Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Can Anyone Put a Date on This Drum?

Joseph Kissane wrote as follows:

"My Great-great grandfather was in the Civil War, his father fought in the War of 1812, and in turn, his father and grandfather also fought in the Revolutionary War, the son in the drummers corps and the father as an ensign. My grandfather had a drum which he said was used in the Civil War after it had been cut off at the bottom to make it more portable, having previously been used in the Revolution. Based on this photograph, I am wondering how much of this lore may be true. Can you or anyone among your readers provide me with any insights?
Joseph A. Kissane"

Note the red color. Does that mean anything? (E.g., artillery)

"I am interested in knowing whether the painting on the drum is consistent with the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, or the Civil War or all of the above.
Joseph A. Kissane"


Reader and Drum maker ANONYMOUS wrote:

The eagle on the red drum looks like one in Elrod and Garafolo's book (p.39), referred to as the "Allie Turner" drum and made by the Union Manufacturing Co. of Baltimore, Maryland.

I've attached a photo of a drum with a similar eagle (below), probably also made by Union Manufacturing Co. The drum is in the Soldier's and Sailor's Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Patrick Jones, photographer).

These Union Manufacturing Co. eagles look very similar to ones on Boucher drums, which were also made in Baltimore. Below are photos of a Boucher that was sold by James D. Julia and described as follows:

Civil War era era drum with an unusual painted spread-wing eagle motif with patriotic shield on its chest. The eagle is holding an olive branch and arrows in its talons and five large stars span the area above the eagle's outspread wings. This is a beautiful piece of folk art. Inside the drum is a large paper manufacturer's label stating "Wm. Boucher Jr./No 38 E Baltimore Street/Baltimore, MD". SIZE: 16"w x 16"h. CONDITION: Painting appears natural and untouched and well patinated after all these years. Ropes and tighteners may be original, if not are old replacements. Heads, body and bands appear original.Snare head has a small repaired hole. Rarely find drums with such well executed painted eagles in their orig, unaltered paint. 4-39073 JS80 (6,500-9,500) [sale: GUN Fall 09, lot 2508]

And also a Confederate Boucher drum from the Museum of the Confederacy.

1 comment:

  1. That's very interesting to see. Although these are clearly drums of the Civil War era, is it possible they pre-date the Civil War far enough back to be 1812 or Revolutionary in vintage? It's a stretch, I'm sure. Thanks!!

    J. Kissane


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