Friday, October 30, 2009

Musical Instrument Museum Receives Two 1890 Lyon & Healy Drums

Note: Initially, when I saw this photo (above), I thought it was an optical illusion. Click on it to enlarge it and see whether you can figure out what's going on here. (Answer below in a comment.)


In April, 2010, something new, the Musical Instrument Museum, will open its doors in Phoenix, Arizona.

"With musical instruments from every country in the world, MIM will pay homage to the history and diversity of instruments and introduce museum guests to their varied and unique sounds. MIM will be an engaging, entertaining, and informative experience, in which the uninitiated and the knowledgeable, the young and the old will feel welcome."

In order to fill out an exhibit of turn-of-the-century band instruments, FieldDrums.com Blogmaster, Ellis Mirsky, donated two drums requested by the museum. Both are pictured above. Restoration work on the bass drum was done by George Kubicek. The drums are part of the "Monarch" series produced by Lyon & Healy ca. 1889, 1890. The bass drum is 30" in diameter and the field drum is 17" in diameter. While not exact matches, the drums are of the same general appearance. Their elaborate inlays reflect the fine craftsmanship of that era.

See the newsletter of the Museum of Musical Instruments acknowledging this gift (at p. 3, "Drumming Up Contributions").

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scoping a Civil War Artifact

Shown is an image of the Noble & Cooley label inside the drum, as seen by ITI’s V5 Videoscope. Source: Instrument Technology Inc.

Scoping a Civil War Artifact
Quality Magazine
January 2, 2008

When Jay and Carol Jones of Granville, MA-based Noble & Cooley Drum Co. learned that one of the firm’s Civil War-era military drums had surfaced, they wanted a closer look. So they called Instrument Technology Inc. (ITI) of Westfield, MA.

“We knew that drummer boys who went into battle often opened their drums and inscribed their name, the date and the date and place where they saw action,” says Jay Jones, current company president and great-great-great grandson of James Cooley, who, along with Silas Noble, founded the drum manufacturing company in 1854. “When my wife received a call from a Civil War antiques broker saying he’d heard at a trade show that he had a Noble & Cooley drum with a supposed history of having been used at the Battle of Gettysburg, naturally, we were intrigued.”

The drum arrived at their facilities with even the side ropes and leather ears in tact. Because the drum is so old, they did not want to damage it by removing the skin heads in order to look inside. The single piece of steam-bent wood that forms the drum barrel was inaccessible, except through a 5/8-inch diameter hole in the wood designed to let air escape when the drum is played.
An area commercial photographer, James Langone, happened to be doing work for Noble & Cooley at the time. He also had worked with ITI.

“When Jim told me about the capabilities of ITI scopes, I knew right away what he meant,” Jones says. As a mechanic, Jones has used a borescope. “If there was a scope that could help us look inside the drum, I wanted to give it a try.”

The scope for the job was ITI’s V5 Videoscope.

Says Jeff Briers of ITI, “We knew a videoscope would offer the crisp, detailed images they needed. Their request was different from most of our customers, but we knew we had the right scope for the job.”

Stationary photos of the interior were viewed on the compatible screen. The images clearly showed a label, which, though a bit torn in a couple of places, was from Noble & Cooley. It matched one of the original labels saved in the company’s archives that depicts the company as “Manufacturers of Military and Toy Drums.”

“Our records indicate that many of the drums we made in the Civil War era were used by the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 10th Regiment,” says Jones. The owner of this drum was in the hands of James Forrest of the 28th Pennsylvania Mil, Infantry Company F. He went on to serve in the 187th Infantry and the 131st all of Pennsylvania. The soldiers also were present at Yorktown, Fredricksburg, Salem Heights and many other active fighting locations.

Unfortunately, there were no writings inside the drum to confirm the connection to any of the battles. The only writing was a number, “No. 8,” which denotes the drum size. “We were a little disappointed,” Jones says. “But treasure hunts don’t always turn out the way people hope.” They did, however, see a knitting needle, a pencil and a small stick at the bottom of the drum. “Maybe we weren’t the first ones to want a look inside,” he adds.

The intrigue won’t stop with this drum. The company is trying to locate the Lincoln drum, a special drum that was made for Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign. Crafted with silk cord and sterling silver ears, the piece was noted in James Cooley’s diary: “Finished the Lincoln drum today,” he wrote. “It is the finest one ever made.” The company believes this drum was used by the Massachusetts Volunteer 10th Regiment. At this time they are following up with a few leads, but are not sure where it is and if they will ever find it.

Instrument Technology Inc. (ITI)
413-562-3606
www.scopes.com



Source of Graphic Image: Young folks' history of the Civil War By Clara Emma Cheney

Friday, October 16, 2009

Osgood Eagle Drum

Civil War era drum; signed on the interior “Raymond S. Osgood N.A.”, with a shield-breasted eagle, mid-19th century; sold for $558. Photo courtesy of Garth's.


