Posted 15 January 2004

An Annotated Catalogue of Historic European Free-Reed lnstruments from my Private Collection 1

Stephen Chambers

1. Æolinas

It was claimed, in an anonymous 1830 instruction book, The German Æolian Tutor,2 that "this elegant little instrument was first brought to England from Germany, early in the year 1827, by the Right Hon. Earl Stanhope".3 The instrument was demonstrated at a Royal Institution lecture of Charles Wheatstone's on 9th May 18284 and an article, featuring an engraving of a Wheatstone triple æolina, appeared in The Harmonicon for February 1829.5 These simple mouthorgans consist of a metal plate to which are riveted a number of free reeds, usually tuned to play a chord, though chromatic versions were also made. They were the first commercially successful European free reed instruments and led directly to the invention of the accordion, the English concertina (via the symphonion), the German concertina and (of course) the modern mouthorgan/harmonica family.

[1] German double æolina stamped "Evers" and also with a device consisting of an oval with an “S” at each quarter (see photograph), circa 1828. Circular German silver6 reedplate with two chords, tonic (Eb major) and dominant (Bb7), stamped, in German notation, G B Es G B Es and B D F As B D, mounted in an ivory horn with a circular ivory mouthpiece. Probably a “Hunting Æolian, two Chords of six notes each, mounted in Ivory”, as described in a “List of German Æolians Manufactured and Imported by Willis & Co.” contained in The German Æolian Tutor.7

[2] Single æolina stamped "C. Wheatstone", London, circa 1828. German silver reedplate and (ten) reeds. Wheatstone' s æolinas, such as this one and Exhibit 3, have ridges between the reeds to "answer the double purpose of protecting them from injury, and guiding the lips of the performer"8 to facilitate the playing of single notes.

[3] Triple æolina stamped "C. Wheatstone, 20, Conduit St.", London, c. 1829, consisting of three single æolinas mounted in an ivory frame. The chords are "tuned so as to form the perfect major chords on the tonic, dominant and subdominant of the key... By this arrangement a complete diatonic scale, extending through three octaves, is obtained; any unmodulating melody may, therefore, be performed upon it, and be accompanied by the three simple harmonies of the key".9

2. Keyed mouth organs

An assortment of mouth organs with keys soon appeared in Germany, France and England, no doubt in an attempt to facilitate the playing of individual notes.

[4] Psallmelodikon, invented by J. Weinrich & H. König of Heiligenstadt in 1828, a similar example (with a more fanciful windpipe) is shown in a portrait of Weinrich dating from 1835.10 Flamed maple body, 6 fingerholes plus 2 thumbholes bushed with ivory, 25 German silver saltspoon keys in saddles, German silver reeds, ivory mouthpiece. In external appearance resembling a double-flageolet with some bassoon-like features, the body must have been built by a maker of woodwind instruments.

[5] Symphonion with 15 keys, engraved "BY HIS MAJESTY'S LETTERS PATENT, C. WHEATSTONE, INVENTOR, 20, Conduit St. Regent Stt. LONDON.” circa 1829, an early example numbered 18. German silver body with decorative engraving, silver reeds, ivory buttons and embouchure. When first made this instrument had only 13 diatonic buttons in two rows, producing the two F# semitones by means of levers shortening the F natural reeds,11 the two external saddle-mounted keys for F# and their respective reeds being a contemporary modification.

[6] Symphonion with 32 keys engraved "BY HIS MAJESTY'S LETTERS PATENT, C. WHEATSTONE, INVENTOR, 20 Conduit St. Regent St., LONDON.” 1831 or 1832. The only known sterling silver symphonion, hallmarked London 1831-2, gold reeds, ivory buttons and embouchure. A more developed model than the last, with four chromatic rows of buttons. The very logical fingering system of the symphonion was the main subject of Charles Wheatstone's 1829 Patent12; it was later to be used for his English concertina, which was therefore covered by the Patent though not a subject of it.

