Two hundred years ago, there were no accordions. Free reed instruments were known in Asia for thousands of years, but the free reed instruments of European origin such as the accordion, harmonica, and reed organ were only invented and developed during the last two centuries. In 1780, Kratzenstein published a paper in St. Petersburg describing a speaking machine that produced vowel sounds using free reeds with resonators of various shapes. This event marks a convenient, if arbitrary, starting point for the history of the free reed musical instruments of European origin. These instruments developed rapidly, and by 1850, the accordion, concertina, harmonica, reed organ, and harmonium all had been invented and developed into more or less final form. This paper presents some episodes in the development of these instruments, in particular the accordion-concertina family, along with discussion of their acoustical design characteristics. Also addressed is the question of the influence of the Asian free reed mouth organs on the origin of the Western free reeds.