Live Auction Talk
http://www.liveauctiontalk.com/free_article_detail.php?article_id=825

Besides drinking and gambling the most popular pastime among Civil War soldiers from both sides was music. Although drinking and gambling were against regulations it was difficult to control homesick and lonely soldiers.

Both armies also carried and played musical instruments as a way to lighten their load. Some companies even had their own bands. Soldiers sang as they marched. Music kept them in step and relieved the monotony of camp life.

Both Federal and Confederate troops had some of the same favorites like “Home Sweet Home”, and hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “Rock of Ages”.

The youngest members of each army and their bands were drummer boys. They ranged in age from 9-years-old to early teens. The boys gave up their beds to enlist in the army. Many could play the bugle and fife just as well as the drum.

Troops never left home without a drummer. Maybe they were too young to fight but they knew the importance of drumming for the company. They played as bullets flew and bodies dropped.

Drums woke the soldiers up in the morning, readied them to report for morning roll call, sick call, guard duty and lights out. On the battlefield drums voiced the orders of commanding officers and also pointed to where the troops were headed.

Drums were the beat of history, the background noise of war--a thread holding the vestiges of life in battle together.

Sometimes drummers were officially attached to the company. Other times they were unofficial members, like mascots. The most famous drummer boy of the Civil War was probably John L. Clem from Ohio. The 10-year-old member with the 22nd Michigan had his drum smashed by a shell at Shiloh. The boy was unhurt but from then on was known as Shiloh Johnny.

After the war Clem tried to enter West Point and was rejected. With the help of Pres. Ulysses S. Grant he became a second lieutenant in the army and retired in 1916 as a major general.

Willie Johnston, drummer of Company D, 3rd Vermont Volunteer Infantry, was the seventh soldier in the U.S. Army to accept a Congressional Medal of Honor. Johnston received his award on Sept. 16, 1863 for bravery during the Seven Days Battles. He was not quite 12-years-old and remains the youngest person to have received the medal.

Confederate bands were fewer in numbers. Musicians were not as plentiful in the South. Good instruments were costly and difficult to get and some of the best instrument makers were in the North.

The outside of Union drums often displayed a large eagle with open wings and stars and stripes around it. Confederate drums were not as elaborate. Many had a plain wood finish.

The U.S. Army purchased more than 32,000 rope-tension drums between 1861 and 1865. Today a Civil War drum could easily be the centerpiece of a Militaria collection.

Originality makes a Civil War drum valuable. Are the tugs, rope, skins and gut snares original? Is the drum plain? Decoration makes a difference.

Does it bear the maker's label? Horsman of Philadelphia was one of the leading drum makers during the Civil War.

Many drums were never actually used in service. Once a drum made it to the field it would often be painted and the regiment, state, and company included on it.

On May 23, Garth’s, in Delaware, Ohio, featured a selection of Civil War items in its Ohio Valley auction. Included in the sale was a Civil War era drum. Signed on the interior “Raymond S. Osgood N.A.”, with a shield-breasted eagle, mid-19th century; 17 ½ inches high; sold for $558.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

CW Cadet Drum by Zogbaum & Fairchild

Reader Will Chappell referred us to this find on the Internet offered for sale at $2,400 by Champion Hill Relics

Contact Info:
John Spicer
Proprietor
P.O. Box 2112
Brandon, MS 39043
(601) 420-3412
JSpicer2@aol.com


Outstanding Original 1850's-Civil War Ornate Complete Cadet Drum

Since I'm keeping with the "cadet" theme, you might as well really go ALL OUT! This is a spectacular example of a Military School Cadet drum, made by the F. Zogbaum & Fairchild Company of New York. You can look inside and see the original maker's tag clearly intact and legible inside. This company started in Charleston and Savannah and later moved to New York. It is listed at 10 Maiden lane from 1857. The company is listed in the "Directory of American Military Goods Dealers & Makers 1785-1915". It can also be found in the G. Craig Caba book "United States Military Drums 1845-1865". The shell size is about 10 inches;12 inches total with the hoops. Head size about 13 inches. This beautiful drum has been re-roped by the Cooperman Drum and Fife company. Has the splendid Federal Eagle classic painting upon the outer shell, with a ribbon in its mouth. New rope and ears have been dyed dark brown. Also newer calf skin heads, the top head having a very nice patina. Most Civil War drums don't have snare strainers; and this one does not, either, obviously. But you can see a small bed in the bottom hoop where snares would be passed through and tightened down by the ropes. There are no snares at this time but could be added easily. This drum has original shell and hoops intact and very nice. Everything displays magnificently, and makes for a very affordable Civil War (or older) addition for your collection. A legit maker-marked regimental drum (without any provenance of unit--just plain "US" drum) costs around $5000. And don't get fooled with drums post-war and GAR/fraternal drums that cost $1000 or less. Those are NOT real Civil War or earlier drums, so BEWARE! This one can save you thousands, and can have the full confidence to know whoever the cadet was that beat cadence and drum rolls and commands with it clearly went into the war when he was old enough to shoulder a musket in the bloodbath of 4 years of total war.


