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Author Topic: Delfini 1940's 3-voice button box  (Read 1519 times)

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triskel

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Delfini 1940's 3-voice button box
« on: September 08, 2017, 07:13:35 PM »

I've already written of Casali (of which more anon, when I have more time) and Alvari as being house brands of the London wholesalers J. E. Dallas & Sons, and their other one was Delfini, which (in the 1930s) they applied to piano accordions built for them by Italian manufacturers. Evidently they also put that name onto some Italian button boxes in the immediate post-war years, because I bought (a probably late-1940's, 3-voice) one a few days ago: Delfini Loreto Italia Small Accordion

... I'm now waiting on tenterhooks to find out the key of a late-'40's/early'50's, 23/8 Delfini that's on its way to me. I'd say it's odds on that it'll be C/C#, though there's a good chance it could be B/C, or posssibly G/G#, D/D#, or even (if I'm really lucky, but I very much doubt it) C#/D.   ???

Edited: I initially thought I could make out "KM C C#" scratched into the top of the box, but on enhancing and enlarging it I now see I was mistaken. It actually reads "KM - CB" (whatever that stands for?) and the key is unknown as yet.

does anyone know where and by whom  the 50's, 60's  3 row 3 voice casali BCC#  was made.  Mine has a nice quality feel about it

Aye, I've got a 48 Bass 3 Voice Casali B/C/C# and I'd love to know more about the provenance of these instruments.

I believe they must have been made in Osimo (SW of Camerano and Scandalli's influence, and NW of Castelfidardo), either by Ab. Orfeo, 1950-62 (previously Ab-Orfeo di Lea Teodori, 1945-51) and/or Ildo Busilacchio & F.lli., 1947-84.

At first I thought the Delfini was probably made by Busillachio but, having studied various photos, I'm now leaning towards Orfeo. But, whichever one it was, I'm expecting it to turn out a very nice box - though only after a lot of work, seeing that it looks a mess at the moment, poor thing!  :-\
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 01:55:18 AM by triskel »
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Pearse Rossa

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Re: Delfini C/C#
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 09:10:13 PM »

At first I thought the Delfini was probably made by Busillachio but, having studied various photos, I'm now leaning towards Orfeo. But, whichever one it was, I'm expecting it to turn out a very nice box - though only after a lot of work, seeing that it looks a mess at the moment, poor thing!  :-\

It does have features similar to a Busilacchio, especially the grille, but then, so do a lot of other Italian boxes
of this period, like this Casali, which could almost pass as a Busilacchio.
The bellow straps do not look to be original, so there is no clue there.
If it turns out to be a 3-voice, that would be great and you could have the makings of a very nice box there.
It would make for a good C#/D or D/D#.
Would you consider a Paolo grille for it? I could help you with that if you were interested.
The grille is probably the least of your worries for now though!
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Edward Jennings

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Re: Delfini C/C#
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 10:01:04 PM »

I was interested in having a go at that box. What put me off was that the area of the main body next to the bellows gaskets, looked decidedly odd, even a bit bodged up, possibly. I hope my estimation of the condition was wrong?
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Edward
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Hohner 1600 D/G. Hohner 114's in C & G. Hohner 1140 in C. International One Row 2 voice in D. National Band 3 stopper in G. Titchy 2 voice No-Name in A/D. Plus projects and parts of projects.
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Pearse Rossa

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Re: Delfini C/C#
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 10:22:22 PM »

I was interested in having a go at that box. What put me off was that the area of the main body next to the bellows gaskets, looked decidedly odd, even a bit bodged up, possibly. I hope my estimation of the condition was wrong?

I don't think your estimation is wrong at all. It almost certainly has been bodged up with silicone sealant or something similar.
All that can be sorted though and I wouldn't let that put me off a rare vintage box.
I would be more concerned with the condition of the reeds.
I am looking forward to seeing what it looks like inside, if triskel will be so kind as to share that with us.
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 10:47:45 PM »

It does have features similar to a Busilacchio, especially the grille, but then, so do a lot of other Italian boxes
of this period, like this Casali, which could almost pass as a Busilacchio.

Busilacchio certainly seem to have made boxes with that style of grille for Paolo Soprani at the time, I've seen a few of them in Ireland in grey, and in other countries in red (a friend of mine has a red 3-voice that came from France, and it's a cracking box!), and it does look like they made boxes badged Casali in the 1950s/'60s.

Quote
If it turns out to be a 3-voice, that would be great and you could have the makings of a very nice box there.

