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Confirmation of last Chicago built Supraphonics

How bad were things in Chicago before the move?

  • Just keeping your head down...

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • Pure Kaos, Chaotic as all get out...

    Votes: 2 33.3%
  • Depressing

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • Worse than all that...

    Votes: 2 33.3%

  • Total voters
    6

Commodore

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Thanks for your input.

This Supraphonic doesn’t have a serial number but is a Chicago keystone badge. I was told it was among the last assembled in Chicago. I need the experts to weigh in …if this is possibly because the number stamping equipment had already been sent to Monroe.

The drum further has bow-tie lugs and cast hoops. Everything else is normal 80’s Supra and nothing appears altered. Could this confirm or add plausibility to being built up from leftover parts? The lugs do appear original.

I don’t wish to spread falsehood in the community. Let me know if you’ve heard of something similar… Thanks again!
 

rsq911

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Great snare! I actually bookmarked it lol!

Ludwig did indeed have a very few serial numbered 1984 Chicago badged drums. My understanding was that the non numbered drums were Chicago, and the numbered ones were North Carolina ones after the move using leftover badges.
 

drumtimejohn

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Great snare! I actually bookmarked it lol!

Ludwig did indeed have a very few serial numbered 1984 Chicago badged drums. My understanding was that the non numbered drums were Chicago, and the numbered ones were North Carolina ones after the move using leftover badges.
Interesting. Curious, where is that information sourced from?
 

K.O.

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The badges were delivered to Ludwig with the numbers already on them, applied by the company that made the badges. Sometimes they'd get badges without the numbers. Not sure if that was by design or accident but they'd still use them. There was no serial numbering equipment to ship off to Monroe though.
 

rsq911

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Interesting. Curious, where is that information sourced from?
If memory serves, when I did the Ludwig Anniversary article for NSMD, Todd Trent was one of the people I interviewed, and that is the story I remember. But, I will go back and double check my notes.
 

K.O.

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As far as I can recall all my Chicago large keystone badges have serial numbers. I have 5 or 6 of them.
 

drumtimejohn

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I read somewhere that was when the holes were drilled for B/O badges but when leftover keystones were mounted the heads covered the top?
Yes. And an indication that they are Chicago plant drums despite which state the actual assembly took place.
 

drumtimejohn

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Maybe just available parts in 1984 at the Chicago plant. A long standing tradition of Ludwig.
 

drumtimejohn

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If memory serves, when I did the Ludwig Anniversary article for NSMD, Todd Trent was one of the people I interviewed, and that is the story I remember. But, I will go back and double check my notes.
Cool! Let us know.
 

drumtimejohn

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Since it’s likely there is no record of the “last” Chicago drum will you start declaring yours it?
 

Commodore

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Since it’s likely there is no record of the “last” Chicago drum will you start declaring yours it?
I've got the oldest known NOS Ludwig and Ludwig snare. I've also got a 1937 prototype brass WFL snare. (see both threads) ....Why the heck would I need to claim that, …yet?
 
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K.O.

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To me the most logical conclusion would be that this was one of the first large Keystone badged drums made in Chicago. The hole is punched for a B/O badge, much like some of the early B/O badged supras required a cut badge because they were using up the last of the shells punched for small Keystones. It would seem that the shell supplier probably delivered these in batches and if a badge change was made before all the shells were used then the production line would have to adapt. I'd also suspect that the badges without serial numbers were early ones. Possibly sent to Ludwig for approval before they started making them with sequential numbers. Ludwig being Ludwig, and not caring about the serial numbers anyway, would go ahead and use them up while waiting for the numbered batches to come in. Again this is mirrored by the early B/O badges where there was a time frame where numberless badges were used early on.

I have no concrete proof either way but one can easily infer the very opposite of what you are thinking using the same details.
 
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K.O.

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The theory on the Bow Tie lugs in place of Imperials in 1984 is that they ran out of Imperials and rather than order another run prior to the move they just substituted Bow Ties....BUT! I'm not certain if there is factual confirmation of that or if it is just a plausible theory. Certainly, there was occasional substitution when one style of lugs ran short.

Here is another "theory"... The Classic Lug design was developed by the Ludwigs at WFL (or at least under their supervision and approval). The Imperial Lug was designed by someone at Ludwig and Ludwig under the ownership of Conn and right around the time that WFL Sr, completely severed ties with that company. The Ludwigs got the Imperial design as part of the buyout of Ludwig from Conn in 1955. So while we think of that lug in terms of Ludwig it was actually brought about by Ludwig and Ludwig and, prior to 1955, was used by one of the Ludwig's (then operating as WFL) main competitors*. Meanwhile the Classic lugs were their "baby". So maybe when it came time to celebrate the company's 75th anniversary the Ludwigs wanted "their" lug on those drums.

Again, no proof (maybe WFL III would know) but certainly as plausible. Also consider that the "anniversary" drums with the bow ties turned up in photos in ads, suggesting that the change was on purpose.


* it's definitely confusing if you don't know the history. Today's Ludwig is actually descended from the WFL Drum company after they bought the trademark from Conn in 1955. Ludwig and Ludwig (and later Leedy and Ludwig) were in competition with WFL, the company started and owned by the Ludwig family. WFL ultimately came out on top and got the family name back but the drums pretty much stayed the same as far as how they were made, just with a "new" brand name on them.

Of course both companies can trace back to William and Theobold's 1909 Ludwig and Ludwig but then there was a split after the sale to Conn (which occurred in late 1920s just before the crash) and when William Senior left Conn and started over again in the mid/late 30s with WFL.
 
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