Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Drums with Inlaid Stars

Inlaid designs in drums have always interested me. Wm. S. Tompkins working from his shop in Yonkers, New York produced some beautiful star-burst patterns, as discussed in an earlier posting to this blog: Tompkins 1860-1863 Masterpiece Drums -- Where Are They Now?

"National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota. NMM 10,141. Side drum by W. S. Tompkins, Yonkers, New York, 1860. Handwritten inside shell: Wm S. Tompkins / Maker / Yonkers NY / July 31 1860 / No 2190. William F. Ludwig II Collection, 2002."

Soistmann (Philadelphia), Sempf (New York) and others inlaid star patterns around vent holes:

1863 9-point (vertical alignment) Inlaid Star Drum
(eBay #280154132916)
Maker Unknown

"[Attributed to] Company E [which] saw action at Olustee, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Fort Fisher and many other minor battles over the next two years. Spell was mustered out of service on September 1, 1865. 'Wm H. Spell' is written in brown ink on the batter head. Atlanta Auction Company, Inc., Lawrenceville, GA"

[Ed. Note: When I inquired about the above drum at Atlanta Auction Company, Inc. last week (April 11, 2008), I was told that no information could be disclosed about the drum! I had reached a researcher's dead end.]

And this drum in the collection of Ellis Mirsky:
10-point Inlaid (vertical alignment) Star Drum
(interior label reads "W. Soistmann"
probably referring to Werner Soistman)

More 10-Point (vertical alignment) Inlaid Star Drums:

Described by Civil War Antique Shop as: "Civil War Era Wood Snare Drum - Natural wood body snare drum, 17" in diameter by 13 1/2" high having natural wood hoops drilled for rope tensioners with a ten pointed star inlay around the vent hole typical of Drum Maker William Sempf of New York. Marked inside on hoop as being played by William H. Carlisle. Tag & information purchased with drum identify it to William Carlisle age 24 Co. F. 113 Pa Vol Leeburg, Va. also to Howard Carlisle, age 10, 1896. Copies of William Carlisle service records are included. This information was included when restored by Jack Gurney. Drum is in excellent condition being completely restored, included are 16" oak reproduction drum sticks for display. - Price is $ 1250.00 plus shipping and insurance. Item HG-8"

And, from the same collection, another 10-pointer, but slightly different:

"Restored 19th Century Drum - Maker label inside drum of Henry Eisele of New York, drum is a natural wood 'maple' body having original hoops with rope tensioner hooks, the size is 17" in diameter by 14". The vent hole is surrounded by an 10 pointed inlay star. The drum is identified to be played by Bartholomew M. Lynch, Co. C. 203 Regiment Pa Volunteers with period inscriptions inside shell, one dates to Waverly, Pa 1875, copies of service records are included. He is listed as a Musician and seems to have played a part on the assault & capture of Fort Fisher January 15, 1865, this does not confirm the drum was there. Drum has a complete restoration with leathers & rope being replaced, bottom head looks period as well as the strainer, included are 16" reproduction drum sticks for display. - Price is $ 1250.00 plus shipping and insurance. Item - HG-17"

And, talk about putting your pants on backwards: This drum has been taken apart and reassembled but the bottom counter hoop is about 180 degrees off position. The snare strainer should be to the left of the carry point (where the drummer's sling hooks in) and the carry point should be directly behind the front panel design so the design can be seen. That way, when carried, the drummer can adjust the snares with his/her left hand just by reaching down without the need to rotate the drum to get to the snare adjustment.

The above drum is described as follows at the website of the Civil War Antique Shop: "Civil War Period Maple Shell Drum - Drum shows use & wear with 4 leathers being replaced with new, original rope & snare, inlay star is typical of the William Sempf drum maker. The size is 16 3/4" by 12", no maker mark or label inside & looks to have never had one, both heads remain very good to excellent condition. Overall a nice period drum for display in your relic room. - Price is $ 750.00 plus shipping and insurance. Item - HG-28-599."

Another Kind of Star:
This 8-pointer from the collection of Ellis Mirsky is unlike the stars more commonly seen. Manufacturer unknown, despite partial label on which the number "20" can be read, possibly "20th" (as in 20th Century; any assistance in identifying the maker from this partial label or the inlay would be greatly appreciated):

A Better Sample of the Label:

Another drum apparently by the same maker/seller recently sold by eBayer vintagebetti displays the label below, possibly of the same era, bearing similarities to the extent visible on the above label.

This label is from eBay #170227088358 (courtesy of eBayer vintagebetti).

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