Friday, July 31, 2009

19th Century Rope Drum with Painted Eagle Design

JANUARY, 28, 2007

Mapes Auctioneers Appraisers
1729 Vestal Parkway West - Vestal, NY 13850
607-754-9193 - FAX: 607-786-3549

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Tompkins Drum Pops Up on the Internet

The military tenor drum in the exhibit was made by William Tompkins & Sons, MFG., New York. It was used by George H. Cook in 1861. Cook was chief musician of the 27th Regiment of New York State foot volunteers. He lived in Riley Township, Clinton City, Michigan, for seven years after the war.
Website of the Michigan Historical Museum.

The painting is reminiscent of a seated Lady Liberty and a New York theme (Excelsior) which would make sense since Tompkins worked from Yonkers, New York, but I have not been able to find any depictions aside from those on coins.

Regimental Style Drum Sans Banner

The painting on this drum is reminiscent of the scene on Federally-contracted pieces, though the most obvious difference is the lack of a ribbon in which the unit’s name would be painted, $3,000. S.E.L.L. Antiques/Paul Goodwin

Sic Semper Tyrannis -- 1861 3rd Virginia Confederate Painted Civil War Drum

Compare the first
National Confederate Flag
(above right)
with the pattern painted on the drum

Original Confederate National Flag
That Flew over Atlanta
During the Siege of Atlanta.

Sic Semper Tyrannis (background field)
a Latin phrase meaning "thus always to tyrants"
Virginia (lower banner)

Cf. Shako of Virginia Military Institute
bears a similar design
absent the sunburst

The above shako is described as follows at Cowan's Auctions, Inc.'s website:

Lot #33, VMI FELT COVERED SHAKO, planchet with VMI and Sic Semper Tyrannis with image of Roman soldier with dagger in left hand and spear in right hand defiantly posed with his foot upon his fallen foe. Shield with three-quarter laurel wreath with Virginia below on a festooned ribbon on stippled background. Complete with single interlaced chains encompassing front half of the hat attached with two VMI Cadet buttons. Leather band encompassing base of hat. Leather chinstrap. Interior with glazed cotton lining. 6.5" height.

The motto "Sic Semper Tyrannis" is sometimes mistranslated as "death to tyrants". It was the official motto of Virginia and used following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Old Virginia Blog
September 1, 2007

Confederate Officer's
Virginia Sword Belt Buckle Plate


Seal of Virgina

Also see Virginia on Netstate.

was also the motto for the
22nd Regiment U.S. Colored Troops
according to a March 10, 2009 post to
Civil War Memory blog.

Organized at Philadelphia in January 1864, the 22nd U. S. Colored Troops Infantry Regiment lost 217 men during the last year of the Civil War. David Bustill Bowser was a self-taught black artist. He designed regimental flags for eleven African-American units and also painted portraits of Abraham Lincoln and John Brown. Ibid.

This Confederate button is from a Virginia militia and features the Virginia state motto of "Sic Semper Tyrannis" under an image of Virtus standing over a defeated Tyranny. Confederate buttons also featured thirteen stars representing the eleven states that made up the Confederacy and the two states that the Confederates hoped would eventually secede from the Union and join the Confederacy, Missouri and Kentucky. The George Washington Foundation, Archeology at Historic Kenmore.

eBay seller weiderman_gallery ( 2552) is offering eBay item no. 370233030943, described as follows sold at auction for $1,026.01:

This is a Fantastic, Super Rare, Early Civil War drum. This wonderful Old piece has a Great, Early design, with Beautiful paint, including the Confederate Flag, & a nailed on Brass Virginia state crest, is made of Wood, marked "CSA D - 3rd Virginia" & "Made by Baylor 1861" inside, measures approx. 16" x 15", appears to be 100% Civil War period and would be a wonderful addition to any collection. This was recently acquired from a Very Impressive Antique Militaria collection in Virginia, in which only the finest was included, and this is believed to be an actual field used piece. If you will look at our feedback, you will see that we've sold 100's of Original, Period Civil War items, and those buyers have always been very pleased. This appears to be in Very Good, Crisp condition, and displays MUCH better than the pictures show.

