Naracoorte Swap Meet: a vintage player accordion

Naracoorte Swap Meet - May2-001

The sounds of a vintage button accordion being played nearby intrigued me into making a visit to an antiques stall, where I met Janell and Dave – it was Dave who was playing the odd tune throughout the day.

Later on, he brought out this curiosity to show me: a Tanzbar mechanical “player” accordion. As he played it, I noticed a quiet clanking coming from inside; not knowing what manner of magic was being performed at that point, inquired if it were “typing a letter in there”, whereupon Dave opened it up to show me what was concealed inside.

Probably made in the 1920s, the accordion houses a roll, much like a pianola (or “player piano”) roll, which is advanced by opening and closing the bellows of the instrument in the usual fashion – quite without need for actual musical ability! There must have been a fascination for such instruments around that time, as I have since learned that there was a Clarola (clarinet), Rolmonica (harmonica), Triola (zither), and more.

What a wonderful example of musical ingenuity.

Please click image to view full size.


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