Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Possible 18th Century Militia Drum

A reader recently wrote with the following information and photos:

I am trying to identify an old drum.  I have George Neumann's book and it shows a picture of a drum almost exactly like mine on page 197.  Neumann dates the drum to 1746.  If this is a militia drum, how rare are they and what could be a ballpark value of it.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

George Naviskas


Date: c. 1770
Dimensions: 16" high x 14 1/2" wide
About this artifact
The most important military musical instrument of the 18th century was the snare drum. It not only provided cadence, but also transmitted the basic orders to troops in camp and on the battlefield with specific beating which the soldier was trained to recognize. The drums were fashioned from wood with skin heads, catgut snares, and ropes for tension that required leather pull-down "lugs" to help tighten the heads. When marching, the common step was about 75 per minute. (Modern marching cadence is 128 steps per minute.)  Source:

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