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Author Topic: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons  (Read 1786 times)

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Winston Smith

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History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« on: September 04, 2015, 01:05:02 PM »

I'm entirely new to the melodeon, and I've got one of these, a one row (in D, I think) to which I have developed an extraordinary attachment. I'm busy trawling through this particular board looking for any info, and it's been great fun, so far.
This morning, I came across this statement "Stephen Chambers wrote here that he has been collaborating on a history of these boxes" and wondered if anyone can tell me more? Has Mr Chambers completed his history, has he published it anywhere on the 'net (or this site?), in short; is it available anywhere for interested parties such as myself to have a look at?
Thanks for any help,
Edward.
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 01:18:29 PM »

Stephen Chambers signs himself as Triskel on this forum. If you search by that name his every post will come up.
Hope this helps.
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triskel

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 07:07:08 PM »

I'm entirely new to the melodeon, and I've got one of these, a one row (in D, I think) to which I have developed an extraordinary attachment. I'm busy trawling through this particular board looking for any info, and it's been great fun, so far.
This morning, I came across this statement "Stephen Chambers wrote here that he has been collaborating on a history of these boxes" and wondered if anyone can tell me more? Has Mr Chambers completed his history, has he published it anywhere on the 'net (or this site?), in short; is it available anywhere for interested parties such as myself to have a look at?

Hi Edward,

I developed a great interest in the old International melodeons myself because I found them to be exceptionally good, and then discovered that, under various brand names, they were generally considered the very best available (internationally) in their day, from the 1890s up until the factory closed, about 1933.

A proposal for a book was put to me, but it's very hard to find much information at all about them (or any other private Eastern-German manufacturing firms - the old Communist GDR government having destroyed pretty-much all evidence of such "decadence"  >:( ) - so I'm still actively collecting examples of their products, from which to try to learn what they were doing.

I'm afraid it may keep me occupied for many years to come...  :(
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 12:57:13 AM by triskel »
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Theo

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 07:57:58 PM »

As it happens I've just bought one off eBay for the vast sum of £8.50. It's a two voice 10 button in C.  Somewhat battered, but I think it will play again.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 08:32:23 PM by Theo »
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Winston Smith

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 10:03:39 PM »

An expensive one then, Theo. (Or did that include the postage?)

Thanks for your reply Mr Triskel. I don't suppose that you have any inkling of whenabouts they produced a one row with an additional (purely decorative) stop, do you?

I find it a shame that these instruments are disparaged so on here. Although I am a newbie of the first, uneducated, degree; mine sounds very pleasant, even when I play it.
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triskel

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2015, 12:54:07 AM »

As it happens I've just bought one off eBay for the vast sum of £8.50. It's a two voice 10 button in C.  Somewhat battered, but I think it will play again.

That's only 'cos I haven't had an internet connection of my own for a few months Theo - but I finally managed to get one of Tesco's "dongle" thingies this week (and fibre-optic broadband is supposed to be "coming here soon"), so you might get a bit of competition on the next one!  :P
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triskel

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2015, 01:23:32 AM »

I don't suppose that you have any inkling of whenabouts they produced a one row with an additional (purely decorative) stop, do you?

Firstly, seeing that a 2-voice melodeon can only be played either on the "concert pitch" set of reeds alone, or on that set plus the (sharp-tuned) "tremolo" set, it is normal for there to be either no stop, or (commonly) a dummy stop, on the "concert pitch" set, and that applies to pretty-much ALL German-style models.

From what I can see in your avatar picture, your £7 bargain melodeon is one of the good ones, made between the late 1890s and 1933, and could be made into a very nice instrument. The earlier International ones (going back to the 1870s) are nothing-like as good.

Quote
I find it a shame that these instruments are disparaged so on here.

The International ones, and brands such as the Globe "Gold Medal" that they also made, are certainly not disparaged - in fact they are thought (by those of us who like the old boxes) very highly of.

But the vast majority of old melodeons were very cheaply made, and were sold very cheaply too. They were virtually of "toy" quality and were considered "disposable" in their day - and those models are deservedly disparaged by players...  :(
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Winston Smith

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2015, 03:52:30 AM »

Thanks for taking the time to reply with that useful info. I do appreciate it.
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David J

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2018, 01:45:27 PM »


The International ones, and brands such as the Globe "Gold Medal" that they also made, are certainly not disparaged - in fact they are thought (by those of us who like the old boxes) very highly of.

But the vast majority of old melodeons were very cheaply made, and were sold very cheaply too. They were virtually of "toy" quality and were considered "disposable" in their day - and those models are deservedly disparaged by players...  :(

I was given this one by a friend (it features commemorative 'medals' celebrating the coronation of Edward VII) and attempted to restore it. The big problem was the peculiar 'double-sided' arrangement of pallets and the flimsy actuating mechanism which was embedded in the keyboard. Attempting to replace a couple of springs caused the whole thing to break apart, so I don't think it was ever made to be repaired. A shame, because the reeds have a nice wheezy squeak to them. Anyway, it makes a pretty ornament on my storage shelves.
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Winston Smith

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Re: History of "International" branded melodeons/accodeons
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2018, 06:46:25 PM »

But that's a "Universal", David, not an "International".
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