History of the Bandonion

and the Alfred Arnold company

The bandonion, which was invented by Heinrich Band in 1847, was being made by Carl Friedrich Zimmermann in Carlsfeld/Saxony as early as 1854. He sold his business to Ernst Louis Arnold ten years later. His son, Alfred Arnold, took over part of the company in 1911. His bandonions were exported all over the world until the World War II …

 

 

Origin

 

The origins of the bandonion can be found at the beginning of the 19th century in the border triangle of Saxony, Bavaria and Bohemia. There, with the decline of the silver mining in the Ore Mountains, the production of musical instruments developed into a new branch of industry. In 1834 Carl Friedrich Uhlig built the first alternating tones German Concertina in Chemnitz, a square button instrument with 20 tones. A few years later Carl Friedrich Zimmermann starts the production of hand pull instruments in Carlsfeld.

 

However, Heinrich Band is considered the inventor of the bandonion, and in 1843 he founds a shop for musical instrument teaching and trading in Krefeld. He makes the decisive changes to the Concertina which lead to the "birth" of the Bandonion. The new instrument is first called "Accordion" by him, and only around 1855 does it receive the name "Bandonion". The name is probably a variation of the term "Band Union", under which the trading business of the Band family is known at that time.Heinrich Band does not build instruments himself, he buys them in Bohemia and Saxony, in order to sell them in his shops. Where he purchases his bandonions is not clear beyond doubt.

 

What is certain is that Carl Friedrich Zimmermann had a harmonica factory built in Carlsfeld in 1847, where he began making concertinas and bandonions a short time later. He shows his instruments at the 1851 World Exhibition in London and at the 1854 Industrial Exhibition in Munich.

 

 

Arnold company

 

In 1854 Ernst Louis Arnold began his four-year apprenticeship as an instrument maker at Zimmermann and developed in the following years to become a works manager. When Zimmermann emigrated to America in 1864, he sold the company building including production to Ernst Louis Arnold.

The development of the company Ernst Louis Arnold goes hand in hand with the increasing industrialisation in Germany. More and more people are moving from the countryside to the rapidly growing cities, which are developing into cultural as well as economic centres. The first German Concertina Association is founded in Chemnitz in 1874, further associations are founded in the following years, especially in the Ruhr area, Leipzig and Munich.

 

To meet the increasing demand for instruments, Ernst Louis Arnold expands his business in 1888 and buys the former school building on the main street of Carlsfeld. His sons Hermann, Paul and later also his youngest son Ernst Alfred help in the business. The first petroleum-driven machines facilitate the production of the bandonions, which have since made a good name for themselves among the players under the trademark "A".

 

The Bandonion probably finds its way to America with German emigrants who have the instrument in their luggage. This is probably also the reason why the Bandonion is well known and later inseparably connected with the Tango. An anecdote tells that a German sailor was unable to pay a brothel visit in an Argentine port. So he pawned his Arnold Bandonion. But none of the musicians there can play the instrument, whose over a hundred buttons sound different when pulled than when pressed together. One of them finally manages, and because the technique is so difficult, the tango is born as a slowly played passion...

 

Ernst Louis Arnold dies in 1910, his oldest son Hermann takes over the management. In 1911 Alfred Arnold founded his own company "Alfred Arnold Bandonion- und Konzertina-Fabrik Carlsfeld". In the meantime Carlsfeld is connected to the electricity grid, the old machines are replaced by modern ones. A new workshop and a case factory is built in Johanngeorgenstadt. The wishes of the bandonion buyers also become more demanding, inlays of mother-of-pearl and other decorations give the instruments an individual touch.

In 1929, the first Bandonion 142 of the brand "AA" leaves the factory, whose uniqueness in sound and quality still inspires bandonion players all over the world today.

World famous soloists such as Astor Piazzolla, Arthur Mersiowsky played the "AA" Bandonion, the "soul" of tango.

 

 

Post-war years

 

In 1948 the Alfred Arnold company is expropriated and nationalized (VEB Klingenthaler Harmonikawerke). The production is continued by Bandonions, but no longer has the desired success. The instruments are no longer sold and are replaced by the accordion which is easier to play. In addition, the sound quality of the new instruments does not come close to that of the Arnold′schen Bandonions by far.

1964 the production of bandonions ends in Carlsfeld.

 

 

Contact

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from you!

 

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Bandonion & Concertinafabrik Klingenthal GmbH

Krummer Weg 1a

D-08248 Klingenthal

Telefax: +49 037467 66423

E-Mail: aa@bandonion-klingenthal.de

© 2020 Bandonion & Concertinafabrik Klingenthal GmbH

Contact

Do you have any questions?
We look forward to hearing
from you!

 

Request

With our enquiry form you can easily put together your desired instrument. We will answer immediately and clarify all details with you personally.

 

more >

Bandonion & Concertinafabrik
Klingenthal GmbH

Krummer Weg 1a

D-08248 Klingenthal

Telefax: +49 037467 66423

E-Mail: aa@bandonion-klingenthal.de

© 2020 Bandonion & Concertinafabrik

Klingenthal GmbH