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Author Topic: Mystery Victorian one-row  (Read 660 times)

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Roger Hare

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Mystery Victorian one-row
« on: June 15, 2019, 10:11:56 AM »

I've been invited by one of my partners in crime in t'Morris to have a look at a:

'Victorian one-row parlour instrument with a wooden casing decorated with marquetry inlay.'

That's all. It's been in a box for 40-50 years and belonged to the current owner's father. It's
not clear whether it's 'playable', or what key it is in. No manufacturer's name, or any other
details (yet).

Question is, what should I look for when trying to assess whether it's worth considering as a
restoration/refurbishment project? I think it's unlikely I'll be able to get the lid off and have a
look inside (but I'll take my concertina tool kit with me, just in case)...

I'm intrigued. I will take some photographs and post them here...

Thank you.

Roger
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 01:56:40 PM by Roger Hare »
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Music Packages (ABC/PDF/MIDI)    Thompson's Compleat Tutor for Fife (c.1765)

Peadar

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Re: Mystery Victorian one-row
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 11:06:44 AM »

Marquetry inlay....possibly made for the 7 guinea rather than the 7 shilling end of the market.

Open the bellows very gently- wood and carboard and leather artefacts all have a certain amount of moisture in them and this affects flexibility. In my(very) limited experience these things can adjust themselves to  the new ambient humidity/temperature when they spend some time out of the box and get played occasionally.  I would take cracking of the corner leathers as a bad sign....I haven't worked out how to deal with that one yet myself. The bellows papers may also exhibit cracking or yellowing.

the casework ends may be held on by long screws which go into the bellows frames. Important to have a screw driver with a blade narrow enough to go right to the bottom of the slot in the head. Jeweller's pattern blades are ground to do this. And if the screws don't come easily definitely go for warming with a soldering iron. Don't be surprised if the valve leathers don't seat, but with any luck you will get a sound out of all the keys. Basses may not sound if the valves aren't seating- especially if you are treating the bellows gently. You probably know all this far better than I do .

It will be interesting to see the pictures whatever.
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Roger Hare

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Re: Mystery Victorian one-row
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2019, 06:52:57 AM »

I looked at this instrument last night. My buddy is a professional museum conservator, so the
instrument had been kept in the right sort of environment for the last <mumble> years. Not too
wet/dry/hot/cold/etc.

It is in fact, a 2-row, though I'm not sure it's a melodeon?

The wooden carry-case has scenes painted on all sides except the base. The instrument itself is
25cm x 15cm x 12cm over-all. The pictures show the four sides, one with the bellows extended.
The two rows of keys look like mother-of-pearl. The floral inlay looks like marquetry, but I think
there's another similar technique (whose name escapes me)? Air seems to be provided by the
brass lever shown in one of the pictures. There are two low-profile brass levers clearly seen in
the 2nd picture - they seem to open/close air-holes(?), though one of them is jammed (we didn't
try forcing it). The bellows are made of ?, they seem in reasonable condition, but in a few places
the papers are starting to peel away (not clear from the pictures). On the inner row, there is one
'double' button on the inner row.

The reeds sound, though are off-tune. Some buttons are 'sticky', some are a little off-target. The
first few notes on the inner row sound like 1^= ?, 1=B♭, 2^=C♯, 2=D♮, so I can't really guess what
key(s) it's in? We didn't have time to try out more notes. It sounds like it is single-reed.

We didn't go inside, one of the holding screws appears to have the head sheared off.

No signs of any fitting for shoulder straps/harness/w.h.y.

No visible makers name. The style of the pictures on the wooden case make me think it might be
'central European'?

What is it? I couldn't even work out how to hold the thing...

Finally, a few pictures - I have more if anyone is interested enough to want a look.

PS: SysAdmin - should this be in 'Other Free Reed Instruments'?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 07:14:11 AM by Roger Hare »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Mystery Victorian one-row
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2019, 07:09:42 AM »

It looks like a rather nice Flutina.
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GPS

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Re: Mystery Victorian one-row
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2019, 08:11:02 AM »

It looks like a rather nice Flutina.

It is indeed. I bought one of these, made by Besson of Paris, in an antique shop years ago and never got round to restoring it. It's complete, though in bits, in a box under my workbench and I WILL get round to it one day!  I think all the ones I've seen have been by Besson - did anyone else build them?

Graham
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Among others, Saltarelle Pastourelle II D/G; Hohner 4-stop 1-rows in C & G; assorted Hohners; 3-voice German (?) G/C of uncertain parentage; lovely little Hlavacek 1-row Heligonka; B♭/E♭ Koch. Newly acquired G/C Hohner Viktoria. Also Fender Jazz bass, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Epiphone Sheraton, Charvel-Jackson 00-style acoustic guitar and other stuff..........

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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Mystery Victorian one-row
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2019, 08:42:50 AM »

ooh, that's a beauty. There are quite a few around, but they tend to be in a poor state, but that one is very tidy indeed

SJ
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: Hohner Club Modell 1. Bb/Eb, de-clubbed : Early Hohner Pressed Wood A/D : Hagstrom G/C: Hohner 3515 C/F: 1930's Varnished wood G/C: Hohner 2915 B/E: Hohner Erika C/F: Hohner Pre Corso C/F : G/C Liliput: Bandoneon tuned D/G Pressed wood:

Alan Pittwood

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Re: Mystery Victorian one-row
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2019, 04:01:57 PM »

No signs of any fitting for shoulder straps/harness/w.h.y.

I couldn't even work out how to hold the thing...

Concur with the description of flutina [invented by Pichenot Jeune, ca. 1831].  I have seen the one in Gressenhall Folk Life Museum (Norfolk).  The only one I have seen for sale was in c.1972 in a rather posh antique shop in Durham: which is where it stayed.

They were held horizontally on the player's lap, with the keys pointing upwards, and played using the left hand to press the keys and the right hand to work the bellows.  They played pull/push [the reverse of a melodeon's push/pull].  There are illustrated tutor books from the 19C showing how this is done.
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Mystery Victorian one-row
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2019, 04:32:53 PM »

There's one for sale here at a reasonable price.
No connection with vendor

SJ

http://instrumentspast.co.uk/instruments/PS/P227S.html
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There is no beginning to my talent :)



: Hohner Club Modell 1. Bb/Eb, de-clubbed : Early Hohner Pressed Wood A/D : Hagstrom G/C: Hohner 3515 C/F: 1930's Varnished wood G/C: Hohner 2915 B/E: Hohner Erika C/F: Hohner Pre Corso C/F : G/C Liliput: Bandoneon tuned D/G Pressed wood:

Roger Hare

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Re: Mystery Victorian one-row
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2019, 04:53:56 PM »

Thanks for all that information folks!!

I've passed it all on to the owner - he's highly impressed
at the speed with which melodeon.net springs into action  :D
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Roger Hare, Urmston, Lancs., U.K. (rjhare at outlook dot com)   Manchester Morris Men   Beech Band
Music Packages (ABC/PDF/MIDI)    Thompson's Compleat Tutor for Fife (c.1765)
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