Editor's Note: Yes, it could be all of that. But my nose is twitching. The drum looks too clean. Sorry, but something about it makes me question its purported age. Could it be from 1861? Sure. But the paint, the rope, the leather, the heads all look just too good. Perhaps it was "restored". But to have been an "actual field used piece" as described and to be in the condition it appears to be in, just raises a caution flag. I could be wrong.

1837 Eli Brown and Son Field Drum with Label

Resurfacing on eBay today is this drum (eBay item no. 280375823398).

Leo J. Brennan has put this beauty up for sale on eBay (item no. 280327110774):

Up for auction is an original restored Eli Brown and Son field drum, dated by the interior label from 1837, drum number 1934. The overlapped maple shell bears the signature Eli Brown tack pattern. The tack pattern around the ivory vent hole is a single circle. Overall height of drum is 19 & three quarters inches. The ropes and drag rope are spun from hemp. There are no snares nor assembly. Owned by one Joel Griswold in October of 1948, the drum was reconditioned by Charles Husband in Lowell, MA. The bill of repair states new rope, rims, ears and heads were installed and a coat of varnish applied on shell. Therefore, the 18 inch wide Rogers heads, the rope and ten leather adjustment ears, and the drill through hoops top and bottom are from 1948. The rest of drum is from 1837. Documentation of above included with successful bid. A museum quality drum from the premier American drum maker of his time (1810-1848). This historical gem is highly sought after by collectors and not by the casual drummer.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Frederick Fennell's Moeller Drum and Terry Cornett's Connection with Fennell

[Ed. Note: This article was originally posted March 9, 2009, but has been supplemented with clarifying and correcting information from Terry Cornett and Robert Ubaldo for which we thank them. The clarifying information largely concerned certain design features of Moeller drums (e.g., the widened portion of the top counterhoop near the carry point, and the material from which the legs were made).]

Frederick Fennell
with (probably) a Moeller Drum

Note the perfectly centered tight circle denoting the location on the batter head (above) where Fennell's sticks struck repeatedly -- the mark of an accomplished drummer, which Fennell was.

Frederick Fennell
with a Cooperman reproduction
of a Civil War Eagle Drum

Greetings Ellis,

I enjoyed the article and detail of WFL’s drum "[Wm. F. Ludwig's 1864 Rogers Eagle Drum", this blog, March 2, 2009] and the mention of Frederick Fennell. I first met Dr. Fennell, when he conducted me in Honor Band, back in 1971. Later, I became friends with his wife, Elizabeth*, as we would see each other at Percussive Arts Society conventions. I got to work with Dr. Fennell at the National Civil War Band Festivals (2000 & 2003).
[See clip below from the 2003 festival.]

Here [above] are a couple of photos of Dr. Fennell from 2000 with his Civil War snare and his Moeller drum. If my memory serves me, The CW drum was a gift from WFL II, and is a Cooperman reproduction. Neither am I sure of the vintage of the Moeller snare. It may be an original, as it sure has lots of wear.

Terry Cornett**
4021 Apollo Dr. SW
Huntsville, AL 35805

Terry supplemented his email with a note:

The more I look at Fred’s Moeller drum, I am thinking it might have been made by Bob Ubaldo at Old Glory Drum Shop. (Note that in a July 23, 2009 email to Terry Cornett, Mr. Ubaldo reported that he did not make that drum and said that it looks like it is a Moeller drum.) (Mr. Ubaldo also reported that Moeller drums had aluminum feet).

Ed. Note: However, see the drum in Leo J. Brennan's Buck Soistmann Drum (ca. 1964), not technically a Moeller drum but a Moeller derivative. It has metal feet. So, the question for the cognoscenti out there is "did Moeller drums have metal feet?"

