Posted 15 December 2004

Historic Concertina Patents

Robert Gaskins

Full scanned copies of nine historic concertina patents, 1829–1986.

The portfolio includes three early patents by Charles Wheatstone and his brother William Wheatstone (1829, 1844, 1861) covering the English concertina, John Hill Maccann's Duet patent (1884), George Jones's Anglo patent (1884), the patent by James Alsepti and Richard Ballinger for the “bowing valve” (1885, useful for dating instruments incorporating it), John Butterworth's patent for the Crane Duet system (1896), Kaspar Wicki's patent for the Wicki-Hayden Duet system (1896), and Brian Hayden's much later patent (1986) for the same system. None of these patents has any current force, all have either lapsed or been abandoned.

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
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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
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wheatstone-patent-1861 Improvements in Concertinas, &c. (1861)
by William Wheatstone
British Patent No. 2289 of 1861, Provisional Specification (14 September 1861) and Specification (14 March 1862) with thirty-three figures. 38 pages. "Improvements in Concertinas, &c.". Improvements on the preceding concertina patents, including a duet arrangement which reappears eighty years later in one of the "Wheatstone Edeophones".
Posted 15 November 2001
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maccann-patent-1884 Improvements in Concertinas (1884)
by John Hill Maccann
British Patent No. 4752 of 1884, Provisional Specification (12 March 1884) and Complete Specification (18 November 1884) with two figures. 4 pages. The one and only patent dealing with the Maccann Duet concertina. Maccann's invention creates a fully chromatic Duet (capable of playing in all key signatures) based on the older diatonic Wheatstone “duett” system.
Posted 15 November 2001
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jones-patent-1884 Improvements in Anglo-German Concertinas (1884)
by George Jones
British Patent No. 9314 of 1884, 23 June 1884 with two figures. 2 pages. Jones describes a 42-key Anglo concertina, which is a fully chromatic Anglo “ to enable the performer to play music in every key”, based on the older diatonic 10-key and 20-key German models.
Posted 15 January 2004
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alsepti-patent-1885 Improvements in Concertinas (1885)
by James Alsepti and Richard Ballinger
British Patent No. 8290 of 1885, Provisional Specification (08 July 1885) and Complete Specification (08 April 1886) with two figures. 5 pages. The “bowing valve” patent. These valves were for English concertinas, providing a feature not present in the Wheatstone designs, and were promoted by Lachenal.
Posted 22 December 2003
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butterworth-crane-patent-1896 Improvements in English Concertinas (1896)
by John Butterworth
British Patent No. 21,730, Provisional Specification, (28 September 1896), and Complete Specification (29 June 1897), with two figures. 3 pages. The patent describing the “Crane” (or “Triumph”) duet concertina system. Crane & Sons Ltd. were large musical instrument manufacturers in Liverpool. The system was adopted by the Salvation Army under the name “Triumph” from 1912, and eventually Wheatstone was claiming it was because of “the disposition of the keys being more suited to the playing of sacred music”.
Posted 15 February 2003
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wicki-patent-1896 Tastatur für Musikinstrumente (1896)
by Kaspar Wicki
Switzerland Patent Nr. CH13329, dated 30 Oktober 1896. 2 pages, 1 illustration. This patent describes a keyboard system identical to the Hayden system which was independently re-discovered 90 years later. “The keys or buttons … are arranged in such a way that one can play in all key signatures using the same fingering. The notes which are adjacent left-to-right on one row are always one full tone from each other. Notes in the adjacent row are the associated fifths (in the other direction the associated fourths) and notes two rows away in each direction are the octaves.” [Translated from the German original.]
Posted 01 March 2004
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Hayden-GB-Patent-No-2131592 Arrangements of Notes on Musical Instruments (1986)
by Brian Hayden
British Patent No. GB2131592, 1986. 14 figures, 17 pages. This was an independent re-discovery of the system that had been patented by Kaspar Wicki ninety years earlier. "Various arrangements of touches on Musical Keyboards previously evolved are detailed … . The present invention places notes on musical instruments along several adjacent paths … . Keyboards for Organs, Accordions, and in particular Concertinas are described in greater detail … ." [from the Application]. Date Filed: 02.12.1982; Patent Granted with effect from 20.08.1986; Date of Last Renewal: 29.11.1989; Date Not in Force: 02.12.1990; Patent Ceased on 02.12.1990. [Patents Register Entry, UK Patent Office]
Posted 01 September 2003
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Illustration from the earliest Wheatstone Patent (1829)
Illustration from the earliest
Wheatstone Patent (1829)