3. Accordions

Invented by Cyrill Demian (1772-1847) of Vienna and patented by him on 6th May 1829,13 the accordion rapidly spread throughout Europe. lt had certainly reached London as early as 1830 because it is recorded that a 5-key example was seen at one of Wheatstone's lectures to the Royal Institution on 5th June that year,14 there was also a tutor published in London for it the same year.15

These very first models of accordion were made to be played left-handed (to our way of thinking)16 and played only chords, as contemporary tutor books explain and surviving instruments demonstrate (hence the name, deriving from the German word for chord = "accord", plus the suffix "-ion"). This has been the cause of some considerable confusion and misinformation in books and articles on the subject by writers who have not taken the trouble to research the source material, or had their own agenda.

In essence the first model consisted of a series of æolinas arranged inside a wooden box provided with a bellows and keys. On pressing a key one chord would sound on compressing the bellows and another chord on expanding them, thus allowing the playing of tunes only with the respective chordal harmony for every melody note.

Over the next few years the accordion developed and became more melodic. An early modification was to incorporate a “mutation”, consisting of a plunger projecting from the keyboard end of the instrument, which, when pushed against the body of the performer, caused dampers to be pressed against the unwanted reeds of the chords, silencing them, so that only the root note sounded. Such instruments are described and illustrated in Adolf Müller’s Accordion Schule17 and an example from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, was demonstrated at the Symposium by Dieter Krickeberg18 playing a piece from its associated instruction book.19 On other models the number of reeds sounded by each key was reduced in number so that they played only a two-note harmony or just single notes and a pair of sliding "mutation" keys to provide the option of a simple fixed bass or chord accompaniment, if opened, were added one at each end of the treble keyboard. Accordions with right-handed keyboards then started to be made and by the middle of the 1830's, instruments with "spoon-bass" keys mounted on the opposite end-board had begun to appear.20

By 1840, Viennese accordions with an enclosed treble action and a pair of bass keys mounted on the side of the opposite end were being produced, in essence the "Vienna accordion" as we define the term today.21

In the early 1830's a number of Parisian makers began building copies of Demian's single note accordions, but with the press/draw system of notes reversed, similar to the earliest models, and a right-handed keyboard.

[7] Unlabelled accordion with 8 keys in the manner of Cyrill Demian, Vienna, first model c. 1829. Mahogany veneered body, ebonised edging, keyboard and levers, mother of pearl pallets and keys, 3-fold pink leather bellows, German silver reeds arranged in 5-note chords per brass plate, those on the press numbered I to VIII and on the draw 1 to 8, keys numbered (left to right) 1 to 8 for left-handed playing. The scale of this instrument differs from later models, starting on key 2 and playing DRAW/PRESS, 3-DRAW/PRESS, 4-DRAW/PRESS, 5-DRAW/PRESS. Mother of pearl fingerplate engraved with the name "Emily" (presumably the original owner?). The wind key on these early Viennese instruments consists of a simple sprung “trapdoor” arrangement, mounted internally and hinged at one end, it is operated by inserting a finger of the hand moving the bellows through one of the mother of pearl bushings in the end board (the air also passing through these bushings).

The accordion shown in the Patent has only 5 keys but Demian was making models with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 keys as early as July 1829.22

[8] Viennese accordion, circa 1835, with 8 keys numbered (right to left) 1 to 8 for right-handed playing, plus two "mutation" keys at ends of fingerboard. Mahogany veneered body, 4-fold pale green leather bellows, German silver levers, mother of pearl pallets and keys, single German silver reeds. Internally numbered (Model?) "N* 1.0." The scale of this instrument starts on key 1 and plays PRESS/DRAW; 2-PRESS/DRAW, 3-PRESS/DRAW, 4-DRAW/PRESS in what has become the usual manner (blow/suck, blow/suck, blow/suck, suck/blow, just like a harmonica). The wind key of the same style as Exhibit 7.

[9] French accordion, Paris, circa 1835, with 10 keys plus two brass "mutation" keys at ends of fingerboard. Rosewood veneered body, 4-fold leather bellows, brass wire levers, mother of pearl pallets and keys, single brass reeds. Internally numbered "41a". The scale of this instrument starts on key 2 and plays DRAW/PRESS, 3-DRAW/PRESS, 4-DRAW/PRESS, 5-PRESS/DRAW. Brass spoon shaped wind key enclosed within a protective moulding.

