Ludwig Paper Labels from 1971-72 era with Date Codes

KCDrumDad

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I am looking for some help interpreting Ludwig date codes.

Background: I have seen many Ludwig B/O Badge and Standard drums from the early 1970s which have paper labels inside them. The paper labels have spaces for date and model number. On some drums the date has a date stamp with the familiar “JAN 01 1900” type format:

View attachment 128616 View attachment 128619

Others have what appears to be a date code:

View attachment 128614 View attachment 128618

Challenge: Some have postulated in prior posts on dfo that there is a date in the code. It would certainly appear that since all have a "71" or "72" in them, that this might be an expression of the year of manufacture. However, the "71" or "72" do not always appear in the same place in the date code. Further, the date code is not always 5 digits long. There is usually, but not always an extra digit after the "71" or "72".

I have recorded the following date codes in the last few months, in no particular order:

11717, 56717, 57717, 58717, 59717, 60717, 61717, 21720, 31720, 81720, 32372, 4272

The drums with these date codes had B/O badges with serial numbers ranging from 824000 to about 930000 and Standard serial numbers in a tight range from about 51000 to 54000. I realize that the link between date and serial number is somewhat tenuous as we move from the Keystone to the B/O badges and that there is little to go on with serial numbers for the Standard drums. However, I believe that if the date codes can be interpreted properly, then we should be able to gain insight into their relationship to serial numbers and improve the dating guides which are currently available.

Anyone have any insight on this question?

Rick
 

miker

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I am looking for some help interpreting Ludwig date codes.

Background: I have seen many Ludwig B/O Badge and Standard drums from the early 1970s which have paper labels inside them. The paper labels have spaces for date and model number. On some drums the date has a date stamp with the familiar “JAN 01 1900” type format:

View attachment 128616 View attachment 128619

Others have what appears to be a date code:

View attachment 128614 View attachment 128618

Challenge: Some have postulated in prior posts on dfo that there is a date in the code. It would certainly appear that since all have a "71" or "72" in them, that this might be an expression of the year of manufacture. However, the "71" or "72" do not always appear in the same place in the date code. Further, the date code is not always 5 digits long. There is usually, but not always an extra digit after the "71" or "72".

I have recorded the following date codes in the last few months, in no particular order:

11717, 56717, 57717, 58717, 59717, 60717, 61717, 21720, 31720, 81720, 32372, 4272

The drums with these date codes had B/O badges with serial numbers ranging from 824000 to about 930000 and Standard serial numbers in a tight range from about 51000 to 54000. I realize that the link between date and serial number is somewhat tenuous as we move from the Keystone to the B/O badges and that there is little to go on with serial numbers for the Standard drums. However, I believe that if the date codes can be interpreted properly, then we should be able to gain insight into their relationship to serial numbers and improve the dating guides which are currently available.

Anyone have any insight on this question?

Rick
I too have wondered about the date coding on these labels. The paper tag method of dating seems to start sporadically in December of 1970. Initially with the same date coding format of the earlier shells ex. DEC 16 1970, then going to the 4 to 5 digit code that you mentioned ex. 56717. We also, see issues with the blue/olive badges not having serial numbers at certain time frames in 1970-71 and again in '72 and '73. There seems to be a change in the type of bearing edge being used in 1971 as well.
 

Jdrum

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I too have wondered about the date coding on these labels. The paper tag method of dating seems to start sporadically in December of 1970. Initially with the same date coding format of the earlier shells ex. DEC 16 1970, then going to the 4 to 5 digit code that you mentioned ex. 56717. We also, see issues with the blue/olive badges not having serial numbers at certain time frames in 1970-71 and again in '72 and '73. There seems to be a change in the type of bearing edge being used in 1971 as well.
I would say the change in edge was prior to 71. I have never tried to pinpoint the date...but yes, the 70's 3-plys had a sharper edge than the 60's shells. I don't think any of my later 70's drums have an edge any different than my 1970 stamped drums.

