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La Tosca Accordian

Click the image to magnify.

Claude must have been so proud of this beautiful instrument. It was manufactured by the Gretsch Manufacturing Company. In 1883, Friedrich Gretsch, a German immigrant, established The Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company. The small musical shop was located in Brooklyn, New York, and produced drums, banjos, tambourines, and other popular instruments.

Fred Gretsch, Jr. was born in 1905. He took over the company at the age of 15, upon the death of his father. He graduated from Cornell in 1926. During the 1930's through the early 1940's, Fred Jr. patented and registered most of the Gretsch's progressive guitar, drum and banjo innovations.

In 1985 Fred W. Gretsch, the great grandson of Friedrich, assumed presidency of the company and under his leadership, they began to offer new vintage styled guitars and classic drums and once again the company became a huge success. 

Photo of Claude Hyde with his La Tosca Accordion

The accordion was donated by George Love and family.
George is the nephew of Claude Hyde.

In the "Roaring Twenties" Gouverneur was home to a popular band called Hyde's Orchestra. Their music kept everyone dancing. 


The band was a family affair, managed by violin player Alger Hyde, with Helen Hyde on drums, and brother Claude Hyde on the piano. Helen learned percussion from Carl Clapp, who was the drummer at the Gouverneur movie theater. The group also included Edmund Harlan, who played the horn and Vernon Gardner on the saxophone. Claude played the piano and on November 24, 1934, he purchased this very beautiful La Tosca Piano Accordion, Stock Number 3699, Serial Number 1505, from C.L. Wallou.

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