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Titano (Victoria) from 60s with Catraro reeds

Hongyu

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Hello guys,

First of all, I'm very glad to join this community and discuss with you about the instrument we love !

Here I'd like to discuss with you about old Titanos made by Victoria back in 1960s, specifically the top-of-line models with Catraro handmade reeds, the reeds create "Richard Galliano sound". I'll only cover piano accordions here as information for button ones are much harder to find, sorry :D

As far as I know, Catraro reeds were used for most of their Cosmopolitan non-chambered models, some of the Virtuoso models on demand and all Royal chambered models. For each model, they had both Stradella system and Quint convertor system available. I've done some research online for last couple of months and here's what I've found:


1. Cosmopolitan model (no cassotto), Stradella bass

I'm very lucky to own one of these models, the sound is just incredible ! Not sure how much impact does tube chambers bring but it does deliver a unique Galliano-style sound even without a cassotto, warm yet powerful.
Here's some pictures of mine:

131619971_2933562626879922_8958675670923452634_o.jpg
131887728_2933562366879948_5529524404912254919_o.jpg131503592_2933562786879906_6579048324575721274_o.jpg

2. Cosmopolitan model (no cassotto), Quint free bass

I found couple of these online, there's actually several for sale now. Quint free bass is very popular in North America but not in Europe.
Some pictures from AccordionLab:

01.jpg
12.jpg

3. Royal model (cassotto), Stradella bass

I didn't find a Royal model with Catraro reeds and Stradella bass made by Victoria in 1960s. But I found several made in 1950s, with their old grill design. My guess is Titano was promoting their tube-chamber design in 60s, so they stopped making cassotto ones unless on demand?
Here's some pictures from Accordiongallery:
titano-royal-sn34-03.jpg



titano-royal-2853-int-05.jpg

4. Royal model (cassotto), Quint free bass

Well, this is the rarest model that I want the most... I assume Titano was promoting their Tube-chamber design, and Royal models with cassotto, or Quint free bass system, was only made on demand for professional musicians?
Libertybellows once had a Titano for sale couple of years ago, with Catraro reeds, Cassotto and Quint system all in one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5hh9090jtg They listed it as a Cosmopolitan but I think this one should be a Royal.
Capture.PNG

Another one I know is belonging to Stefano Prestileo. He has a great collection of accordions made in Golden Age. Richard Galliano last year visited him and tested some of his collection:
The Royal Titano with Quint bass system:
Capture.1.PNG


5. Victoria models with Catraro reeds

Well, Victoria actually made more Titanos for America than Victorias for Europe, as far as I know. Here's one Victoria with Catraro reeds, Cassotto (I guess) and Quint free bass system. It is also Stefano Prestileo's collection:
Capture3.PNG




Well, that's all I can find online. Please add any thoughts, information, history, pictures, videos about these gorgeous Titanos and Victorias below including Button ones (for instance, who is Catraro.... I can't find any information about him online!). Hopefully by doing so we could have a complete list of all these models made by Victoria, 60 years ago. Thanks a lot !
 
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Dingo40

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One of my accordion teachers had a Titano like these. It had a wonderful deep tone. I had no idea of what comprised accordion quality in those days, but I did like what I heard!🙂
 

Hongyu

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One of my accordion teachers had a Titano like these. It had a wonderful deep tone. I had no idea of what comprised accordion quality in those days, but I did like what I heard!🙂
The sound of accordions from 50s to 70s is just amazing. Maybe time also makes their sounds unique, wood takes time to mature, just like violins.
 

JIM D.

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Hi Hongyu and Welcome;
It seems you are interested in the Victoria made Titano models of the 60's era.
In the 60's I was employed and still am (part time) for a music studio that was a full Titano dealer. At this period in time I taught, sold &
repaired all models of the 60's era Titano's made by Victoria.
In the 60's Ernest Deffner acquired the Titano Accordion Co. from Edward Traficante and imported the same models from Victoria
with newly designed grill called "Tone Chamber" . An advertising ploy that really did nothing to enhance the accordions tone
or volume. A change was made in the mid 60's as the grill appeared the same but without the internal tubes installed.
I'll do my best here to give you a list of (from memory & notes) the PA models imported for sale in the US in the 60's.

