Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) started his research career with work on musical acoustics. In the 1829s he went into business with his brother William as a publisher of music; later the business described itself as "Inventors and Patentees of the concertina & manufacturers of harmoniums, music sellers & concertina makers." In 1829 he patented the concertina. This instrument differs from the more familiar accordion by the use of studs instead of keys to blow air from the bellows over the reeds.

   The example below is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution; catalogue number 323,481.

   The instrument at the right, which I discovered in a basement laboratory at Duke University, is clearly based on the design of the concertina. Normally the box is closed, and one sees a series of pulls labelled 128, 132, 136, ...., 248, 252, 256. These are the frequencies (in Hz) of the reeds visible in the lower picture with the box opened. The upper half of the box contains bellows, actuated by moving its top up and down. 

   The spacing of the frequencies in steps of 4 Hz is very suggestive of Koenig's tonometer. Once reeds have been adjusted to the right frequency, they are quite stable and do not drift in frequency. Therefore, I think that this is a frequency standard, and that it was made after 1876, when Rudolph Koenig brought his tonometer to the United States to display at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. 

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