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Author Topic: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons  (Read 8260 times)

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Ranzo

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(I'm sure this info exists somewhere, but the search for "Made in Germany" is not very productive! I'll settle for a link to a prior discussion if there is one.)

What does a "Made in Germany" label indicate about the date of these? I suppose there is some relationship with the changing political borders and sentiments. And I've considered that a little bit...

...Yet it's not immediately obvious why an "Imperial Accordeon" I have would say "Made in Germany." Assuming it's a Kalbe...and Kalbe ended with Hohner takeover in 1912 (?), it should date from before then - but would that carry a "Made in Germany"?

I have seen Kalbe "Imperial Accordeons" in the old catalogs (e.g. circa 1890) and they had the same badge only without the "Made in Germany."

Page 71 of this catalog, for example, has #1155, which is similar to the one (in disrepair) that I have.
https://archive.org/stream/illustratedcatal00cbru#page/70/mode/2up

Am I right in guessing the accordeon in question is probably from the 1920s, and the Kalbe thing is a red herring? It does look quite old-fashioned (turn of century) though!

I also have an Eagle from the 1920s (presumably), also with "Made in Germany" on the badge...which makes sense.

EDIT:
Here's a couple photos of the one I'm wondering about (though I'd like to know in general, too).

« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 01:10:34 PM by Ranzo »
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Ziachmusi/Louise

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 01:56:45 PM »

"Made in" labels :-


The label was originally introduced in Britain by the Merchandise Marks Act 1887,[1] − The label was originally introduced in Britain by the Merchandise Marks Act 1887,[1] to mark foreign produce more obviously, as foreign manufactures had been falsely marking inferior goods with the marks of renowned British manufacturing companies and importing them into the United Kingdom. Most of these were found to be originating from Germany, whose government had introduced a protectionist policy to legally prohibit the import of goods in order to build up domestic industry (Merchandise Marks Act - Oxford University Press)   Care of Wikipedia

So the made in label means that it's any age as from 1887.

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triskel

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 05:13:09 PM »

So the made in label means that it's any age as from 1887.

Though plenty of old Melodeons (that were made in that region) say "Made in Saxony" or "Made in Germany" up until the post World War 2 era when it changed to "Made in USSR occupied Germany" and then "Made in DDR" or "Made in GDR".  ???
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triskel

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 06:29:28 PM »

... Kalbe ended with Hohner takeover in 1912 (?), it should date from before then ...

The production of Kalbe accordions didn't end with their takeover by Hohner - in fact Hohner continued to produce accordion and harmonica models from the firms they took over into the 1930s, usually still bearing the names of those firms, and some of the harmonicas are still in production today.

But I think your Kalbe was quite possibly made before the takeover.
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Ranzo

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 11:01:49 PM »

Thanks for the replies.

Ziachmusi/Louise, you have me thinking now whether there was some difference in the British and American markets. The catalog illustrations, without "Made in Germany," are from the U.S. They have a gap / blank area on the badges precisely where my "accordeon" and others I have seen has the M in G stamp. Perhaps the space was left open if going to USA or stamped if it was going to England?

triskel, if I am interpreting what you're saying correctly, you mean that "Made in Germany" (and possibly "Made in Saxony") might have been seen on accordions throughout the pre-WW2 era. In other words, the pre-WW1, during WW1, and between-wars periods did not necessarily call for different labels, or...?

I happened on a post of a Cajun accordion message board once (I forget what I was looking up! I'm not a member) and some member(s) were ridiculing the seller of an online auction for claiming the "Made in Germany"-marked box being sold was pre-WW1.

The particular box in my photos is marked also with:
GOLDENE STAATS MEDAILLE
1888/9
D.R. PATENT NO. 58249

The (German) patent number, I believe, just marks the "Imperial" model, whose patent was applied for in Germany in 1888 and in Britain and USA in 1889.

The rest, I suppose, is just saying the model won a "prize" at the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition, 1888-1889.
http://books.google.com/books?id=MoYDAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA125&dq=kalbe+accordeon&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_Pm9UvLtJMH1oASG4IHwAw&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=kalbe%20accordeon&f=false

I don't suppose the date of 1888/89 actually says much...beyond the continued desire to brag about the prize years later.

