A timeline of Australian models (an attempt), as promised a while back. An up-to-date remastered version is out now. Just click here Remastered.
No no no, not that type of model, sorry! Australian brand harmonicas up to WWII. Like this.1890’s-The Scorcher (F A Rauner/Feldheim, Gotthelf & Co)-up to 1920
1895/99-The Melba (?/H S Chipman-TM 1895), Crack A Jack (F A Rauner?/?)
1896–Woolloomooloo Warbler (Seydel/Alberts) originally had a patent bone lip protector, Kangaroo Chalmer (Seydel/Alberts)-Later that year King Billy (Seydel/Alberts)-two sided & another with bells maybe later at 3s 5d, Boomerang Large & Miniature (Seydel/Alberts)-also three sided models in both, The Federal Harp-(Ernst Hess/J Hess & Co) perhaps as early as 1880, three models sold in 1910 as the Midget Federal 20 reeds, Junior Federal 20 reeds & Senior Federal 40 reeds
1896/98–Native Waratah (Seydel/Alberts-TM 1910) with celluloid sliding cover, Wallaby and Possum (Seydel/Alberts-TM 1910), Wallaroo (C Essbach/Johnstone & Company) sold alongside the Humming Bird.
1898–Kookaburra & Coo–ee 2d (TM reg by M. Johs Richter)
1900–The Bushman (F A Rauner/ W H Paling) originally 2 models 2/- 20 reeds & a 3/- then a 40 reeds at 4/6, Larrikin (?Carl Essbach) Century Advance Australia (Hohner TM), Australian Crackshot (TM registered-Bell Metal Reeds)
1901–Corroboree & Geebung (Hohner registered never sold), Federation Souvenir–Advance Australia (Hohner TM)
1902–Boomerang Professional (Seydel/Alberts) and a three sided model, Crackajack (F A Rauner/Allans TM-1903) three models all with open back covers Professional, Senior & Junior 20 reeds-also sold by same brand Tommy Dodd and Little Gulliver, added later Boss Cracker, Cadet & Double, Kookaburra (Seydel/Alberts), The Bugler (Seydel?/Deane and Sons) Small 10 hole/20 reeds for 1/- and a Large 20 hole/40 reeds for 2/-
1903–Lyre Bird (Koch/W F Coxon) four models upgraded later to six
1904–Bonzer & Boshter (Weiss?/Allan & Co) sixpenny model, Melba (F A Bohm/Flights-Bendigo)
1906-The Rattler (?-/D Davis & Co)-3 models 1/-, 1/6 & 2/-, Lyrebird Advance Australia (Hohner)-2 models 20 reed vamper & 40 reed concert tuning
1907–Boshter Shake (Weiss?/Allan & Co)
1908–Topnotcher (C H Meinel?/W H Paling TM-1906) Ordinary & Professional, in 1909 The Scout 3/-, The Ironclad 5/6 and The Super Ironclad 8/6 then later the Nipper 8 pence and Amateur’s Harp a full sized concert harp 2/3 (circa 1914), then the Scout, Artists, Vamper, Standard & Concert Grand, Pocket Boomerang-first advertised 10 hole 3 inch, Bosker (?/Chapman’s) Vamper 1/6 & Double Reeds 2/6, The Kangaroo (A Koch/-) different to Seydel’s later model of same name. Dickens’ Echophone–an attachment for the mouth organ invented by Sydney Dickens and patented.
1909–B.A.B (Boomerang Arch Bell) series: initially three models #1-4 professional organs 120 reeds with 2 sets of bells 17/6, #2-2 professional organs 80 reeds with 1 set of bells 10/- and the #3-1 professional organ 40 reeds with 1 set of bells. Later (1912?) a mini professional 20 reeds 1 set of bells and a mini professional double with 1 set of bells, Queensland Jubilee Harp and Koala & Cub (Hohner/?)-Koala & Cub May have been a bit earlier. The Jubilee Harp has same graphic of Koala & Cub.
