The Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-350.

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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 26-Key early "Anglo-German" style of concertina by Henry Harley; one of three in the collection, with features copied from 1850s period German-made instruments. See also Items C.351 , and C.352 . It is a basic 2-row anglo system, of rectangular form, and with numbered ebony keys, broad steel reed-tongues riveteted to a pair of brass German-style reed-plates in each end. Many oval "Harley" maker's stamps within, larger ones on internal wood-work, smaller ones on the brass of the reed-plates. German-style ends, gilt-embossed bellows, but with maker label and case absent.

Concertina Summary: A 26-Key early "Anglo-German" style of concertina, by Henry Harley, with features copied from 1850s period German-made instruments; it is a basic 2-row anglo system, of rectangular form.

Owner or Collection: Concertina Museum, Belper

Maker: Henry Harley, London.

Maker Links: A good survey by Wes Williams of Henry Harley's various addresses, and some comments on his instruments, is here. This Williams survey quotes the opinions of enthusiastic collector Stephen Chambers (2004) thus:
"Harley seems to have modified German concertinas to give them a more "English"appearance. This "Anglicisation" (or should that be ""Anglo-icisation"" ?) usually involved cutting out the areas of the end that had a pattern of holes drilled in them, German-style, and replacing them with fresh timber in which fretwork was cut, English-style. The ends were then sanded down (which tended to also obscure the numbers of the buttons stamped into them, German-style) and ebonised (to hide what had been done). The German woodscrews in the ends were replaced with end-bolts, and they were given leather bellows. He also added some extra notes, with smaller buttons, to them".
However, detailed analysis of the Harleys in The Collection indicates that though their design mimics many "German" features, they appear to be of English make (the degree of replacement, re-fretting, re-bellowing, ebonising etc., etc., proposed hardly seems practical!) For instance, the oval impressed Harley stamps that appear several times on the reed-plates of these Harleys appear to have been stamped prior to the addition of the steel reed-tongues, as shown on Item C.351 here.

Region of Manufacture: London

Main Maker's Label Wording: End-fret label absent.

Principal Serial Number: None of the Collection's Harley instruments have serial numbers or batch numbers.

System Type: Two-row anglo-german layout, with extra keys to the top row of each end, (which are numbered "0" to "5" and two further extra keys above each end of the top row, numbered "11" and "12". These last two keys act upon reeds located on a pair of "extra" nickel reed-frames located to each end of the large top reed-frame sheet. The RH has a Jones-style air-lever whose inset brass pin passes throught the frets and acts on a spring-loaded trapdoor-style air-flap on the inner face of the reed-plate area.

Source Catalogue No: The Concertina Museum Collection Ref:C-350.

Maker Details

Henry Harley, maker of distictive four-sided instruments, appears in directory listings from 1872 to 1888.

Henry Harley 'made' instruments that use the same construction techniques as German made instruments. The first listing for Harley appears in 1874 at 22 Brunswick Place, City Road, N. London and these listings continue at the same address until 1888. A Harley instrument has been indentified as being made by the German maker Bassler of Grünberg, Saxony. He seems to have modified German concertinas to give a more "English" appearance by cutting out areas of the ends and replacing them with fresh fretwork, and then ebonising them, with the woodscrews being replaced with endbolts. New leather bellows and extra notes were also added.

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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.