May 23rd, 1829 – Behold the Accordion!


The accordion has become somewhat of a staple instrument with many Steampunk bands such Ford Theatre Reunion or This Way to the Egress that deliver that carnivalesque sound often with a frantic energy . . . but what of its origins?

FTR Eric 680

Eric Myers of Ford Theatre Reunion (photo by Vitium Photography)

The advent of the accordion is the subject of debate among researchers. Many credit Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann, as the inventor of the accordion, while others give the distinction to Cyrill Demian an Armenian from the Romanian city of Gherla (ancient Armenopolis) living in Vienna, who patented his Accordion in May 1829, thus coining the name. Cyrill Demian (1772–1847) of Armenian origin, made his living as an organ and piano maker, with his two sons Karl and Guido, in Mariahilfer Straße No. 43 in Vienna, Austria. On May 6th, 1829, Cyrill and his two sons presented a new instrument to the authorities for patent – the accordion. The patent was officially granted on May 23rd, 1829.

A modification of the Handäoline, Demian’s invention comprised a small manual bellows and five keys, although, as Demian noted in a description of the instrument, extra keys could be incorporated into the design. Numerous variations of the device soon followed.


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