Dr. Bellows

6th December, 2019

A quick question Riff Raffers. What do we have two of, we can do without one, the right is larger than the left, they have lobes and they act like bellows? If you said lungs your right on the money.

This remarkable sponge-like organ situated in the thoracic (chest) cavity functions closely with the myocardium (heart) to deliver oxygen to the body. The heart is a muscle which can be strengthened with aerobic conditioning and a chronic adaptation is its ability to function more efficiently at rest. The heart beats less often with more blood being squeezed out with each stronger contraction. The lung is not muscular and chronic training effects on oxygen uptake and lung ventilation are minimal. The skeletal muscles associated with breathing, the intercostals (situated between the ribs) and the diaphragm (dome shaped skeletal muscle between the thoracic and abdominal cavity) will both benefit from exercise. Perhaps the greatest improvement can be made by fully utilising the diaphragm. Breathing, an autonomic response regulated by the brain, can also be controlled with intention. It’s possible to isolate and engage the diaphragm with a technique called diaphragmatic breathing.

The importance of healthy lungs and the airway passages cannot be understated. Here in Australia we have a high proportion of asthmatics (especially in children) by world standards. One in nine Australians about 2.7 million suffer from asthma (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018). There are more than thirty recognised types of lung disease involving airway, lung tissue and lung circulation categories. In Australia COPD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is in the top five causes of death.

My respiratory health was compromised about ten years ago with repetitive bouts of walking pneumonia and a case of severe bronchitis. My lung function deteriorated quite significantly where I now have to use two puffers daily. I have never been a smoker, but my parents smoked during my formative years and the sporting club rooms I frequented were filled with tobacco smoke (as were the live music venues I ventured into before I was eighteen) these may have been a causal factor in it’s decline. Passive smoking (breathing in other people’s smoke) is considered more deleterious than active smoking because it is inhaled without a filter.

I have believed for some time my return to harmonica playing and performing has been beneficial to my respiratory health in particular my chug-a-lug style. What better doctor for the bellows than the most owned instrument in the world, it fits in your pocket and is the only instrument that requires you to both inspire (draw) and expire (blow). Recently I visited Seydel’s website and blow me down with a harmonica they have two harps specifically designed to improve lung health.

Dr. Dana Keller designed the Pulmonica, a spiralling low ‘G’ tuned harp of low resonating frequencies to recruit dormant lung tissue and loosen congestion in the airways. Dr. John Schaman, who had been employed in Cardiac Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine for twenty-nine years created the Schaman Medical Harmonica for chordal playing to work directly on lung volumes and the muscular structures associated with breathing. John had noted his own decrease in lung function and discovered that fifty percent of lung function declines between the ages of thirty and seventy. This was considered a normal ageing effect! As Professor Sumner Miller used to enquire, “Why is it so?”

This isn’t meant to be a review of the musical playing capabilities of both instruments as they are designed for improving impaired lung function for people of limited musical talent. They are expertly constructed of the finest hygienic materials by the oldest harmonica making company in the world, Seydel. The Pulmonica is styled on Seydel’s Session Steel and the Schaman on their 1847 model. Both have a unique layout of notes providing the opportunity to play more chords than on a typical diatonic harmonica. If you are so inclined high quality music can be created and all with the added benefit of improving your lung health. Having said all that, let me say this, if you are a professional player you probably have low tuned harps and can play chordal rhythmical patterns (you may even have a bass or chordal harp) in which case you could already be receiving similar benefits.

More empirical evidence is required, however with the results already reported and when combined with numerous positive anecdotal reviews would suggest that the Pulmonica and the Schaman harp can improve lung health and that they probably compliment each other in doing so. I can with authority guarantee that you’ll have fun trying. I used to sign off the radio show with a wee saying of yours truly and I believe it’s quite appropriate to use now, May Your Life’s Breath Be Your Life’s Music.”

Cheers SD

PS: “Chug-a-lug chug-a-lug, make you want to holler hi-de-ho, chug-a-lug chug-a-lug!”

