One one end, in an oval aperture in the fretwork can be read: "Patent / CONCERTINA / By / GEORGE CASE / BOOSEY & SONS, HOLLES ST / LONDON". At the other end there is no serial number visible in the aperture, even though the chamois leather baffles are still present, but 2460 is stamped on the underside of the left hand end. George Case apparently had a reputation for mixing serial numbers in instruments, and on the inside, the serial number of 2760 is clearly stamped on both ends of the inside reedpans, and on the inside of the bellows frame. Working on 2760 as the majority of the instrument, this probably dates it from around 1861-63 with earlier components. Boosey and Sons took over George Case in 1856, then became Boosey & Co in 1864. Let's work on 1862 as a likely date.
It is similar to this example in Neil Wayne's museum. For more information on George Case, and clues that helped in the dating of this concertina based on changes in company names, see Steve Flint's "Case Notes". A price list of Case concertinas from 1860 shows that this was their top model "The Patent Concert Concertina", costing 12 guineas (£12.60). It has its probably original rosewood wooden hexagonal ends-up box.
It is an English concertina, which means that it produces the same note when a key is pressed, regardless of whether the bellows are going in or out. The other main type of concertina is the Anglo, which gives different notes according to bellows direction, like a mouth organ does.
The main oddity of its construction is the presence of reed chambers on both sides of the reedpan. On an ordinary concertina the inside of the reedpan is smooth, but on this one (and in my other George Case treble 3087), there are internal divisions, topped by wooden hexagonal 'caps' on the interior of the reedpans, facing the bellows, to create resonant cavities for the inner reeds. See photos below. Chris Flint describes these as 'double chamber' reed pans - supposedly developed to equalise the sound between the 'pull' & the 'draw'. More on this as I research it.
|| Left side || Bellows || Hole || Right side
|| Left padboard || Right padboard || R Action || Baffle
|| Inside bellows || Cobweb! || L Reedpan || R Reedpan
|| Double pan cap || Double pan side || R Reeds |
Now that it was playable, a problem became apparent with the pitch of the reeds. The ones used in scales of G and D were approximately in modern pitch, but all the others were still in old pitch - a good quarter tone sharp! So I embarked on retuning it to concert pitch, filing the right amount of metal off the belly of each reed - not a trivial task!
The result is a rather nice concertina - both to look at, and to play. It could benefit from a bit more fettling - replacing a few more valves in particular, but overall I'm pleased, and have learned a lot on the way.
After a year, it has improved by 'playing in' and become my favourite in the house instrument. I've also had to reglue one of the ends where the glue was failing, and the stress of a slightly warped padboard was pulling it apart, but this seems successful.
|| Left side || Top || Bottom || Right side
|| Papers || Padboard || Inside || Right action