Paul Hardy's A#2 Lachenal 20 button Anglo Concertina - 167221

Pictures of Lachenal Anglo 167221 before restoration

LHS bellows RHS
LH side Bellows hole RH side

Description of Anglo Concertina - 167221

It is an Anglo-German Concertina, as invented and patented by Charles Wheatstone, influenced by German designs. It is hexagonal with 20 keys (plus an air button). Like a mouth organ or harmonica, you get different notes in the two directions of each button. It is a diatonic instrument, being limited to the keys of C and G and their relative minors - Am and Em. This is in contrast to the English concertina which has 48 buttons, with each giving the same note both ways, but having all sharps and flats. Lower notes are on the left, and higher on the right sides.

The ends are veneered and polished wood fretwork. The bellows were black, and badly worn to bare leather, with five folds, having a pattern of diagonal lines with goldish crosses on white coloured patterned transfer on each segment. The five-fold bellows, brass reeds, bone buttons, and lack of bushes round the botton holes indicate that it was a basic instrument, and intended for home use rather than performance.

On one end, in an oval aperture in the fretwork can be read "Lachenal & Co, Patent Concertina Manufacturer, London". Lachenal was Wheatstone’s foreman who set up on his own in 1858. He died in 1861, but his widow used the same label until she sold the company to a group of workers in 1873, who thereafter used the label “Lachenal & Co”. So this instrument is after 1873. At the other end is a serial number - 167221, probably dating it from around 1899.

The original thin red leather baffles are still in place, but rather dry and brittle. It has its hexagonal original box, but with no lid.


I bought it in March 2020 from Theo Gibb of The Box Place, as "For Repair", for £150. It had clearly not been played in years.

Initial state of this concertina

  1. There was a largish hole in the bellows, where one leather gussett had split and frayed. The other gussets were rather hard, but intact. The exterior leather colouring was badly worn away.
  2. It was *not* in modern concert pitch – it was still in old London philharmonic pitch, so about a quarter-tone (35 cents) sharp. Retuning to concert pitch is a non-trivial task – filing the right amount of metal off 40 reeds!
  3. The leather wrist straps were missing.
  4. The leather valves had drooped as the machine had been stored on its end, as well as stiffening, so they need replacing.
  5. Its pads have not been replaced for many decades (if ever), and would need doing to get it playing well. However they work now for trying it out.
  6. Several of the felt bushes round the button holes have perished and need replacing.
  7. The padboards were OK, with a minor wood crack, and shrinkage to the outside veneer in places.

Restoration of this concertina - Phase 1

  1. I patched the missing gusset with a diamond of skived leather on the inside of the bellows.
  2. I reglued, filled and smoothed a few small gaps and cracks in the woodwork.
  3. I made and fitted new temporary wrist straps using an old leather belt.
  4. I reglued one and replaced two of the wooden triangular support blocks that hold up the reedpans. I am still sorting this, as there is air leakage at both ends.
The instrument is not in a bad state considering it is over 100 years old! However, it would still benefit from some more work - replace all the remaining old valves and pads, and retune to concert pitch. Work pending!

Pictures of Lachenal Anglo 167221 during and after Initial Restoration

Oblique action l action r
RH side after Phase 1 LH action RH action
inside open top
Bellows interior LH reedpan Top view - scuffed

Restoration of this concertina - Phase 2

John Warren kindly made me a pair of leather wrist straps, so that prompted me to do a second round of restoration.
  1. I patched three worn bellows corners using skived leather patches on the outside of the bellows.
  2. I patched various cracks in the bellows folds using pigskin leather patches on the inside of the bellows.
  3. I restained black the exterior bellows leather using a leather restoration spray and renovating polish.
  4. I adjusted and fitted new wrist straps from John Warren.
  5. I reglued more of the wooden triangular support blocks that hold up the reedpans to further reduce air leakage.

Pictures of Lachenal Anglo 167221 after Phase 2 Restoration

Oblique Top 2 Oblique
LH side after Phase 2 Top 2 RH side after Phase 2

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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