In response, cognoscentum ANONYMOUS answered the call and chimed in with this piece of information:


Moeller's drums did have brass feet [Ubaldo says in his email to Terry Cornett dated July 23, 2009 that the feet were aluminum]. A little history of Gus Moeller and his drums can be found in George Carroll's "American Drums of War". Photos of the drum Moeller made for Buck Soistman can be found in this book, which every rope drum collector should find interesting. The book is not on his website yet, but can be purchased by contacting Mr. Carroll at 703-836-7287 and sending $40 ($36 price plus $4 shipping) to:

Mr. George Carroll
203 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

A photo of three generations' worth of Moeller style drums (Moeller, Soistman, Reamer) can be found at Lancraft's website,

Three Generations of Drums
All Constructed using the same techniques and equipment.
(Jack Mcguire with Moeller, Ed Salerno with Soistman, Bill Maling with Reamer)
ANONYMOUS continued:

I have heard several versions of a story about Moeller making a set of drums for Lancraft in the 1950s. When Moeller learned that they had taken his drums apart and fitted them with cloth strip mufflers (a new idea at the time), he wrote a letter threatening to go to Connecticut and take them back (a copy of this letter is preserved at the Company of Fifers and Drummers library). Moeller was quite upset about the Lancraft drummers using "rags" as "tone sharpeners" in his fine drums. He said that "no good drum needs one." I agree.



Terry Cornett responded with this clarification:

As mentioned, the Leo Brennan drum [Leo J. Brennan's Buck Soistmann Drum (ca. 1964)] is by “Buck” Soistmann; which has brass loops for feet. My friend Bill Hinger has 2 Soistmann drums from the mid-late 1960s, and both have these same brass loops.

A Soistmann Design Feature -- brass loops

Terry continued:

From the looks of the short, fat, aluminum feet, I would venture to say Dr. Fennell’s drum may have been made by Robert Ubaldo (Old Glory Drum Shop). [Again, Robert Ubaldo's July 23, 2009 email says that Fennell's drum is not a Ubaldo but a Moeller.] Besides the similar aluminum feet, the batter hoop of Fennell’s drum has a wider section where the sling hook goes, which is characteristic of Ubaldo’s version of “The Grand Republic” drum. (Ubaldo's email, on the other hand, reports that the wider section was a Moeller design feature.)

A Ubaldo Drum

Close-up on Fennell's Drum -- note the counterhoop's widening at the sling clip, a design feature most observers would have missed and attributed the uneven hoop width to wear or breakage instead of an intentional beefing up of the hoop at a stress concentration point -- the carry point. Robert Ubaldo attributes that design feature to Moeller.

July 23, 2009 Additions to this Story:

Terry Cornett emailed me today with additional information, including interesting feedback from Robert Ubaldo:


Greetings Ellis,

After many months, Robert Ubaldo finally made his way to your website. Robert is the owner/operator of Old Glory Drum Shop. He noticed errors in our discourse about the Moeller drum and Frederick Fennell. I present his letter and my response.


Hello [Terry],

I do not get to use the computer much but did find the [] site and [I found an error] in [the discussion concerning] the intentional beefing up of the hoop [near the sling attachment point]. ... This [design feature] was a trademark of Gus Moeller. Soistman didn't do it and neither did Reamer.

For one reason -- it is hard to do. I make ... exact cop[ies] of the Moeller drum, down to the last measurement as he did it. My wood is not 1/8 inch Ash in veneer form but a modern day 1/8 inch laminate. Other than that the parts are the same.

Please have this error corrected as soon as possible.


Robert C. Ubaldo



Hello Mr. Ubaldo,

I apologize for the confusion. Before I saw Mr. Fennell’s drum, the only time I saw such a hoop was when I met you at a fife & drum muster at Westbrook (my only foray into New England).

As an expert in the field, would you say the drum carried by Mr. Fennell is an original Moeller, or could it be one of your impressive reproductions? The conversation initially concerned the metal feet on the counterhoops to distinguish these from Soistmann drums, which had bent brass feet. Finding a genuine Moeller “Grand Republic” to make comparisons is difficult for me. So your metal feet are exact copies of Moeller feet, as well? Are they cast zinc? They almost look like aluminum, which I mentioned in my comments.

