Carl Zimmermann

World Concertina Congress - WCC

Carl Zimmermann
Hall of Fame – 2024

Carl Zimmermann

Carl Friedrich Zimmermann (1817-1898) was a native of Carlsfeld, Saxony, Germany. Zimmermann was an early champion of the German concertina developed by Carl Uhlig (1789-1874). He expanded on Uhlig’s early one- and two-row square concertinas, developed a three-row chromatic bisonoric instrument. He is credited with other design enhancements and manufactured the very early models of the German concertina and bandoneon.

Zimmermann also invented the Carlsfelder keyboard system for the concertina. The Carlsfelder concertina was based on the earlier Chemnitzer concertina of Uhlig. Zimmerman demonstrated this instrument at the 1849 Industrial Exhibition in Paris, the 1851 London Industrial Exposition, and the 1853 Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York.

When Zimmermann emigrated to America in 1864, he sold the concertina company and production equipment to his former factory foreman, Ernst Louis Arnold. Under the name “ELA” high-quality bellows-driven, free-reed musical instruments were made and exported around the world. Arnold’s successors eventually produced under the brand name “AA”, an abbreviation of Alfred Arnold.

In the United States, Zimmermann built concertinas for a time, and then invented an early version of the autoharp. Zimmerman was the first to build and mass market an improved version of the autoharp in the United States.

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