To start with --THE STUDENT MODELS --
"Titan" -- 41/120 2/4 reed 5/2 registers in 15" 17" & 18' keyboards. Some of these 15" models had the name 'Dandy'

"Standard" -- 41/120 3/4 reed 5/2 registers in 15" 17" & 18" keyboards.

"Grand" -- 41/120 3/4 reed 7/3 registers in 17" & 18" keyboards and later models offered with (Quint convertor bass)

Now the -- "SEMI PRO & PRO MODELS" __ (All these models could be ordered with ( Quint convertor bass)

"Stroller" 41/120 3/5 reeds 7/4 & 7/5 registers in 18" & 19" keyboards.

"Virtuoso" 41/120 4/5 reed 11/5 registers in 18" & 19" keyboards.

"Virtuoso Tone Chamber" 41/120 11/5 registers in 18" & 19" keyboards.

"Cosmopolitan" (a tone chamber accordion) 41/120 4/5 reeds 11/7 & 15/7 registers with 18" & 19" keyboards.

"Emperior" (a tone chamber accordion) 45/120 extended keyboard 4/5 reeds 15/7 registers with 20" keyboards.

"Parade" An economical version of the Virtuoso model with the same body but machine made reeds.

"Royal" A short lived model replaced by the Emperior as it was it's equal.

With student models equipped with a convertor bass add (1) bass register -- on pro models with convertor add
(2) bass registers

You might visit the post "Ace Accordion ??? for pre 60's info.

As for Catraro reeds - There is no history of such a firm. Possibly a tag put on inhouse Victoria made reeds.

And just a note, ALL Cosmopolitan models were tone chamber - A Cosmopolitan without a tone chamber was a
Virtuoso.
 
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Dingo40

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Wow! More models than at a fashion parade!
Thanks for sharing, Jim!👍
 
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Hongyu

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Hi Hongyu and Welcome;
It seems you are interested in the Victoria made Titano models of the 60's era.
In the 60's I was employed and still am (part time) for a music studio that was a full Titano dealer. At this period in time I taught, sold &
repaired all models of the 60's era Titano's made by Victoria.
In the 60's Ernest Deffner acquired the Titano Accordion Co. from Edward Traficante and imported the same models from Victoria
with newly designed grill called "Tone Chamber" . An advertising ploy that really did nothing to enhance the accordions tone
or volume. A change was made in the mid 60's as the grill appeared the same but without the internal tubes installed.
I'll do my best here to give you a list of (from memory & notes) the PA models imported for sale in the US in the 60's.

To start with --THE STUDENT MODELS --
"Titan" -- 41/120 2/4 reed 5/2 registers in 15" 17" & 18' keyboards. Some of these 15" models had the name 'Dandy'

"Standard" -- 41/120 3/4 reed 5/2 registers in 15" 17" & 18" keyboards.

"Grand" -- 41/120 3/4 reed 7/3 registers in 17" & 18" keyboards and later models offered with (Quint convertor bass)

Now the -- "SEMI PRO & PRO MODELS" __ (All these models could be ordered with ( Quint convertor bass)

"Stroller" 41/120 3/5 reeds 7/4 & 7/5 registers in 18" & 19" keyboards.

"Virtuoso" 41/120 4/5 reed 11/5 registers in 18" & 19" keyboards.

"Virtuoso Tone Chamber" 41/120 11/5 registers in 18" & 19" keyboards.

"Cosmopolitan" (a tone chamber accordion) 41/120 4/5 reeds 11/7 & 15/7 registers with 18" & 19" keyboards.

"Emperior" (a tone chamber accordion) 45/120 extended keyboard 4/5 reeds 15/7 registers with 20" keyboards.

"Parade" An economical version of the Virtuoso model with the same body but machine made reeds.

"Royal" A short lived model replaced by the Emperior as it was it's equal.

With student models equipped with a convertor bass add (1) bass register -- on pro models with convertor add
(2) bass registers

You might visit the post "Ace Accordion ??? for pre 60's info.

As for Catraro reeds - There is no history of such a firm. Possibly a tag put on inhouse Victoria made reeds.

And just a note, ALL Cosmopolitan models were tone chamber - A Cosmopolitan without a tone chamber was a
Virtuoso.
Thanks JIM! This list is priceless !
So the biggest difference between a Cosmopolitan and a Royal (or Emperor) is Cassotto (the real double tone chamber, not tube chamber) I assume? Did they make a lot Cassotto ones and how many of them are still out there? Thanks a lot !
 