1910–The Wallaroo (Seydel/Alberts) diatonic and a four sided model, Kookaburra (Seydel/Alberts TM)
1911-Boomerang Grands-Miniature Grand (nickel plated), Grand (nickel plated), Miniature Grand (black enamel), Grand (black enamel), Austral Harp, Black Gin, Wonga, Jabiru, Wombat, The Wallaroo, Golden Wattle, Budgeree & Lyre-Bird (Seydel/Alberts TM)
1912–Cobber (Bauer & Krause/Jackson & MacDonald) four models-20 reed Vamper, 20 reeds miniature professional, 40 reeds standard, 40 reeds professional, five Boomerang Professional Arch Bell models, Young Australia (Hohner Special Edition-sold to 1920: TM 1912) two 20 reed vamper models-standard and large size, 40 reed concert tuning, six tremolo models 28,32,40,48,64 and 80 reeds
1913–Rozella (F A Bohm?/A P Sykes)-3 models-Solo 20 reeds 1/-, with nickel mouthpiece 1/-3, with nickel mouthpiece and metal case 1/6, Concert 20 reeds with nickel mouthpiece and metal case 2/- and the Professional 40 reeds with nickel mouthpiece and metal case 3/-, Magpie (Otto Weidlich/Macrows) four models-40 reeds, two large 28 reeds 5s & 3/6 and a small 20 reeds to 1920, Trademarked 1907 by Weidlich, Coo-ee (Seydel/Alberts), The Kangaroo & Wallaroo (Seydel/Alberts), Bess O’ Th’ Barn (F A Bohm?/A P Sykes)-3 models-Solo Artist 20 reeds 1/-(with nickel case 1/-6), Concert Artist 20 reeds with nickel mouthpiece and metal case 2/- and the Professional Artist 40 reeds with nickel mouthpiece and metal case.
1920’s-Bonzer-four new models (Weiss?/Allans), The Kangaroo (A Koch/-)- Made in Switzerland, Rigi model
1923-Boomerang (TM USA), Harola (Gebr. Ludwig/Harola)-sold 6 models 1/- to 10/- a new improved automatic valves sold in 1933, Budgeree (Seydel/Alberts), The Grosvenor (Seydel/? Hotel Model)
1924–Boomerang De Luxe-‘Boomerang Shaped’ (Seydel/Alberts) with the slogan “Having Tried the Rest, Now Buy the Best” TM 1925 also Boomerang Tiny (Seydel/Alberts) four hole, Tiny De Luxe-five hole, Pocket, Student, Miniature & Miniature Professional
1925-Baby Boomerang and Baby Boomerang De Luxe (Seydel/Alberts) for a very short time. Koala Harp (?Hohner/?), Monarch (E Deinst?/Musgroves) eight models Piccolo, Vamper, Junior- 20 reeds, Senior, Tremolo Harp, Professional, Artist- 40 reeds & a Grand Concert Harp- double sided 96 reeds at one stage there was a ‘Monarch King’
1926–Perla (F A Rauner/Mick Simmons Pty Ltd) four models-Medium 20 reeds, Medium Professional 20 reeds, Large 40 reeds, Large Professional 40 reeds
1926/27–The Mulga Harp (Hohner/Billy Edwards Music), Crackajack upgrade to ten models-Cadet, Junior, Miniature Professional, Professional, Senior, Artist, Miniature Concert, Concert, Concert Grand, Tremolo Concert another advertisement listed them from lowest to highest price as the Tivoli 1/6, Cadet Plain 2/-, Cadet Nickel 2/6, Boss Cracker 3/-, Double 3/6, Junior 4/6, Concert 5/-, Senior 5/6, Professional 7/6 and Artist 10/6
1929-Trump (Hohner/Suttons)- 40 reeds 5/-
1930–Auto-Valve Vamper (Hohner)-Marketed as ‘Australian’ Model and three other auto valve models-blue box with wide air slots, red box an octave lower, brown box two octaves lower, The Metropole (C A Herold/? Hotel model)-circa
1935–The Bellbird (Hohner)-sold under Weiss & Pohl, Glaz-O-Phone (?/Godfrey College/British Music Academy)-lip protector mouthpiece
1936–Chromorgan Chromatic & Mezzo Boomerang (Seydel/Alberts), a cheaper diatonic model (Seydel/Alberts)
1937-Crackamonic-Chromatic (F A Rauner/Allans) also the Crackajack Regal a double sided, two different keys ‘C’ & ‘G’ with 48 reeds each side. Nickel plated and colourfully enameled. P C Spouse ‘Champion Series’-World’s Fame (F A Bohm/Mick Simmons)-3 models a small 20 reeds, medium 40 reeds and a large concert 40 reeds. The Federal Band-Chromatigrand (Johann Schunk/Mick Simmons)-2 models standard 40 reeds and a professional ‘Grand’ 48 reeds.
1939-Jazz Master (Schlossmeinel-Hugo Rauner/Allans) replaced Crackajacks short lived due to war.
TM=Trademarked. First named=harmonica maker followed by music house. Unless otherwise stated.
Like ‘The Scorcher’, ‘The Federal Harp’ may not strictly be an Australian name brand, however the ‘Hess’ connection made it a viable inclusion, in my humble opinion. Ernst Hess of Klingenthal, Saxony, Germany made and registered the model (N.25116) and J. Hess & Co music wholesalers of Clarence street, Sydney sold the mouth organ. Ernst Hess had a display at the ‘World Fair’ held in Melbourne, Australia in 1880.
Please don’t take as gospel, however if you have any information it would be greatly appreciated. This is a fluid document that will be updated when new verifiable information comes to hand.
