Paul Hardy's #11 George Case Amboyna Treble Concertina - 2760

Pictures of George Case Amboyna Treble Concertina 2760

left bellows right Before
left bellows right After

Description of George Case Concertina 2760

It is hexagonal with 48 flat-top nickel keys. The ends are Amboyna veneer with fretwork, and fine inlaid nickel decorations. The 5-fold bellows were in fair condition with patterned papers in the typical George Case green/brown/pink style, and gold tooling in the leather end blocks, but with a severe split near the right end.

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.

Initial assessment of this concertina

The instrument was bought in May 2015 from an eBay auction, for 450. Condition on arrival was poor, with a bellows split, pads eaten away, and springs broken, but not disastrous considering its age of 150 years! The reeds are brass, in brass shoes. It appeared originally to be in concert pitch (but see later).

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.

Initial Pictures of George Case Concertina 2760

left bellows out hole right
Left side Bellows Hole Right side
padboard padboard action bellows in
Left padboard Right padboard R Action Baffle
bellows in cobweb left reedpan right reedpan
Inside bellows Cobweb! L Reedpan R Reedpan
baffle cap baffle side right reeds
Double pan cap Double pan side R Reeds

Restoration of this concertina

I dismantled and cleaned the instrument (removing decades of grime), polished the ends, replaced several pads which had been eaten and a couple of valves that were stiff and open. I made new thumbstraps, and resoldered and recovered in leather the pinky rests (all using materials from Concertina Spares). I carefully removed the bellows papers around the split section (after wetting), I scanned them so I have a model if any papers need replacing. I then replaced three gussets and the inner and outer tapes in the area of the original bellows split. See inages below for results.

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.

More Pictures of George Case Concertina 2760 after restoration

left top bottom right
Left side Top Bottom Right side
papers padboard inside right action
Papers Padboard Inside Right action

Do you know anything more about this concertina ?

Use paul at paulhardy dot net to send me an email message if you know anything about this instrument.

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