Letters from Readers: C.C. Clapp Drum Surfaces at Meissner's Auctions
Greg Lindstrom wrote:
Hi. I just acquired my first 19th century drum from MeissnersAuction.com (see July 5th).
My apologies in advance for any incorrect terminology. Also, I'm reluctant at this time to undo any original ropes to see the name inside as I've seen in several examples.
The identifying marks include each leather pulltab showing two stars with each star having a smaller star within it.
Though the side hole you can see only one word of what remains of a label - "SHEET". Also, inside at the top is what appears to be a name and city on a handwritten name label. As only the lower half is visible beneath the top band it's first initial (C?) middle initial (G?) last name which appears to be 7 letters of which 3-5 are __app__ (Clapp__?). There is a gap which appears to have some writing
followed by "Boston". I'm only about 30% certain of the initials but "__app__" and "Boston" are certain.
Congratulations. If you don't mind my asking, how much did you pay for the drum?
You have a C.C. Clapp drum. I have one or two (not sure, maybe more). See my article "The Star Drums of the 12th Corps of the Army of the Potomac". That's a C.C. Clapp drum. The handwritten paper label in that drum reads as follows:
69 Court St
Could the word "SHEET" you read on your drum's label instead be "STREET"?
Take more photos. Put the drum in a very well lit area, stick a small digital camera right up against the vent hole, and see what photos you can get of the inside. I'd appreciate seeing those pictures.
Welcome to the drum collecting club. I hope you find our blog (www.fielddrums.com) interesting.
As far as disassembling the drum, it depends. There are various schools of thought. The "leave it alone" school says "don't touch it; leave it as you found it, and preserve what's left in the condition you received it." I don't subscribe to that school except in cases of really important historic relics. I have only one drum in that category (the C.C. Clapp drum, as it turns out).
All of my other drums I consider fodder for rehabilitation. Others may have a higher portion of their drums in that category. Unfortunately, I have only one at this time. And, I am not a museum that can put drums in storage for a century or more. I buy drums as art and decorate my office with them. As such, I'd like them to look good. One by one, I send them to Jim Ellis at Cooperman (Vermont -- www.Cooperman.com) who does a terrific job bringing them back to life. I can show you some before and after photos (probably a good topic for an article on the blog). Ropes, tugs (leather ears) and heads are "consumables", meaning they go. You can keep them around in storage but I replace them on all but the really good relics. My preference is to restore most of my drums to playability. Cooperman does a great job at that.
Thanks for writing.