Monday, May 16, 2011

An 1862 A. Rogers Eagle Drum Shell Surfaces

Shannon, a reader of this blog, wrote today with photos of a drum shell purchased recently in a thrift shop in Vermont (the drum was on a top shelf with Stetson hat boxes).

The drum shell appears to be an Army surplus (because no regiment number was painted in) contract eagle drum made in 1862 (date appears handwritten in pencil on the label) by A. Rogers of Flushing, Long Island (Flushing is a section in the north central part of Queens County, New York City, New York, east of New York County a/k/a Manhattan; it was consolidated into the City of New York in 1898 together with two other towns to form Queens County; at the time that this drum was made (1862), Flushing was a town on Long Island).

The shell's painting looks authentic, largely intact with only minor paint flaking.

Below is a photo of another A. Rogers eagle drum discussed in a post to this blog, Sunday, January 11, 2009, titled, "A. Rogers Manufacturing Civil War Infantry Drum." Note the similar painting.

Also, note that the 1862 drum shell is shorter than the other Rogers drum's shell. It was probably cut down to serve the needs of a smaller drummer, or more likely in my guesstimation to fit in with later times' styles. The emblazonment on the other Rogers drum clears the counterhoops with plenty of space to spare. By comparison, the 1862 drum's emblazonment would be partially covered by counterhoops if converted to a player, like this 1864 A. Rogers eagle drum discussed in post "An 1864 A. Rogers Civil War Field Drum (and a Repro)," this blog, March 7, 2010.

Additional photos of the 1862 drum:

However, note the addition of a non-Civil War snare strainer (I've seen snare strainers like this on drums ca. 1915. See, e.g., this WWI era Ludwig catalog, ca. 1918-1924):

And see this WWI era drum (ca. 1915) in my collection, with its WWI era snare strainer (bottom right):

A close-up of the WWI-era snare strainer:

And see this WWI Ludwig snare drum with Union Shield discussed in "WWI Ludwig Snare Drum with Union Shield and Drumsticks," this blog, Sunday, June 1, 2008:

Another Civil War eagle drum with a similar snare mechanism can be seen in my article titled, "Heavily Tacked Regimental Field Drum Attracting Interest on eBay," this blog, Wednesday, December 3, 2008. In that post, I refer to the snare mechanism as an anachronistic error:

It is doubtful that a drum maker would have gone to the trouble of creating a wonderfully symetric tack pattern, only to cover it up by a slightly off-center snare mechanism.  That, together with other evidence concerning the snare mechanism's early 20th century origin, leads me to think that the snare mechanism was added during the early 20th century.

One could consider the snare mechanism like scholars consider the 19th century initials and names that are carved into the millennia-old monuments at Luxor and Giza in Egypt: historical graffiti.  Or, if I owned the drum, I would consider the snare mechanism just adulteration and remove it, restoring the drum to its original design.

The A. Rogers label with handwritten "1862" appears through the drum's vent hole.

See also "An 1864 A. Rogers Civil War Field Drum (and a Repro)" in the Sunday, March 7, 2010 edition of our blog at

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