Hall of Fame – 1995
Stanley Uhlir (1914–1996) of Minneapolis, Minnesota played the concertina all his life. His contributions toward the enhancement and the promotion of the instrument are many.
Uhlir founded Echo Concertina in 1960. Stan’s more than twenty years of design and tool and die work, allowed him to incorporate many design changes to the instrument and improvements to the concertina manufacturing process. Some of these technical innovations included a faster-responding button action, hardened reed blocks for increased sound volume, and redesigned shift levers for easier switching. However, Uhlir made certain that Echo Concertinas always maintained the use of traditional, long-plate reeds for the best sound possible.
Stan also took the initiative to have concertinas built in Italy. This resulted in the development and the production of the “ECHO II” double reed concertina. He imported several hundred of these instruments that were designed specifically for beginners. Its low cost and easy to play made it ideal for young students.
Stan was also an excellent technician of the concertina. He supplied parts for other concertina makers. These items included: pearloid, celluloid, action bearings, and grills. His customer list included Star Concertina, Brown Distributing, Christy Hengel, Don Roback, and Jerry Minar. Stan was always willing to share his knowledge and technical skills.