Q: I am wondering if you know anything about an Imperial "accordeon" made in Germany. The only other mark is in the wood. It says "Fabrik Marke" and has two anchors under the words "trade mark."
A: Imperial accordions (spelled "accordeon" on the instrument) were made J.F. Kalbe, a company established in Berlin, Germany, in 1840. The company made accordions and harmonicas. Kalbe accordions were advertised in an 1895 Montgomery Ward catalog and an 1897 Sears Roebuck catalog for $3.25. One of the catalogs says that the name "Imperial" and double-anchor trademark "guarantee of its being of the very highest grade." In 1912 Kalbe was bought by Hohner, which continued to operate Kalbe as a separate company until about 1929.