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Wheatsone button accordion; help please

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Shanghaiceltic 08 Oct 04 - 08:25 PM
Shanghaiceltic 08 Oct 04 - 08:28 PM
Shanghaiceltic 08 Oct 04 - 08:33 PM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Oct 04 - 10:20 PM
Wincing Devil 08 Oct 04 - 10:48 PM
GUEST 08 Oct 04 - 10:57 PM
Shanghaiceltic 08 Oct 04 - 11:28 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Oct 04 - 01:11 AM
curmudgeon 09 Oct 04 - 07:55 AM
treewind 10 Oct 04 - 08:14 AM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Oct 04 - 09:14 AM
Desert Dancer 10 Oct 04 - 09:23 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Oct 04 - 11:52 PM
Shanghaiceltic 11 Oct 04 - 08:19 PM
Bob Bolton 11 Oct 04 - 08:44 PM
Shanghaiceltic 11 Oct 04 - 10:12 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Oct 04 - 12:00 AM
Bob Bolton 12 Oct 04 - 12:08 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 04 - 12:12 AM
Bob Bolton 12 Oct 04 - 01:41 AM
Shanghaiceltic 12 Oct 04 - 09:04 PM
alison 12 Oct 04 - 10:00 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Oct 04 - 11:03 PM
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Subject: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 08:25 PM

Last night while we were playing an aquaintance of Paul Curran (see mudcat photos under my name) came in to the Blarney and handed Paul a box.

In it was a Wheatsone 40 button accordian in absolutely pristine condition apart from slight damage to a hand strap and one name plate missing. The leather and wood are almost unmarked and the papers between the bellows have slight wear. It is alo in tune even though it has not been played for many years.

The end plates are in good condition, no rusting, the buttons appear to be ivory. I counted 30 buttons, 15 each side plus a vent and drone(?).

Apparently it was left in a bar in Shanghai about 8 years ago and never re-claimed, the owner knows Paul and decided he would be a better owner rather than it sitting in its box. prior to that it was in the US, we know that as there was a receipt in the box dated 1989 saying that the previous owner had bought it for $600.

We are now trying to put a date on it. I have checked on-line and see that Wheatstone patented his system in 1844.

I only know of him as a scientist who developed theories on electricity. I did not know he had set up a factory to make accordians.

Can anyone tell me until which date these were made in London?

Any idea of the value today?

I have checked Accordian Links

and there is some good info there. Does anyone have more info on Wheatstone?

Paul intends to learn to play this instrument.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 08:28 PM

The receipt was from the House of Musical Tradition.

It is also in its original box.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 08:33 PM

Sorry, made a mistake. I am not a box player, I now realise that the thread should read 'Wheastone button concertina'


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 10:20 PM

Just "concertina". They all have buttons. If you were to look at the thread you started last month, Charles Wheatstone and the concertina, you would find some useful information.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 10:48 PM

From Takoma Park. MD to Shanghai! Kewl!

The House of Musical Traditions might be able to shed some more light on this!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 10:57 PM

Given the recent ASTOUNDING number of stolen instruments within the current (last 90 days)

and one name plate missing

are you...or your friend related to a band of Roma-Buskers posing within this forum? Or have you had recent contact/sale/purchase with individuals or a "swarthy-skin?"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 11:28 PM

Just put away me crystal ball, take out the ear rings, get rid of the clothes pegs and take off my red bandana just so you can be sure I am not a Roma-Busker hiding illegaly in Shanghai. Damn forgot the fiddle.

This was genuinely left behind in Shanghai 8 years ago, the guy who owned the bar kept it in case someone came back. There was no name on the box or the instrument.

So I am pretty sure it was not stolen in the last 90 days.

Now where did I leave the 'orse and 'van.........


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Oct 04 - 01:11 AM

G'day shaghaiceltic,

There is a Wheatstone site (not in my bookmarks, but it must be locatable ... I've used a 'hard copy' - well, a proprietory CD copy to look at scans of the actual Wheatsone jounal entries ... to see the day that specific serial numbers were produced and the factory descriptions.

This would appear to be a Weatstone in "Anglo-chromatic" system - the English style of chromatic extension to Uhlig's basic 20-button German system (the Germans also had there own chromatic extension ... by ~ 1840 - well before the British "Anglo-chromatic"). This type and range of instrument is the entry point for mad Irish modern stage,session-style playing.