JIM D.

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Unlike the Cosmopolitan the Emperors had extended keyboards. Cosmopolitan & Emperor models were only made with
tone chamber (Cassotto).
 

Hongyu

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Unlike the Cosmopolitan the Emperors had extended keyboards. Cosmopolitan & Emperor models were only made with
tone chamber (Cassotto).
Mine cosmopolitan doesn't have a double tone chamber, but there's a plaque writing "Mod Cosmopolitan". I'm bit confused here
WeChat Image_20201218002324.jpg
 

JIM D.

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Mod. means model
The 60's catalog only listed a Cosmopolitan as tone camber. I have found a few but not many model variations in the past that
were not listed. (custom order ???). You really must remember that all the Titano models were Victoria accordion models with
Titano grills & badges applied. Victoria did not have separate production lines for Victorias & Titanos - the models were the same
with different badges. The models sold in the US were badged Titano and the same models sold in Europe as Victorias.
 

Hongyu

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Mod. means model
The 60's catalog only listed a Cosmopolitan as tone camber. I have found a few but not many model variations in the past that
were not listed. (custom order ???). You really must remember that all the Titano models were Victoria accordion models with
Titano grills & badges applied. Victoria did not have separate production lines for Victorias & Titanos - the models were the same
with different badges. The models sold in the US were badged Titano and the same models sold in Europe as Victorias.
One of mine friends sent me some pictures of his Titano cosmopolitan from 60s, exactly the same as mine, there's no Cassotto as well.
Here's the pictures:
thumbnail_Image.jpg
thumbnail_Image2.jpg

I've seen and played another two Cosmopolitan models two years ago when I was living in Toronto, and they didn't have cassottos either.
Do you still keep the old catalogue from Titano back in 60s? Maybe that'll tell us more :D
 

JIM D.

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Well that was a half century ago. The info I've provided here is mostly from memory. I'll try this weekend to see if there is
one in my old library.
I have 3 rooms of saved accordion parts & paraphenalia I've acquired in the past 50 years of accordion repair. This might take some
time.
 
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Hongyu

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Well that was a half century ago. The info I've provided here is mostly from memory. I'll try this weekend to see if there is
one in my old library.
I have 3 rooms of saved accordion parts & paraphenalia I've acquired in the past 50 years of accordion repair. This might take some
time.
Thanks Jim !
I found these pictures online, but they're not clear enough. What I can see here is they were advertising their Tube Chamber only, cassotto was not mentioned at all.
vintage-titano-accordion-catalog_1_47e987e641a84a3eddd4a2ff6a70b7c9.jpg
vintage-titano-accordion-catalog_1_47e987e641a84a3eddd4a2ff6a70b7c8.jpg

vintage-titano-accordion-catalog_1_47e987e641a84a3eddd4a2ff6a70b7c7.jpg
 

OuijaBoard

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I've found that even the workaday Titanos from this era have a wonderful warm timbre and lovely jazzy tone. Including the "Tigers" and the 30-key 2-voice Titano Titans with LM configuration. Unique 30/50 specs. Hard to find, but lovely and very portable for jazz and tango.
 

craigd

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Hello guys,

First of all, I'm very glad to join this community and discuss with you about the instrument we love !

Here I'd like to discuss with you about old Titanos made by Victoria back in 1960s, specifically the top-of-line models with Catraro handmade reeds, the reeds create "Richard Galliano sound". I'll only cover piano accordions here as information for button ones are much harder to find, sorry :D

As far as I know, Catraro reeds were used for most of their Cosmopolitan non-chambered models, some of the Virtuoso models on demand and all Royal chambered models. For each model, they had both Stradella system and Quint convertor system available. I've done some research online for last couple of months and here's what I've found:


1. Cosmopolitan model (no cassotto), Stradella bass

I'm very lucky to own one of these models, the sound is just incredible ! Not sure how much impact does tube chambers bring but it does deliver a unique Galliano-style sound even without a cassotto, warm yet powerful.
Here's some pictures of mine:

131619971_2933562626879922_8958675670923452634_o.jpg
131887728_2933562366879948_5529524404912254919_o.jpg131503592_2933562786879906_6579048324575721274_o.jpg