Here are the links for more detailed information on both harmonicas

https://pulmonica.com/

http://www.harmonicamd.com/

Kangaroo Hop (The Swiss Connection)

7th November, 2019

G’Day Riff Raffers,

It’s an Australian hop, the Kangaroo hop, but it’s also the German hop.

Earlier this year I found The Kangaroo mouth organ in of all places Riga, Latvia. I had believed in the beginning that this was manufactured by Seydel for Albert’s here down under. In Ray Grieve’s magnificent resource book Boomerangs & Crackajacks there is a picture of a 1913 J Albert & Son advertisement with The Kangaroo in company with a Wallaroo and a Coo-ee (both of these were Seydel products). On closer examination of my specimen I noticed something was missing. Registered-Made In Germany wasn’t stamped on the front cover plate. The graphics and font, however appeared to be exactement.

Stamped on the reverse cover plate was a large letter R (perhaps some lettering after), Swiss Harmonica, a circular Made In Switzerland mark and the trademark pictured here. All I see is a lady in a dress. Pat Missin, harmonica savant, initially identified the maker as Thorens! Well blow me down with a harmonica!

Pat would also send me a page from a 1908 Catalogue which had The Kangaroo mouth organ stamped Registered-Made In Germany and clearly designated as manufactured by Ands Koch, the same mouth organ pictured in Ray’s book. What what what? This had us all scratching our heads. Where to next? I sent an email off to Isabella Kraph a fine harmonica player, who years ago stumbled across Bohm and Rauner stamps and dies in Seydel’s storerooms. Isabella replied to my email on how this possibly could be and if she knew of a Koch/Thorens connection.

Hi Shep,

……the cover stamp (the german term is deckel-prägestempel) was made by another factory …..it is very massive work …a heavy metal block and it was not made in the harmonica factory since this was a completely different thing…..also the boxes for harmonicas were usually made somewhere else – so it can also happen that you find quite similar boxes in different brands

so I guess that maybe the factory/ manufactory made two of these prägestempel and sold one to Switzerland and one to Klingenthal ….but also the : “made in germany ” would be on the stamp so it is not really the identical stamp

also back then there was not much choice for writings and kangaroo emblems ….like when you had a printed crocodile in a children’s book a long time ago you would also find the same crocodile picture in a lexicon or somewhere else

also I guess there were not so many factories who would made these stamps

so again …the only link I see here is the stamp …..but that came not from Seydel

greetings Isabella

Pat found some comfort in Isabella’s response stating, “Isabella’s comments make a lot of sense-I’m glad that something does in this story.”

I contacted Thorens in hope their historical records had been maintained. Michael Garner for the company told me that, “We do not have any information on old Thorens mouth organs at all. Sorry, no chance at all, all the documentation was lost during the decades.”

What’s that Skip?

Go get Pat Skip, we’ll have another look at the Trademark.

He’s not just a Kangaroo he’s a champion. Good on ya Skip.

Where does this leave us? Confused to say the least. We revisited the trademark once more and with meticulous forensic examination by Pat it was discovered to be a manipulated Koch trademark. Just a headshot of the goat that usually stands on a rock. Why is it so? Well history reveals Germany was on the nose around the period of 1914-18. Having Made In Germany stamped on your product was not great for business, however Made In Switzerland on the other hand did-you know it makes sense.

Trossingen’s proximity to the Swiss border and by somehow meeting regulations would provide Koch with a unique marketing opportunity. They removed their own brand name from the covers and replaced it with Rigi (Mountain Range In Switzerland) and cropped their trademark logo to have just the head of the Chamois (Goat-Antelope family). I can see a goat now! So there you go, the mystery demystified. It is speculated little or no manufacturing was done in Switzerland, but just enough to qualify for a Made In Switzerland stamp. Koch’s clever branding of Rigi on the harmonica reinforced the perception this is a Swiss harp-not German! It has to be doesn’t it?

(Picture courtesy of John Whiteman from his collection of harmonica box art)

I could also include in this journey the Kangaroo Charmer sold by Albert’s as early as 1896 and The Kangaroo they sold in 1923, but what would that prove?

