Instrument Section C-001 to C-100, Maker - C Wheatstone & Wheatstone & Co
There are well over 100 Wheatstone instruments in this section, dating from Sir Charles' earliest instruments made as acoustical experimental devices for his research at King's College London, to the very early concertinas first made for sale through his family's music shop at 20 Conduit Street, off Bond Street, London. The Collection has many instruments that trace the growing influence of Louis Lachenal , the engineer who rose to become the manager and production designer for the Wheatstone concertina manufactory.
Various steps in the evolution of the design towards a "mass-produced" instrument are highlighted in this summary, as is the first production of both high quality & decorative instruments, and of "budget" single-action instruments.
New instruments and designs, such as the single action Bass concertina, Wheatstone's "Double" duet-style concertina, and the short-lived "Duette" concertina are linked below, as are the first models of the "Æola", and Maccann duet. There are examples of the "Miniature" concertina, and some of the rare amboyna- and tortoiseshell-ended instruments that appeared after 1900. There are examples of the late Wheatstone "May Fair" models from the early 1950s, and examples of both "giant" and "smallest-known" instruments - though such claims are inevitable dubious!
Early Wheatstone Instruments: These generally include an external silver engraved makers plaque, "French" Bellows cradle, blued steel springs, and all square-ended reeds.
C.001 An early open-pallet 24-Key Wheatstone concertina, with provenance from Charles Wheatstone's Museum at King's College. This instrument is analysed in details in the paper "The Invention and Evolution of the English Concertina" in the Galpin Society Journal Vol 61, May 2009. More a scientific acoustical device, than an instrument made for sale, it may date from as early as 1831.
C.002 Wheatstone No "38":- Very early "Roman Numeral" Wheatstone concertina No XXXVIII ('No 38'), with early replaced ends and bellows, and unique trapdoor style pallets and levers. This Wheatstone is of interest since it is the earliest roman-numbered prototype that is of closed-pallet form, though produced shortly after open pallet No XXXII ('No 32') in the sequence of roman-numbered instruments.
C.007 Wheatstone No 147:- Blued steel springs, ivory pallets, silver maker's plaque, (and also on C.006, C.009)
C.008 Wheatstone No 238:- First use of inset oval paper maker's label
C.009 Wheatstone No 247:- Blued steel springs, ivory pallets, silver maker's plaque
C.011 Wheatstone No 430:- Introduction of card pallets, rather than ivory or bone.
C.014 Wheatstone No 560:- With Circular frets, and unique appearance of circular reed-pan and bellows frame.
C.015 Wheatstone No 612:- With Circular frets
C.016 Wheatstone No 247:- Early appearance of triangular corner bellows frame supports, rather than "French Cradle"
C.024 Wheatstone No 863:- Circular pan label, with Roman Numerals for reed numbers.
C.026 Wheatstone No 1018:- Has circular frets, pine baffles, and is single action. "His Majesty's...." label.
Later period Instruments: Many new features begin to appear in the output of the factory, showing the many new design features introduced by Louis Lachenal during his time as Manager at Wheatstone's Conduit St premises. The frets are now machine-cut, the reeds now in round-ended brass reed-frames, and pans have a large annular pan-label bearing Wheatstone & Co's address.
C.030 Wheatstone No 1293:- Amboyna-ended, many later features, "His Majesty's...." label in the "C under the a of Maj" format.
C.034 Wheatstone No 1533:- the first appearance in the Collection of the new variant of the "Her Majesty's" Conduit Street label.
C.036 Wheatstone No 1752:- showing the many new design features introduced by Louis Lachenal during his time as Manager at Wheatstone's Conduit St premises. The frets are now machine-cut, the reeds now in round-ended brass reed-frames, and the large annular pan-label bearing Wheatstone & Co's address. This instrument bears the later Wheatstone & Co "West Street" label, and has had later West Street style bellows and steel reed-tongues fitted by Wheatstone & Co.
C.040 Wheatstone No 1898:- with the now standard "By HER Majesty's" label, and showing the many new design features introduced by Louis Lachenal during his time as Manager at Wheatstone's Conduit St premises. The frets are now machine-cut, (and in this model, have a high-gloss varnish unlike the previous French-polish style of varnish) with the reeds now in round-ended brass reed-frames, and the large annular pan-label bearing Wheatstone & Co's address.
C.041 Wheatstone No 2600:- The pine sub-fret baffles are now held in place by triangular wood corner pieces.
C.045 Wheatstone No 2236:- A first appearance in the Collection of an instrument with sub-fret baffles of white suede/chamois leather (in this model, fixed beneath the pine baffles).
C.046 Wheatstone No 3188:- A 32-Key Single Action English concertina: the Machine-cut fretwork is now the standard format. This model has very simple frets, in a thick floral pattern.
C.050 Wheatstone No 5848:- The first appearance in the Collection's Wheatstones of the mid-1850s highly decorative, gilt-embossed, brass-inlaid design. There is an additional Wheatstone & Co stamp on the pan label.
