Manufacturer Background

Patek Standard ConcertinaIn 1880, Otto Georgi emigrated from Chemnitz, Germany to Chicago, Illinois where he played, taught, promoted, imported and published music for the chemnitzer concertina. In 1902 he partnered with Louis Vitak to sell concertinas and sheet music from their store in Chicago, and hired Otto Schlicht and his associates to produce chemnitzer concertinas in the United States under the Pearl Queen brand name. Prior to making their own instruments, Georgi would import concertinas from Fredrich Lange (Lange Concertina) in Chemnitz, Germany and sell them in the United States. The start of World War I put an end to the import activity, which is what really prompted them to begin the manufacture of instruments in the United States.

Patek concertinas were manufactured for Rudy Patek and sold by him and various other retailers throughout the Midwest, mostly during the 1920s through the 1950s. The Pearl Queen brand was manufactured for retailers (Otto) Georgi & (Louis) Vitak and later, (Louis) Vitak & (Joseph) Elsnic. Often times you will find the names of these retailers somewhere on the instrument or inside the carrying case. It was fairly common for the retailers to include an engraved plate with the buyer’s name as well. Both of these retailers also bought and sold used instruments at the retail stores. The Patek and Pearl Queen chemnitzer concertinas (different brands, but identical instruments) were the mainstay of the Polish American music scene from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Finish options started with plain wood, or wood with a simple silver wire inlay making simple outline patterns in the wood. The next step up included small “pearl” pieces inlaid with the silver wire (usually in delicate flower patterns). For the next best model, the wood finish would be covered in black lacquer (with the silver wire and pearl inlay). The higher-end concertinas had an abalone shell finish, with a very few having the abalone arranged in some type of very intricate stair-step pattern. The original sales price depended on the number of buttons, sets and types of reeds, and exterior finish. Prices fell within the range of a couple of hundred to several hundred dollars; a lot of money during those years.

After World War II, Georgi & Vitak began to import the Pearl King instrument from a manufacturer in Germany, and in the 1960s Rudy Patek imported concertinas from Italy. These were economically produced concertinas intended to provide the American market with an inexpensive alternative to domestically produced instruments.

Serial Numbers and Manufacture Dates

The following table provides the approximate year of manufacture for instruments with a serial number that falls within the range shown. Data is from Pearl Queen and Patek Concertina records and visitor-supplied information. Date ranges will be adjusted to be more precise if and when additional data is obtained.

Serial Number : Manufacture Year

0000 – 0250 : 1911
0251 – 0500 : 1912
0501 – 0750 : 1913
0751 – 1000 : 1914
1001 – 1250 : 1915
1251 – 1500 : 1916
1501 – 1750 : 1917
1751 – 2000 : 1918
2001 – 2250 : 1919
2251 – 2500 : 1920
2501 – 2750 : 1921
2751 – 3000 : 1922
3001 – 3250 : 1923
3251 – 3500 : 1924
3501 – 3750 : 1925
3751 – 4000 : 1926
4001 – 4250 : 1927
4251 – 4500 : 1928
4501 – 4750 : 1929
4751 – 5000 : 1930
5001 – 5200 : 1931
5201 – 5423 : 1932
5424 – 5450 : 1933
5451 – 5500 : 1934
5501 – 5635 : 1935
5636 – 5710 : 1936
5711 – 5854 : 1937
5855 – 5899 : 1938
5900 – 6051 : 1939
6052 – 6060 : 1940
6061 – 6100 : 1941
6101 – 6120 : 1942
6121 – 6144 : 1943
6145 – 6149 : 1944
6150 – 6151 : 1945
6152 – 6158 : 1946

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