(Picture courtesy of Ray Grieve’s book ‘ Boomerangs & Crackajacks’)

It’s well known Kangaroos like to hang around in Mobs and that’s what appears to be happening to the mouth organs that carry the same moniker. It’s just a Kangaroo hop, the Australian hop, the Germany hop.

Ch SD

PS: FYI Hohner also had a Swiss made line called Helvetia seen here with the box artwork from an Alliance harp.

In The Smith’s Weekly of December 1919 a report under a sub heading King Street Shop Displays Hun Goods stated the Alberts Music Store was advertising quite blatantly Made in Germany mouth organs. In one paragraph it mentions the Boomerang Miniature was described as, “Not Japanese and never will be, it is made in Switzerland.”

After WW2 the Chromorgan was made by Thorens for Seydel.

When I had thought I had finished my work here with the Swiss Connection I stumbled on this harmonica advertised in the Melbourne Weekly Times on the 23 September 1923 by Edments. Pat Missin confirms it is manufactured by Thorens. He also added Hans Rolz a Klingethal company made Brilliant harmonicas with a similar script and that they even had a Trademark that featured an anchor. There you go.

Thanks to Pat, John, Ray, Isabella and Michael for their contributions to this article.

 

The Bells, The Bells.

18th October, 2019

Hey there Riff Raffers,

A look at an Aussie harp from yesteryear, a couple of record reviews and a few bibs and bobs. Don’t forget to visit Harmonica Riff Raff Soundcloud and YouTube for more treats.

In 1909 in Australia Albert’s was selling a unique Boomerang mouth organ with a double cup set of bells attached to the rear of the instrument via an arch with a boomerang shaped bend at the apex. It was a series called the B.A.B-Boomerang Arch Bell models. Pictured is the 40 reeds Professional edition which sold for five shillings and sixpence-there was a mini (20 reeds) of similar structure and a mini double as well. Two other models the 2-sided and the 4-sided (sold for seventeen shillings and sixpence) had one set and two sets of bells respectively, however they were mounted on top. The five versions can be viewed in Ray Grieve’s fabulous books on the mouth organ in Australia (a third is awaiting a publisher). The bells of different pitches would be tuned to the key of the harp and with the use of a lever on either side could be struck by both forefingers in an accompanying rhythm while blowing the tune.

The mouth organs were manufactured by Seydel in Saxony, however the bells would more than likely have been manufactured elsewhere. I don’t believe Seydel made a similar model for other world markets. It looks like the Arch Bell didn’t reappear after World War 1 and I don’t believe any have survived today. The very nature of it’s design found it wanting when withstanding the laws of physics. Even the top mounted bells of the day were fragile and extinction was never far away.

A similar bell structure emerged later on a harmonica made by A A Schmitt of Klingethal on their Lyra brand seen above. The University Chimes (German made-pictured below) sold by Sears Roebuck in America under the brand name of Beaver also had a similar double cup mounted bells, however this was attached on top.

The earliest mention I could find advertised Down Under was a ten hole mouth harmonica with bell, which sold for two shillings and sixpence in Hobart by J Walch and Sons in 1882. The model pictured below was advertised in The Farmer & Settler (Sydney) 18th July 1906 made by Gerbruder Schuster (Schuster Brothers) at Markneukirchen which sold for three shillings.

Ken Leiboff provides a fine demonstration of playing a harmonica with bells on the information highway. See here 🔔.

The bells have told!

Ch SD

PS: A wee bit of Album news. South Australian band Lazy Eye is set to release their sixth album Whiskey & Gin next month and they’re giving it away track by track. You can join the Whisky & Gin Rent Party by reserving a ticket here. It all starts on the 23rd October. A video clip of their fantastic title tune can be viewed here Whisky.