(Sorry if this topic is partly drifted into the "Makes and Models" category.)
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triskel

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 09:40:51 AM »

Ziachmusi/Louise, you have me thinking now whether there was some difference in the British and American markets. The catalog illustrations, without "Made in Germany," are from the U.S. They have a gap / blank area on the badges precisely where my "accordeon" and others I have seen has the M in G stamp. Perhaps the space was left open if going to USA or stamped if it was going to England?

In my experience of actual instruments by Kalbe (and their twin anchors' and "Imperial Accordeon" trade marks, and the bellows fasteners, confirm that yours is one) the bellows-frame corners have either nothing at all, or the full stamping with the trade marks and Made in Germany on them, and I've got the latter on a 1.2 row one that I bought from an eBay seller in the United States. I'd pay more heed to actual instruments, when they're available, than catalogue illustrations.

Quote
triskel, if I am interpreting what you're saying correctly, you mean that "Made in Germany" (and possibly "Made in Saxony") might have been seen on accordions throughout the pre-WW2 era. In other words, the pre-WW1, during WW1, and between-wars periods did not necessarily call for different labels

Yes, exactly. In fact, during that period, German manufacturers could be quite inconsistent about whether they marked their instruments with the name of the country, or that of the State, they were made in - so that (for example) I have Hohners made a decade before World War 1 that say "Made in Germany" and instruments built by them in the mid 1920s (for a Scottish firm) that say "Made in Wuerttemberg" - but usually it's always been "Made in Germany" on a Hohner.  ???

Quote
The (German) patent number, I believe, just marks the "Imperial" model, whose patent was applied for in Germany in 1888 and in Britain and USA in 1889.

"Imperial Accordeon" was a Kalbe trade mark (registered 1st October 1886 in Britain) rather than any specific accordion model - in fact I have "Imperial" on a concertina they made too! The 1889 British Patent is for "tremolo valves" (a "vox-humana" mechanism).

Quote
I don't suppose the date of 1888/89 actually says much...beyond the continued desire to brag about the prize years later.

You've only got to look at a modern Hohner "Marine Band" harmonica to see them still bragging today about medals they won as long ago as 1871, 1873, 1876 and 1881...
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 05:20:02 PM »

Well I suppose if in the past you have won the awards, what's wrong with using them in your adverts.
   Unless you are a certain Disk Jockey etc. Etc.
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Ebor_fiddler

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 05:33:58 PM »

Just a pedant. Before 1919, "Germany" was not in reality a single state, but a collection of Principalities, Kingdoms and Duchies, under the Emperor Wilhelm II (Kaiser Bill), so a melodeon manufacturer could properly describe his instruments as "Made In Germany", "Made in (eg) Saxony" or even "Empire Made"!
 :neigh:
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triskel

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 06:38:22 PM »

Just a pedant. Before 1919, "Germany" was not in reality a single state, but a collection of Principalities, Kingdoms and Duchies, under the Emperor Wilhelm II (Kaiser Bill), so a melodeon manufacturer could properly describe his instruments as "Made In Germany", "Made in (eg) Saxony" or even "Empire Made"!
 :neigh:

Whether that is correct or not, it doesn't seem to matter much as a general dating aid for melodeons, since markings such as "Made In Germany", "Best German manufacture" or "Manufactured in Germany" are commonplace on instruments built prior to the First World War, and it doesn't explain the 1925 example that I cited of Hohner stamping "Made in Wuerttemberg" onto "Wilkinson's Excelsior" melodeons (which were launched in that year), made for A.H.Wilkinson & Co. Ltd. of Glasgow.

Whilst it was to meet foreign (not national) legislation requirements that German (and other) manufacturers were supposed to be marking their exported goods with the "country of origin" in the first place, but they don't seem to have been consistent in doing so. But maybe there's more to learn about the practices of specific manufacturers... ???
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triskel

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 07:01:39 PM »

Well I suppose if in the past you have won the awards, what's wrong with using them in your adverts.