C.051 Wheatstone No 5860:- Another appearance in the Collection of an instrument with sub-fret baffles of white suede/chamois leather .
C.061 Wheatstone No 8438:- A 48-Key English system with a "Salvationist Supplies label glued over the "By Her Majesty's" label, and exhibiting fine frets, now machine-cut.
C.063 Wheatstone No 8704:- 24-Key English system with the now standard "By Her Majesty's" label, and exhibiting all the post-1848 design features. This "budget" design has a single-depth end and bellows frame , with the single depth mahogany fret-frames nestling over the inset action board. The small range of just 32 reeds per pan needs a pan label of much reduced size.
C.065 Wheatstone No 9070:- 24-Key English system with the now standard "By Her Majesty's" label, on a glazed cardboard sub-fret baffle , and exhibiting all the post-1848 design features. This "budget" design has a single-depth end and bellows frame, with the single depth mahogany fret-frames nestling over the inset action board. The small range of just 32 reeds per pan needs a pan label of much reduced size. Evidence of much woodworm infestation!
C.066 Wheatstone No 9336:- This "Budget" 22-key instrument has a first appearance of large iron rivets used to secure reed-tongues to the brass frames. Very small and simple pan-label, single depth fret and bellows frame.
C.070 Wheatstone No 9637:- This "budget" but 48-key design has a single-depth end and bellows frame, with the single depth mahogany fret-frames nestling over the inset action board. Bellows contain various dealer’s and repairer’s labels.
C.075 and C.076 Wheatstone Nos 11105 and 11952:- both fully gilt embossed and brass-inlaid models, with white leather sub-fret baffles. C.076 has never been fitted with finger-rests, and has a number of owners’ and repairers dates dates added to the inner bellows folds.
C.077 Wheatstone No 12012:- A 48-Key Amboyna-ended English system in exceptionally fine condition, with its original "By Her Majesty's.." Label. Another appearance in the Collection's Wheatstones of the 1850s/60s highly decorative, gilt-embossed, brass-inlaid design, and exhibiting fine frets this model with a rare appearance of fine Amboyna-wood ends and case. Round-ended brass reed-frames. This cost £18.18.0 in 1863, and its equivalent price in Year 2000 currency is £8,929.12.
C.079 Wheatstone No 20030:- A 48-Key English system made in February 1882, and showing changes from the post-1848 Lachenal-influenced design. The serial number only appears glued on the LH "West Street" replaced dark gauze baffle, and other appearances are only of the "Batch Number" of the instrument, in this case "3", though the serial number 20030 has been added in pencil within the instrument. There are later black leather "West Street" straps, and a fine later square leatherette-clad case with gilt on black woven "West Street" label. The end is inset with the oval "West Street" label, and has machine-cut frets of high gloss Amboyna-wood veneer with chamfered edges revealing ebony purfling. The keys are metal-caps on wood cores, and the bass-reed pallets are of a larger diameter than the treble, with several of the small-notes' pallets trimmed at the side to fit the space available. There is now no annular pan-label.
C.080 Wheatstone No 22521:- A 48-Key English system from around 1893/4, and showing further changes from the post-1848 Lachenal-influenced design. The "By Her Majesty's" headed label now announces the details of the Madras dealer "Misquith & Co. The reeds are now in long-scale round-ended brass reed-frames with single small rivetted steel tongues, and there is now no annular pan-label.
C.081 Wheatstone No 22965:- A first appearance of the early six-sided form of Wheatstone's "Æola", a high quality ebony-ended 48-Key English system from around 1896/98. Still with the "By Her Majesty's" label, with a new pattern of "Dot and Comma" ebony fretwork with "Æola" stamped into the section below the bass Keys, and with chamfered edges. The blued-steel reeds are now in long-scale round-ended brass reed-frames with a return to two steel securing the tongues. There is now no annular pan-label.
Wheatstone instruments after 1900
Wheatstone No 23107:- An early appearance Wheatstone's "Æola" in its
standard Octagonal form. This model is a high quality Tenor-Treble 48-Key English system Æolafrom around 1900/05. This instrument may date from 1900 - still in the "20 Conduit Street" period, or as late as 1905, when manufacturing would have moved to West Street. It has received at West Street replacement inset & chrome plated metal ends and new 1930s Wheatstone & Co labels and Number mounts. Some later bellows repairs may have been done at H Crabb & Son, whose oval stamp appears on the inner face of each reed-pan. The blued-steel reeds are now in long-scale round-ended brass reed-frames with a use of two smaller sized steel screws securing the tongues. There is now no annular pan-label.
C.083 Wheatstone No 35226:- A fine and large Wheatstone 81-Key Maccann Duet "Æola" in its standard Octagonal form. This model is a high quality Duet system Æola, made in late 1939. It has inset & chrome plated metal ends and the scalloped Wheatstone & Co labels and Number mounts.
