English system concertina. Serial number 993. Oval paper label: 'By His Majesty's Letters Patent, C. Wheatstone, Inventor, 20 Conduit St., Regent St., London.' Amboyna ends built to standard width: 6.25 inches across parallel sides. Pine backing behind fretwork. 48 ivory buttons, black accidentals, stamped with note names. Original green leather straps with brass screws. Four-fold green leather bellows, six-point gold star papers.
Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875), best known for his work in the field of physics, patented the English-system concertina in 1844. This instrument had already been in production for some years following his 1829 patent for the symphonium, a free reed mouth organ. A bellows-blown model was shown in an illustration accompanying the 1829 patent. Charles Wheatstone's family had been involved in the musical instrument trade for some years, and his brother, William Dolman Wheatstone, joined the firm in 1837. The following information is recorded regarding the purchase of this instrument in the ledgers of the Wheatstone & Co. concertina factory (http://www.horniman.info): 17 Jun 1845: June 17 48 [buttons] Trevelyan Esq. (C1046, p.36; same date C104, p. 51). The concertina is classified according to the system of Hornbostel and Sachs as a 'set of free reeds, with flexible air reservoir and keyboard'.