When I contacted Ellis Mirsky [], I mentioned that I had only seen this characteristic design feature on one of your drums ... .

While you are certainly welcome to add your own comments to the website, I can contact Mr. Mirsky with your details. Ellis desires to make his blog as accurate as possible and he needs the help of knowledgeable persons/historians such as you.

For clarity, please provide information on the origin and make-up of the drum feet; origins (if known) of Mr. Fennell’s drum; the widening of the counterhoop was a trademark feature of Gus Moeller.

Following your response, I will see to it that corrections are made.

Thank you for all you do,

Terry Cornett




From what I could see on the drum that Mr. Fennell is carrying, I would say it is a Moeller. It certainly is not one of mine (a Ubaldo). I believe that he (Fennell) just passed away in the last couple of years.

My workshop has a bunch of Moeller hoops bent, broken and otherwise for I do all the work for Dickerson [Charles W. Dickerson Fife and Drum Corps] and they have a set of Moeller drums and I keep them with Moeller parts. Other people worked on them and put their [!@#$%^] on the drums which I took off.

I repair ... Soistman drums, ... Reamer drums and, of course, ... Moeller drums. Those hoops require a lot of work and time. The feet were not cast zinc but aluminum. I keep replacing the Soistman-type brass feet for the screws come off and the crown nuts get lost. Moeller had the best snare strainer of all. Soistman and Reamer didn't.


Look at the site and the Army Drum used at the funeral of President Kennedy. The hoop has Moeller feet and what looks like a raised section on the hoop. [From] the blurred picture I have, it looks like the Moeller snare strainer. Soistman had a poor hook-up that wore out on his drums. I could tell you what is what if I could get close to the drum. There is no Soistman hook up on the drum [nor] any of his work on this drum [which is, nonetheless] credited to him.

[Robert C. Ubaldo]

(N.B.: Mr. Ubaldo had more to say, but for the sake of harmony and tranquilty we'll leave it at that. He is reachable at

* Elizabeth Ludwig Fennell (no relation to William F. Ludwig) was the widow of Carl Ludwig (no relation to William F. Ludwig), president of Ludwig Music Publishing Company (not affiliated with any Ludwig drum company).

In 1989 Elizabeth Ludwig Fennell was presented the OSMA (Outstanding Service to Music Award) at the closing banquet of the 1989 National Convention of Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority. At the time, Mrs. Fennell was the president of the Ludwig Music Publishing Company. Her and her late first husband Carl Ludwig had built the publishing company and it has become one of the prominent music publishers in the country. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, her business skills were notable, especially in a male-dominated field. Early in her career at Ludwig, Mrs. Fennell composed beginning band level music under a pseudonym, fearing that band directors would not buy music written by a woman. She penned music with the junior high band in mind, since that was not a common audience that composers were writing for. When Mr. Ludwig passed in 1982, Mrs. Fennell gained control of the company. She continued to promote quality band literature and repertoire. In 1985 she married fellow Interlochen alum Fredrick Fennell. Mrs. And Dr. Fennell founded ELF Records in 2000. Mrs. Fennell was the first woman elected to the Music Publishers Association. The 1990 composition by Robert Foster Crest of Allegiance was commissioned for Tau Beta Sigma with funds donated by Mrs. Fennell.

** Terry Cornett has served as principal percussionist for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra since 1975. An excellent and versatile freelance musician with 33 years professional experience, Mr. Cornett enjoys "first-call" status for regional theater, chorus, ballet and church productions, as well as touring Broadway musicals.

Terry is also the sole propietor/maker of Heritage Drums, which specializes in historically accurate, custom hand-crafted, rope-tensioned drums patterned after 17th- through 19th-century models. He also performs restorations for National museums. Drums built by Mr. Cornett have been used in films such as "Last of the Mohicans," "The Class of '61," "The Blue and The Grey," "Gods and Generals" and several Smithsonian productions. Turner Broadcasting Company purchased a drum for use in advertisements for the NBA play-offs.