Yes indeed, but they don't really reflect on what is being produced more than 140 years later, and they're not much use as a "dating aid" either - in fact such dates have been known to lead to outrageous claims of antiquity by eBay sellers.

Quote
   Unless you are a certain Disk Jockey etc. Etc.

His OBE is an insult to those who have deserved theirs...  >:(
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Ranzo

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 01:20:11 PM »

Quote
In my experience of actual instruments by Kalbe [,,,] the bellows-frame corners have either nothing at all, or the full stamping with the trade marks and Made in Germany on them, and I've got the latter on a 1.2 row one that I bought from an eBay seller in the United States. I'd pay more heed to actual instruments, when they're available, than catalogue illustrations.

Point taken. Interestingly enough though, this model (Ebay) has no "Made in Germany"...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Imperial-Accordion-Made-In-Germany-Wood-Frame-Works/111216303732
...and it looks quite like #1100 of the Bruno & Son (1890) catalogue.
https://archive.org/stream/illustratedcatal00cbru#page/70/mode/2up

(That is, aside from the fact that someone has reassembled it backwards.)
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triskel

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 03:45:55 PM »

Point taken. Interestingly enough though, this model (Ebay) has no "Made in Germany"...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Imperial-Accordion-Made-In-Germany-Wood-Frame-Works/111216303732
...and it looks quite like #1100 of the Bruno & Son (1890) catalogue.
https://archive.org/stream/illustratedcatal00cbru#page/70/mode/2up

Yes, I don't think I've come across one with those corner plates before, but I'd already dated it to c.1890 from looking at the eBay photos (based on features of the design), before I continued reading and saw the date of the Bruno catalogue - I've got a "Universal Accordion" in a similar style.

But the problem with catalogues is that the plates/illustrations in them (which were expensive to produce) can be many years out of date and totally misleading, and what was actually produced can be markedly different from the earlier "artist's impression".

Though Kalbe seem to have been dominant in Australia at that time, and were big in America (major reasons why Hohner took them over, as part of their plan for world domination), I don't think they had much of a share of the British Isles market in 1890, when Universal (Pitzschler) Accordions were the ones being sold by the biggest sellers, Campbell's of Glasgow (who  sold huge quantities of melodeons by mail order). It was only in the early 1900s that Campbell's switched to Kalbe and we started to see a lot of them - only those ones didn't have anything stamped on the bellows corners - in fact they don't have Kalbe's name or any maker's trade mark on them at all (only a Campbell's plate nailed on front), nor are they marked with the "country of origin" - so does that make them "illegal immigrants"?  ???  :o
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Ranzo

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2014, 12:18:25 AM »

Quote
But the problem with catalogues is [...]

Hey hey, I said point taken!  (:)

My reason for re-introducing the catalogue is just to suggest that they weren't complete fancy—given the evidence of the matching (ebay) accordion itself. And if your knowledge from examining the features of the instruments at so-and-so time (e.g. c.1890) is corroborated by the catalogue's date, then there may be some indication that thoughts are on the right track.

Going back to your very helpful statement above, triskel, that the "Made in Germany" label doesn't (so far) seem to restrict these accordions to any well-defined "era"...and I know that is based on your very extensive firsthand examination of many accordions... Would you be willing to conjecture that there was a less-defined time when the "Made in Germany" labels started to appear - the knowledge of which can lend itself to dating?

I do realize that I/we were talking about "Made in Germany" generally, and now I have sort of shifted to Kalbe!

Do you have / have you seen Kalbes that you have otherwise (i.e. based on other, more reliable characteristics) dated to 1886-90, and do these have "Made in Germany" stamped on? If not, then it opens that possibility (pending more wood for the fire) that the MiG label started at some later date to-be-determined.
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triskel

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2015, 03:34:46 AM »

Here's an interesting article on country of origin labelling, from the perspective of an American antique dealer: Country of Origin as a Dating Tool
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Ranzo

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Re: "Made in Germany" label on old style (~1880s-1920s) accordeons
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2015, 11:45:45 AM »

Very helpful, triskel. Thank you!
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