Good luck on pinpointing the paper labels. I always just looked at the year on the labels and never figured the rest of the numbers had any meaning I could make of.
 

miker

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I too have wondered about the date coding on these labels. The paper tag method of dating seems to start sporadically in December of 1970. Initially with the same date coding format of the earlier shells ex. DEC 16 1970, then going to the 4 to 5 digit code that you mentioned ex. 56717. We also, see issues with the blue/olive badges not having serial numbers at certain time frames in 1970-71 and again in '72 and '73. There seems to be a change in the type of bearing edge being used in 1971 as well.
I would say the change in edge was prior to 71. I have never tried to pinpoint the date...but yes, the 70's 3-plys had a sharper edge than the 60's shells. I don't think any of my later 70's drums have an edge any different than my 1970 stamped drums.

Good luck on pinpointing the paper labels. I always just looked at the year on the labels and never figured the rest of the numbers had any meaning I could make of.

All of my drums prior to '71 have the late 60's type edge
 

KCDrumDad

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Thanks miker and Jdrum for your thoughts.

miker - Do you have any more details on drums from the December 1970 time frame that have labels with date stamps (not date codes)? I would be very interested in knowing more about these drums. The earliest date stamp on a paper label that I have recorded so far is MAY 6 1971. The latest I have is JUL 21 1972.

I figure if I am able to collect enough reports of drums with paper labels, then the patterns may become more apparent. I hope to be able to compare the labeled drums and their serial numbers and date stamps or date codes and the non-labeled drums and their serial numbers and date stamps.

Rick
 

Jdrum

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All of my drums prior to '71 have the late 60's type edge
I wouldn't doubt it. Never know with Ludwig. Pushing out sets with clear and white interior drums in the same set, old stamped shells with newer badge numbers etc... and the other things they have done especially during transition periods. Got any photos? I will dig around for some of my edges on the 1970 stamped shells but mine have been the sharper edge style.

KCdrumdad. I can get some paper label numbers with badge numbers and date stamps for you. I have a paper tagged Thermogloss kit and some other orphans and a bunch of Supras with the labels...if it help you out. Might take me a couple weeks to get over and go through the stash. :wink:
 

wflkurt

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I would love to know the oldest date stamp. I have a paper tag in a marcher that is 1717 and a jazzfest that is 4272. I can see that as April 1972 but what is 1717?

I also have a mod orange club date stamped jan 5 1971 and a hollywood wmp stamped dec 18 1970( my birthday year and all!)

Would love to know more about the paper tags...

Oh btw the club date came with an acro with paper tag 21727....
 

KCDrumDad

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KCdrumdad. I can get some paper label numbers with badge numbers and date stamps for you. I have a paper tagged Thermogloss kit and some other orphans and a bunch of Supras with the labels...if it help you out. Might take me a couple weeks to get over and go through the stash. :wink:
That would be great. Take as long as you need, but let me know as much as you can about the drums, like Serial Number, Date Code, Model Number, dimensions, wrap/finish, details on accompanying drums in a set. I have quite a few pieces of information on each drum. I learned during the data collection for my Gretsch serial number project that too much info is better than not enough.


I would love to know the oldest date stamp. I have a paper tag in a marcher that is 1717 and a jazzfest that is 4272. I can see that as April 1972 but what is 1717?

I also have a mod orange club date stamped jan 5 1971 and a hollywood wmp stamped dec 18 1970( my birthday year and all!)

Would love to know more about the paper tags...

Oh btw the club date came with an acro with paper tag 21727....
Send me over any details you can on your drums. Are your date stamped drums from JAN 5 1971 and DEC 18 1970 stamped on labels or on the shells themselves?

I outlined in my earlier posts the range of date stamps and date codes that I have observed. I am hesitant to try to interpret the date codes until I have gathered more. Although I know that serial numbers were not applied in a strict order, I think most will agree there tends to be an overall increase in serial number over time. If we can lay out the date codes in some sort of logical order, such as serial number, then we might be able to see some pattern to the system they used for the date codes.


I have outlined my current projects on my website www.GretschDrumDatingGuide.com. Go to the last tab, entitled: "Ludwig Serial Number Dating Projects" if you are interested.

Rick
 

wflkurt

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The drums with the dec 18 and jan 5 are actual date stamped into the shells. The jan 5 club date came with an acro with a paper tag.

I will try later to get you some serial numbers of everything. This seems like a cool project and one that has always made me curious. I have never really asked about the numbers on the paper labels because I did'nt want to look like an idiot if it was pretty obvious! Thanks for doing this.
 

