One one end, in an oval aperture in the fretwork can be read "Lachenal & Co, Patent Concertina Manufacturer, London". The aperture on the other side which should have the serial number is empty. However the number 57544 is stamped on both the reedpans. This would date it to about 1929. Interestingly, the bellows are stamped with 55936, which would be from about 1927, so maybe they were a swap from an earlier machine.
Another oddity is that it has Wheatstone compact thumbstraps, rather than the original ones which would have gone to thumbscrews over the edge.
Condition on arrival was OK, (considering its age), but it had obviously not been played in decades. There were various notes not sounding in one direction, and the bellows were very stiff. The reeds are steel, in brass shoes. It is tuned to modern concert pitch of A=440.
On further investigation, the bellows leather was very dry and brittle, and two gussets had cracked, leaking air. I applied neatsfoot oil to the leather of the gussets (three applications a week apart), and mended three gussets and two corners with skived leather patches. I also replaced a few pads and filled a small hairline crack in the padboard. It then became playable.
Over time, the dryness of the bellows leather led to some more gusset and hinge cracks, so I did some more bellows gusset and hinge patches. I also replaced the missing 5744 number to its aperture on the LHS, and tweaked the tuning of a couple of aberrant reeds. It now needs playing for a while to see if the bellows lose their stiffness, or whether it is time for replacement bellows - the current ones have lasted for some 90 years, and bellows are considered consumable items, so they've done quite well!
|| Reedpan ||Bellows || LHS