If nobody else links this ... I'll get back after tomorrow's Bush Music Club Golden Jubilee Festival and post links.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: curmudgeon
Date: 09 Oct 04 - 07:55 AM

All the information you need is at concertina.net-- Tom


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: treewind
Date: 10 Oct 04 - 08:14 AM

Also at www.concertina.info.

If you are interested in identifying and dating the instrument exactly, get in touch with Steve Dickinson who owns the Wheatstone name and the Wheatstone tools and machinery. Somewhere he has a database of serial numbers and given enough detailed info about the instrument he could tell you when it was made. He'd also be able to restore it to pristine playing condition if/when necessary.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Oct 04 - 09:14 AM

Anybody know the locatoin of teh dating info for Lachenals?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 10 Oct 04 - 09:23 PM

From the Concertina FAQ (www.concertina.info, linked above): Appendix 1: Wheatstone and Lachenal Dates of Manufacture.

The Wheatstone ledgers are at this site (for 1910-1923; Serial No. 25000 to Serial No. 29749, 9 May 1910 to 12 November 1923).

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Oct 04 - 11:52 PM

G'day Becky ... over there in Tucson ... ,

I'm glad you dug those URLs out - we've had our Golden Jubilee Festival ... and I'm struggling through my workaday Monday ... but I definitely didn't look up anything useful when I got home last night!

I should have remembered that the Wheatstone ledgers were in the Horniman Museum Concertina Collection ... and they are on the web under Stever Dickinson's site.

Foolestroupe / Robin: If I remeber correctly, that Concertina FAQ site has some revised (loaded curves) dating data for Lachenals (whose ledgers got bombed in London in WW II) that is a lot better than the straight line dating we were usung in the days of (Australian) Concertina Magazine. I always knew the figures needed editing ... but never had enough confirmed datings to pin the curves down.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 08:19 PM

Thanks for all the info. Paul is going to take off the end plates to check the serial number underneath as there is not one on the body.

I have checked a particulary good Wheatstone site and we now think that this is a pre 1890 vintage model but the serial number check will confirm it.

Detailed Wheatstone link


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 08:44 PM

G'day Shanghaiceltic,

I'm not as familiar with Wheatstone instruments as I am with Lachenals ... but there are normally numbers on the inside of the bellows frames ... and, possibly on the inside (bellows side) of the reed pans - so you should get the serial numbers by undoing the six endscrews and lifting off the (usually right) end.

Caution: The end screws should be removed in a sequence that minimises uneven stress across the body. I usually slacken one screw - slacken the one opposite - move to the one sideways - then opposite - then the remaining side step and the last (opposite). Leave the screws in place in the end section, in case there are individual differences in screw threads - or wear ... or hand-made replacements ... some time in the last century, or so.

Reassemble in the opposite order - tightening the screws to "finger tight" - then take them up to securely tightened, squeezing the bellows frame up to the body end with one hand, while tightening the screw with your stronger hand. That should get the ends as tight as they need to be - without unduly risking stripping a screw that may well have a unique "Wheatstone" thread. (Wheatstone's original production engineer, Louis Lachenal, was originally hired as a thread cutter ... and made all his own taps and dies!)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 10:12 PM

Many thanks for the above info Bob. Dont think we are kitted up to make special screws so we will be carefull.

Regards

Frank


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 12:00 AM

G'day again Frank,

If screws do break ... the first remedy (not available in Shanghai) is to scrounge round for a 'wrecker' - an otherwise unsavable instrument that can act as "organ donor".

The next is some careful selection of 'almost right' modern threads ... and this is done, around here by Richard Evans, in the Blue Mts west of Sydney, when he isn't making his own Kookaburra concertinas. Richard is a toolmaker, with a metrology speciality, so he knows what he can get away with.

Really bad breaks are when the broken end of the screw stays in the brass "nut" that is embedded in the bellows frame. This needs surgery ... and usually means a new nut and a matching (the nut, but not the rest of the instrument) screw.

Richard (along with John Ramshaw) produced a great Concertina Magazine, back in the 1980s/'90s. This had a lot on maintenance and repair techniques. I know that there has been a move to acquire all the articles and illustrations, in digital form, to create a Repair & Maintenance Manual - possibly as page on Richard's web site (http://www.d-and-d.com/SUB/Kookaburra/Kookaburra.html)- and, maybe, a CD version. I'll give Richard a bit of a nudge on that one ... it would be a great resource for those a long way from the next concertina enthusiast ... let alone repairer! (OK - I've been keeping my head down, since this is cutting in very close to areas of my work speciality!)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 12:08 AM

Errrk!