4. English concertina

Charles Wheatstone's Patent of 182923 shows a version of his symphonion with a bellows, but it is still far removed from an English concertina. He would seem to have combined elements of Demian's accordion with elements of his own symphonion (including the fingering) to produce his prototype concertina (see Exhibit 10 below). The instrument was first known simply as “the concertina” until German concertinas started to appear in Britain in the late 1840’s and the qualification “English” became necessary.

[10] Open pallet model, prototype English concertina, engraved, on the circular German silver keyboard plate, "BY HIS MAJESTY'S LETTERS PATENT, C. WHEATSTONE, INVENTOR, 20, Conduit St. Regent St., LONDON.” circa 1833. 24 ivory buttons, hexagonal mahogany veneered ends with ebony trim, 4-fold leather bellows (with "bookbinder corners"),24 buckled leather thumbstraps, exposed action, saddle mounted German silver levers, individual blued steel reeds on rectangular brass plates, mother of pearl pallets.

This venerable instrument was preserved by the firm of Wheatstone & Co. in their own Collection. It is illustrated (dated by them to 1829) in the various editions of their "blue book" catalogues from the 1950's. The same photograph is also used as an illustration in Pierre Monichon's Petite Histoire de L'Accordéon25 and his L'Accordéon.26

I have dated it to 1833 on the evidence of an anonymous early concertina tutor book which gives an otherwise accurate account of Wheatstone's early work with free reeds and states that "it was not till the end of the year 1833 that the instrument named the Concertina was invented".27 There is no contemporary evidence to suggest it existed before that time.

[11] 32-key English concertina, engraved oval German silver label "BY HIS MAJESTY'S LETTERS PATENT, 112, C. WHEATSTONE, INVENTOR, 20,Conduit St. Regent St., LONDON." Concertina no. 112, sold to Mr Woolwright on 5th November 1836. An early example of a concertina with fretwork to protect its intricate, handmade, brass mechanism. Ivory buttons, the naturals stamped with the note names, the accidentals with black inserts, rosewood fretcut ends, 4-fold green leather ("bookbinder") bellows, German silver reeds, original green leather (chamois lined) thumbstraps with German silver topscrews.

[12] 48-key English concertina by C. Wheatstone, London, no. 649, sold to Giulio Regondi on 18th April 1843. Coloured ivory buttons, the naturals stamped with the note names, the C's stained red, the accidentals black, amboynawood (a deluxe finish) veneered fretcut ends, 4-fold green leather bellows with rounded corners, German silver reeds, oval paper label (“BY HIS MAJESTY' S LETTERS PATENT...").

This instrument contains a much simpler (to manufacture) action than the last example, but it is still largely hand made. Its 48-button range was becoming more or less standard from this time onwards (it still is) giving the English concertina the same range as a violin.

Giulio Regondi (1822–1872) was a Swiss-born child prodigy on the guitar, before taking up the newly invented concertina (by 1834) and becoming its first and greatest virtuoso. He did much to popularise the instrument.

[13] 48-key English concertina by C. Wheatstone, no. 1563, circa 1848. Coloured ivory buttons (as Exhibit 12), rosewood veneered ends with spindlecut "frets", green leather bellows, brass reeds, oval paper label: "BY HER MAJESTY'S LETTERS PATENT..." refers to Wheatstone's later Patent of 1844.28 The earliest known example of a "mass produced" Wheatstone, following the mechanisation and production techniques developed for Wheatstone's by the (also Swiss-born) engineer Louis Lachenal (1821-1861).29

[14] An extremely fine 48-key English concertina by Louis Lachenal, London, no. 15347, circa 1870. Silver capped German silver buttons, ebony veneered ends with spindle-cut "frets" inlaid with intricate engraved German silver floral swags, the end bolts, engraved finger plates and engine-turned top screws all gold plated, steel reeds, 5-fold green leather bellows with gold tooling and fancy printed decorative papers. The ebony veneered case with floral marquetry, mother of pearl and composition inlay, bordered in kingwood.