This research was a result of searching for the maker of Crackajack mouth organs (see ‘Quest For The Maker‘). Thanks to Ray Grieve & Pat Missin for all their assistance. Here is a collection of their endeavours.
PM- I can’t find a “Kookaburra” trademark by Seydel, but there was a “Kookaburra” registered by M. Johs. Richter in 1898. Don’t know if that’s a trademark that Seydel later acquired, or if they are unconnected.
RG- The “Kookaburra” was on the market in 1902. His mention of the 1898 reference is interesting because a “Kookaburra” wasn’t in the original Albert’s range which came out in 1896. (Would be a rare one-off mouth organ if it was ever marketed by Richter.) Pat’s discovery would explain why Alberts had their unique and different “Kookaburra” on the market six years later, if Richter held a patent on it in 1898, which presumably must have lapsed by then?
PM- I’d already written a little about M. Johs. Richter on my website. On the same day that he trademarked “Kookaburra”, he also registered the same “Coo-Ee”. I doubt that these are connected with the later models of the same names, as his involvement with harmonica making seems to have been quite brief. He was mostly known for stringed instruments. Carl Essbach registered the name “The Larrikin” in 1900, for a variety of things including harmonicas. This was presumably for the Australian market, but I don’t recall any harmonicas with this name.
Also that year, W.H. Paling of Sydney in conjunction with Glaser of Berlin registered the name “The Bushman” specifically for harmonicas. Again, don’t recall hearing of those.
Hohner registered a bunch of Australian-flavoured TMs, including “Century Advance Australia” (1900), ” Federation Souvenir, Advance Australia”, “Geebung” and “Corroboree” (1901) and ” Young Australia” (1912). The latter seems to have been their best seller Down Under.
Seydel’s earliest TM for “The Boomerang” was from 1897. They registered “The Moa” a couple of years later. They trademarked the name “Kookaburra” in 1910. I’m guessing the Richter TM was expired by then. The same year they also trademarked “Woolloomooloo”, “The Possum” and “Boomerang Miniature Grand”. The next year they registered “Austral Harp”, “Black Gin”, “Wonga”, “Haka”,”Jabiru”,”Wombat”,”The Wallaroo”,”Golden Wattle”, “Budgeree” and “Lyre-Bird”. In 1925 they trademarked a design for the Boomerang-shaped “Boomerang De Luxe” with the slogan “Having Tried the Rest, Now Buy the Best” and in 1926 they registered “Tapu” and “Kiaora”.
I also found a trademark for “Cobber” registered in 1911 by a Leipzig-based company called Bauer & Krause.
RG- Some notes on Pat’s brilliant research: There was a Bushman available in Australia in the 1920s and always sold alongside of the English Topnotcher. (see my “Boomerangs & Crackajacks” book P. 60). It was never advertised as an ‘Australian’ brand. Would seem that Hohner’s Geebung and Corroboree never went into production. I couldn’t find any mention in old Hohner catalogues. And if so Kurt would have definitely mentioned this to me. Very likely that Bauer and Krause made the Cobber. Couldn’t find any info on this at all from either Jackson or McDonald descendants. Would be interesting to know just how many of these actually went into production.
It lists “Crackamonic”, but unfortunately has no other data on it. It gives the date Monday, January 1, 1900, but that seems to be the default for this site when they don’t know the filing date.
RG- Pat must be right regarding 1900 being the default date for the “Crackamonic”. It was marketed briefly from around 1938 – I had never seen one until the photo you sent. Most of the old Australian players were using diatonics and considered the Hohner as the superior chromatic anyway (Larry Adler had a lot to do with that).
Articles have already featured Crackajack & Cobber Mouth organs. Waiting in the wings W F Coxon’s Lyrebird, Hohner’s Auto Valve Vamper, Paling’s Topnotcher and Frank’s Boomerang.
PS: Just found (28/2/2019)! An application by Michel Francios Albert in 1927 for a Trademark. Mouth organ depicting picture of a Kookaburra and the words “The Kookaburra (Laughing Jackass)”. Application # 43906 April 23, 1927.
5/3/2019- New addition ‘The Bugler’ sold by William John Deane and sons from 1902 to about 1909. Advertised as Deane’s patent and Sydney is stamped on the cover plate. Appears that it’s an Australian Mouth Organ although not an Aussie brand name, so to speak. Interesting to note that William Deane married Pauline Albert in 1896 (Jacques’ daughter and Frank’s sister). So maybe it’s a Seydel Mouth Organ because of the Albert’s/ Boomerang connection.
23/3/2019- New addition the P C Spouse ‘Champion Series’ on a F A Bohm ‘World’s Fame’ mouth organ for Mick Simmons of George Street, Haymarket Sydney. More information in Ray Grieve’s upcoming third book on the history of mouth organs in Australia. P C (Percival) Spouse was Australian Mouth Organ champion in 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1935. Mick Simmons also had a chromatic brand ‘The Federal Band’ stamped on the cover plate of a Johann Schunk ‘Chromatigrand’.
