[Harp-L] Unusual harmonica

My mother-in-law was cleaning out some boxes of stuff that was owned by her mother and found a rather unusual harmonica.  Iâm wondering if anyone knows anything about it.

The outside of the box simply says, âRadio Harmonicaâ.  The harmonica itself is slightly rounded like some tremolos that you see on the market.  On the top cover plate of the harmonica it says âRadioâ and on the bottom cover plate it says âdeliciaâ and âMADE IN CZECHOSLOVAKIAâ.  It is in very very good condition.  The comb is a beautiful light colored wood that is in pristine condition.  The cover plates are wrapped around the end of the comb and held in place with two nails at each end.  The ends of the cover plates overlap so each nail fastens both the top and bottom cover plate to the comb. The nails are nice and tight so I'm guessing that it has never been disassembled (or played much for that matter).  It is set up like a tremolo with 12 sets of double holes.  However, it only has 5 reeds on the top row and 5 reeds on the bottom row.  None of the pairs of holes has both a blow reed and a draw reed.  They are staggered. There is a blow reed on the upper half of hole 2, but no draw reed on the bottom half. On hole 3, the bottom half has a draw reed, but the top half is empty. and so it goes -  5 blow reeds on top in the top half of holes 2,4,6,8 & 10 and five draw reeds on the bottom half of holes 3,5,7,9 & 11.   On holes 1 and 12, there are no reeds at all!  It is a very strange set-up.  I am guessing it is a harmonica that is meant to play chords.  It does have a âcâ on the side indicating the key of C.  But if you are only going to have five blow and five draw reeds why bother with a double tiered comb? And why have 12 sets of holes for only 10 reeds?  It looks like whoever made it just used whatever comb they had available and made something that sort of plays.  I dunno.

I did some searching on the web and did find some other examples of Radio Harmonicas.   I found one with 16 sets of double reed slots.  Here it is on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE-50-s-CZECH-POPULAR-DELICIA-HARMONICA-USED-/280621196137?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item415653a369

If anyone has any information about this harmonica, I would be curious.

Tom in Clearwater, FL

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