Both the instrument and its case are most opulently decorated and it is very tempting to speculate that they may have been made for exhibition purposes. Louis Lachenal set up his own business in 1858, following the expiration of Wheatstone's 1844 Patent, having produced nearly all of that firm's concertinas in the preceding ten years.

5. German system concertinas

The invention of the German concertina is attributed to Carl Friedrich Uhlig (1789-1874) of Chemnitz, who first advertised a “new kind of Accordion” in the Chemnitzer Anzeiger of 19th July 1834.30 “Each side had 5 buttons, each button two tones”.31 (Hence it was called a “20 töniges Accordion”.) However, I am not aware of any more detailed record of its earliest form and it is intriguing to speculate that the astonishing instrument by the German-born Jew’s harp virtuoso Charles Eulenstein (see Exhibit 15 below) may represent a contemporary English-made imitation of it. There had certainly been documented links between Wheatstone and Eulenstein since 182832 and it seems reasonable to suppose that this instrument was probably built for him by some of Wheatstone's craftsmen after his trip home (to Heilbronn and Lüneburg in order to marry) in July/August 1834 and based on a German original. However, the possibilities are intriguing: Was it instead made by Uhlig? Or even, could Eulenstein have been the true inventor? Certainly he seems to have been in Germany at an opportune time.

[15] A unique 10-key Anglo-German concertina by Charles Eulenstein, Bath, 1835. Engraved "C. Eulenstein, INVENTOR, No.4", rectangular flamed maple body with open pallet action, brass levers, 4 ivory buttons plus one brass "butterfly" key on each end, (later?) bass soundbox, (moth-eaten) 5-fold leather bellows, individual steel reeds. The escutcheon on the case is engraved with the owner's initials and the year "1835", making it the earliest dateable German model concertina.

Curiously Eulenstein made no mention of any concertina invention in his autobiography,33 though he did refer to an (unsuccessful) eight-string guitar called an "octina" which he invented (only selling six of them) and a very successful German grammar which he wrote, both around this time. Perhaps he sold even less concertinas than guitars?

[16] German 20-key concertina, circa 1855, the maker's name, "Pirner", is pencilled inside the right-hand end, numbered 240. Rectangular fruitwood body pierced with a drilled design, rectangular bone capped wooden keys, 4-fold leather bellows, 10 German silver reeds mounted on each of four reedplates. "Carl Friedrich Pirner, Harmonicafabrik, Mühlenstrasse 33" appears in the Chemnitz Adressbuch for 1855, 1857 and 1858.34

An almost identical concertina is depicted in Sir John Everett Millais’ painting The Blind Girl (painted 1854–1856, now item No. 1892P3 in the collection of the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery). It is known to have been borrowed for the picture in 1855, at which time it was not new.

[17] Anglo-German 20-key concertina by the Nickolds family, London, early 1850's. Bone buttons numbered 1–10 each side, "Artistic fingering", hinged wooden wind-key, hexagonal rosewood ends with simple fretwork (left hand end replaced in stained mahogany), individual brass reeds, 8-fold maroon leather bellows.

The Nickolds family claimed to be "inventors of the Anglo-German" concertina on their business card35 and they probably were the first to manufacture the basic 20 key model, combining English construction and hexagonal shape with German fingering. They established their own business in 1848 (having previously worked for Wheatstone’s) and probably developed the Anglo-German concertina around the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851 (which seems to have helped to popularise the German concertina in Britain).

[18] German made concertina, 1850’s. Externally an imitation of the above instrument, with hexagonal rosewood veneered ends of the same fret pattern, bone capped wooden buttons numbered 1–10 each side, hinged wooden wind-key, 5-fold green leather bellows. The internal construction is German in style, with buttons glued to wooden levers and 10 brass reeds per reedplate. Such instruments would have been built for export, but probably the hexagonal shape became adopted for German-model concertinas as a result of this. (The hexagonal shape is necessary for the radial construction of an English concertina, but not for German construction)

[19] 26-key Anglo-chromatic concertina by George Jones, London, no. 246, circa 1858. Bone buttons numbered 1–10 for naturals, semitones indicated with note names on buttons, hinged wooden wind-key, hexagonal rosewood ends with simple fretwork, individual brass reeds, 5-fold green leather bellows. Oval paper label "G. JONES, PATENT CONCERTINA Manufacturer, LONDON."

