French-style German Melodeon (JJ)
Pictures of Melodeon
Description of Melodeon
Firstly, this is not a concertina, but is a melodeon (one row diatonic accordion), but is in the same family of musical instruments (free-reed aerophones).
In France, where it was found, it would be known as "accordéon diatonique à une rangée", or mélodéon.
It is rectangular and largely black, with a single tow of keys.
There is no makers name, but the words Fabrik Marke and a logo of crossed keys. It was almost certainly made in Germany, probably early in the 20th century.
That crossed key mark seems to have been used by the company of Eduard Dienst in Leipzig, which traded between 1871 and 1933. Let's work on it being from about 1920, so a hundred years old.
It is a diatonic accordion, which means that it produces a different note when a key is pressed,
depending on whether the bellows are going in or out, like a mouth organ/harmonica does.
It is in poor condition, having been in an outhouse/barn for decades, but was always a cheap and cheerful model. Current value is probably a few tens of pounds.
My time with this concertina
This instrument was passed to me in France by Margaret's cousin JJ,
who had found it in the outbuildings of a dilapidated farmhouse that they had bought.
- I brought it home, and on examining it, could see woodworm holes and moth damage, so I put it in the freezer for three days to kill any live insects.
- I then sprayed it with Zero moth treatment and put it in a large plastic box to fumigate.
- I then dismantled it to inspect and photograph the condition.
- I noted that the reeds look in fair condition, some valves are drooping, at least one spring has gone,
and several of the bellows gussets have been eaten by insects so that it leaks air.
- I sprayed the interior, and left in in the airtight box to fumigate further.
- I dismantled it further in order to replace broken springs, and relaese stuck hinges for the buttons.
- However, there were three screws which were so rusted in, that they snapped rather than unscrewd. So I now had to drill them out and fit dowels to fill the holes, and add eight new screws.
- I managed eventually to free up the three voice stops, so that they could slide when pushed in to open or close the apertures.
- I isolated the bellows and have had a first go at repairing the holes in the gussets, using thin pigskin glued in with PVA adhesive.
- I replaced two broken treble key springs with concertina ones for the present.
It does now 'work' but very leaky and squeaky. I'm now wondering whether it is worth spending any more effort on, but as we are in and out of coronavirus lockdown,
I may have more time than usual! I realise it will never be robust, but I'd quite like to get it back to occasional playability. Or it may go back to the cousin as a decorative artifact.
Do you know anything more about this instrument ?
Use paul at paulhardy dot net to send me an email message if you know anything about this instrument.
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