The Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-001.

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Item Type: Concertina

Summary Labels and Serial Numbers End Frets Fingering System Straps and Holding Devices Fret Baffle Action Board Reeds and Reed Pans Bellows Case and Other


Full Description: A prototype 24-key Open Pallet Wheatstone "English" concertina, having exposed pearl pallets, ebony levers within a complex wooden action system. The origin of this very early open pallet instrument was as a continuance of physicist and inventor Charles Wheatstone's research on controlling musical reeds via compact and logical arrangements of buttons or "keys". It is in part an acoustical experiment and demonstration apparatus, and in part a 'new' musical instrument prototype, whose later developments were destined for eventual sale via the family business, and this prototype was created during his days at the family's musical instrument and publishing shop at 20 Conduit Street, London. As with many of the Collection's items originating from the King's College attic storerooms which housed the remnants of the Wheatstone Laboratory collection, this item is in fragile condition.

Concertina Summary: A prototype 24-key Open-pallet Wheatstone "English" concertina, with provenance from the Wheatstone Museum, King's College, London.

Owner or Collection: Concertina Museum, Belper

Maker: C Wheatstone

Region of Manufacture: London

Main Maker's Label Wording: A semi-circular, solid silver applied plate, screwed to the central RH rosewood circular action cover, and engraved "By his Majesty's Letters Patent, C Wheatstone, Inventor, 20 Conduit St. Regent St. London".

Principal Serial Number: No serial number on this earliest prototype.

System Type: 24-Key English system, in same layout as used on the first Wheatstone Symphoniums. (see C:15:1:001 and 002).

Source Catalogue No: The Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-001.

Maker Details

Wheatstone & Co. were founded in 1824, and survived until 1974. In 1975 the company was refounded by Steve Dickinson.

C. Wheatstone & Co was established in London, England by Charles Wheatstone (uncle to Sir Charles and William Dolman Wheatstone) at the beginning of the 19th Century. They moved to 20 Conduit Street, London, England in 1824. After the death of William in 1862, the firm was taken over by Edward Chidley, a distant relation. Edward Chidley died in 1899, and the firm was then controlled by his sons Edward and Percy. In 1905 the firm moved to 15 West Street.

After the death of the younger Edward Chidley in 1943, part of the firm was sold to Besson & Co., who were taken over by Boosey & Hawkes in 1948. In 1958 they moved to Duncan Terrace, Islington, North London. In 1961 the Duncan Terrace property was sold, and the remains of Wheatstone & Co. were moved to the Boosey & Hawkes factory in Edgware, Middlesex. The company ceased trading on the death of its last employee in 1974.

The remains of the company were purchased by Steve Dickinson in 1975.

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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.