This collection of over 1600 instruments, patent prototypes, manuscripts, and archives was formed during the past twenty five years and includes almost 700 different rare Concertinas by every known maker, accordions, flutinas, harmoniums, and virtually every known variant of free-reed instrument from 1800 onwards.
The Collection boasts an extensive archive of original manuscripts, catalogues, Patents, photographs, models, interviews and research data about the history of the concertina, including much source material on Sir Charles Wheatstone and the concertina-making firm he founded.
Central to the Collection is an extensive group of unique patent models, inventions and prototypes from the laboratory of Wheatstone, one of the most important British scientists and philosophers of the nineteenth century, who invented and developed the electric telegraph, the stereoscope, the electric clock, the morse code transmitter, and of course the 'English' concertina.
Many of Sir Charles Wheatstone's own examples of his inventions are now in the Collection, including early prototypes of his electric telegraph, typewriters, electric clocks, code transmitters, acoustical devices and prototype concertinas, and the Collection represents one of the most important groups of early Wheatstone equipment to be found in an independent Museum.
The Collection includes most of the patent prototypes of Wheatstone's earliest Concertinas, including the world's earliest known commercially produced instrument, and many rare instruments designed and modified by Sir Charles during the 1830s and 1840s.
Instruments by over twenty-five rival concertina makers are represented in the Collection, with examples from Dove, Lachenal, Case, Nickolds and Dowsett, all of whom started work in Wheatstone's workshops, and by the dozen or more independent London-based makers who worked in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Early European instruments, such as Demian's akkordion, Debain's harmonium, Uhlig's konzertina, and Busson's accordeon-diatonique are represented, together with concertinas, bandoneons, melodeons, button accordions, 'lap-organs', 'flutinas' and piano accordions from Germany, Holland, France, Austria and Italy.
The Concertina Museum has produced an extensive five-volume illustrated checklist, with every exhibit fully described and photographed, and accompanied with extracts from the definitive thesis on the history of the concertina. Copies of these volumes are available from the Concertina Museum, Belper, Derbyshire DE5 1AZ, UK.
Index Previous Chapter Next Chapter