“Just when you thought Lazy Eye had reached their peak they take you over the top with their new album release Whisky & Gin. This is a toe tappin’ finger clickin’ treat. Not only have they put the hip into hypnotizing, but also the groove into groovy. No harp (mouth) but plenty of horn. Lazy Eye have added some herbs and spices to their Blues cookin’ with a three piece horn section and single malt harmonies. Do yourself a flavour and pick this up at all good and bad record stores.”  Shep (Harmonica Riff Raff)

“Every now and then a tune hits you right between the ‘ten speed gears’. Sunshine Coast band Flaskas have achieved this with their latest single Song Bird. Lovingly crafted with a marching rhythm, earthy vocals, singing slide and then when combined with the magic ingredient the ‘ten hole tin can’ Song Bird is elevated to higher realms. They did the Song Bird proud!” Shep (Harmonica Riff Raff) Hear here Song Bird . Out now at all good and bad streaming platforms.

While we’re on the topic of our feathered friends a quick update on Benoit’s fantastic album Blue Bird. His launch will be held at the Selby Folk Club on the 29th of November. The album cover is completed and I must say Lyn’s artwork is superb. Benoit has posted for want of a better word or cliche an interesting video clip of a tune from the album titled Familiar Cliche.

Just another quick one John Whiteman’s fabulous book on Harmonica Box Art is available for purchase here in Oz on eBay. Shame about the postage costs.

Oh, by the way Ken dug up a Cracker Jack relic and posted a pic and a comment on a previous Dawg Blawg #28285.

Aussie Models-Timeline

14th February, 2019

Hi there Riff Raffers,

A timeline of Australian models (an attempt), as promised a while back.

No no no, not that type of model, sorry! Australian brand harmonicas up to WWII. Like this.img_23341890’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?/?)

1896Woolloomooloo Warbler-originally had a patent bone lip protector (Seydel/Alberts), Kangaroo Chalmer (Seydel/Alberts)-Later that year King Billy-two sided & another with bells maybe later at 3s 5d (Seydel/Alberts), Boomerang Large & Miniature-also three sided models in both (Seydel/Alberts-TM 1897), The Federal Harp-perhaps as early as 1880, three models sold in 1910 as the Midget Federal 20 reeds, Junior Federal 20 reeds & Senior Federal 40 reeds (Ernst Hess/J Hess & Co)

1896/98Native Waratah-with celluloid sliding cover (Seydel/Alberts-TM 1910), Wallaby and Possum (Seydel/Alberts-TM 1910)

1898Kookaburra & Cooee 2d (TM reg by M. Johs Richter)

1900The Bushman-originally 2 models 2/- 20 reeds & a 3/- then a 40 reeds at 4/6 (C H Meinel/ W H Paling), Larrikin ? (Carl Essbach) Century Advance Australia (Hohner TM)

1901Corroboree & Geebung (Hohner registered never sold), Federation SouvenirAdvance Australia (Hohner TM)

1902Boomerang Professional and a three sided model (Seydel/Alberts), Crackajack 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 (F A Rauner/Allans TM-1903), Kookaburra (Seydel/Alberts), The BuglerSmall 10 hole/20 reeds for 1/- and a Large 20 hole/40 reeds for 2/- (Seydel?/Deane and Sons), Wallaroo (C Essbach/Johnstone & Company) sold alongside the Humming Bird and maybe even earlier.

1903Lyre Bird-four models upgraded later to six (?/W F Coxon)

1904Bonzer & Boshter-sixpenny models (?/Allan & Co), Melba (F A Bohm/Flights-Bendigo)

1907Boshter Shake (?/Allan & Co)

1908Topnotcher-Ordinary & Professional, 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 (C H Meinel?/W H Paling TM-1906), BoskerVamper 1/6 & Double Reeds 2/6 (?/Chapman’s), The Kangaroo (A Koch/-) different to Seydel’s later model of same name. Dickens’ Echophonean attachment for the mouth organ invented by Sydney Dickens and patented.

1909B.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.

