Instrument Section C-350 to C-352, Maker - Henry Harley
The Collection has three Harley-made instruments, which are rectangular
Anglo-German instruments with several features uplifted from the vast numbers
of budget 2-Row German-made concertinas that flooded into
A good survey by Wes Williams of Henry Harley's various addresses and comments on the instruments is here: The Wes Williams archive states: "The four-sided instruments made by Henry Harley are some of the most distinctive in the Horniman collection. They 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. An instrument bearing a Harley label has been identified by Dr. Maria Dunkel as being made by the German maker Bassler (of Grünberg, Saxony)."
The 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.
Two of the examples here retain their original rectangular mahogany cases.
C.351 Henry Harley, un-numbered:- A Harley 2-Row rectangular Anglo Concertina, in ebonised wood. Oval paper label on sub-fret gauze baffle, gilt-embossed leather bellows, Harley name stamps on inner action-face, and oval impressed "Henry Harley Maker London" stamps that appear several times on the action face, and impressed into the brass of the reed-plates. Gilt-embossed pattern to bellows frame leather.
C.352 Henry Harley, un-numbered:- A Harley 2-Row rectangular Anglo Concertina, mahogany ends with an area of the kind of simple pierced fret-pattern on ends and sides alluded to in Chambers' "made in Germany" proposals discussed above. Ebony lever acting on RH Air-valve (as adapted by George Jones on some of his Anglo models, see C.339 in the Jones section. Oval paper label on sub-fret gauze baffle, gilt-embossed leather bellows, Harley name stamps on inner action-face, and oval impressed "Henry Harley Maker London" stamps that appear several times impressed into the zinc of the reed-plates. Very simple Gilt-embossed edging to bellows frame leather.
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Created December 2010 by Neil Wayne
Modified March 2011 by Wes Williams
This page created Wednesday 30 March 2011.