The Concertina Museum: 1.2.11-001

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Item Type: Wheatstone Acoustic Device


Full Description: A remarkable bellows-powered reed-testing device, from Charles Wheatstone’s own collection at King’s College, London. A complex set of crank-operated bellows evacuates a wooden chamber, upon which is inset a sliding wooden block that holds a range of concertina reeds; there are two pairs of reeds, beneath each end of the block, which can be brought into operation by the sliding of wooden or brass covers back to reveal the reeds beneath; and also a central reed that is fitted with a ‘Gliding Reed’ mechanism (to shorten or lengthen the reed’s tongue), which works via a long crank (itself operated via a threaded bar, turned either by a hand-crank, or by a wooden wheel in turn powered by a chain or belt, now absent) that is linked to a similar wheel linked to the main bellows crank. It could be that the four reeds create a chord when the bellows are evacuated, and the central, gliding reed then adds a range of notes that join in with the chord. This item was recovered in the 1960s from the remnants of the Wheatstone Museum at King’s College, London, and is labelled in chalk “112”, added during one of the early attempts in the 1950s at listing the Museum’s contents.
Wheatstone’s Museum Collection contained several devices using “Gliding Reeds”, in which the reed-tongues are shortened or lengthened when a pair of Rollers (as in the Wheatstone Gliding-Reed concertina, now in The Horniman Wayne Collection) or a pair of flat plates (as the two Wheatstone Gliding Reeded Pitch devices, also in The Horniman Wayne Collection) are forced up or down along the reed tongues, lowering or raising the pitch of the notes they then produce.

Source Catalogue No: The Concertina Museum: 1.2.11-001

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The Concertina Museum Collection

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.