Crucianelli CBA with Belgian bass
#1
Never thought I'd see one of these showing up in South Africa. CBA's are already rare enough and then around comes this Crucianelli with Belgian bass.

Can anyone date this? Or have any more information? I imagine it's quite old.

   
   
   
   
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#2
(13-04-2019, 08:30 PM)Morne Wrote: Never thought I'd see one of these showing up in South Africa. CBA's are already rare enough and then around comes this Crucianelli with Belgian bass.

Can anyone date this? Or have any more information? I imagine it's quite old.

Hi Morne,

One clue might be the name on the case. A Belgian dealer who went under the name of Camille Parys in Bruxelles had accordions made under their own name by an Italian manufacturer called Unico. That would be back about the 50s, although I would stress that I have no personal knowledge of the Brussels firm or its whereabouts. 

The box looks as if it was made just after WW2, and as far as I know Crucianelli went out of business in 1971. Try and find where C is if it still plays.

If C in first row it is Bruxelles C system

If C in second row it is a Charleroi B system

If C in third row it is a Liegeois B system 

I don't know whether Crucianelli supplied accordions to Camille Parys, and the case could be a red herring. The bellows clips were not standard on Crucianelli CBAs supplied to France, but they may have been specified in Belgium. 

I cannot work out the treble coupler arrangement on the rear. It is a common enough design, but I've never owned a box with that type of couplers. Looks like it could be three voice musette with option to switch to single or two voice, but I'm not sure. 

Seems like it has had a busy life, and the grille looks as though somebody has been using it as a footstool. 

Still, if you can get it to make a sound it will certainly be a novelty in South Africa. I couldn't put an estimate on the value, but it certainly doesn't have the appearance of having been a prestige model.

EDIT:- Tried to find a connection between the brand "Unico" and Crucianelli without a lot of joy. However, if you study the logos in this photo there is a resemblance to the script used by Crucianelli for a time, and I'm guessing Unico may have been a very small offshoot of Crucianelli. By the late 60s Crucianelli had almost completely gone over to making guitars, and if you ever see an older electric guitar with the brand name "Italia", then it is a Crucianelli guitar. The guitar brand "Italia" is still on the go but I don't think it now has any connection with the former Crucianelli company. It was taken over fairly recently by another guitar company.

I have also searched in vain for any history about the Brussels retailer Camille Parys. Only current Brussels retailer I know of is Hamelrijk, who have their own brand of "Organe" accordions made in Italy (don't know who makes them), or by Delicia in the Czech republic.

   
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#3
Hi John. Thanks for the lead regarding Unico. The word "GRADE" or "GRAD, E" (on the grille) also doesn't shed much light. Both could potentially be somebody's surname (albeit a rare one).

Those are just photos from the ad. I'm not actually going to look at it, since it's too esoteric to be worthwhile (and I haven't invested in a warehouse yet).

My interest is more from a historic perspective. My guess is somebody immigrated and either brought it along, or had it ordered due to having prior exposure to it. I cannot imagine somebody with no accordion experience leafing through a pile of PA catalogues and then going "Nah, I'll take the typewriter looking one with the neatly arranged bass buttons".
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#4
(14-04-2019, 07:26 AM)Morne Wrote: Hi John. Thanks for the lead regarding Unico. The word "GRADE" or "GRAD, E" (on the grille) also doesn't shed much light. Both could potentially be somebody's surname (albeit a rare one).

Those are just photos from the ad. I'm not actually going to look at it, since it's too esoteric to be worthwhile (and I haven't invested in a warehouse yet).

My interest is more from a historic perspective. My guess is somebody immigrated and either brought it along, or had it ordered due to having prior exposure to it. I cannot imagine somebody with no accordion experience leafing through a pile of PA catalogues and then going "Nah, I'll take the typewriter looking one with the neatly arranged bass buttons".

Hi Morne,

I was editing my last post when you posted, as I still had my keyboard configured to Danish from speaking to my niece, and forgot to change it back to English. Causes three Danish characters to appear in some places, and can be a pain in the æøå.  

Thought you had gone into the antiques business. I only got to know about the Belgian variations due to my interest in French musette, and a few "rogue" makes also turn up in France. Most famous "oddity" was Paul Beuscher accordions, commissioned by the Paris music publisher and instrument retailer of the same name. In latter years they were made by Piermaria, but there were several other makers before that, including Fratelli Crosio, when they had an assembly plant/workshop in Paris. There were one or two others, such as Royson (Royez Musique), but I don't suppose anybody really cares these days. 

Glad you never bought that one as it is a true relic, although it looks pretty solid. I would be concerned that the big hammer might bounce off it (the first time!).
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