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Author Topic: James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835  (Read 778 times)

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triskel

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James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835
« on: February 16, 2018, 06:47:20 PM »

James Amireaux Bazin (1798-1883) was an important American free-reed instrument pioneer, and the first American accordion maker c.1835.

... I have never seen a Bazin accordion but I remember you mentioned photos of one.

Now that I've found them, I've discovered I've got photos of TWO! (Courtesy of the guy who sold me my Faas in 2003.) Only they were printed In black and white, and there are way too few d.p.i., so they're nothing like as clear as one might wish. :(

The source of the first, "sgnd James A. Bazin", is an antiques advertisement or price guide (perhaps from the Maine Antique Digest, March 1996, but the name of the publication is unclear). It's top-right in my first scan:


The second one is of very similar appearance and stamped "J. L. Bates [Joseph L. Bates, musical instrum'ts, 6 Court], Boston" - and Bazin is known to have made instruments for several Boston musical instrument dealers/makers, like Bates. It was sold on eBay, 20th February 1999, but I don't know what the final price was:






















« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 11:57:45 PM by triskel »
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pgroff

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Re: James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2018, 07:36:21 PM »

Many thanks! Don't think I've ever seen one quite like these two, but it's great to have a search image.
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triskel

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Re: James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2018, 08:35:39 PM »

The "clapper" wind-key, without a surround/socle, is typical of early 1830's French accordions. They're very rare like that, but I have several of them.
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Andy in Vermont

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Re: James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 01:07:49 PM »

Do you think these are flutinas, I.e. tonic on draw instead of press?

Pearse Rossa

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Re: James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 01:30:43 PM »

An interesting article here on what is possibly the "World's oldest accordion".
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triskel

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Re: James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 04:33:42 PM »

Do you think these are flutinas, I.e. tonic on draw instead of press?

The fingering of the earliest accordions, going back to those of their inventor Cyrill Demian, can seem very confused/confusing.

For a start they were made to be played left-handed (to our way of thinking), so if you picked one up (without knowing) the high notes would be where you'd expect the low ones to be, and vice versa, and the scale on my 8-key, 5-note-chord-playing one is "on the draw",




starting on key 2 and playing DRAW/PRESS, 3-DRAW/PRESS, 4-DRAW/PRESS, 5-DRAW/PRESS in the first octave - which may well be the origin of the "reverse bisonorism" of the French accordions/flutinas, and the Russian Saratov models.

But this 8-key Demian, single-note-playing model, made slightly later, is right-handed and plays "on the press".


The scale of it starts on key 1 and plays PRESS/DRAW; 2-PRESS/DRAW, 3-PRESS/DRAW, 4-DRAW/PRESS in what has become the usual manner.

But what Bazin did I have no idea, until somebody examines one - and I'd love to add a Bazin to my collection of early free reed instruments!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 02:25:09 PM by triskel »
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triskel

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Re: James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2018, 04:37:20 PM »

An interesting article here on what is possibly the "World's oldest accordion".

It's interesting, and a known model of 1830's Nuremburg accordion, marketed by a known woodwind maker/instrument dealer in that city, but I'd take the claimed (by the author) 1816 date with a very large pinch of salt - in fact it's downright impossible! ::)

More anon, but I'm supposed to have met people 5 minutes ago!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 12:27:14 AM by triskel »
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Bruce Triggs

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Re: James Amireaux Bazin - first American accordion maker c.1835
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2018, 09:01:57 PM »

James Bazin's work is very interesting. I'd never seen images of his accordions. I'd love to see inside because his design for the reeds seems to have been unique.


I know of a couple of articles with pics of other instruments, including his spectacular rotary reed trumpet, which he played in church!



A Postcard from Canton: James A. Bazin
http://cantonhistory.blogspot.ca/2010/11/james-bazin.html

He was apparently quite a tinkerer, mostly made table-top "rocking" reed-organs where the whole keyboard moved up and down with the bellows. He also made unique harmonicas with a sliding mouthpiece that isolated the breath on individual notes. Unfortunately he wasn't as good a businessman as (for instance) Charles Wheatstone, so Bazin didn't have much impact on the market. Maybe that's why his portrait looks so grumpy?



I have an extensive article by Darcy Kuronen which I had to use Inter-Library Loan to get a copy (the reed pic above is from it, but there's no pictures of complete Bazin accordions):
James A. Bazin and the Development of Free-Reed Instruments in America, by Darcy Kuronen
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICAL INSTRUMENT SOCIETY, Vol 31, 2005, pg 133-182.

Contact me if you'd like and I can probably email you a copy of that.
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