George Jones claimed to have added the first semitones to the German system, making a 22-key instrument, for his own use in 1851 and his "chromatic Anglo-German" with 26 keys three years later.36 However, it was not until after the death of his employer Jabez Austin, in July 1857, that he started to manufacture concertinas bearing his own name. The date 30/12/61 is written inside this Instrument but it most probably relates to an early repair.


My thanks to Maria Dunkel and Dieter Krickeberg, both of whom I first met at the Symposium, for their interest and kind help.

Especial thanks to Peer Ehmke at the Schloßbergmuseum Chemnitz, with whom I have exchanged a lot of ideas, information and photocopies as a result of our mutual involvement in the Exhibition “Sehnsucht aus dem Blasebalg,” (and see particularly its "Galerie" with photographs of instruments) held at the Museum, 1st July—28th October 2001.

My knowledge has been greatly enriched by my contact with them and I could not otherwise have rewritten my catalogue with so much additional information.

Also thanks to Stuart Eydmann, who inspired me to spend years looking for elusive source material when he gave me a photocopy of the article about The Æolina from The Harmonicon (when I already owned the triple æolina but didn’t know what it was).


1 Based on the instruments exhibited at the Symposium at Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein in November 1999. [ Back to text ]

2 The German Æolian Tutor, I. Willis & Co., London, Dublin & Paris 1830. [ Back to text ]

3 Ibid., Introduction, p.iii. [ Back to text ]

4 Reports of this lecture appeared in The Literary Gazette (May 24th 1828), pp. 329–30, The Philosophical Magazine, Vol. 3 (1828), p. 457 and The Quarterly Journal of Science (April–July 1828), pp. 424–426. Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) was too shy to present his own lectures at this time, so they were given, on his behalf, by Michael Faraday. Faraday's manuscript notebooks are preserved at the Royal Institution in London, so it has also been possible to examine the original lecture notes (Faraday Notebook F4C, pp. 242–243). [ Back to text ]

5 Unsigned article The Æolina in: The Harmonicon, VII (February 1829), pp. 37-38. [ Back to text ]

6 A new alloy at the time, now more commonly called nickel silver (Ger. “neusilber”) [ Back to text ]

7 The German Æolian Tutor (see footnote 2), p.40, no.31 in a list of 32 models. [ Back to text ]

8 Ibid., p. 10 [ Back to text ]

9 Unsigned article The Æolina in: The Harmonicon, VII (see footnote 5), p. 37. [ Back to text ]

10 Herbert Heyde, Musikinstrumentenbau in Preussen, Tutzing 1994, Illustr. 87, p. 436. [ Back to text ]

11 See Charles Wheatstone's Patent A Certain Improvement or Certain Improvements in the Construction of Wind Musical Instruments, No. 5803, 19th December [sic., read June] 1829, Patent Office, London 1857, in which this principle is described on page 5 and illustrated in figures 20, 23 and 24. In the Patent, the name of the instrument is spelt "Symphonium", but Wheatstone always spelled it "Symphonion" thereafter. The Patent was granted by King George IV. [ Back to text ]

12 For Patent reference see footnote 11 (and the full scan of the patent linked there). [ Back to text ]

13 Cyrill Demian, Patent Nr. 1757, Vienna 1829. [ Back to text ]

14 Strangely it is mentioned in only one of the published accounts of the lecture (The Literary Gazette, No. 698, 5th June 1830, p. 369), and does not appear in Michael Faraday's manuscript lecture notes (F4K, pp. 126–127) at the Royal Institution. Perhaps it was not a planned or "official" exhibit and someone just brought one along to the lecture? [ Back to text ]

15 It appears as an Addendum; Instructions for Playing the Organ Æolian, or Accordion to The German Æolian Tutor (see footnote 2), pp. 41-64. [ Back to text ]

