Dyngus Day Explained

For those who are still wondering what Dyngus Day is, here’s a helpful clip from “Polonia: Western New York’s Polish-American Legacy”, a documentary produced by WNED-TV in Buffalo. Just as everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Polish on Dyngus Day.

Flickr Find: Buyer Beware

Buyer Beware
uploaded by h. wren
I love this old 1930s Wurlitzer accordion ad. Only the first few lines of text are shown, but it appears to be warning prospective accordion shoppers against the scourge of foreign-made instruments. But what I really love is the matter-of-fact introduction: “For fun, fame and profit play the accordion.” Ah… so that explains the proliferation of rich and famous accordionists everywhere. Sign me up!

Flickr Find: Vintage Galanti Ad

Galanti 1948
uploaded by Al Q
“Tried the rest? Now try the Best!” I love this vintage (circa 1948) Galanti Accordion ad. With a name like “Super Dominator”, you could take on anything with this accordion. A Pietro Frosini solo? No problem. A vicious street gang? I’m not worried — I’ve got my “Super Dominator”!

Galanti Accordions was founded by Antonio Galanti in the late 19th century in Mondaino, Italy. His sons Domenico, Egidio and Robusto carried on their father’s work, building an accordion factory (“Fratelli Galanti”), and then later bringing the accordions to America (hence the “R. Galanti and Bro., Inc, New York” on the ad). According to this history, as musical tastes changed, the company turned their focus to electronic instruments (organs, even electric guitars) in the late 1950s.

eBay Find: Accordion Bar Set

Accordion Bar SetThere’s nothing like a lazy Saturday spent trolling for strange and unusual accordion-related goodies on eBay. Let’s see what the Internet’s biggest garage sale has in store for us this week:

  • Accordion-Shaped Bar Set
    Anna and I saw one of these in a Fresno antique store, but couldn’t pull the trigger (they wanted $75!). It includes two bottles, a set of four shot glasses and, when you take out the bottles, it plays a song. Classy!
  • Myron Floren’s Disco Polka
    We’ve written about this rare disco/polka mashup before; here’s your chance to own it! How can you pass up disco-fied versions of “How High the Moon” and “Beer Barrel Polka”?
  • Accordion Man, Signed by Dick Contino
    Accordion Man is Bob Bove and Lou Angellotti’s 1994 biography of Dick Contino, chronicling his rise (Ed Sullivan shows), fall (indictment for draft dodging), and subsequent return to glory. This copy is signed by Contino himself and includes an autographed photo, too.
  • 1966 Western States Accordion Festival Program
    Step back in time with this souvenir from the 11th annual Western States Accordion Festival, held at the Lafayette Hotel in Long Beach, CA. It’s 38 full pages of contest winner and committee member photos, as well as advertisements from the big accordion vendors of the time: Cordovox, Sonola, Titano, Giulietti, Lo Duca, and many more. (There’s one from the 1967 festival, too.)

Happy bidding!

Accordion Exhibit at the Met

Accordions as high art? You bet! The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is running a special exhibition called Accordions and Harmonicas of the 19th Century. It showcases thirty accordions and harmonicas of different styles and origins, many of which have never been displayed before. Hurry though — the exhibit ends March 31.

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Accordion Patent Day… Or Not?

Accordion patentMany sites claim that today (January 13) is the anniversary of the day the first U.S. patent for an accordion was granted to Anthony Faas in 1854. A quick look at Faas’ original patent, however, reveals that it was filed on April 7 and granted on JUNE 13 (not January 13). I’m guessing that, somewhere along the line, someone mistook “Jun” for “Jan” and the mistake was unwittingly perpetuated. Let it stop here once and for all!

Faas’ patent wasn’t even the first relating to accordions. The first (non-US) accordion patent was actually granted more than twenty years earlier to Viennese instrument maker Cyrill Demian on May 23, 1829. And Christian Friedrich Buschmann invented the first hand-held bellows-driven free-reed instrument (the hand-aeoline) as an aid for tuning organs in 1822. (Brush up on your accordion history at the Classical Free-Reed.)

For more accordion-related patent fun, give Google’s Patent Search a whirl. I found a couple of odd patents granted to Lawrence Welk — one for an accordion-shaped lunchbox and another for an accordion-shaped ash-tray (which we saw on eBay several months ago!).

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