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Author Topic: Anonymous english concertina  (Read 725 times)

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Bill the Farmer

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Anonymous english concertina
« on: August 01, 2017, 11:41:18 AM »

A neighbour across the road has acquired what he called a Victorian squeezebox. When he showed it to me it's an English concertina similar to this one ANTIQUE CIRCA 1914 LACHENAL & Co 48 BUTTON ENGLISH CONCERTINA, but possibly newer. However there is no label on either end, the middle two rows of buttons have the notes carved into them (inverse embossing - whatever you call that), there are a couple of red buttons and the accidentals are black. There are a few notes that need a bit of TLC, I didn't try them all. The bellows are in good condition with nice bellows papers and airtight. It comes in a wooden hexagonal box with a hinged lid.

I said off the top of my head it was probably a Lachenal English concertina and there might be a label inside one of the ends, but when I looked online, I couldn't find a concertina with no label apart from modern ones. Have I told him a load of old cobblers?
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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 12:01:48 PM »

A neighbour across the road has acquired what he called a Victorian squeezebox. When he showed it to me it's an English concertina similar to this one ANTIQUE CIRCA 1914 LACHENAL & Co 48 BUTTON ENGLISH CONCERTINA, but possibly newer. However there is no label on either end, the middle two rows of buttons have the notes carved into them (inverse embossing - whatever you call that), there are a couple of red buttons and the accidentals are black. There are a few notes that need a bit of TLC, I didn't try them all. The bellows are in good condition with nice bellows papers and airtight. It comes in a wooden hexagonal box with a hinged lid.

I said off the top of my head it was probably a Lachenal English concertina and there might be a label inside one of the ends, but when I looked online, I couldn't find a concertina with no label apart from modern ones. Have I told him a load of old cobblers?

From your description it sounds very much like a Lachenal English concertina. Quite often the label is missing after this length of time (it's only paper/thin card). The coloured buttons with the inscribed note names are commonly characteristic of the lower-end range of Lachenal concertinas. These were made in their thousands back in the day. The hexagonal wooden box also is typical of Lachenal.

You might get more information over at concertina.net if you haven't already posted there.

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Bill the Farmer

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 02:15:52 PM »

Thanks for responding, I thought someone on here would know more than me.

The reason I mentioned the lack of label is that there is no oval cutout in either of the ends for the label to show through. I haven't posted on concertina.net because I don't have an account and don't really want yet another set of login details to forget. I shall have to get the neighbour to show it me again and try taking the ends off. Perhaps the duff notes just need some dust removing.
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Bill of Old Shoreham Town
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triskel

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 04:45:18 PM »

The reason I mentioned the lack of label is that there is no oval cutout in either of the ends for the label to show through.

If you've remembered rightly, that could be a description of an early one, from before Lachenal even started making, whilst most English concertinas had the sort of buttons you're describing.

Put up a photo and I might be able to tell you what it is.
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Rob2Hook

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 06:50:57 PM »

Wheatstone "student" models were similar, with all the Cs in red and the outer rows black.  I don't recall ever seeing the buttons inscribed with their notes, though, nor one without the oval fretwork for the label.  Also came in a hexagonal wooden box with a leather strap handle and usually missing the key for the lock.

Rob.
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Bill the Farmer

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 07:13:31 PM »

Put up a photo and I might be able to tell you what it is.

I took the ends off, no clue to the manufacturer, but lots of advertising by the shop, J J Vickers, 82 Royal Hill Greenwich, LONDON SE, including a photo of a distinguished looking gent. Serial number 22936 on the ends and the reed pans both ends. It needs new valves, some are missing and some of the pads have holes chewed in them! And I don't understand how you get at the other side of the reed pans.

I've put a set of photos on Flickr - English Concertina because of the limit here.

Also came in a hexagonal wooden box with a leather strap handle and usually missing the key for the lock.

The leather strap handle is broken off and the key is missing.
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Bill of Old Shoreham Town
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 07:35:23 PM »

One tell-tale sign is the alignment of the three screws in the fingerslide. Wheatsone concertinas have all three in line, Lachenal always had the center screw slightly higher than the other two which this one has. All this tells you is that it's not a Wheatstone, it may well be Lachenal but other makers may have offset the centre screw too, I simply don't know.
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triskel

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 08:20:14 PM »

Serial number 22936 on the ends and the reed pans both ends.

That sounds like a Lachenal, or a Wheatstone, number from the second half of the 19th century.

Quote
I've put a set of photos on Flickr - English Concertina because of the limit here.

