"Papa Joe" De Clemente

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Family HISTORY BEHIND THE IORIO ACCORDION /ACCORGAN

In the small mountaintop town of Guiliano de Roma, Italy, was born Augusto in 1855, the son of Francisco and Maria Leuzi Iorio.

 

As a child, Augusto Iorio was surrounded with a love for music from his father who made and sold pipe organs and accordions. As Augusto grew, he began tuning church organs and learned the magical sounds of the accordion itself.

 

Years later, Augusto Iorio married Francesca Villani and settled in her seaport town of Gaeta, Italy and where they had 6 children. His youngest son Candido would one day play a major role in the history of the accordion making business.

 

Augusto with his brother Amedeo and his son Frank as a trio, toured the countryside of Italy and France earning enough money to bring their talents and business to America. That wish came true from 1900 to 1906 when Augusto, his sons Frank and Candido, and his family immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. Joining his brother Amedeo and his cousin Biagio Quattrociocche, they set out to work the local piano shops building and repairing accordions.

 

One year later in 1907, the Iorio Accordion Factory was established at 44 Baxter Street in the heart of Little Italy with a combination of accordion makers, musical instrument lessons and copyrighted music composition.

 

While on a business trip to Italy in 1926, Augusto suffered a major stroke and died in Gaeta, Italy leaving his son Candido Iorio to continue the business.

 

As business flourished in 1939, it expanded with the opening of the Carl Fischer Factory and in Candido’s home garage at 164-03 Clayton Road in Jamaica, Queens, New York.  As Candido’s special interests grew in the makings of the accordion and its intricacies it finally reached a new plateau beyond the conventional accordion. His invention of the accordion-organ, to be known as “ACCORGAN”, in 1959 was patented and that changed the accordion sound and its history forever.

 

After the death of Candido, his son Amedeo and his grandson Kenny took over the business, moving it to New Jersey.  They finally closed the doors of the business on May 31, 2009, over a century later.

 

Who would have dreamed that the tinkering & tuning of organs and accordion plus an ocean voyage to a new country (U.S.A.) would reward the Iorio family with a legend of their own.

 

So what is my relationship to the Iorio Family?

 

Joseph (Sr.) & Frances (Leone) De Clemente

(my Parents)

Joseph was a son of Angelo & Gilda (Iorio) De Clemente

(my Grandparents)

 

Gilda, Candido & Frank Iorio were children of

Augusto & Francesca Iorio

(my Great Grandparents)