Charles Jeffries and His Sons: Concertina Makers

Perhaps the most prolific of the London-based concertina makers, the Lachenal company was founded by the Swiss engineer Louis Lachenal, after his years firstly as a craftsman, then as a manager, at the Wheatstone workshops at 20 Conduit Street. A decent survey of Lachenal’s family history and his introduction of mass-production techniques into concertina manufacturing is that of Stephen Chambers , now on concertina. After around 18 years of concertina manufacture at the Conduit Street workshops, to , the new design of concertina resulting from Louis Lachenal’s new manufacturing processes were announced in Wheatstone’s promotional leaflet of mid , the sole surviving copy of which is now in the Horniman Museum Wayne Collection. The 40 or so Lachenal concertinas in the Collection show the development of his key concertinas based on the designs he had produced whilst at Wheatstones, but the Lachenal factory built up a widespread network of dealers throughout Britain and around the world; we show below a selection of links to some of the dealers’ labels appearing on Lachenal instruments in the Collection. We list below short summaries of some of the Lachenal instruments in the Collection, including Item C. It was owned by Marie Lachenal , Louis’s daughter, who was a noted performer and promoter of the family’s instruments throughout the s and s. An early appearance of reeds stamped in a tiny font-size with the r eed-frame size-number , corresponding to the number specified on the circular pan-labels.

91 Wheatstone and Lachenal Dates of Manufacture (Concertina)

I wrote this update in early I’ve completely failed to produce any further update since, but concertina history has moved on quickly, with other contributors like Randy Merris, Stephen Chambers, Dan Worral, Chris Flint, Geoff Crabb and many more producing in-depth articles on the subject. This update remains here for historical reasons, but is also a reminder on how little we knew and how little was available only a short time ago.

This page is an updated section of the original article at concertina. Updating the article has proved difficult because of the rate at which new information has been appearing.

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Wheatstone – Ref: E48W2 An earlier Wheatstone with steel reeds, new 6-fold bellows, sweet sound, very quick, very pretty. Plays as good as any Wheatstone should, just a little more mellow. Lovely clear, sweet sound ideal for song accompaniment. Concertinas for Sale All instruments are available to try at our workshop in Shropshire. Please come and visit, ask questions, make comparisons and find one that suits you. All our instruments have been restored using the correct parts, and tuned by us.

They are ready to play, and will be checked and fine tuned again before sale. Only as makers and repairers, can we offer that guarantee. Click on any image for a larger version. It was made in the s by Louis Lachenal but later fitted with steel reeds, Wheatstone ends, buttons, straps, 6-fold bellows etc. It has a good quick response but is not a loud ‘session’ box – would be ideal for song accompaniment.

In stock, awaiting restoration – contact us for further details: Many instruments get chosen and restored, rather than becoming stock, so if what you are looking for is not shown, please enquire, we might have it, or be able to find it. Early un-named key treble, very unusual with black and red sharps and flats.

Dating lachenal english concertina

By johnconstable , April 24, in Concertina History. Hi everyone. I’m trying to date my lachenal but I can’t find the database of lachenal numbers anywhere.

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Hi, folks! Very good for starting but also for professionals. My e-mail is elesan89 yahoo. They are. It would be a problem if it had to be imported. You have to tell us. A gold-top Les Paul, a J, or an A-model mandolin? Dating Lachenals is quite problematic, what with Wheatstone having burnt the records when they took them over. Sorry sorry sorry! I bought it from Chris Algar, a very reliable guy from England who repairs and sells all kind of concertinas.

Just bought and play it with pleasure. For the record, Lachenal was one of Wheatstones several employees, and the most successful, who went independent as soon as Wheatstones patents ran out, and started manufacturing off their own bat. Lachenals eventually went bust in the s, and were taken over by Wheatstone who apparently completed instruments sitting in the workshop and sold them as their own well, why not?

Well, yes, there were these two concertinas on a date in the back row at the cinema; they were thrown out for all the noise they made as they squeezed each other!

