The Hengel Concertina is manufactured by Jerry Minar (JBM Sound, Inc.) of New Prague, Minnesota. The Hengel brand was originally created by Christy Hengel when he crafted his first chemnitzer concertina in 1955.
Christy was a self-taught and highly skilled concertina technician when in 1953 he negotiated the purchase of the parts inventory and machinery from the Otto Schlicht factory (Schlicht was the manufacturer of the Patek and Pearl Queen Concertinas). For the next 45 years, Christy made some of the best chemnitzer concertinas that were being manufactured at that time. Most all of these instruments are still in the hands of musicians who are very proud to play a Hengel.
In 1995, Minar began working under the careful guidance of Christy to learn how to make the fine Hengel instrument. Satisfied that Jerry had mastered the ability to continue making the Hengel Concertina to his standards, Christy agreed to sell the Hengel name, manufacturing business, parts inventory, and specialized machinery to Minar in 1997. Jerry has continued to refine and improve the Hengel design, resulting in a very high-quality musical instrument that remains in high demand. With the help of skilled craftsmen and technicians from around the Upper Midwest, Minar continues to manufacture the Hengel Concertina today.
Serial Numbers and Manufacture Dates
The Hengel brand utilizes a serial number system that identifies the general date of manufacture. The early Hengel models were simply numbered sequentially, but the majority of the instruments use the following identification method.
- The letter in the center of the serial number designates the month.
- The numbers immediately adjacent to the month letter designate the year.
- The numbers that bracket the year represent the sequential number identifying that concertina.
Example: Serial Number 117S10 would represent concertina 110, made in September 1971.
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