Now here’s something you don’t see everyday: it’s a stand-up accordion/organ built sometime in the 1940s/1950s. It looks like you can play while sitting or standing behind it and, instead of a bellows, you use a foot pedal to activate the fan inside and drive air through it. The nameplate says “L. Bonvicini” and according to the seller’s description, it was acquired at an estate sale in rural Colorado.
At first, I assumed this was a one-of-a-kind item, but then I found another one that went up for sale on eBay last month. That one was in better condition and included some interesting notes in the description:
“There is an old classified ad taped on it that says only 3 of these were ever made and they called it a chord organ, although it is not like any chord organ I’ve ever seen. The base/pedestal has a fan in it and you hold the foot pedal down to create an air flow. There is a volume adjustment on the pedestal also.”
Further sleuthing led me to a list of recent acquisitions at the University of South Dakota’s National Music Museum. About halfway down the list is this item:
“NMM 10753. Pianaccord (electrified piano accordion) by Diego Gobbi, Piacenza, Italy, for Ernest Bonvicini (1910-1976), Denver, Colorado, the third generation player and owner of Bonvicini Accordions, 3746 Fillmore Street, Denver. Gift of JoEllen Tipton, Vermillion.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a picture of the instrument, but I’m guessing it’s another one of these stand-up accordions. Either way, I’m wondering if these “accordions” were made specifically for Bonvicini’s personal use, or whether they were intended for sale. The keyboard/chord button layout looks awkward to me (and probably explains why there were only three ever made), but if you want a real conversation piece for your living room, the bidding starts at $299.99.