See also Anglo Concertina Technique by John Kirkpatrick

The Wheatstone English Concertina

Concertina Pictures

The Galpin Society

The Concertina Museum


This document was first published in the 1991 Journal of the Galpin Society. It has been edited by Howard Mitchell and reproduced here with the kind permission of the author Neil Wayne. 


Charles Wheatstone and the Concertina

The Musical Role of the Concertina

The Wheatstone Concertina between 1830 and 1846

The Wheatstone Concertina from 1850 Onwards

The Design and Evolution of the Wheatstone Aeola

Appendix I - The Concertina Museum Collection

Appendix II - The Wheatstone Factory Archives

Appendix III - Diagnostic Features of Early and Later Wheatstone Concertinas

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Concertina Pictures

Wheatstone Aeola

Serial Number 23090, made in 1901 - the earliest aeola of the octagonal form, with 'dot and comma' fretwork, and impressed 'Aeola' stamp in the fretwork (CMC Item C102).

The Wheatstone 'May Fair' Concertina

Made in 1960, the final product of the Wheatstone workshops, with Italian-made aluminium reeds, and plywood interior (The Boosey and Hawkes Collection).

Wheatstone 'English'

Circular fretted variant: serial number 578, made in 1843 (CMC Item C109).

Ivory-ended Wheatstone Concertina

Serial number 1775, made, signed and dated by Rock Chidley, a Wheatstone craftsman, on 2 Feb 1848 - gilt fittings and gilt embossed bellows (CMC Item C13).

Wheatstone Concertina

Serial number 32, c.1832 - this open pallet model is the oldest known serially-numbered concertina (CMC Item C1278). Wheatstone 48-key 'English' Concertina

The brass inlaid, gilt bellows model, serial number 10934, made in 1859 (CMC Item 169).

The Wheatstone Symphonium

Made c1829, 24 keys, serial number 199, gold reeds (CMC Item C500)

Wheatstone Tripod Concertina

A prototype used in Wheatstone's submission for his 1844 patent - a foot treadle sends wind up the column to the wind chest; each keyboard rises on a separate piston, and the keys are played by the fingers (CMC Item C1278).

Wheatstone protoype 'reeds under frets' variant

Made c.1838, but not included in any patent (CMC Item C228).

The Wheatstone Duette

A new fingering system devised for the 1844 patent, and put into limited production around 1845 (CMC Item C26).

The Galpin Society

The Galpin Society was founded in 1946 for the publication of original research into the history, construction, development and use of musical instruments. Its name commemorates the late Canon F W Galpin, a pioneer in this field. The Society has a worldwide membership - open to all, of whatever nationalty or country of residence. Institutions my enrol as members and enjoy all rights of representation and voting.
The annual Journal contains articles, reviews, notes and queries on all aspects of musical instruments. A Research Grant is offered to members, in anticipation of an article suitable for inclusion in the Journal.
The Bulletin is issued three times a year, publisising future activities, reporting on recent ones, placing notices from members attending conferences, and containing requests for information.
Visits are organised to instrument collections worldwide, some of which are not normally accessible. The annual general meeting is held in the UK in the Summer.
Further details may be obtained from Pauline Holden, 38 Eastfield Road, Western Park, Leicester, LE3 6FE, UK 

The Concertina Museum

Since the Galpin article was written, Neil Wayne's concertina museum collection has been sold to the Horniman Museum in London.
Since 1965, Neil built up a remarkable Collection of over 700 old and unusual instruments by every known British & European maker, a fascinating archive of photographs, recordings and paperwork, and has released a series of historic concertina recordings on his Free Reed record label.
The 700+ instruments, 1200 archive items and hundreds of recordings have of necessity been in storage, both for conservation and for space reasons, so since 1991, Neil has been seeking a proper home for the Collection that would fulfil his very firm conditions for the future of his life's work.

Howard Mitchell