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This Charles Jeffries never knew a thing, never been taught anything— most extraordinary, as he turned out an instrument that no other maker could equal. He used the hardest steel there was, very solid. As far as we know, Charles Jeffries had no technical training and was never employed by any of the previously established concertina makers; 2 yet he somehow managed to produce concertinas that are widely regarded as among the best ever made.

Dating lachenal concertinas – Video Dailymotion Tool And Die Maker, Record Player, Inventions,. Saved from Lachenal English Concertina –

In a competitive concertina-manufacturing and selling environment, the Lachenal company produced a range of very fine instruments, including many “student” models. Anglo Lachenals are, as far as I know, all considered “student” grade. They’re good instruments with “real” steel or brass concertina reeds and construction, but the action and sound won’t be as nice or as consistent as some other makes mentioned below.

These instruments were all made in the UK, so “vintage English” usually refers to a Lachenal, Wheatstone, Jeffries or Crabb, and implies superior compared to the Italian Stagis quality of construction, sound, and playability action. If you can afford it, one of these vintage concertinas will be a fine instrument on which to learn, and frankly, you might never need to purchase another instrument as long as you live.

They had a metal-ended model available for a little more, but since I was already a bit over my budget, I got the wooden-end model. Some people say the wooden-ended models have a mellower sound and so are better for accompaniment if you plan on singing at the same time, but I think this is a very general rule, and probably varies a lot from instrument to instrument.

The type of reeds and layout of the reedpan also affects sound quality considerably see the note below by Rich Morse of The Button Box for more details. Try to get a button though, as a button would be very limiting musically, as you would have only the C and G rows, and no accidentals besides the F of the G scale.

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Well, the biggest and miss. It around using one of a basic model 48 key english. Many, the range of raw materials used in the instrument.

Dating Wheatstone Concertinas If Lachenal were the biggest concertina makers, then Charles Jeffries was considered to be the best, at least for Anglos.

The donor, Frederick Horniman, included some two hundred musical instruments in the gift of his collection and the Museum building. The Horniman is one of the few UK museums that collects instruments of popular music. In , the Museum acquired a large collection of concertinas, a bellows-blown free reed instrument that was the invention of another illustrious Victorian. Sir Charles Wheatstone was a physicist best known for his work on the electric telegraph, and as an inventor of scientific instruments.

The collection comprised over six hundred free reed instruments, together with an archive that included concertina music, recordings and postcards of famous concertina players. Among the highlights are twelve ledgers from the C. They were saved from destruction by Henry Minting, one of the managers of the company.

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Lachenal & Co. Excelsior. key treble, serial # (circa ). Hexagonal flat ebony ends with nickel-silver inlays, metal buttons. Steel.

Order by:. Available to:. Lachenal Concertina 56 Key Extended Treble. Lachenal Anglo Concertina. A really good Lachenal 20 key just back from restoration. It is number which would be around It has the fancier rosewood ends.

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Resources in the Concertina Library for dating vintage concertinas. Do you know another resource that we should include? Tell us about it. Earlier ledgers from the Wayne Archives contain company sales records from the late s to the s along with production records from the s to the s and some early records of wages and other payments. Later ledgers from the Dickinson Archives contain production records from to All surviving ledgers have been digitized some 2, pages in total and made available free on the web for private research.

Dating Vintage Concertinas. Directory. Resources in the Concertina Library for dating vintage concertinas. lachenal-sig-wheatstone-concertina-ledgers.

By johnconstable , April 24, in Concertina History. Hi everyone. I’m trying to date my lachenal but I can’t find the database of serial numbers anywhere. Please could someone point me in the right direction? I’d love to learn more about my instrument so any other elevant resources that spring to mind would be great! All else the same, I simple would have estimated the year of manufacture as based on the serial number of No. And maybe that is a good estimate.

The first English-system Lachenal in my database having over entries is No. Or is could have been made after but with a serial number corresponding to the earlier manufacturing period. Thanks for that. What you say rings a bell. It was reconditioned or serviced professionally just before I bought it and I think I remember being told the label was renewed.

I’m not sure about the reeds – how might I tell?

Lachenal Concertina after New Bellows


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