Hall of Fame – 1994
John Bernhardt (1938-2007) of Addison, Illinois was the last owner-builder of Star Concertinas. He produced about 12 of his Star Beauty and Old Timer long plate reed concertinas a year. Located in Cicero, Illinois near Chicago, the origins of Star Concertina go back to 1917 with the International Accordion Company.
John taught himself the concertina at the age of 37 and joined the Bohemian American Concertina Association and played concerts throughout the Midwest.
John persuaded his partner in Elk Grove Village Tool and Die, Ed Cogana, to join him in purchasing the Star Concertina Company in 1989.
An innovator of manufacturing methods, John brought high tech CAD design and a precision laser cut soundboard to the concertina. It took John 145 hours to make a concertina. John not only made concertinas, but he also restored, repaired, and tuned them. He arranged over 200 songs for the concertina.
Star closed their concertina business in August of 2000.