1910The Wallaroo-diatonic and a four sided model (Seydel/Alberts), 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)

1912Cobber four models-20 reed Vamper, 20 reeds miniature professional, 40 reeds standard, 40 reeds professional (Bauer & Krause/Jackson & MacDonald), five Boomerang Professional Arch Bell models, Young Australia-two models (Hohner Special Edition-sold to 1920: TM 1912)

1913Rozella (Seydel?/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 four models-40 reeds, two large 28 reeds 5s & 3/6 and a small 20 reeds (?/Macrows) to 1920, 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 (F A Rauner?/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

1924Boomerang De Luxe-‘Boomerang Shaped’ (Seydel/Alberts) with the slogan “Having Tried the Rest, Now Buy the Best” TM 1925 also Boomerang Tiny-four hole, Tiny De Luxe-five hole, Pocket, Miniature & Miniature Professional (Seydel/Alberts)

1925-Baby Boomerang and Baby Boomerang De Luxe (Seydel/Alberts) for a very short time. Koala Harp (?/?). Monarcheight 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’ (E Deinst?/Musgroves)

1926Perla four models-Medium 20 reeds, Medium Professional 20 reeds, Large 40 reeds, Large Professional 40 reeds (F A Rauner/Mick Simmons Pty Ltd)

1926/27-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/-

1930Auto-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

1936Chromorgan-Chromatic & Mezzo Boomerang-Diatonic, a lower music range 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 (F A Rauner/Allans) replaced Crackajacks short lived due to war.

img_3035TM=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.img_1771

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 (seeQuest For The Maker‘). Thanks to Ray Grieve & Pat Missin for all their assistance. Here is a collection of their endeavours.

Notes:

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?

img_1915-1PM- 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.

img_1520-1Hohner 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.img_1195-1

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.

img_1552-1RG- 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.

PM-https://www.trademarkia.com/au/crackamonic-71796.htm

img_1459-1It 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.

img_1591-1RG- 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).

img_1144-1Articles 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.img_1754

Ch SD

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.

img_1803-15/3/2019- 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.

img_213523/3/2019- 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’.

img_2264

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.img_2176

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!

Tommy Dodd

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.

Quest For The Maker

28th October, 2018

Hi Riff Raffers

The epic journey set out on the first of October, 2018. The trekking party consisted of Pat Missin, Ray Grieve and myself. We were in search of a gold nugget. Just as George Leavis Allan had done in 1853 when he took out a gold licence (#88) and went prospecting at Campbell’s Creek. George would go on to build Australia’s largest music house, Allan & Co in 1877 at 276 Collins Street, Melbourne. In 1902 they would sell their own brand of harmonica called ‘Crackajack’ to rival their Sydney counterpart Alberts, who had already established a successful brand called ‘Boomerang’. The ‘Boomerang’ brand were manufactured in Germany by Seydel. Our gold nugget would be to find the manufacturer of the ‘Crackajack’ harmonicas.

Ray Grieve had it on good authority (Kurt Jacob) that F A Bohm were the likely culprits. However, Ray had found indisputable evidence hard to come by. A book on the history of Allans had made no mention of their harmonica line and descendants of the Allan family had no knowledge either. Pat had assumed it was Seydel as the big harmonica collectors of the world had labelled them such. One collector from San Diego, John Whiteman had them listed in his comprehensive anthology this way. Pat asked John if he could backtrack on how this information was derived. John obliged, but found no evidence for this decision.

Where to next? Pat ventured to the world of Trademarks, a place he was familiar with. He uncovered a mine of information relating to Australian harmonicas, but nothing that helped us in our quest. He kept digging. He was nearly down under when he came across a Trademark for the ‘Crackamonic’. Alas there was no extra information and a default date had been given for its registration (Monday January 1, 1900). Ray was excited by the find as Nellie Collier had told Ray of a ‘Crackajack’ Chromatic, but he had never seen one. I’m stoked! I was never able to see a ‘Crackajack’ Chromatic I couldn’t source one not even a photograph for my book. This shot of theCrackamonic’ is a first for me” (A picture exists in John Whiteman’s’ anthology). These were on sale in Australia in 1938 but with the onset of war and because they couldn’t compete with the ‘Chromorgan’ by Alberts, they disappeared as quickly as they arrived.

