• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

Dating Excelsiors by grill, switch and Logo style

craigd

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
84
Reaction score
16
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Hello, I have been an Excelsior aficionado for a long time, but especially since a lucky pawn shop find of a 940 a few years ago. I have already learned a lot about Excelsiors, especially from Jim D and Ventura. Thanks very much for that. I've noticed a few treble register and logo styles and wonder if they can be associated with a particular vintage. Does anyone have an idea of the approximate dates for the following? et's call them examples A ,B and C.
1611281931798.png1611282067722.png1611282255177.png
 

nagant27

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
403
Reaction score
16
I’m also very interested in what Jim thinks about these different designs of the 940. I’ve wondered this same thing myself. I’m guessing the first one is later 50s?
 

craigd

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
84
Reaction score
16
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Scuromondo, I think you're right about C, maybe made by Pigini? A and B both only have the palm switch for master (I know that from my own) which I think must put them a ways back. Nagant, I think you might be right about A being 1950s, but I'm only surmising from what I've been able to gleen here and there. Here's another one. (D?)
1611365789384.png
A, B and D are very similar, other than the logos. I wonder if construction (materials and design) stayed consistent through all the years the 940s were made by Excelsior itself.
 

Ventura

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
355
Reaction score
133
Location
mid-atlantic, USA
well, you see the obvious difference between the "teardrop" shifts and the more squared style

it seems the teardrops were used on a lot of high end excelsiors way back, but
later on the teardrops were only used on "export" and student line accordions, as
they were a purchased item from a vendor while they made the rectangle shift tops
themselves in the factory

this was because after a certain point, CEMEX worked toward a point of pride
in Manufacturing, being that (similar to the NewYork Factory before WW2) 100%
of the professional accordions were made from scratch, from base materials, on premises

period

and that again became true of Excelsior under CEMEX after sometime in the 1980's i guess
and until Pigini bought the brand

and i mean EVERYTHING from scratch... raw resin and plastic making expertise
a dedicated Electronics department... Excelsior NewYork even made their earliest Cellulose
sheets from scratch... bass buttons mechanicals for shifts and actions, all Millwork
and of course making their own reeds

the level of vertical integration and control Excelsior held over their Manfacturing
Process was absolutely the pinnacle of Accordion Manufacture, and will
never be seen again under one roof

and that is the difference between the Teardrops and the Rectangles
 

debra

Been here for ages!
Technical Adviser
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
3,482
Reaction score
338
Location
Eindhoven, the Nnetherlannds
While I appreciate the rigor and dedication of Excelsior in producing everything themselves and keeping everything under their control, in a world with increasing mass production it is a certain road to bankruptcy (or in their case, being taken over by a larger player). An accordion nowadays contains 90% or more standard parts. Manufacturers still make their own boxes and reed blocks and almost everything else is mass produced (a lot of it in China, except for delicate things like reeds) but of course some "assembly" is still required, which can still be a lot of work, for instance for bending the levers for all the keys (they come "straight" from the factory, fitting the register mechanism, creating bass pistons from parts (the piston also comes "straight" from the factory), bending the "catorcetti" for the bass mechanism, etc. It's more than "bad" enough when using standard mass-produced parts to not want to make everything from scratch.
 

Ventura

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
355
Reaction score
133
Location
mid-atlantic, USA
you are certainly right about the costs

it cost more in their last independent decade to make their own buttons and plastics
and such than it did for them to purchase them, continuously driving up the prices
on the professional models VS their export line

and a huge cottage industry in CastleFi is that reed waxing is done primarily
on kitchen tables at private homes as piecework performed by private contractors

and in some cases it is arguable that the level of perfection in mass
produced common parts is better when it is centralized

but in the areas where the Specialty suppliers are still too small to command
respect in the general Raw Materials market (like for leather and cardboard)
it is worse as we are then left with these despicable reed valves and bellows
that warp out of shape in 5 years
 

Similar threads

Top