C.084 Wheatstone No 36071:- A fine and large Wheatstone 72-Key, Tortoiseshell-ended, Gold-plated Maccann Duet "Æola" in its standard Octagonal form. Export labelling. With a large file of the US owner's correspondence with Wheatstone & Co.
C.085 Wheatstone No 55561:- A rare Wheatstone 53-Key "Bandoneon" of large hexagonal form. This model is one of two made in April 1953, for the export market - probably for US Chemnitzer players. It has inset & flat chrome plated metal ends and the scalloped Wheatstone &Co labels and Number mounts inset to the chromed ends, and large diameter nickel-capped wooden keys in an extended three-row "Anglo" layout. It has immense 18-Fold black leather bellows.
C.088 Wheatstone No (removed) :- 48-Key Rosewood ended and ebony inlaid English system, (number removed) , made around 1890, and showing many changes from the post-1848 Lachenal-influenced design. Nickel-capped keys with wooden cores, "C" notes gilt-washed. Originally with the "By Her Majesty's" label, (of which a fragment was found under the RH fretwork), there is now an early form of the "West Street" label applied. The serial number has been scraped off from the LH sub-fret chamois baffle. An original fine rosewood hexagonal case with later solid silver shield to lid.
C.089 Wheatstone No 35995:- A fine 12-key "Clown" format "miniature" concertina, made during 1954. It has chrome plated metal ends and impressed "Wheatstone" label and Serial Number mounts. It is in the rare "Clown" format, in which the bellows slide apart via a professionally-fitted centre-slide, and the separate ends are each fitted on the inner face of the dividing panels with lead weights, enabling each half of the instrument to be played separately.
C.094 to C.097 Four Wheatstone "Duette" concertinas:- One of four complete 1854 Wheatstone "Duette" concertinas, C.094 in original case. It has 24 note-named Brass-capped wooden keys on long brass wire levers, simple hook action, rectangular rosewood ends in the manner and profile of the earliest German concertinas, a Wheatstone Conduit Street stamp to each end, green leather hand-straps and green leather bellows. Wheatstone's early "duette" concertinas look very much like early German instruments, but with different internal construction and a true "duet" arrangement where each button plays the same note on both push and pull. The keyboard is identical to the central notes of the later Maccann Duet Concertina.
C.098 Wheatstone No "XOX":- A unusual 1840s Prototype "Duet" format concertina, numbered "XOX " and "2", from the pre-1848 "By Her Majesty's.. " period, in which the parts from a large single-action "Stretched Octagon" 47-Key "English" layout instrument has been modified to test various layouts of a type of "Duet" layout, using just three columns of keys from the English format of the original construct.
C.099 Wheatstone No 1219:- A C Wheatstone & Co " May Fair " (see p15 at link) English 30-Key concertina. It was one of the budget models designed by Wheatstone's last manager Harry Minting, (whose archive of over 130 items is in the Collection). "May Fair" instruments were made (together with a similar "Anglo" model) after production resumed post-war in 1949. This model may be from around 1958. The "May Fair" English Tutor is described in the Merris Tutor List, Item E45, and there are examples in the Collection at Items NC.5.4.1-004, and NC.22.214.171.124-110. >/p>
C.100 Wheatstone "Double" duet system, No 12:- A Charles Wheatstone 67-Key "Double" No 12. This rare system, with 4 columns of reeds in the first attempt at a"duet" format, is known from about 5 surviving models, and has many pre-1848 features. Rosewood hand-cut frets, "by His Majesty's..." label, ("C" under "iS Ma" Variant). Green leather bellows (reinforced bottom-bout), square-end nickel-tongue reeds, pine board sub-fret baffles, original rosewood case with key.
C.102 Wheatstone No 32324:- A fine 12-key miniature English system "Æola" concertina, made during 1930. It has extremely rare octagonal Tortoiseshell-veneered ends & sides, an unusual gilt "Wheatstone" label, 8-Fold bellows. Original case rectangular leatherette case with gilt & red Wheatstone "West Street" label.
C.103 Wheatstone No 32456:- A very small Wheatstone 8-Key miniature concertina, once owned by ICA founder member Jim Harvey, and from the Ruth Askew Collection. Metal ends, 6-Fold bellows, later case. Claimed by previous owners as "The smallest concertina in the World"!
C.104 Wheatstone No 31778:- A large 56-Key Æola, made in January 1929. Original gilt straps, raised chrome-plated ends, original leather case with "West Street" label.
C.108 Wheatstone No 32190:- A "Giant" 84-Key Wheatstone Maccann Duet concertina, made in 1929 to perhaps celebrate the Centenary of Wheatstone's 1829 Patent. Once owned by ICA founder member Jim Harvey, and sold from the Ruth Askew Collection. The Wheatstone Dickinson Ledgers quote it as a "Octo Duralumin 84 Key".
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Created August 2009 by Neil Wayne
Modified March 2011 by Wes Williams
This page created Wednesday 30 March 2011.