2. Cosmopolitan model (no cassotto), Quint free bass

I found couple of these online, there's actually several for sale now. Quint free bass is very popular in North America but not in Europe.
Some pictures from AccordionLab:

01.jpg
12.jpg

3. Royal model (cassotto), Stradella bass

I didn't find a Royal model with Catraro reeds and Stradella bass made by Victoria in 1960s. But I found several made in 1950s, with their old grill design. My guess is Titano was promoting their tube-chamber design in 60s, so they stopped making cassotto ones unless on demand?
Here's some pictures from Accordiongallery:
titano-royal-sn34-03.jpg



titano-royal-2853-int-05.jpg

4. Royal model (cassotto), Quint free bass

Well, this is the rarest model that I want the most... I assume Titano was promoting their Tube-chamber design, and Royal models with cassotto, or Quint free bass system, was only made on demand for professional musicians?
Libertybellows once had a Titano for sale couple of years ago, with Catraro reeds, Cassotto and Quint system all in one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5hh9090jtg They listed it as a Cosmopolitan but I think this one should be a Royal.
Capture.PNG

Another one I know is belonging to Stefano Prestileo. He has a great collection of accordions made in Golden Age. Richard Galliano last year visited him and tested some of his collection:
The Royal Titano with Quint bass system:
Capture.1.PNG


5. Victoria models with Catraro reeds

Well, Victoria actually made more Titanos for America than Victorias for Europe, as far as I know. Here's one Victoria with Catraro reeds, Cassotto (I guess) and Quint free bass system. It is also Stefano Prestileo's collection:
Capture3.PNG




Well, that's all I can find online. Please add any thoughts, information, history, pictures, videos about these gorgeous Titanos and Victorias below including Button ones (for instance, who is Catraro.... I can't find any information about him online!). Hopefully by doing so we could have a complete list of all these models made by Victoria, 60 years ago. Thanks a lot !
Well Hongyu, that's a great presentation of the beautiful 1960s Titanos. I also have a Cosmopolitan stradella, probably early 60s, like your example number one. It sounds great, especially when someone else is playing it. I mean a good player, when I'm in front, listening. I find the bass a bit "loose" (I mean the reeds sound, not the buttons), compared to the Parade I have which is probably a few years newer, and much less used. I kind of like the Cosmopolitan bass, but not always. Maybe it has just worn out a bit? I don't know if this happens to accordions.Thanks for the post.
 

craigd

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Mine cosmopolitan doesn't have a double tone chamber, but there's a plaque writing "Mod Cosmopolitan". I'm bit confused here
WeChat Image_20201218002324.jpg

Well Hongyu, that's a great presentation of the beautiful 1960s Titanos. I also have a Cosmopolitan stradella, probably early 60s, like your example number one. It sounds great, especially when someone else is playing it. I mean a good player, when I'm in front, listening. I find the bass a bit "loose" (I mean the reeds sound, not the buttons), compared to the Parade I have which is probably a few years newer, and much less used. I kind of like the Cosmopolitan bass, but not always. Maybe it has just worn out a bit? I don't know if this happens to accordions.Thanks for the post.

DSCF0182 (1024x768).jpg
Much like yours, but without those three bars on the bottom side of the bass. Serial number 21499, also close to yours. Condition a bit rough, but plays nicely.
 

Hongyu

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Well Hongyu, that's a great presentation of the beautiful 1960s Titanos. I also have a Cosmopolitan stradella, probably early 60s, like your example number one. It sounds great, especially when someone else is playing it. I mean a good player, when I'm in front, listening. I find the bass a bit "loose" (I mean the reeds sound, not the buttons), compared to the Parade I have which is probably a few years newer, and much less used. I kind of like the Cosmopolitan bass, but not always. Maybe it has just worn out a bit? I don't know if this happens to accordions.Thanks for the post.
Your Cosmopolitan is exactly the same as mine! I kind of get what you mean by "loose sound", the accordion may need a repair on bass side.
 

Ventura

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perhaps the reed type he meant to search for was
"Magnaterra"

i seem to recall her using this term occasionally to reference reeds, though
mostly remember just "we use Swedish Steel..."

i also heard the term Magnaterra reeds for a special model Atlantic IV
that was for sale around here a few years ago, but i never went to look at it
or follow up on that

sorry, it took me 2 weeks to finally remember that tongue-twisting word
 

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