Hall of Fame – 2021
Anton Wolfe (1922-1997) The story of Anton Wolfe and the chemnitzer concertina started when a reed broke in his German-made instrument in his hometown of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He found the address of a spring steel company from a saw blade and purchased a small amount of reed steel from them. He repaired the reed and thought, “Why not make the whole concertina?” Devoting most of his spare time and without the aid of books or experienced technicians, by perseverance alone, his first concertina was completed.
Later in the search for a more dependable supply of materials, he met Rudy Patek, and in 1967 Anton purchased part of Patek’s specialized manufacturing equipment and material inventory. Some parts from the Patek design were incorporated into the Wolfe Concertina, but the long-plate reeds, the heart of the instrument, were always made by Anton Wolfe himself.
The tradition and design of the Patek instrument were continued into the Wolfe Concertina. Anton was skilled at making reeds, reed plates, reed blocks, action boards, button action mechanisms, cabinets, frames, bellows, and more. He was also an expert at completing the concertina’s engraving, final finishing, and reed tuning. Anton made an estimated total of 90 chemnitzer concertinas, all from the ground up. He was also a supplier of concertina components to Christy Hengel, Jerry Minar, Bill Brown, Stan Uhlir, the Star Concertina and Music Company, and more.
Anton was a great concertina manufacturer and promoter, and an integral part of the modern chemnitzer concertina’s history.