Mr. Cornett's early exposure to classical music began in Germany, where his father was stationed with the U. S. Army. "It was the only thing on the radio," he recalls. His formal musical studies began with piano lessons from his Cub Scout den mother in Oklahoma, Mrs. Cook. The family relocated to Huntsville when he was eight; he began studying drumming at age 12.

Here's Terry in uniform as he played with Olde Towne Brass:


See also "The Sousa March: A Personal View" by Frederick Fennell.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Short History of the Drum

Source: Vienna Symphonic Orchestra

The frame drum and timbrel in the Middle Ages

Frame drum
from: Praetorius,
Syntagma musicum,

Medieval Europe was home to an enormous variety of drums, most of which had originated in the Orient. The most widespread forms were the frame drum and the timbrel, a forerunner of the present-day tambourine. The frame drum consisted of a rectangular or circular wood frame with a head; the underside was open. The main difference between the frame drum and the timbrel was the presence of the jingles that were attached to the latter’s shell. While the timbrel was still struck with the flat of the hand in the Middle Ages, like its predecessor in antiquity, an additional, one-handed technique was emerging for the frame drum: traveling minstrels used it mostly to accompany the single-handed pipe and hung it to one side on a strap over the shoulder, where the musician struck it with a beater while playing the pipe with the other hand.

The medieval tabor

from: Praetorius,
Syntagma musicum,

Evidence of a forerunner of the snare or side drum in Europe exists at least from the 14th century in the form of the tabor, a small, double-headed drum with a cylindrical shell of wood and one or more snares stretched across the batter head. The calfskin or sheepskin heads were rope tensioned, the ropes criss-crossing between the hoops of the batter and snare heads. The drum hung at the side of the “player of the pipe and tabor” who beat the rhythm with a drumstick while playing a melody on the single-handed pipe with the other hand. The minstrels’ drum had to be fairly light and easy to carry because it hung over the player’s forearm, and for this reason it was rather small and not very loud.

Drum names

In the Middle Ages there were no standard names for drums. The oldest appellation was probably the Latin tympanum, which originally described flat frame drums but in the later Middle Ages was used for every drum-like instrument (including timpani). In addition to this the term tabor (German tambur, French tabour, tambour) became widespread. In German-speaking countries the onomatopoeic name Trommel (from the Old High German trumme, trumbe = booming instrument) appeared in the 12th century and initially described both membranophones and trumpets. It is from this term that the English word drum (drome, drume) evolved which replaced the name tabor in the 16th century.

Side drum or field drum

Lansquenet drum
"Soldiers' drum"
from: Praetorius,
Syntagma musicum,

In the 14th century the practice of one man playing both pipe and drum ended, the instruments being played henceforth by two musicians. This separation was a consequence of the way the two instruments were evolving: the pipe’s compass was increased, making it necessary to use both hands to play the instrument, and the relatively soft-sounding tabor was made larger to increase its volume, which was a requirement particularly of military music. The result was the side or field drum.

The history of the town of Basel in Switzerland records the existence of an “Association of Drum and Fife” as early as 1332. The members of this “guild” were important figures at public festivities.

In the course of the 15th century the drum that was struck from the side became ever larger and ever louder to meet the changing requirements of military bands. It became too large to be hung over the forearm and was now attached to a strap over the drummer’s shoulder or tied to a belt around his waist. The widely known “Swiss” drums became the model for drum-makers all over Europe. The small tabor remained in use as a folk instrument while the new, large drum became an important instrument with lansquenets (German foot soldiers). It is for this reason that the side drum is sometimes also called the field drum, or, in historical contexts, the lansquenet drum (tambour de lansquenet) or long drum. “Fife and drum” symbolized the common foot soldiers, while trumpets and kettledrums represented the cavalry.

The field drum was between 50 and 70 cm deep (some models were as deep as one meter) and had a diameter of 50 cm. It was beaten with a pair of heavy sticks. From the 16th century the snares were stretched across the lower skin, the snare head.

