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One of the intriguing aspects of collecting vintage drums is discovering when your instrument was made. But unlikely as it may seem, the broadcast of one television show in early played an unwitting role in helping to date more closely one particular brand of drum. It was the day the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Their television debut ushered in not only a new era for rock and roll, but something more.
These overlapping events would intertwine to have a direct effect on the collecting and dating of s Ludwig drums. Prompted by the insurance industry, the new regulation mandated serial numbers dating ludwig drums badge certain goods, including drums. Our dealers begged us to put them on, so we had our badge manufacturer imprint sequential numbers on the badges for all of our drums.
With the debut of serial numbers, Ludwig helped the dealers comply with the new law. Though in actuality, the way to pin down the elusive age of these drums would call more for the sharp pencil of a record keeper than the skill of a Sherlock Holmes. Motivated by a growing number of customer inquiries about dating 60s era Ludwig drums, as well as our own historical interest, we took on the task of record keeper.
We began in the late s by monitoring all of the 60s Ludwig drums that came into our shop. Thanks to the production boom of the 60s, we had a large sampling of drums, which provided enough data to do our research. When we found a drum with both a serial number and complete date stamp present, this data was entered into a serial number index. We hoped that, in time, the index would reveal a consistent chronological order in the serial number sequence.
The reasoning for our optimism was that since the serial numbers were imprinted on the badges in a sequential order of lower to higher numbers and since the badges were installed over a duration of time as represented by the date stamps inside of the shells, a direct relationship between the serial numbers and date stamps was inevitable, even though the Ludwig factory did not intend it. As our record keeping continued and more serial numbers and dates were added to the index, the correlation between them became increasingly evident.
Although we did find some discrepancies in this correlation - which we'll discuss later in this article - a general pattern emerged. The serial numbers increased as their corresponding date stamps moved forward in time. In a recent conversation with Jack Lawton, restoration specialist and owner of the Lawton Drum Company Sudbury, PA.
We decided to exchange and compare indexes. To our mutual relief, we found that the serial numbers and date stamps corresponded with one another and that the sequence of the serial numbers in both indexes followed the same general path through time. Below is Ludwig s Serial Number Time Dating ludwig drums badge 1. By using this chart, you will be able to know in most cases the year, and time frame within the year, that your s Ludwig drum was made.
Taking as an example a non-date stamped drum with the serial number of , lets first find the proximate serial numbers to- which areandrespectively. Next, check the corresponding dates to these serial numbers - which are February 26, and September 4, These two dates indicate the general time frame when our non-date stamped drum was made. I once asked Mr.
Ludwig why only some of the shells were date stamped? He explained, "The reasons varied over the years. Sometimes it was because we wanted to accommodate certain dealers who didn't want the dates. Other times it was to keep up our production speed so that we could keep up with the demand. And sometimes it was just dating ludwig drums badge the stamp pads ran out of ink. Furthermore, not all of the dates that went on the drums stayed on the drums.
He pointed out to me that because Ludwig used dating ludwig drums badge ink for the stamping of the dates, some dates were inadvertently smudged or removed - in part or whole after the drums left the factory by drum owners while cleaning their drums. The next Chart 2 gives an overview of the serial number sequence as it progressed from one year to the next. Using a simple formula, we have estimated, to the nearest thousand, the average count of serial numbers used for each individual year between and For those of you who enjoy mathematics, the formula is: Based on this calculation, Chart 2 shows a cumulative dating ludwig drums badge growth ofserial numbers from through To verify our calculations I asked both Mr.
The manufacturing division at Ludwig was divided into two basic departments: Shells were constructed, wrapped in mylar, dating ludwig drums badge date stamped in the wood shop. Then the shells were drilled and hardware, heads and badges were installed in final assembly. Sometimes we had thousands of undrilled shells all stacked up on shelves. When assembly needed a certain size shell in a particular finish, it was pulled from the shelf and sent off to them.
Due to the time lapse between when a shell was date stamped and when the badge uranium lead dating calculator installed, some of the drums assembled on the same day with closely matching serial numbers had date stamps that were months apart from one another It also meant that some of the drums with production date stamps close to one another, would have badges with serial numbers that were tens of thousands of digits apart.
Ludwig explained, "Most of the time when a new shipment of badges came in from our manufacturer, we still had a few boxes of them left in stock, so we just stacked the new boxes in together with the old ones. When assembly needed more badges, we just took any box at random and put it on the assembly bench. Our main concern was to keep things moving. Ludwig about the probability of a leftover box or two stagnating for months at the bottom of a stack.
After a period dating ludwig drums badge time, when the stagnant box was opened and the badges went back in circulation, the serial numbers on those badges would naturally be out of sequence with the others. For example, when a badge that was out of circulation for three months was eventually installed on a drum, its serial number would be lower than, and discrepant to, the more current badges being installed, by an amount of 33, digits.