The convention with semitone boxes for the British/Irish market at the time seems to have been that 2-voice ones were 21-key, and 3-voice ones were 23-key, so this should be 3-voice... (fingers very firmly crossed!)

Quote
It would make for a good C#/D or D/D#.

Yes, though I couldn't hope for a better D/D# than the one I've got - but I don't have a 3-voice C#/D at the moment.

Quote
Would you consider a Paolo grille for it? I could help you with that if you were interested.
The grille is probably the least of your worries for now though!

Thanks, but not on this one if I can help it, though I might take up your offer sometime for another project (after I've used the one Tommy O'L gave me...  ;))
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 01:35:35 AM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 11:01:05 PM »

I was interested in having a go at that box. What put me off was that the area of the main body next to the bellows gaskets, looked decidedly odd, even a bit bodged up, possibly. I hope my estimation of the condition was wrong?

I don't think your estimation is wrong at all. It almost certainly has been bodged up with silicone sealant or something similar.

I fear so! And it's had bellows pins moved too.  :(

Quote
All that can be sorted though and I wouldn't let that put me off a rare vintage box.

Exactly! In fact you'd be horrified if you saw the state of a black 19/4, 2-voice "grey box" I'm working on at the moment, but I hope to have it singing again in the not too distant future...

Quote
I would be more concerned with the condition of the reeds.

It'd be nice if the original ones were safely "sealed-up" in there.

Quote
I am looking forward to seeing what it looks like inside, if triskel will be so kind as to share that with us.

I shall, as soon as it gets forwarded to me from England (and I manage to get it open!) - can't wait!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 05:40:34 PM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2017, 12:46:20 AM »

At first I thought the Delfini was probably made by Busillachio but, having studied various photos, I'm now leaning towards Orfeo.

It does have features similar to a Busilacchio, especially the grille, but then, so do a lot of other Italian boxes
of this period, like this Casali, which could almost pass as a Busilacchio.

It's the keyboard of the Delfini (second photo) that especially reminds me of the one on the Orfeo (first photo) that's for sale in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire at the moment, rather than any Busilacchio I've seen.

Whilst the eBay 36-bass Casali looks remarkably similar to the Orfeo that Hobgoblin were selling (third photo) not long ago...

Whatever any of this signifies?  ???
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 01:36:20 AM by triskel »
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Tamba

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2017, 07:42:35 AM »

Here is my much loved Busilacchio in G/C, almost identical but in reverse!
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2017, 10:33:19 AM »

Here is my much loved Busilacchio in G/C, almost identical but in reverse!

Oh, lucky you - very nice! I've been looking for an early 2-row Busilacchio like that, with that grille. I think they sound great!

But the noticeable difference I'm seeing, apart from the Delfini being 23-key (and therefore highly likely to be 3-voice), is in the square front corners of the keyboard cover - a feature that is only otherwise to be found on the (seemingly early?) Orfeo in Wishaw.

Whilst players of 3-row British Chromatic B/C/C# boxes have commented for a long time about similarities between the Orfeo and Casali boxes, not knowing until now that Casali was never an actual "make" as such, and they could be made by various firms over the years, including Busilacchio, and maybe Orfeo. We may never get to the bottom of any of it...
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 02:14:15 PM by triskel »
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Malcolm Clapp

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2017, 01:21:07 PM »

A Crucianelli continental chromatic with a very similar grill....and I'm sure I've seen a Crucianelli 2 row diatonic with that grill too.
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Tuner/repairer, now retired, but still playing! Happy to offer advice on repairs etc., and might be persuaded to undertake the odd emergency job for local and longtime  customers.

pgroff

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2017, 05:03:42 PM »

Here is my much loved Busilacchio in G/C, almost identical but in reverse!

Oh, lucky you - very nice! I've been looking for an early 2-row Busilacchio like that, with that grille. I think they sound great!

But the noticeable difference I'm seeing, apart from the Delfini being 23-key (and therefore highly likely to be 3-voice), is in the square front corners of the keyboard cover - a feature that is only otherwise to be found on the (seemingly early?) Orfeo in Wishaw.

Whilst players of 3-row British Chromatic B/C/C# boxes have been puzzled for years about similarities between the Orfeo and Casali boxes, not knowing that Casali was never an actual "make" as such, and they could be made by various firms over the years, including Busilacchio. We may never get to the bottom of any of it...