Basel drum

Basel drum

The field drum’s main task was to give signals and mark the marching rhythm. Single and double beats and rolls were already standard playing techniques.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the field drum continued to evolve within the context of military bands. One of the principal aims was to reduce its dimensions, especially the depth of the shell, while retaining the volume.

This smaller version of the field drum is nowadays called the Basel or parade drum. The drums used by the distinguished Basel Drum Associations still have the original form, the head tensioned extremely tightly by criss-crossing cords to produce a bright tone. The Basel drumming style has a long tradition in which bounces and virtuoso embellishments play an important role. On contemporary models of this drum the head is tensioned with screws.

Military side drum

When in the mid 18th century the bass drum and Turkish drum arrived at the courts of European princes with Janissary music the depth of the side drum’s shell had already been reduced to 40–45 cm, its diameter to 40 cm. The body, previously made of wood, could now also be brass.

In the 19th century the drum’s dimensions were reduced to a shell depth of about 40 cm and a diameter of 40 cm, in other words, the depth now corresponded to the head diameter. Such drums became widespread in many countries. English speakers called it the military snare drum, Germans the Militärtrommel, the French the tambour militaire and the Italians the tamburo militare. This drum is still used in military bands today.

At the same time manuals on the basics of drumming began appearing in Europe and the USA. In addition, drummers in military bands had to be able to play a large number of signal calls which with orders were passed on to the troops in a coded drum pattern. In the 19th century bugles took over this task. Drums were also used as signaling instruments in shipping and navigation, and, albeit rarely, in civilian life.

(tambour provençal)

Admittance into the orchestra

100 years later than the timpani – in the second half of the 18th century – the side or field drum appeared in the orchestra for the first time, under the name tambour: Georg Friedrich Handel and Christoph Willibald Gluck used the instrument in their Fireworks Music (1749) and Iphigenie auf Tauris (1779) respectively. But drums have never achieved the same importance as timpani in the orchestra and their chief province remains marching music to this day. Because the drum had often been used in the midst of battle its first tasks in the orchestra were to evoke a military atmosphere, as in Josef Haydn’s Military Symphony (1794). Ludwig van Beethoven gave the drums authentic tasks in his battle symphony Wellington’s Victory (1813), giving each of the armies its own drum signal.

The drum was used more extensively in the opera orchestra, e.g. by Gioacchino Rossini, who even used it as a solo instrument in his opera The Thieving Magpie (1817), which earned him the nickname “Tamburossini”.

Beside the tambour – in historical scores this refers to whichever form of the side drum was in use at the time – an instrument with the name tambourin enjoyed huge popularity especially in 18th century French opera. This was a drum played with one hand and made of very light wood, with a shell about 70 cm deep and a single head. Direct descendants of this tambourin or tambour provençal are still used today in folk music in southern France. The instrument should not be confused with the tambourine with its jingles.

The modern snare drum

In 1837 the Englishman Cornelius Ward was a central figure in the invention of screw tensioning, which rapidly replaced rope or cord tensioning. This innovation meant that the snare drum could now be even flatter: the shell depth was reduced to 20 cm, in some instances even to 10 cm.

In the second half of the 19th century flat drums with a larger diameter (approx. 35 cm) than shell depth were adopted as rhythm instruments by salon orchestras, dance bands and jazz ensembles. At the beginning of the 20th century this small version became generally known as the snare drum or side drum. The best-known orchestra piece in which the snare drum plays a vital role is Maurice Ravel’s Boléro (1928).

New impulses from jazz

At the beginning of the 20th century the snare drum was already an essential component of jazz percussion. The influence of jazz brought a host of innovations to the snare drum’s construction and playing techniques.

The hoops, which until the end of the 19th century had been made of wood, were replaced by metal ones. In 1898 the percussionist Ulysses Grant Leedy made the first adjustable stands for the snare drum. In about 1914 Robert Danly invented the snare strainer to lift off the snares, making it possible to produce a kind of tom-tom effect on the snare drum. In 1957 the first drum with a synthetic head appeared on the market. Because of its resistance to changes in temperature and humidity – it is waterproof, robust and cheap – the plastic head proved a huge success in popular music, whereas orchestra musicians preferred to continue with natural heads, which, for the most part, they still do today.

