412.132 Sets of free reeds

Right-hand end of a 'gliding reed' concertina prototype. No serial number. Oval paper label: 'By His Majesty's Letters Patent, 20 Conduit Street, Regent Street, London.' Flat matt solid ebony end, some damage, with matt pine backing. 26 keys: 25 long bone buttons in four columns, pierced with transverse holes; and one air button. Remains of black leather straps, no finger rest. Bellows absent. Single nickel reed, controlled by a pair of pinch wheels, in a deep brass and wood assembly on underside of action. On a 'gliding reed' concertina, the length of the reed is adjusted by a pair of pinch rollers (in turn controlled by a complex system of levers and fulcrums linked to the buttons) to give different notes. The movement of all buttons is interdependent and the effect is to produce a 'gliding reed' sound as the sounding length of each reed is changed. Wheatstone used a similar system in the 'gliding reed symphonium,' which he invented with Matthias Stroh.

Collection Information

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