Here are a couple of mystery accordions that also seem to be 1940s and with square keyboard cover. The blue one turned up in Boston, the tortoise-shell one (labeled "Bell") in London:

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=5861.0;attach=8896;image

See also this thread:

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php/topic,5861.msg73795.html#msg73795

PG

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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2017, 05:37:43 PM »

... the noticeable difference I'm seeing, apart from the Delfini being 23-key (and therefore highly likely to be 3-voice), is in the square front corners of the keyboard cover - a feature that is only otherwise to be found on the (seemingly early?) Orfeo in Wishaw.

Here are a couple of mystery accordions that also seem to be 1940s and with square keyboard cover. The blue one turned up in Boston, the tortoise-shell one (labeled "Bell") in London:

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=5861.0;attach=8896;image

Ah, very interesting Paul - and the grille on the brown 2-coupler reminds me of later Busilacchio ones too. I smell an Osimo link in all this, maybe to Busilacchio and/or Orfeo...
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2017, 12:34:42 AM »

And, blow me, hasn't another one turned up today (out of a Northern Ireland attic) that is very similar to Paul Groff's blue one, and engraved "Fipaccordion, Castelfidardo" - whoever, or whatever, they were, or might have been...  :o
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2017, 12:37:04 AM »

And though this one is cream, it still has (faded) blue bellows like Paul's!
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2017, 12:54:04 AM »

... "Fipaccordion, Castelfidardo" - whoever, or whatever, they were, or might have been...  :o

The only other trace of the marque I can find is this piano box (which seems to have hints of Busilacchio - especially in its grille pattern and the way the "maker's name" is applied) that was on Australian eBay recently: Accordion FIPACCORDION Castelfidardo Made in Italy

I'd suspect it's yet another example of a merchant/importers's brand name.

Added photos:
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 01:53:00 PM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2017, 02:05:14 AM »

I'd suspect it's yet another example of a merchant/importers's brand name.

Got it! The major clue is in the initials and date, in a triangle on the back of the keyboard: PF 1889 = Pasquale Ficosecco, a firm founded in Loreto in 1889, who moved to Castelfidardo in 1927. It must be a brand of theirs...

And it's not the first time I've encountered them in all this - seeing that a good friend of mine has an intriguing pre-war, 23/8, 3-voice, grey box (that he got from Italy) which is badged Comm. P. Ficosecco, but you can see where "Casali, Verona, Italia" has been removed from it and covered up. My theory is it may have been a Casali that was being got ready for export to London when Mussolini declared war in June 1940 - so they rebadged it and sold it in Italy instead!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 01:34:15 PM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2017, 05:53:17 PM »

If it turns out to be a 3-voice, that would be great and you could have the makings of a very nice box there.

The convention with semitone boxes for the British/Irish market at the time seems to have been that 2-voice ones were 21-key, and 3-voice ones were 23-key, so this should be 3-voice... (fingers very firmly crossed!)

So it arrived this afternoon, in almost (but not quite!) playable condition, and the sound and the weight said it was 3-voice before I even got the end off it, but the proof is in my first photo - whilst the next two are to show how it's roughly the same size as my 3-voice D/D# Paolo Soprani.

However, you'll see that the middle reed block is larger, because the box is reeded LMM and that block presently houses the low reeds for both rows - but that is likely to get changed!  ;)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 06:08:16 PM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2017, 06:15:42 PM »

My other three shots show the bass/wind key mechanism, the bass blocks (without most of the chord reeds, which were loose inside when it arrived), and the wooden treble mechanism (which is, mercifully, all working  :Ph).
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triskel

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2017, 07:06:44 PM »

Oh, and I nearly forgot!

... I'm now waiting on tenterhooks to find out the key of a late-'40's/early'50's, 23/8 Delfini that's on its way to me. I'd say it's odds on that it'll be C/C#, though there's a good chance it could be B/C, or posssibly G/G#, D/D#, or even (if I'm really lucky, but I very much doubt it) C#/D.   ???

It is indeed in C/C# - I'd (almost) have put money on it...  ::)


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Pearse Rossa

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Re: Delfini button box
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2017, 09:18:15 PM »

........ the sound and the weight said it was 3-voice before I even got the end off it, but the proof is in my first photo - whilst the next two are to show how it's roughly the same size as my 3-voice D/D# Paolo Soprani.

It looks to be a wee bit bigger than the Paolo....heavier also I pressume?
Does it sound anything like a Paolo?

It is indeed in C/C# - I'd (almost) have put money on it...  ::)

You should have put money on it... you would be quids in now!
It could be worse. That's a handy key to retune to C#/D.
On the other hand, having a decent C/C# box is useful too.

.. the wooden treble mechanism (which is, mercifully, all working  :Ph).

What's the action like?
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