20th century composers expanded the snare drum’s range of tasks: beside its traditional rhythmic function, which became more complex and varied, tonal aspects gained importance. Moreover, the drum was also used as a solo instrument. Efforts to find new timbres resulted in experiments with the striking spot and various types of stick. Ultimately new techniques such as striking the rim, or the rim shot (striking the head and the rim at the same time) or playing with wire brushes were able to establish themselves in more recent orchestral works.

Source: Vienna Symphonic Orchestra

Drums of J.W. Pepper Company Made by Soistman Drum Company of Camden, NJ

Supplementing information concerning the J.W. Pepper Company in our post "Signed 1860's (J.W. Pepper) Civil War Drum", this additional information from Jedistar's website:

James Welsh Pepper (1853-1919) founded music publishing house in 1876. [Source wikipedia]

"Drums for the J.W. Pepper Company were made by the Soistman Drum Company of Camden, New Jersey. Even though all of the drums were made by the Soistman Drum Company, these instruments were made according the specifications of the Pepper Company. Jimmy Pepper felt that the Soistman Company was better at making these instruments than his own. These instruments were made, and sold between 1876 thru 1910. The Pepper company was not in business prior to 1876. [Source: George B. Class, J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. email 6/3/2009]

[Other information concerning J.W. Pepper Co.:]

[National Music Museum]

[William F. Ludwig, Jr.'s Letter re Drum with "20th Century Drums" Label

Monday, July 20, 2009

1803 Carmarthenshire Militia Bass Drum

From the private collection of James L. Kochan sold by Richard Opfer Auctioneering, Inc.

Regimental Bass or Side Drum of the Carmarthenshire Militia, c. 1803 This striking bass drum was used by the band of the Carmarthenshire Regiment (Welsh Militia) during the late 18th and into the early 19th century. It bears a stag on a yellow ground, the remainder of the shell being painted blue. The stag is presumed to be the old regimental device (or the crest of its colonel-commandant) prior to it being redesignated the Royal Carmarthen Fusiliers, upon which the device was changed to the Prince of Wale’s feathers. Like the snare drum above, the yellow ground indicates the earlier facing color of the regiment. The blue around the balance of the shell may have been applied when the facing color changed in 1799. The shell and rims are original and the heads and cords are modern replacements. $3000/3500

1803 39th Regiment of Militia

From the private collection of James L. Kochan sold by Richard Opfer Auctioneering, Inc.

Regimental Drum of the 39th Regiment of Militia, c. 1803 This is a rope-tension, snare drum as issued to the Carmarthenshire Regiment, which was renumbered as the 39th Regiment of Militia in 1803. Per royal warrant, drums were to have their fronts “painted with the colour of the facing of the Regiment, with the King’s cypher and the crown, and the number of the regiment under it.” It is most likely that this drum had been issued earlier in the 18th century, as the facings for this corps were changed to blue in 1799 when they received a “Royal” designation and ground is yellow. In all other respects, it conforms to that regulation. There is a split in the wooden shell around the center of the drum which was repaired by a previous owner; during this restoration, the old varnish of the shell was removed and new varnish reapplied after light inpainting of loss in the damaged area--hence the brightness of the yellow paint as opposed to that on the rim (which still has its original now-darkened, varnish over it). The shell and rims are original, while the heads and cords are modern replacements. $3000/3500

Bird's Eye Maple Drum

eBay seller dutchboy5663 ( 3988) sold item no. 270419336995 for $175 last week (July 8, 2009):

I am offering this early marching side drum. that measures app. 15" wide and 11.5" tall. The drum is in good shape. The skins do need to be replaced, and it is missing one leather tug. The birdseye maple is in great shape. There is wear to the black bands which you would expect from a drum this old. There is a name printed on the leather that anchors the gut snare that looks like RANDL? ..see pic... With a little work this would be an awesome drum!

P.R. Winn, Drummaker

An article by W. Lee Vinson, author and publisher of and . For Lee's story about ...