Flutina Preceptor

preceptor noun a teacher or instructor. preceptorial adj. preceptorship noun.
ETYMOLOGY: 15c: from Latin praeceptor an instructor.

This is a preceptor for the Accordion or Flutina

containing ample instructions whereby the general rules and principles of music, and a complete mastery of those fascinating instruments, may be obtained, without the aid of a master;

to which are added

numerous airs as exercises, from the works of popular and standard composers, with the figuring correctly marked

by Henry West R.A. of Music

It has 32 pages and 34 songs including

  • God Save The Queen
  • The Negro Village
  • The Saucy Old British Flag
  • Cheer Boys Cheer
  • The Young May Moon


It sold for a not considerable £63.50 on Ebay a while back.

Surely it's worth it just for 'The Saucy Old British Flag' !

Technorati Tags:

Black Flutina

I've featured a few attractive flutinas in the past, but this one proves that plain ones were available too. It's a Busson too, and despite this it didn't attract any bids on Ebay - perhaps the starting bid of £49.99 put people off.


Technorati Tags: ,

Early Melodica ?

When I first saw this appear on Ebay I thought that it can't be real. This looks to me like somekind of fake instrument. But then I started to think who would go to the bother of creating such a thing ?

Still it is strange to see a melodica with chord levers.

Has anyone else ever seen anything like this ?

It's only just come on to Ebay so there's plenty of time left to get your bid in...


Link: Ebay auction - Early Melodica

Update: sold for £109

Cloisonne Flutina

This antique accordion caused a bit of a buzz when it appeared on Ebay recently. It has no makers marks but is clearly pretty old. The keys are mother of pearl and the body is covered in marquetry patterned to look like cloisonne. It sold for £370.

If you've got one of these in the attic then let me know !


Technorati Tags: ,

Well Described Flutina

There's a well described Flutina on Ebay at the moment.

Usually these are sold by non-experts, but this one is clearly being sold by someone who knows exactly what he or she is dealing with.

Flutina's are very attractive early French accordions - this one would have been made around mid 1800s.

Most flutinas are either plain black or brown wood and many have decorative wood inlay. This one is very rare as it is black ebonised wood with the top all covered in colourful enamel and brass inlay (sometimes known as boulle after Charles Andre Boulle - this is usually brass and tortoiseshell but in the case of this flutina it is brass and enamel).

These instruments were often played by Victorian ladies.

The artwork is beautiful. It was almost entirely black when it arrived but I have given it a polish and all the brass and inlay is now looking lovely and almost gleaming! The brass is finely etched but the photo may not be detailed enough to show this. The enamel work is in red, blue, green, pink and yellow and as far as I can see none of the brass or enamel inlay is missing.

There are 22 keys - 13 of them are currently missing the moter of pearl tops.

Sound: Not all the notes play. All but two appear to move freely. You get a different  sound on push and pull on almost all of the notes but some are weak. It is easy to open and see inside: one reed looks fragile and I think the tongue might break off, another is currently held in place by sellotape!   
Compression - is not very good. The bellows are beautiful with silver background and green and red patterns edged in black that has become very scuffed. There are some leaks at the corners.

Bass - there are two bass notes - one has a pretty blue enamel button - the other is missing.


Check out the Flutina category for more flutina goodness.

Link: Ebay auction - Enamel Flutina

Update: I'm surprised that this attracted no bid whatsoever. Maybe the starting price of £99 put people off, even though it's definitely worth that much.


Quality Flutinas For Sale

There's a couple of good quality flutinas on Ebay at the moment - if you've got lots of money.

This is an extremely rare item, in first-class order with perfect bellows (please read that again; I do mean perfect) and fully-sounding reeds.  24 mother-of-pearl keys, 26 mother-of-pearl valve buttons, and silver mounts.  The instrument is stamped 'J Russell, Maker, 60 Goswell St, London' in two places.

Most flutinas were produced between 1831 and 1880 and often had a very limited range; this one has the full compass and the standard of construction and quality of fitments is exceptional.

It is in full working order and represents the best period in London musical instrument making. The case has a working lock and key and is generally sound.


The next one is a Busson.

Here we have a lovely flutina that is stamped Busson Brevete Paris. Busson were the inventers of the flutina having made them since circa 1830. This example comes complete in a wonderfull lockable wooden case that has a front panel that drops down. The varnish and patination on the case is very nice indeed. The flutina is in very tidy and original condition with no restorations to my eye. Most of the pearl keys when pressed omit a good tone somewhere near tune. Please allow for some tuning and a service (oil etc). The bellows look to me to be in very nice condition. It is amazing to think that some thing so old could stay in such lovely condition.


Link: Ebay auction - J. Russell Flutina
Ebay auction - Busson Brevete Flutina

More Flutina Players

This first one is a daguerreotype photograph.

This second one is a tin-type photograph.

Check out my Flutina category for more Flutina goodness.

Only On Ebay - Flutina

There's another flutina on Ebay.

This is a complete item all the key pads are pressent and it seems to play all the notes, two of the mother o pearl finger buttons have been lost and replaced with white (plastic) ones I think, other than this the instrument looks original. I think this dates to the 19th century but exactly how old it is I am unsure. It has wooden inlayed decoration around the edges, this has faded but the green wooden inlays still retain much of their original colour. The instrument has a suppliers or makers stamp it reads W Winrow & Sons Hollow Stone Nottingham  STEEL REEDS. This label is applied to the wood like a transfer or sticker it may be later than the actual instrument, I believe most accordions of this type were made in France. The bellows are in very good condition no holes, the base has two pads and a bigger central pad all three work. The top of the instruments veneer has a few small age cracks but this is not too noticeable and does not effect the playing of the instrument. It measures nearly 12.75 X 6.5 X 5.25 inches in its fully closed position.




Link: Ebay auction Flutina


How to Play a Flutina

The University of Aberdeen have some scanned pages of "Cruickshank's Accordion and Flutina Teacher containing Theoretical and Practical Instructions, Scales, Excercises, Illustrative Drawings, &c with a Collection of the Most Popular Airs Selected and Adapted to these Instruments".

Sadly only four pages are shown, but what a find ! Click on the pictures below for enlargements.





Cruickshank's Accordion and Flutina Teacher

Transvestite Flutina Player

When I posted some great vintage pictures of flutina players a few months ago there was one picture that I didn't post.

This one of a drag act comedian !


Vintage Flutina Players

Looking at my visitor statistics I can see that a few people have been looking for information on flutinas. As a little treat here are a couple of vintage pictures of flutinas in action.




I got all of the above images from http://www.musurgia.com/photos.asp who sell these original photos.

Flutinas and Accordina

I just had a look at the musical instruments on ebay and found 3 really interesting 'squeezy' instruments.

First up is this very ancient accordion. These are highly sought after although I imagine they're not particularly useful musically. It will be interesting to see how much this one goes for. Early_accordionClick here

Next up is this flutina - very similar to the accordion above (which to be honest I think is really a flutina). Again these are highly sought after as a piece of squeezebox history. Flutina Click here

Finally, and most unusual of all, is this original accordina. These are very unusual, although you can still buy them new in France (where they were invented). An accordina is a cross between a button accordion and a harmonica because yes, you have to blow into it. I would love one of these ! Click here