Tuesday, June 16, 2015

War of 1812 Chandler Field Snare Drum (Possibly)

A reader wrote in with photos and information on a drum that might be a Chandler drum from the War of 1812.  Comments, opinion and information are welcome.  Email us at Webmaster@FieldDrums.com.  


Lee Vinson suggested that I write to you for some information on a drum I own that I acquired, probably in the 1970's, from a car dealer (Bob Roughton Pontiac)  and old gun collector here in Hampton Roads [Virginia].  He bought it for me at a gun show somewhere in New England and I paid him around $250 for the drum and his troubles.

Unfortunately the drum has been cut down.  (OUCH!)  I have shown it to Terry Cornett of Heritage Drums in Huntsville, Alabama who was not convinced of its age, he wanted to restore it to playing condition, and to Lance Pedigo of Colonial Williamsburg.  Lance felt the drum was older than anything in their collection and wanted me to let CW display it.

If you feel it may be worthy of your blog please proceed.  I have, for the sake of time, simply forwarded the small e-mail string between Lee and me.  There are some pictures of the drum at the bottom of the string.  I will send a few more pictures in a separate e-mail.  Any information on this instrument would be very much appreciated.  I have given you all the provenance on it that I have at the moment.

John Lindberg
Lecturer of Percussion
College of William & Mary
Virginia Symphony Orchestra (Retired)


-----Original Message-----
From: W. Lee Vinson (w.lee.vinson@gmail.com)
To: JP Lindberg (johnpa2112@aol.com)
Sent: Tue, Jun 16, 2015 2:48 am
Subject: Re: GB Stone xylophone and a Chandler rope drum (More pictures to follow)

Hi John,

A follow up.  I found this post on Ellis' blog.  Looks like it might be the same maker: http://blog.fielddrums.com/2013/08/war-of-1812-american-military-drum.html


Definitely get in touch with him and let me know what else you come up with!

- Lee


On Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 1:31 AM, W. Lee Vinson (w.lee.vinson@gmail.com) wrote:

Hi John,

Thanks for writing!

The Stone xylophones are neat little instruments. I've run across a handful of them. They must have been super popular with theater musicians of New England in the 1910s and 20s.

Your rope drum predates most of what I collect. (And I collect some pretty dusty drums!) I'll point you to two other guys who may be able to help:

Ellis Mirsky (Webmaster@FieldDrums.com) is a lawyer by day and a drum blogger by night. Fielddrums.com is his baby.  He might be interested in sharing your pics on the blog which could generate some leads if he doesn't have any first-hand knowledge himself.

Brian Hill (brisoundperc@yahoo.com) is an avid collector of 18th and 19th century rope drums, especially those with some sort of provenance.  Shoot him an email with pictures and he'll probably have something to say!

Hope this is helpful! Let me know if you uncover any more info on the drum. I'd be interested to know more about it as well. 

- Lee 


On Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 9:53 PM, JP Lindberg (johnpa2112@aol.com) wrote:


I own a Stone xylophone as pictured on your blog.  Yours is the only other xylo I have ever seen like it.  You answered a lot of my questions about the instrument.

Also, I have a rope drum, that may date back to the War of 1812.  I'm sending some pictures along in the hope you may able to shed some light on it for me.

I believe this drum was made in the Boston area.

John Lindberg
College of William & Mary
Virginia Symphony Orchestra (retired)


Handwritten markings on the above drum indicate work done on the drum in September and October 1812.  That's pretty compelling information.

I think that the partial label indicates manufacture by Massachusetts Drums, and that “KIN” is either wrong (an incorrect transcription of what is written on the inside of the drum) or part of a longer phrase.
Interestingly, another "Massachusetts Drums" label (different font, different information on label, but the font used to write "Massachusetts Drums" the second time toward the bottom of this label appears to match the font used to write "Massachusetts Drums" toward the top of the label on the Lindberg drum) on another drum from the 21st Maine Volunteer Infantry described in this blog reads:

Massachusetts Drums
Made and Sold by
Chandler & Peabody
Marlborough Street-Salem

Here is a fully intact "Massachusetts Drums" label from a known War of 1812 drum.  So it appears that the two drums (this one and the Lindberg drum) were made a different times (the label below by Chandler & Peabody on Marlborough Street, Salem, Massachusetts).

See also

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