KCDrumDad

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I have never really asked about the numbers on the paper labels because I did'nt want to look like an idiot if it was pretty obvious! Thanks for doing this.
I have no problem looking like an idiot - some might say I am quite good at it!

After searching old threads on this and another drum forum, it became clear that no one had yet explained the date code system, at least through this type of venue. Perhaps finding the right knowledgeable person who is not active on the internet is the key. I spoke with a higher level Ludwig employee who directed me to a few well known Ludwig collectors, but no answers so far.
 

wflkurt

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I wish I still had this but I had a Ludwig standard bass drum shell once that was absolutely trashed. It had a speckled interior and the blue satin type wrap on it that was destroyed. No hardware or anything either. I am almost totally positive that a red ink 1976 date stamp was in that shell. I remember it being hard to see from the speckled interior but it was definately 1976. Of coarse this was back in the early 90's when I had just been collecting a few years and did not relize that a 1976 date stamp was odd. It should have been black ink too. Was in the normal spot that a ludwig stamp would be though. Along the seem in the bass drum. Maybe someone could have stamped a 6 insyead of a zero that day? hard to say as I have never seen anything Ludwig date stamped in ink inside a shell past 1971.

Of coarse I have no proof of this so until I see something else like it, I will just keep wondering. I would'nt be suprised if the numbers in those labels meant nothing. I can see the Chief telling the employees to just make up some number! :drunken:
 

Jdrum

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Here is a couple for you that I do have in front of me. 16x16 Natural Maple floor. Model number 950. Paper tag 59717 with a hand marked "T" at the end of the number... similar to the marking in your photo above showing some tags. Blue Olive badge number 8980XX.

400 supra BO badge 8650XX. Paper tag reads model 400 DEC 14 with last digits of the year hidden under a lug. Will take it apart when it's time for a head change but I'm pretty positive it's 71.

The issue with the whole dating thing is that it's said that Ludwig simply grabbed badges out of a bin and when it was low, they simply dumped in more. This throws off some of the date stamps vs badge numbers that we see... though in most cases it seems to be inline with other drums coming down the line in when comparing numbers and stamps..or at least close enough to get in a ballpark. Maybe the paper tags were put on when the shell was manufactured. Maybe later? Who knows. I see some of the paper tag numbers are the same which leads me to wonder if they mean anything besides the year at the end. Best of luck cracking that open. :occasion5:

Out of curiosity and similar with what Kurt is wondering, what have you seen so far as the latest date in 71 or the earliest in 72 in regards to badge numbers or paper tags? I have another natural maple set in Bonzo sizes with early 910XXX badge numbers with no paper tags or stamped dates. I always assumed they are 71 or maybe into 72 based on badge #'s but would love to see some other badge numbers, date stamps or paper tags near that range just to see if I can ballpark them a bit closer.

Kurt, whats the badge number or first 4 digits on the Jan 5 stamped Mod Clubdates? PM it if you want. Just curious. I have a FEB 25 1971 stamped tom with 8520XX. Interesting story on the possible 76 date stamp. We are dorks. LOL.
 

KCDrumDad

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Out of curiosity and similar with what Kurt is wondering, what have you seen so far as the latest date in 71 or the earliest in 72 in regards to badge numbers or paper tags? I have another natural maple set in Bonzo sizes with early 910XXX badge numbers with no paper tags or stamped dates. I always assumed they are 71 or maybe into 72 based on badge #'s but would love to see some other badge numbers, date stamps or paper tags near that range just to see if I can ballpark them a bit closer.
I have several drums with date stamps in the late 1971 time frame and one from 1972.

Date SN Label?
10/14/71 900859 No
11/8/71 901972 Yes
12/9/71 Blank No
12/14/71 867167 No
12/15/71 866426 No
7/21/72 913278 Yes

I also have several drums with serial numbers in the same range as your 910XXX drums, but most have date codes on labels rather than date stamps

Date Code SN Label?
59717 906326 Yes
11717 907466 Yes
21720 908XXX Yes
JUL 21 1972 913278 Yes (same one reported above)
61717 917839 Yes
61717 917834 Yes
61717 917998 Yes
61717 917914 Yes
60717 918172 Yes
60717 920257 Yes
60717 920415 Yes

Cracking the date code logic would probably help us to understand this era. This would also bleed over to the Standards, which also used the same labels and same date codes, presumably during the same time frame.

