First rate mouth organs for sixpenny were sold in Australia as early as 1904 by Allan & Co under the Australian slang terms for first-rate, Boshter and Bonzer.
(With permission City of Sydney Archives)
In 1908 Chapman’s of 634 George Street Sydney sold the Bosker in two models the Vamper for 1/6 and the Double Reeds for 2/6. Bosker was another Aussie slang term for first-rate, or if you like pretty bloody good.
(Sydney Evening News, 28 December, 1908)
In the same year the Bosker was sold Paling’s sold the Topnotcher mouth organ also in two models the Ordinary and the Professional. A good year for first rate mouth organs.
My research has failed to unveil the manufacturer of the Bosker, Bonzer or the Boshter. However, recently a Topnotcher Cadet surfaced on eBay which had the Balloon Brand and logo stamped on the reverse cover plate-a C H Meinel trademark.
Interestingly the term Bosker was used in Albert’s Boomerang advertisements in 1908 with the winking boy saying, “Ain’t it a Bosker day.”
We even see it mentioned in a Cobber mouth organ promotional limerick from 1913.
In the process of writing this article I discovered the Boshter Shake model sold in Melbourne in 1907 by Allan & Co. The company proclaimed that “This mouth organ is so fitted that the player can produce a wonderful tremolo effect-sure to become a favorite.” Possibly fitted with some sort of horn attachment for hand tremolo effect.
Have a Bosker Christmas and a Boshter New Year Riff Raffers. I have a wee Chrissy present for you on Soundcloud-Currawong Song.
PS: Benoit’s Blue Bird album is available for purchase on Bandcamp. ‘Hears’ a bit of live audio (off my daughter’s phone) from the launch at the Selby Folk Club featuring the Dawg Hisself.
Aussie Timeline post has been updated to include the Bosker and Boshter Shake.