Item Type: Concertina
Full Description: An early and unusual Nickolds Bros 48-Key rosewood-ended English concertina, Serial No 161, with the "Improved Concertina Manufacturers, Nickolds Bros, 5 Woodbridge Street, Clerkenwell, London" label wording. Though 'restored' in the 1990s, the instrument has most internal features and labels intact. Round-end brass reeds with nickel or pale brass tongues, and the unusual open-sided tongue-securing cross pieces, in common usage on Nickolds instruments. Four-fold green leather bellows, common "Gilt Stars and Dots" papers, with silk-reinforced bottom bout. Serial No 161, with original rosewood veneered case. Some similarities with the Jabez Austin instrument in the collection, C-262 , Jabez Austin 48-Key English serial No 178.
Concertina Summary: An early Nickolds Bros 48-Key rosewood-ended English concertina, Serial No 161, with the "Nickolds Bros, 5 Woodbridge Street" label wording. Serial No 161, with original rosewood veneered case.
Owner or Collection: Concertina Museum, Belper
Maker: Nickolds Bros
Maker Links: Wes Williams' survey of minor concertina makers has an entry about Nickolds Bros here: [www.concertinas.org.uk/others.htm#nickolds, and Richard Carlin's interview with Frank Butler has much information about Austin, George Jones, and other early Wheatstone craftsmen who went on to become makers see: http://www.concertina.com/carlin/frank-butler-interview/index.htm.
Region of Manufacture: London
Main Maker's Label Wording: Improved Concertina Manufacturers, Nickolds Bros, 5 Woodbridge Street, Clerkenwell, London
Principal Serial Number: 161 on bellows-frame, on the top inner side of sub-fret baffles, inner face of action, and inner face of pans.
System Type: 48-Key Treble English system
Source Catalogue No: The Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-270.
The Nickolds Family produced concertinas from around 1855 to 1888.
John Nickolds (b.1787 in Birmingham) was the toolmaker for Wheatstone with his own company at 5, Woodbridge St, Clerkenwell, and was replaced by Lachenal in 1848. He had two sons, Frederick Charles and Thomas, also involved with Wheatstone. The earliest listing discovered for any of the Nickolds family as a concertina maker appears in 1856; in 1851 John is listed as a 'machinist'.
Nickolds Bros are listed as operating from Woodbridge St. between 1856 and 1859. However in 1856 the brothers are also listed individually as:
F.C. Nickolds' company closed about 1888. Their sequence was:
Thomas Nickolds does not appear in any further listings, but is recorded in the 1881 census as a concertina maker, widowed and lodging in Newington.
One particular characteristic of Nickolds instruments is that the screw holes of the plate that fastens the reed to the shoe are open ended.
Listings for Nickolds Bros. in the 1920s in Enfield, Middlesex are for descendants of the same family.
Please email comments or reports of errors to
Created August 2009 by Neil Wayne
Last Modified 07 February 2012 by Neil Wayne, Chris Flint, Wes Williams
This page created Tuesday 14 February 2012.