Cool William Kratt chromatic

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Nice American-made Kratt Chromatic, I just got on Ebay, I hope, good fixer upper. I usually buy these things with the thought of fixing them up and selling them, but I think I'm going to have to keep this one for myself. I've yet to see a Kratt I didn't like.

It would be nice if Kratt started making harmonicas again.

 They make pitch pipes, so we know they still have the reed technology. They used to make harmonicas, maybe they just have to dust off the machines in the far back corner of the machine shop.

Now would be a good time certainly. The best harmonicas I've seen have been Kratts, Kratt seems to be one of the more, maybe most advanced makers.
Recently I revalved a Kratt Warbler Concert Octave harp. It has double thick reedplates and a couple of very interesting design features...
1) thin comb. The comb is thinner than an Auto Valve, etc. Thin is good.
2) recessed rivets. This is the one that took my by surprise, I like to file the rivets flush before installing windsavers, that helps them lay flat. BUT, Kratt had beaten me to it. The rivets are actually recessed into the hole.
3) Big nails, I mean BIG nails. Holds very tightly.
4) reedplate caressing comb... I was gonna sand it flat, but didn't. It is designed to hold pressure in all the right places. There was also the WK trademark stamp on the reedplates.

The Kratt Hit Parade is one of the tightest stock diatonics I've seen, plastic comb reedplates held by a great number of plastic teets. It makes it impossible to take the plates off to replace a reed, but it's very tight. I've very interested to see how Kratt made a chromatic.

Now would be a good time.

I don't think it will happen. The Kratt machinery is very old. Someone advised me (on another list) that the age of the machinery doesn't matter because as long as it is maintained and stays tight, it could be antique and still work. Ok, I'll buy that for a dollar, but what about the dies? How often were they changed out? What about the workers. I understand that when Kratt ceased operations, there were only 6 or 7 people doing the work.

I remember..oh, maybe it was 13 years ago, a company in EAST Germany was looking for apprentices. The deal was that there was no pay but you would get room and board and a small stipend. I was about to retire and since I would already have a pension, I felt I could do it. Unfortunately, I was too old to interest them and besides, my hands (and eyesight) weren't as steady as they once were.

My intent was to learn the business and then bring it BACK to the U.S. My wife said "Why?, you have no son to leave it to" "There ain't gonna be no 'Smokey & Son' harmonica company". Another dream shattered....mooned again.

smo-joe  (who put the Bop in the bop she bop she bop)

I saved this interesting article about the Wm Kratt Pitch Pipe Co. It states that in 2001 the company was sold to the McNamara family, a supplier to Kratt. The article also states that the company had 7 employees and used most of the original dies from 1936. Here is the link:

BTW Smojoe. There is a picture of the employees from 2006 and they are all women! So, if you have daughters, how about "Leone and Lasses Harmonica Company"?  :D


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