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Settimio Soprani with mysterious clip

boxplayer4000

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Settimio Soprani with mysterious clip.
Somebody took a chance on eBay and got this Settimio Soprani 37/3voice 80bass 5voice from Bulgaria. It might be from the 60s but it is in near original condition from what I’ve seen so far. The treble reed block are pencilled 1, 2, and 3 and one of the screws in the treble grille is not original but apart from that these are the only signs that somebody might have been inside.
The metal bar securing the two larger bass reed blocks had somehow become strained allowing the reed blocks to rise away from the sounding board and leak air when being played.
The treble reeds require some minor tuning but their leather valves seem good for a few years yet.
The 2nd photo shows a clip under the treble grille. It looks like a clip to slide something into and the sprung tongue along its middle there to hold the ‘something’ secure. I see no signs anywhere that microphones have been fitted; there are no holes anywhere for jack connectors, volume controls etc.
There’s probably a very simple explanation for what the clip is there for but I would be interested to know.SettSoprani1.JPGSettSoprani2.JPG
 

lunarluxau

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I think it would have held a little tool used for "unspringing" the treble keys if you needed to get them out. I have the same model accordion (in white, and not in as good shape). When I get a chance later I'll open it up and take a pic of the tool for you.
 

boxplayer4000

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lunarluxau: I think you have hit on it. It's something I should have thought of myself.
I noticed that the accordion does have the usual axle for the treble keys, which can be withdrawn (if you're lucky) from the end of the keyboard to release the keys. I also noticed that the keys could be lifted slightly from there hinge or fulcrum point but were restrained by their spring.
Just for the sake of keeping this thread alive until somebody tells us the answer I am going to suggest that the 'mysterious clip' held a tool to help release the key spring and free the key. i'm aware its not unique but it is still a superb innovation, by-passing the need to release axles and to be able to release individual keys without disturbing any others.
 

Glug

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Here's a photo of a Scandalli keyboard tool I found on the web somewhere:

KeyTool.1.jpg

I think it's from the 1940s judging by the typewriter register switches.
 

lunarluxau

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Yep, I'm pretty sure that's what it is. Here is a pic of my accordion (as I say, not in as good shape as yours, and not quite the same model, but very similar). There's also a pic with the tool in place, and a pic with the tool removed.

My accordion doesn't have a spindle, and I've only ever seen these in accordions without a spindle.

Cheers

Dave
ss800.jpg
sstool800.jpg
ssnotool800.jpg
 

boxplayer4000

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Thanks to all for responding. It's now pretty clear what the clips purpose is.
I've just noticed an inaccuracy in my earlier post ie. the accordion I have does NOT have the normal, removable treble key axle.
(It was either a typing error or another of those 'senior moments', or maybe a bit of both.)
Given that the this design of keyboard seems superior to the standard one of using a keyboard axle rod in that the need to remove an axle is eliminated and single keys can be removed without the need to remove a lot of others it seems fair to ask why the design was not more popular.
 

Dingo40

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"Given that the this design of keyboard seems superior to the standard one of using a keyboard axle rod in that the need to remove an axle is eliminated and single keys can be removed without the need to remove a lot of others it seems fair to ask why the design was not more popular."
Well, one disincentive might be patents and all that involves ?🤔
 

Glug

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Individually removable keys are quite an old idea.

My 1959 Hohner Lucia has a very nice removable key mechanism (push locking pin, twist 90 degrees, key is loose).
My 1950s Scandalli has individual springs.
Almost certainly two different patents.

Of the two the Hohner has the better made keyboard.
 

Ventura

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from memory and research

what you are seeing is some of the output from Settimo Soprani after
their factory burned to the ground, and before they actually merged
or were absorbed with Scandalli, but were using the facilities...

at first, the factory they used after hours was tooled for outputting bodies with the
new Scandalli individual key action, and so they used them... at the time
they still had typical Stradella bass actions available and S Soprani preferred
to use them, and continued to do so for many years after Scandalli switched
to the drop-out Bass mechanism for their own Scandalli branded line

Please remember, S Soprani was a huge supplier of private branded accordions
to the USA market, which is why you will see some of these customers accordions
go from Spindle to Scandalli action as well, while retaining their private designed grillework.
You can also see these private brands pretty much always had standard Bass mechanisms
as well (Serenelli and other regional brands will give examples if you dig into the boneyard)

NOW consider, if you will, that between S Soprani and Scandalli, they probably produced
more accordions out of the original Scandalli factory, and Camerano and the huge, new
Farfisa Works outside of ANcona than the entire output of Castlefidardo...
their accordions were very modern, much less expensive to build and sell,
used new designs that were faster to produce with Shiny Aluminum and bright colors and
popular modern Artist endorsements, state of the art electronics that even beat
Cordovox and Chicago Music Group at their own game eventually !

so please consider how the old, smokey, snobby established Accordion industry stuck in their
Dungeons up on the Hill rather hated Scandalli... and his friends at S Soprani...
(i mean, they had torched Settimo right out of town)
hated them completely and despised the innovations that threatened to put them out
of business... then the bottom fell out of the Accordion industry in the 60's
and accordion companies were closing left and right... it was a Blood Bath

when Lear Siegler decided to pull the plug, that one amazing Farfisa factory was left
to rot... all the tooling, machinery, assembly lines that were used to produce those amazingly
innovative Actions and Bass assemblies were scrapped... the BonTiempi gruppo who eventually
purchased the intellectual assets and brand name of Scandalli made no attempt whatsoever to
salvage anything Physical relating to accordions from the ruins of the once proud old Brand,
the former Leader of the Accordion Industry... for DECADES this blight was left untouched
on the side of the road like some great Lion rotting in the Sun and Rain... a true
statement of the accordion industry during the dark decades...

this is why you sometimes hear me make a reference to the old Farfisa factory,
and express my sadness (and some bitterness) at the loss it represented to
our world of Accordions and the Legacy and shame it also represents IMHO

these actions that you realize are amazing came from there

and just because a shiny new Scandalli sign is now up on the outside
wall (replacing the old Morbidioni crest) of a nondescript building in Castlefidardo,
the ghosts of Technology Lost and squandered do not rest easier, though
perhaps they are trying their best, as Maxim's group seems to do, and
show some reverence and respect with these new look-alikes

still, it is a shameful and sad story

ciao

Ventura
 
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boxplayer4000

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Ventura.
That's certainly a very detailed history. Thanks.
A bit of rivalry I understand but it seems to have gone beyond that on occasion.
You say that the accordion I have in for some minor repair, at the head of this thread, was made in a period when
their factory burnt down. I would be interested to know the approximate time of its manufacture please.

The accordion itself, after some minor repairs, is in remarkable condition. I don't think its been played a lot and has been possible kept
in a good environment; dry but not overheated. The expendables, wax, leathers and pallets still have plenty of life and it's air-tightness is back to
being good.
 

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