I'm afraid I have internet problems at the moment and can't see them there. I've given up after an hour of trying.  :(
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 10:33:53 PM by triskel »
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 08:34:38 PM »

If I may make so bold: (the arrow is mine)
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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 08:48:01 PM »

If I may make so bold: (the arrow is mine)

Thanks for that, you beat me to it, and I missed the oval hole for the label - can't see for looking  :-[
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Bill of Old Shoreham Town
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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 09:05:51 PM »

Looks like a Lachenal to me. The bellows papers are Lachenal design too. Also the serial number in 5 figures, supports the idea of a almost mass-produced instrument, again pointing to Lachenal.

Finally, looking at the zoomed in view of this photo the lever arms visible through the fretwork show a 'hook and lever' type action pivot - typical of Lachenal, whereas Wheatstones have a superior riveted action pivot
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folkloristmark

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2017, 09:11:43 PM »

If its from vickers its most likely a latchenal
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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2017, 10:09:00 PM »

Hi Bill, I have a Lachenal almost identical to your photos, mine still carries the correct Lachenal label, as does the box. The serial number of mine is 59018 which I am told dates it around 1915. My keys are, as yours inscribed with the note letters, the C keys being red. I believe the keys are made from bone.
To get to the other side of the reed pan insert a finger in center of the pan taking care to stay clear of the inside reeds, and, using your thumb to gently push on the outside case edges pull the reed plate out from the casing, it is a tight push fit without glue or fixings of any kind. The individual reeds may then be withdrawn from the edges of the reed plate, they fit in dovetail tapers. As you may be aware the gaskets on all the edges are chamoise leather, take all care not to pull them off or disturb them. Take careful note of the way the reed beds fit and refit them correctly. Using either a steel rule or screwdriver very gently abrade all gasket surfaces before refitting. It goes without saying these old instruments deserve respect and love, if in any doubt leave it alone and refer to one of the respected fettelers on this forum.
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triskel

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2017, 10:36:12 PM »

If I may make so bold: (the arrow is mine)

Thanks Malcolm - yes, THOSE holes each side...  ;)

A cheap brass-reeded Lachenal model No. 3 then, from about 1878, that looks like it never got played. Whilst somebody has removed not only the Lachenal label out of the right hand oval, but also the Lachenal name from the reed pan labels too, to deliberately hide the maker.

It would have taken Wheatstone's another 20-odd years to reach that serial number.

If its from vickers its most likely a latchenal

Actually, there are surviving J. J. Vickers price lists that contain nearly as many Wheatstone's as Lachenal's.
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2017, 10:43:46 PM »

Here's a link to a restored Lachenal label I created some years ago now. There used to be a permanent link on the Concertina.net website but most of that (with the exception of the Forum) is closed down now.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk137/p_m_dunk/Labels/lach_label_plus_border.jpg

Save
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 10:50:48 PM by Pete Dunk »
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Bill the Farmer

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2017, 02:15:44 PM »

Thanks very much for all the informative responses. I've put this page and the Flickr album page up on my neighbour's Mac for him so he can see what people have written. The reason I missed the oval cutout was that I was looking for a oval blank place where the label would have been, not realizing it would have been stuck to the back of the fretwork. I've never handled or taken apart an English concertina before, it was very interesting to compare the build quality, with all the pristine chamois gaskets to, say, a modern Chinese Hohner. And Lachenal were turning them out in their thousands.
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Bill of Old Shoreham Town
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triskel

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2017, 09:00:28 PM »

I've put this page and the Flickr album page up on my neighbour's Mac for him so he can see what people have written.

And if he, or anybody else, would like to read up on Louis Lachenal and his revolutionary development work for Wheatstone's before setting up as a manufacturer in his own right, and the eventual takeover of the Lachenal firm by Wheatstone's 75 years later - there are a couple of papers online that I can thoroughly recommend:

Louis Lachenal: “Engineer and Concertina Manufacturer” (Part 1)

Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production and Serial Numbers

Quote
I've never handled or taken apart an English concertina before, it was very interesting to compare the build quality, with all the pristine chamois gaskets to, say, a modern Chinese Hohner. And Lachenal were turning them out in their thousands.

The Chinese Hohner would be the equivalent of one of the very cheap German concertinas that were still on the market when I started out, and even the very cheapest English-made concertina was of vastly superior quality to them. But then, it was also a lot more expensive...
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2017, 12:28:00 AM »

Here's a link to a restored Lachenal label I created some years ago now. There used to be a permanent link on the Concertina.net website but most of that (with the exception of the Forum) is closed down now.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk137/p_m_dunk/Labels/lach_label_plus_border.jpg

Save
Pete, all I get is the photobucket 3rd party hosting error message. I believe you now have to pay mega £s to display a photobucket image on a 3rd party site such as melnet.  :(
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Theo

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2017, 12:45:49 AM »

Works ok for me.
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triskel

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Re: Anonymous english concertina
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2017, 01:23:25 AM »

Works ok for me.

That's curious, it doesn't for me...
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