The new invention or rediscovery of the free reed in the early 19
century inspired instrument makers all over Europe
to make experiments for the invention of new musical instruments.
In 1835 Carl Friedrich Uhlig constructed in Chemnitz a diatonic
square headed bellow instrument he called Konzertina and
which did not use predefined chords
like Demian's accordion (Vienna, 1829) but instead single notes arranged
in a fashion which allowed to play different harmonies.
This instrument was an independent development
from Sir Charles Wheatstone's Concertina
(1829), and which
was patented in 1844. It played chromatic scales and the notes were
distributed to both hands. An overview of the historical
development is given in The Bandoneon History.
Near 1848 Carl Friedrich Zimmermann
founded a reed instrument manufacture in
and which turned out to be the basis for the glorious bandoneon industry
for the town. The home of most bandoneons is indeed Carlsfeld in Saxony.
After Heinrich Band died in 1860, the original Zimmermann's
factory was sold in 1864 to Ernst Louis Arnold, a former
coworker of Zimmermann, who continued to build the
more popular bandoneons with up to 130 voices at that time.
The great demand of these versatile and progressive instruments allowed
to increase production making Carlsfeld
to a center for the bandoneon industry. Alfred Arnold,
not being the first of Ernst Louis' sons, did not become the
successor, though having demonstrated his suitability.
Instead, in 1911 he founded a new production
plant in the same place to serve basically the overseas market,
and becoming a successful competitor of his father.
But due to the First World War, the production of bandoneons rapidly declined. It took very long, until the end of the 20ties to recover the previous production levels, and in 1930 the highest. Alfred Arnold died in 1933, just the time when the Hitler regime came up: The bandoneon was considered a worker's class instrument and despised. Though the production continued, it was nearly only for export. Due to the war preparation, the provision of materials was restricted. Many parts previously produced in the own manufacture had, to be acquired from outside. The Dix company was now the provider of reeds. Things did not improve after World War II so the interest in the bandoneon dropped in favor of the accordion which was available all over the world.
The last bandoneon left the Ernst Louis Arnold factory in
1964 and their craftsmen had to produce parts for diesel injection pumps.
After the fall of the wall in 1989, the 1100 inhabitants of Carlsfeld began
dreaming of a new bandoneon industry. But the original
know how was lost and only a few of the old workers are still alive.
Fortunately near by there works the big Harmona,
accordion factory of Klingenthal which
absorbed part of the original know how, together with highly specialized
instrument makers, able to revive such production.
Many different instrument makers are currently working on how to make bandoneons with the sound of the original double reed Alfred Arnolds.