I decided to go surfing, nothing like an early morning surf down on the Mornington Peninsula at the breaks of Gunnamatta. No it wasn’t that type of surf it was of the information highway and would you believe it I discovered the patent for the name ‘Crackajack’ in of all places a supplement to the Western Australian Government Gazette of 1903. This was no nugget, but as this was Allan’s personal Trademark it was unlikely these harmonicas would have been made by Seydel as they held all the Trademarks for Albert’s ‘Boomerang’. We delved further into Ray’s book, ‘Boomerangs & Crackajacks’. There was the ‘Bonzer’, a ‘Perla’ and the ‘Rozella’. Nellie Collier had mentioned the ‘Bonzer’ to Ray. He discovered an advertisement for the ‘Bonzer’, but no other information presented itself and Pat couldn’t identify any trademarks either. It was the same result for the ‘Perla’. The ‘Rozella’s’ cover plate was of some interest and especially alongside a photograph of a 1927 ‘Crackajack Junior’ which I had forwarded to Pat. Could this be the lead we were after. He remarked, “… one thing has struck me over the past few days. When you look at the ‘Boomerang’ models with their fluted covers, the two flutings do not meet in the middle of the cover. This is how Seydel did the flutings on the covers of harps they made under their own ‘Bandmaster’ brand. As best I can make out, the ‘Rozella’ has similar flutings. Bohm made at least one harmonica with similar covers, although I can’t find any photos online. This design was registered by Seydel in the late 1800s and they got rather annoyed at imitations of it. They ranted a little about it in one of their catalogues and I have an article from a German music trade magazine from 1928 that talks about the alleged infringements, but sadly it does not name the accused infringers. However, looking at the fluted “Crackajack” covers, the two flutings run into each other to form one continuous channel. I don’t know if they are all like this, but this is quite different from the Bandmaster/Boomerang shape”.

There were several more days of frustration. The ‘Jazz Master’ which was sold by Allan & Co as a temporary stop gap measure just before WWII could be another line of inquiry. It too would be a dead end. Then suddenly quite by accident on the 24th of October while working on another project Pat tripped on a golden nugget. This is what he found, It’s been bothering me that whilst many companies copied the Seydel ‘Bandmaster/Boomerang’ fluted covers (so many that Seydel felt obliged to take action), the ‘Crackajack’ fluted cover is noticeably different. Then I stumbled on this photograph of F A Rauner’s ‘World Master’. It is very similar, right down to the hatching on the embossed name and the engraved scroll-work that frames it. I can’t be certain without having actual specimens in my hands, but these really look like they came out of the same factory. I haven’t seen anything by Bohm or Seydel that matches the ‘Crackajack’ design like this one”.

There was no doubt about it F A Rauner’s ‘World Master’ has the same cover plate. In fact in 1929 due to the recession and Hohner buying out smaller harmonica manufacturers, Rauner, Seydel and Bohm merged. Interestingly Rauner was the first named and the manufacturing operation was out of Rauner’s Klingenthal factory. The amalgamation didn’t last long folding a few years later in 1933. F A Rauner was a big exporter overseas, they even made the Babe Ruth harmonica bat for the World Series of 1927. F A Rauner when blowing their own trumpet, or should I say mouth organ, said they were the second biggest manufacturer in the world (well least they didn’t say they were the largest). The ‘Scorcher’ a popular model of harmonica in Australia in the 1890’s had also been manufactured by F A Rauner.

So there it is, our quest for the maker is completed. With a high level of confidence I can conclude that F A Rauner were the manufacturer of Allan & Co’s, ‘Crackajack’. I think!

Special thanks to my fellow trekkers Pat & Ray. You can find their websites here http://www.patmissin.com and http://www.bushlarkmusic.com. They can take four bob out of the till and get themselves a cigar.

Ch SD

PS: I have derived a wealth of information from this journey and I plan to share this with you in upcoming Blogs. Next in line as a follow up to today’s is, ‘Collingwood’s Crackajack Collier’.