similar size, bass layout, and keyboard profile, but 19 keys I think, and I think it was labeled Baldoni-Bartoli. My copy of the photo is hard to read (same box is shown in a different photo of Johnny and Billy Caples, in "See you at the hall").  Here's one photo of Johnny Caples and that accordion, next to Joe Derrane with his smaller, more modern 1948 Baldoni-Bartoli:

http://bcm.bc.edu/issues/fall_2004/images/ll_irishmusic.jpg

PG
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 08:32:43 PM by pgroff »
Logged

triskel

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2576
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #70 on: August 17, 2017, 03:36:49 AM »

... the E. F. Madden box has engraved "E F 13" ( E, F, and the 13th letter of the alphabet = M ?) and also has a stamped "1"  Possibly the stamped numbers on these early Walters refer to a model number or to a batch number, or possibly they are related to the stamped serial numbers that we see in the postwar Walters. But the stamped numbers are not always present in my experience.

My friend Anders has a very loud 8-voice, 1.3-row Baldoni with the same grille as that Madden Walters, which we think was probably made by Iorio too.

You can hear it in action here: Clare Lancers Set. Figure 3
Logged

pgroff

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1345
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #71 on: August 17, 2017, 04:24:26 AM »


My friend Anders has a very loud 8-voice, 1.3-row Baldoni with the same grille as that Madden Walters, which we think was probably made by Iorio too.


Hi triskel,

Ah yes, neat box that I heard came from Luke O'Malley.

Those two grilles are nearly the same - the black Baldoni-Bartoli 13 key has  a little "more elaborated" version of the pattern, in part since the entire instrument is larger (e.g. study the semicircles, number of diamond shapes, etc), and the harp is flipped.  But it does seem to be based on the same design template.  Maybe the "flipping" was an attempt to provide a little differentiation between instruments (or just grilles?*) made by a common source, but destined for different retailers? In either case, that design is uncommon in my experience. Other Walters most similar to the Madden box have gold-sparkle celluloid grilles with a central lyre and the Walters name (similar to the 23 key Walters shown in this thread, but often decorated with black, red, and/or green colors and/or rhinestones). There were variant versions of that "lyre and lettering" Walters grille pattern too (even variants of the basic cutout, before it was decorated) - see the Ed Fitzgerald and Corbett boxes here: http://www.tedmcgraw.com/Walters_Pre_50s.html

* There do seem to have been some specialist grille (or "gallery") makers operating in the 1920s and 1930s. Old price lists for accordion parts show that you could order such a grille (either simple or fancy) sized to fit your accordion, possibly because that was a part that often needed replacing, when made in fragile celluloid. So when we see a particular grille design, it's worth considering whether  that work could have been contracted out, rather than done "in house" by the maker of the accordion.

PG
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 11:41:22 AM by pgroff »
Logged

triskel

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2576
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #72 on: August 21, 2017, 04:50:45 AM »

Once I was shown pictures of a 1930s Walters soundboard with part of the alphanumeric engraving peeking out, partially obscured by that wooden grille support. I was able to convince my correspondent to remove the wooden piece and expose the full engraving, which was " M J 3"  Now, at first the name on the front of this accordion did not seem to fit my guess that the accordion's original owner had the initials "MJC" (M J, 3rd letter of the alphabet).   But - later, when that accordion's nameplate was removed, it was found to have a different original owner's name engraved directly on the casework celluloid of the box (that had been concealed under the later-installed nameplate). That earlier name had initials " M J G " or possibly " M J C " (the G resembles a C in the style used by Walters at that time). Still sort of a mystery, but possibly either the person who did the soundboard engraving or (oops) the person who engraved the front of the accordion misunderstood the intended name.

I believe I had that very instrument in my hands tonight Paul!

Was the stuck-on name Simon McArdle? If so, it's an unusually small instrument, in green, and the name originally engraved onto the casework celluloid is M.J.Creaney, or is it Greaney?

I'll post photos tomorrow.
Logged

pgroff

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1345
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #73 on: August 21, 2017, 01:26:11 PM »



I believe I had that very instrument in my hands tonight Paul!

Was the stuck-on name Simon McArdle? If so, it's an unusually small instrument, in green, and the name originally engraved onto the casework celluloid is M.J.Creaney, or is it Greaney?

I'll post photos tomorrow.
Hi triskel,

That's it . . . didn't want to share more details myself, since I actually don't know the owner - I had the photos via Lars of this forum.

I think the engraver who did the front of the box probably was intentionally marking it "Greaney."  We see that same "somewhat C-like G" on other Walters from the period.*   But maybe that was a misunderstanding and he was supposed to engrave Creaney! Or maybe there was a misunderstanding of the name when the alphanumeric code "M J 3" was engraved on the soundboard.  Or maybe that code just didn't mean "M J C"

Interesting to compare that box with the Ed. Fitzgerald Walters (especially) and the Corbett Walters. The Fitzgerald box does have that unusual german melodeon style bass box, but leaving aside that detail it's very akin to the McArdle / Greaney / Creaney. Both them are small with green celluloid and red trim, and have decoration with no rhinestones. *See also the "G" in Fitzgerald, compare with the "C" in Corbett. All three of these boxes may possibly have the same kind of switch lever behind the keyboard (not sure about that) and celluloid on the keyboard back, which are distinctive features among 1930s Walters.

Fitzgerald box (already discussed earlier in this topic - thanks to Kimric Smythe who restored it):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/26639011@N06/5355444537/in/photolist-9af45D-9aidbs

Corbett box:
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,11281.msg143508.html#msg143508


PG
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 01:31:54 PM by pgroff »
Logged

triskel

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2576
Re: Walters Irish-American accordions -- numbers and dates
« Reply #74 on: August 21, 2017, 02:45:38 PM »

Was the stuck-on name Simon McArdle? If so, it's an unusually small instrument, in green, and the name originally engraved onto the casework celluloid is M.J.Creaney, or is it Greaney?

I'll post photos tomorrow.

Now that I've caught up on a bit of sleep (it's been a hectic few days, involving multiple counties/countries/cities/towns/trains/planes/boats! ::)), I've downloaded my images from the camera and edited them.

By the way, this is the Walters that Charlie Harris borrowed to play in the early 1930's dance scene in the film "Jimmy's Hall" (and Colm Gannon played my Globe "Gold Medal" in the 1920's one).
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 05:59:25 PM by triskel »
Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 [4]   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.