Cool William Kratt chromatic

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The best harmonicas, the most solid harmonicas that I've seen have been the Kratts. I got the Kratt Chromatic in the mail today. It's really a well-thought out chromatic. So, I cleaned it out, etc. took it apart, soaked it in Lime Away, got it all clean.

What struck me about this was the machining. I think most people would think, if they were looking at the comb itself, that they were looking at a custom-made comb. It's made out of a real hard plastic, that was about as hard as cocabola wood... real dense and hard stuff. The comb had been machined perfectly flat. Not factory flat, but what I call flat.

Weird thing about the comb is it is nailed! Nailed on a plastic comb. I thought this was the stupidest design combo at first, but it works really well. I don't mean the drift pins, the nails that go all the way through and grip the other reedplate, I mean nails like a Marine Band, only into this really hard plastic.
So, I thought I'd have to drill it out, there's no way the nails would hold in plastic... but I was wrong. They hold. Better than nails in wood. The nails are short, but fat... and they are threaded, maybe a half turn over the length of the nail, which is really short, this gives them some real gripping power and there's a LOT of them.

The windsavers were made of a stiff pleather stuff, I don't know what it was, it made a great windsaver, it lasted 50 years. And I cleaned them and put them back on. No curling, very springy. Another thing with those

The slide was awesome. At first, I was not impressed, it didn't have those slots like the 270 has on the lower slide plate and receiver. Now the weird thing was that at maximum screw tightness, the slide works back and forth very, very smoothly. It's a tight slide. The top of the comb is machined very flat. It really reminds me of a custom comb...

One cool feature was recessed rivets. The reedplates are very thick and the rivets are recessed inside the reedplate. This is also the case on my Kratt Warbler Concert octave harp.
The neat thing about recessed reedplates is how the windsavers hold. I like to file the rivet down before I put a windsaver on. This is already flat and it doesn't have the bulge of brass around the rivet, like you see on most chroms.

So, it reminds me of a custom, but I'm sure it's stock. The one feature you'd be most suspect of are the pleather windsavers, cause those  are periodically replaced. I'm pretty sure these are factory, the tell-tale sign is the red glue I've seen on other Kratts. Usually you can tell if the windsavers have been replaced, cause usually, aftermarket replacements are done with clear glue, factory glue is/was brightly colored.

Kratt has been off the radar of the major companies, but somebody ought to take a look at the stuff he was doing. This guy was handpicked as a kid by Thomas Edison and became Edison's chief machinist. He knew how to design stuff.

I found this link to an episode of Mr. Roger's neighborhood, where he went to the Kratt Factory. They made an Aristo-Kratt diatonic on the episode.

Here it is:

Wally Peterman tells me it's Bakelite. It looks llike B-lite to me.


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