Rick
 

KCDrumDad

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Kurt, whats the badge number or first 4 digits on the Jan 5 stamped Mod Clubdates? PM it if you want. Just curious. I have a FEB 25 1971 stamped tom with 8520XX. Interesting story on the possible 76 date stamp. We are dorks. LOL.
I have several other drums from that serial number range, as well. I will PM you with the details.

Rick

PS - yes, we are dorks.
 

K.O.

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Do we know for sure that those numbers are some sort of date code?

It seems obvious it would be the date since it's stamped on the line marked "date" but then we also see others that are stamped with a straightforward date right there.

Given the use of regular date stamps in Ludwig drums why would they suddenly feel the need to come up with an (apparently uncrackable) date code to use? Maybe the number means something else and they just stamped it in a convenient spot on the pre-existing tags.

Just playing devil's advocate :twisted: :icon_smile:
 

wflkurt

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I wonder how old BIII was at the time they did this. I wonder if he would even have any clue as to why. Does anyone know if Dick Gerlach is still around? Maybe he knows...
 

K.O.

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Yeah,somewhere in the Chicago area there should be someone who was a foreman or held some other position in the Ludwig plant and knows the answers to all the questions about why and how things were done that we ponder and speculate about. This person should be tracked down and interviewed extensively, before it's too late (assuming it isn't already).
 

KCDrumDad

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Do we know for sure that those numbers are some sort of date code?

It seems obvious it would be the date since it's stamped on the line marked "date" but then we also see others that are stamped with a straightforward date right there.

Given the use of regular date stamps in Ludwig drums why would they suddenly feel the need to come up with an (apparently uncrackable) date code to use? Maybe the number means something else and they just stamped it in a convenient spot on the pre-existing tags.

Just playing devil's advocate :twisted: :icon_smile:
Kevin,

Your point well taken. I would like to collect as many examples as I can so that we can approach the challenge intelligently.

Based upon what I have seen thus far, it does not appear that the number is related to a particular model or style or size or finish of drum. Reports have the same codes appearing on multiple drums in four different kits (a Blue/Silver/Blue sparkle B/O set with 61717 and a "Blue Silk" B/O set with 11717, a Blue Silk Standard kit with 56717 and a Gold silk Standard set with 56717). All seven of the Standards I have recorded so far (multiple sizes and wraps) have the same code (56717). This same code appears on at least one classic style drum as well (a Mod Orange 14x14 floor tom). It also appears that the labels were in use during the 1971-1972 time frame and that once they disappeared, few if any drums received date stamps that anyone has reported seeing. On Standards, with Granitone interior finish, this makes sense (wflkurt's 1976 report notwithstanding). However, B/O badged drums has clear interiors for several more years, yet there do not seem to be reports of people finding date stamps of any kind.

This is interesting stuff, at least to a few of us.

Rick
 

idrum4fun

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Hello Everyone!

This is my first post here. I'm usually over at Vintage Drum Forum and just posted a question there on this exact subject. I have a Super Classic kit, where the 9x13 and 14x22 have date stamps in the shell, but the 16x16 floor tom has the paper label. Details as follows:

14x22 SN 769027 with a shell stamp of Jun 3 1970
9x13 SN 823949 with a shell stamp of Nov 9 1970
16x16 SN 900260 with paper tag showing date: 60717 and Model No. 950

I feel confident that the tom is from 1971, but not sure as to what month.

What is amazing is how long these shells sat in stock before being assembled into a kit.

It's a beautiful kit, but I'm actually getting ready to sell them. I've got too many kits!
 

KCDrumDad

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Do you know the history on your set? Was it sold together originally?

Sorry, but I am not able to provide any more insight into this issue yet. I am still collecting data and hope to have enough soon so that the answer just pops out. Of course, as Kevin pointed out, this may not be a date code at all.

Please PM me with more details about your set - like wrap, interior finish, etc... so that my entries for your drums in my database are as complete as possible.

Rick
 

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