16 It being considered, at the time, that the right hand should be used to control the bellows, probably in analogy with stringed instruments like the violin and guitar, where the left hand fingers the notes and the right hand produces them. [ Back to text ]

17 Adolf Müller, Accordion Schule, Diabelli, Vienna (Plate No.5374, circa 1835?) describes this and has illustrations of such instruments on p.9. [ Back to text ]

18 See Dieter Krickeberg’s paper Handharmonikas im Germanischen Nationalmuseum Nürnberg, in this volume [Harmonium und Handharmonika (Michaelsteiner Konferenzberichte 62), edited by Monika Lustig, Michaelstein, 2002. 20 Musikinstrumentenbau-Symposium, Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein, 19 bis 21 November 1999], pp. 171-180. [ Back to text ]

19 The bilingual Divertisements pour l’Accordéon avec Mutation or Anleitung zum Accordeon [sic] Spiel mit Verärderung Vienna (?) early 1830’s. [ Back to text ]

20 Adolf Müller, Accordion Schule (see footnote 17) p. 8 has illustrations of accordions with such keys. [ Back to text ]

21 See Sabine Klaus' paper Patentschriften und Musterinstrumente. Frühe Handharmonikas im Technischen Museum Wien, in this volume [Harmonium und Handharmonika (Michaelsteiner Konferenzberichte 62), edited by Monika Lustig, Michaelstein, 2002. 20 Musikinstrumentenbau-Symposium, Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein, 19 bis 21 November 1999], pp. 153-169. [ Back to text ]

22 Wiener Zeitung, 22. Juli 1829, cited in: Walter Maurer, Accordion, Edition Harmonia, Wien 1983, p.57. [ Back to text ]

23 See Charles Wheatstone’s Patent (footnote 11) Fig. 45. [ Back to text ]

24 The bellows of the early Wheatstone concertinas were often made by bookbinders. They are recognisable by their sharp corners, the leather folded over like the binding of a book. [ Back to text ]

25 Pierre Monichon, Petite Histoire de L'Accordéon, E.G.F.P., Paris 1958, pl. VII. [ Back to text ]

26 Pierre Monichon, L'Accordéon, Van de Velde/Payot, Lausanne 1985, p. 31. [ Back to text ]

27 Cock's Instruction Book for the Concertina, Robert Cocks & Co., London (Plate No. 9955: c. 1851–52), p. II. [ Back to text ]

28 Charles Wheatstone's Patent Improvements on the Concertina and other Musical Instruments in which the Sounds are Produced by the Action of Wind on Vibrating Springs, No. 10,041, 8th February 1844. Patent Office, London 1856. The Patent was granted by Queen Victoria. [ Back to text ]

29 See my article on Louis Lachenal: Engineer and Concertina Manufacturer, Part 1, in: The Free-Reed Journal, vol. 1 (1999), pp. 7–18 and Part 2 (to follow). [ Back to text ]

30 “Accordeon nach neur Art” listed in his entry in Chemnitzer Anzeiger Nr. 57 (19. Juli 1834), p.359. [ Back to text ]

31 Translated by Peer Ehmke From an article, Zur Geschichte des Bandonions, by Uhlig’s son-in-law, Johann David Wünsch (1814-1895), in: Zeitschrift fur Instrumentenbau, No.1, 1890, p.19. A tutor book for such a “20 note Accordion” has survived: Anweissung das Accordion zu spielen, J.G. Höselbarth, Chemnitz (after 1840) along with its associated instrument (Kat.-Nr.5171), in the Musikinstrumenten Museum, Berlin. (My thanks to Dr. Dieter Krickeberg for this information). The Carlsfeld maker Charles Zimmermann (1817-1898) exhibited his 20-key and 10-key concertinas at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London as "accordions of forty and twenty notes", though the instrument was already known in England as the “German concertina”. The term is already used in the title of the earliest English tutor: Carlo Minasi's Instruction book for the use of learners on the German Concertina of twenty keys and ten keys, Kleyzer & Tritschler, London, which was added to stock at the British Museum on 6th November 1846. It is probable that Zimmermann introduced the name “concertina” into Germany on his return. [ Back to text ]