I was wondering why didn't the 'blue clicky' generator didn't work ... then realised I had copied in the original URL - not the MudCat Blicky text!

Oh well - now I can get out, via our overworked (lunchtime!) web server ... I realise this isn't Richard's own site at all - just a page posted by Don Nichols on his general concertina site. I'll chase up Richard by 'phone and see if he has his own site yet ... and how the maintenance and repair tips are going.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 12:12 AM

Pay a hundred pounds and not a pence more....

The risk on the side of loss is far greater than the possibility of gain.

They are fun to repair when you have 60 hours in a week and have a steady hand from bidding aduae to has many pints....otherwise....let a chinaman mess with it for an additional 20 pounds....headaches and excess intruments run rampanant like mis-behaved, undiapered, unwanted, offspring....under age 20 they are fun....over age 50 they are none.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordian; help please
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 01:41 AM

G'day GUEST,

A good concertina lasts forever., George Bernard Shaw

(Unlike the advice of the ill-informed, anonymous and opportunistic.)

We were discussing how Shanghaiceltic might check the alternate copies of the serial number, since the left-hand label, normally bearing the number, is missing.

There are no trained professional concertina repairers for a few thousand kilometres. If you have not seen just how monumentally an otherwise competent repairer of other instruments can stuff up a concertina ... you ought to stay well clear of the discussion.

My careful description of how to remove and refix very old screws is very basic, simple, caution.

May we now bid you aduae ... ?

Back to Shanghaiceltic: You mentioned: "... slight damage to a hand strap ..." - is that structural, or just cosmetic? If the instrument has its original handstraps, they should be (fairly narrow ... ?), black leather, probably single layer, gold-stamped with the Wheatstone name, address and 'advertising puff' about being the sole inventor, &c, &c &c.

I usually make up firmer, broader handstraps with carefully skived (bevelled) edges ... to keep down the wear on ME. Can't send them to you ... organic materials like leather have to go through far too many hoops in international mail, these days!

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tech: Wheatsone button accordion; help please
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 09:04 PM

Hi Bob,

You are a mine of information, thanks.

Paul has decided to hand over the instrument to me to take the end plate off as he thinks that as an instrumentation (albiet electrical) I am better qualified ????? No way will I do anything else but check for a serial number.

I will pick it up on Friday evening and do the job when totally sober ;-) on Saturday.

I think the leathers must have been replaced as here is no stamping of the Wheatstone name etc on them and they do look newer. The damage looks like an over enthusiastic player manganed to bend one of the metal swivels out of place from the hole in the wooden block that hold the assembly in place.

It has been bent it back to shape but further secured it with very old insulating tape.

The straps are fairly broad and soft with reasonable edges so I guess the original owner/player had the same problem that you mentioned.

I will also take some photos as well of both outside and inside and if you geive me an e-mail addy as a PM I will send you some jpegs.


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Subject: RE: Wheatsone button accordion; help please
From: alison
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 10:00 PM

I was lucky enough to get hold of a Wheatstone, (old Sally Army) paid realtively little for it and got it fixed up..... they are worth a fair bit of money (thousands of Ozzie dollars) - its lovely thing to play - hope you have fun with yours

sliante

alison


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Subject: RE: Wheatsone button accordion; help please
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 11:03 PM

G'day Shanghaiceltic/Frank,

If that is just the retaining bracket that keeps the leather strap conforming to the profile of the handrest, it is just a simple rectangular shape bent out of brass rod ... something very like 1/16" brazing rod. If it was coming out of the hole drilled through the handrest, that might just mean that it was not firmly pushed back into place when the handstraps were replaced. That might need no more than pushing firmly on the extreme points just where they go into the wood and making sure they are as well-seated as possible.

If it has been out of position for some time - and subject to heavy playing wear - there may be unwanted wear about the holes, and this might make it prone to come loose again ... but most of my Lachenals have been roughly 1860s - 1890s manufacture and I've never encountered sufficient deformation of that hole to warrant bushing - so I would be surprised if your Wheatstone need repair in that region.

I will PM with an e-mail address ... I would be interested to see your photographs. I have a pretty little Wheatstone English system box that I must get around to restoring (1912 model) ... then spend some time and thought on some of the interesting accompaniment possibilities that I've seen in Danny Spooner's style of playing English system for his shanty accompaniment!

Regards,

Bob


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