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Research re Zogbaum & Fairchild turned up the following:

Musical Instrument Makers of New York: A Directory of Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century
by Nancy Groce
p.176, et seq.

ZOGBAUM, Ferdinand

1854 musical instruments 99 Maiden Lane
1855-56 muscial instruments 97 Maiden Lane
1857-58 musical instruments 10 Maiden Lane
1859-69 importer 10 Maiden Lane
1870 importer and manufacturer
of musical instruments 10 Maiden Lane
1871-75 musical instruments 89 Chambers and 71 Reade
1876 musical instruments 23 Park Place
1877-79 not listed
1880+ president/broker RR Ave. near 167th Street

Zogbaum had previously been active as an instrument dealer in Charleston, South Carolina c. 1852 (PC:Eliason). Arriving in New York c. 1854, he established Zogbaum & Company, which became Zogbaum & Fairchild in 1858 when Rufus Fairchild was admitted into partnership. In 1859, they advertised in the NYCD ["New York City Directory"] (p. 1164): "Zogbaum & Fairchild beg the attention of the trade to our extensive stock of Musical Instruments and Strings of our own manufacture and direct importation. Our agents on the Continent of Europe are directed to purchase mostly for Cash, and to send all novelties, either in Musical Instruments or articles appertaining thereto. Our particular attention is given to the manufacture of Guitars, Saxhorns, Cornets, Flutes, Clarinets, Banjos, Drums, etc. ... which are manufactured at our factory here & immediately under or own supervision -- none but the most experienced workmen engaged and the best material used."

According to the 1861 AMD ["American Musical Directory"] (p.41), the firm then specialized in making and importing violins, guitars, flutes, accordians, concertinas, flutinas, drums, banjos, tambourines, brass instruments, clarinets, and the Tilton celebrated patent guitar. Zogbaum left the partnership c. 1875, but apparently continued to work in the trade as as executive for an uptown factory. A Rufus Zogbaum -- probably Ferdinand's son named after his former partner -- was active in the instrument trade during the 1870s.

ZOGBAUM & COMPANY

1854 musical instruments 99 Maiden Lane
1855-56 musical instruments 97 Maiden Lane
1857 musical instruments 10 Maiden Lane

ZOGBAUM & FAIRCHILD

1858 musical instruments 10 Maiden Lane
1859-69 importers 10 Maiden Lane
1870 importers & musical 10 Maiden Lane
musical instrument
manufacturers
1871-75 musical instruments 10 Maiden Lane

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Decoration Furniture That Looks Like a Drum

eBayer money4u860 ( 64) is offering what looks like a piece of living room decoration as eBay item no. 320433612013. Unfortunately, the item is described as possibly being a CW era drum which, in my humble opinion, it decidedly is not.

Here are a few things "wrong' with the drum:

1. Dimensions: 25" x 11". The playing surface is about as big as a drum pad. Enough said?
2. Emblazonment: Looks too clean and modern, possibly a decal.
3. Finish: Reflected light shows the shell to have a textured satin-like woven surface, somewhat akin to cardboard.
4. Snare Head: There is none. It looks like a piece of wood that has been drilled for an electric cord, perhaps for a lamp.
5. Snares: There are none, and the bottom counterhoops do not exhibit a cut-out.

THIS IS A VERY UNIQUE CIVIL WAR ERA MARCHING BAND DRUM FROM 9TH REG. WITH GREAT DETAIN IN SUPERB CONDITION I DO NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT DRUMS YET THERE ARE MANY PICTURE FOR A PERSON OF MORE KNOWLEDGE OR INTEREST TO VIEW THE DRUM IS 25 INCHES TALL AND 11 INCHES ROUND IT HAD GREAT AMERICANA SYMBLE ON THE SIDE IT HAS RIVITS AND LATCHES ROPE AND LEATHER PIECES I DO NOT KNOW IF IT IS A REPRODUCTION OR ORIGINAL IT IS IN GREAT SHAPE AND HAS BEEN WELL TAKEN CARE OF I HAVE NOT EVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT I WILL EXCEPT ANY BEST OFFER THAT IS REASONABLE PREFERABLY BY A PERSON WHO KNOWS THE REAL VALUE I SEEN DRUMS WORST THAN THIS ON EBAY FOR OVER 3000 DOLLARS SO I WILL LIST MINE STARING AT 999.00 WITH OPTION OF BEST OFFER THANKS FOR BIDDING ON ALL MY AUCTIONS AND BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE.

In my opinion, this is not a musical instrument, merely a piece of decoration meant to look like a drum.

What is your opinion?

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See http://www.1stdibs.com/senditem.php.