27/3/2019- A few more added. 1928 a ‘Baby Boomerang’ and ‘Baby Boomerang De Luxe’. Appears short lived for the same models branded ‘Tiny’. The ‘Koala Harp’ in the same year. Also in 1908 the Dickens’ ‘Echophone’ invented by Sydney Dickens of Carlton, Melbourne, Australia. A horn attachment for the mouth organ to increase volume. More to come in Ray Grieve’s third edition of the history of the harmonica in Australia.
2/4/2019- I’m throwing in Musgroves’ Monarch mouth organs from Western Australia from 1925 or thereabouts. Not an Australian sounding name, but being part of the Commonwealth (Boomerang mouth organs were once advertised as the ‘Monarch Of Mouth Organs’) and also because Musgroves’ were sole distributors they’re in. More to follow.
23/5/2019-Recent discovery a ‘Tommy Dodd’ (the boy’s Crackajack) sold by Allan & Co in 1903 for sixpence and also the ‘Little Gulliver’ for 4/d made by F A Rauner. Story to follow!
10/7/2019-Further updates on maker of Topnotcher’s-a Cadet model has appeared with the Balloon Brand and logo stamped on back cover plate which means C H Meinel made this one. In a 1899 trade page The Melba is pictured along with a Crack A Jack! Samuel Holmes Chipman of Margaret street Sydney trademarked the name Melba for musical instruments in 1895.
In 1904 a new Melba model made by F A Bohm was sold in Australia. Have also placed Eduard Deinst tentatively as the manufacturer of the Monarch-research is pointing in his direction. Added the Wallaroo sold by Johnstone and Company of 27 The Strand and 672 George-street, Sydney, who were sole agents for Essbach’s celebrated improved Humming Bird and the Wallaroo mouth organs (TM must have lapsed and Albert’s swooped in). We also have two harps that may belong to the gift shops of prominent Australian Hotels. The Metropole (C A Herold) and The Grosvenor Harp (Seydel). Articles to follow.
18/9/2019-Latest updates to timeline. B.A.B Boomerang Arch Bell models advertised earlier than indicated. Preceded the Boomerang Grands and were sold as early as 1909. Rozella’s came in a few different formats and I’ve included the Bess O’ Th’ Barn models sold by A P Sykes as they appear to have only been sold in Australia. The other addition is The Kangaroo, made in Switzerland mouth organ-circa 1920. An article on this will be out before the end of the year.
19/10/2019-Latest additions include the Harola made by Gebr. Ludwig for the Harola company of Brisbane (1923) and the Trump made by Hohner for Sutton’s Music stores in 1929. Stories in the mail as we speak.
8/11/2019-Two additions the Bosker made for Chapman’s Up-To-Date Music & Musical Instruments of 694 George Street Sydney in 1908.
In 1914 Palings Topnotcher mouth organs had two models the Nipper and a full sized concert harp the Amateur’s Harp in a superior case.
9/12/2019-Another find. The Boshter Shake mouth organ sold in Melbourne by Allan & Co (1907) sounds like it may have had some type of horn attachment to produce a hand tremolo effect.
24/1/2020-Added Queensland Jubilee Harp and Koala & Cub made by Hohner 1909. Probably named when Koala’s were incorrectly referred to as bears-as a marsupial their young are joeys. The graphic is not very endearing, perhaps Koala’s looked like this back then.
23/2/2020-The Rattler added to 1906, Hohner’s Lyrebird Advance Australia model added to 1906, Hohner’s The Bellbird to 1935 and the manufacturer of the Jazz Master to 1939.
2/3/2020-Coxon’s Lyre Bird made by Ands Koch appears in same 1908 catalogue as the Kangaroo. I have also placed tentatively Weiss as the maker of the Bonzer, Boshter and Bosker. Pat Missin found a 1906 trademark Weiss Boshter.
13/3/2020-Crackajack Regal circa 1937 possibly 1936
15/3/2020-Updated Hohner Young Australia models to 1912. Have also put the Rozella (1913) as probably F A Bohm. Has English System stamped on cover-very similar cover plate to a Blue Bird model they released.
18/4/2020-An amendment to the maker of The Bushman with Pat Missin’s trademark find, now F A Rauner and an addition to 1900 the Australian Crackshot registered TM by an import/export company.
12/5/2020-Pat found the Trademark for Magpie. You little ripper!
10/7/2020-Crackajack Tivoli illustration surfaces from 1926/27 interesting cover plate Seydel would not have been pleased! Probably a three incher.
13/7/2020-New discovery. Mark Hand has sent me a photo of The Mulga Harp from the harmonica museum. I located one advertisement from Western Australia in 1927.