32 Charles (Karl) Eulenstein (1802–1890) performed on the Jew's harp at two of Wheatstone's lectures to the Royal Institution in 1828. A General account of vibrations producing sound and resonance, or reciprocation, in: Faraday Notebook F4C, p. 241 on 15th February, described as “One of the most popular lectures we ever heard”, in: Literary Gazette (Feb. 1828), p.121, and its sequel Supplementary remarks on the reciprocation of sound in: Faraday Notebook, F4C, p. 243 on 7th March. Also, Eulenstein's Three Divertimentos for Wheatstone's Patent Concertina ... Equally Adapted for the Symphonion was published by Wheatstone & Co. circa 1835, so he would appear to have been a very early player of the English concertina, though there is no mention of it (or the Wheatstone lectures for that matter) in his autobiography (see footnote 33 below). [ Back to text ]

33 At least not in the version available to me, published as the chapter Eulenstein's Musical Career: Karl Eulenstein, Edited by [his daughter] Fanny Roodenfels in: The Jew’s Harp: A Comprehensive Anthology, selected, edited and translated by Leonard Fox, Bucknell University Press, Lewisburg 1988, pp. 160–211. The original was published as Meine musikalische Laufbahn, Stuttgart, 1889, but I have not been able to locate a copy of this. [ Back to text ]

34 Per letter from Maria Dunkel, 11th January 2000. [ Back to text ]

35 Transcribed in my article on Louis Lachenal, Part 1 (see footnote 29), p.15. [ Back to text ]

36 The Retirement of Mr. G. Jones, notice in Musical Opinion & Music Trade Review (no. 264, 1899, p. 851) tells us that "he made the first Anglo-German concertina (twenty-two keys) so long ago as 1851; three years later his chromatic Anglo-German (twenty-six keys) was brought out...". His Recollections of the English Concertina from 1844 by George Jones, Born February 29th 1832, a memoir written towards the end of his life (died 1919), states "The German concertina having one semitone only [F# on the G row], I made one with 22 keys for my own use and later made one with 26 keys full chromatic scale which was after my greatest success...". Transcribed in: Neil Wayne, Concertina Book, 1986 (unpublished typescript), p. 64. [ Back to text ]


Stephen Chambers ( ) is a leading authority on the history of the concertina and a collector of early free reed instruments; he has worked as a music librarian in London and was for many years proprietor of the venerable John McNeill music store (est. 1834) in Dublin. He has recently moved to Kilrush, Co. Clare, where he intends to set up a concertina and squeezebox museum with his collection, and to start manufacturing concertinas.

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michaelstein conference
From 20th Musikinstrumentenbau-
Symposium at Stiftung Kloster
Michaelstein, held 19–21
November 1999, to coincide with
an exhibition of the instruments.


This original version of this article appeared in Harmonium und Handharmonika (Michaelsteiner Konferenzberichte 62), edited by Monika Lustig, Michaelstein, 2002, pp. 181-194. (20 Musikinstrumentenbau-Symposium, Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein, 19–21 November 1999)
© 2002 Stephen Chambers.

The conference volume containing the original publication is available from Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein, PF 24, D-38881 Blankenburg, Germany, for a price of €29.80 plus postage. On the web at, where the volume may be purchased online.

Links to related documents

wheatstone-patent-1829 Improvements in the Construction of Wind Musical Instruments (1829)
by Charles Wheatstone
British Patent No. 5803 of 1829, Specification (19 December 1829) with forty-five figures. 10 pages. "Improvements in the Construction of Wind Musical Instruments". The first of the Wheatstone patents to show a concertina, even though the word is not used in this specification.
Posted 15 November 2001
» read full document in pdf
wheatstone-patent-1844 Improvements in the Action of the Concertina, &c. by Vibrating Springs (1844)
by Charles Wheatstone
British Patent No. 10041 of 1844, Specification (7 August 1844) with eighteen figures. 24 pages. "Improvements in the Action of the Concertina, &c. by Vibrating Springs". The most important of the concertina patents, establishing the characteristic features of the English concertina.
Posted 15 November 2001
» read full document in pdf