Ludwig Paper Labels from 1971-72 era with Date Codes

rsq911

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This is excellent, well done!

I have a Standard gold mist 5x14 snare, part of my single six kit.
Serial number: 52370
Paper tag: 56717

Hope this helps.
Paul
 

KCDrumDad

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Rsq911,
Can you send me the details on the other drums in the set? It is nice to be able to link drums that came together as a set. Did any have date stamps?
 

rsq911

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Hi-
Here are the serial numbers:

BD. 8104
8". 8187
12". 8177
13" 8148
16" 9194

No discernible date stamps, but as a reminder the single six kit had the finish on the inside of the shells too.

These are some of the earliest standard numbers I have seen. But, this kit was only catalogued/available for two years, so this snare may not be original to the kit, and the kit would probably be 69'.
Hope this helps.
Paul
 

KCDrumDad

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rsq911 said:
No discernible date stamps, but as a reminder the single six kit had the finish on the inside of the shells too.
Duh. Forgot that when I asked. I also already had your drums in my list - from a 2011 post of yours.
 

rsq911

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KCDrumDad said:
No discernible date stamps, but as a reminder the single six kit had the finish on the inside of the shells too.
Duh. Forgot that when I asked. I also already had your drums in my list - from a 2011 post of yours.
Lol! It happens.
I have marching snares from 60's-current, would any of those numbers help?
 

miker

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A tag/decal with an actual date instead of the code. Serial number 818052
 

KCDrumDad

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Thanks miker. I saw that drum listed about a month ago on Reverb. Are you the proud new owner?
 

Uunderhill

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KCDrumDad said:
In 1970 the waiting time for a Ludwig kit was about 6 months.
The employees were doing their best to get assembled kits out the door.
Boxes of badges would arrive and sometimes the order of the boxes would get mixed up
or one box of badges would get dumped into a nearly empty box of badges.
Is this based upon your own personal experience? I would value information from someone who ordered a kit in 1970 and can document their wait time. If you have heard or read this somewhere about the 1970 wait time, can you tell me where you learned this?

The dumping of badges into bins without regard to their serial numbers is an oft repeated story. On page 210 of his 2003 The Ludwig Book Rob Cook cites Paolo Sburlati for putting this story in writing in his 1999 book, Ludwig: Yesterday and Today. I will have to re-read Paolo's book to find his reference - I am sure it is buried in there [edit - found it - on page 152]. This is the earliest mention that I can find. Rob goes on to quote Chuck Hueck of Ludwig about the procedures for introducing the serial numbered badges into production and assembly. Ned Ingberman quotes William Ludwig Jr. about the practice in his 2002 DRUM! magazine article "How to Date 1960s Ludwig Drums by Serial Number." I was not involved with vintage drums until about ten years ago, so I am not aware if this story was told before Paolo put it in his book. Does anyone know of an earlier reference to this practice? Perhaps on one of the older forums? I am trying to figure out ground zero for the story.
The quote for a 6 month wait time was from circa 1982 - rather than waiting 6 months
a friend bought a Tama kit instead.

Info concerning the badges is from Not So Modern Drummer - Spring 2003

Chuck Hueck, who has been working at Ludwig since 1972 confirms this "I never recall Ludwig ever recording
serial numbers," he says. "We were so busy that we would have had to hire a couple of people just to do that !
You can sort of find a general era through the numbers, but that's about it.
When we received the badges from the manufacturer, they were wrapped in cellophane and in numerical sequence.
They got unwrapped and tossed in a box by the drill press where they got mixed up.
That's why it was probably unusual for a drum outfit to have sequential numbers.

... When B&O badges were introduced in 1969, the serial numbers pretty much continued
sequentially from where they left off on the Keystone badges."

Mr. Ludwig explained : "The shells were made in advance of the orders coming in. 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. We didn't pay any attention to
the date stamps and if a shell wasn't needed to fill an order, it stayed on the shelf for days, weeks or months
- sometimes even longer.
This time lapse between when a date stamped and when the badge was installed, meant that some of the drums
assembled on the same day with serial numbers close to one another, would have 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."

Mr. 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.
We didn't try to keep the boxes in order or try to install badges in order by serial number. Our main concern
was to keep things moving."
 

miker

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KCDrumDad said:
Thanks miker. I saw that drum listed about a month ago on Reverb. Are you the proud new owner?
Nope I have a few 26"s in thermo-gloss already.
 

KCDrumDad

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Uundehill,

Thanks for providing the clarification on the wait time issue. First hand accounts of what was going on are valuable to me.

The quotes you provide have appeared in a few different places through the years. The first mention of the story still seems to be in the 1999 Sburlati book, with later quotes like these expanding the story a bit.
 

KCDrumDad

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I saw this interesting theory expressed on a Reverb listing today. https://reverb.com/item/4215828-ludwig-14x6-5-snare-402-supraphonic-1974-chrome The Seller was offering a 6.5"x14" Model 402 snare with the following explanation of the date estimate:

"The drum actually looks too good to be forty years old, but I have a basis for the 1974 date:
1. Pointy Badges
2. Serial Number #929155
3. Paper label inside drum has date of 4272, which I believe is Julian date=30SEP1974?"

I had not considered Julian dates before, and I don't really know how they relate to the Gregorian calendar. I will have to see how the other date codes convert if they are treated as Julian dates. I think that this theory does not take into account the relatively few different Date Codes that exist. If they represent individual dates, they would likely not repeat so often and there would be more different codes. The drum has a Blue/Olive badge without the "circle R" trademark indicator, which is the style of badge associated with the lower serial numbers and was likely no longer in use by 1974. Either way, this is a new and intriguing theory about Date Codes.
 

K.O.

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Interesting notion. That would be a very odd choice that few on the factory floor could interpret. Also odd to go to that much trouble to obscure information that no one really cared that much about at the time.
 
Z

zenstat

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KCDrumDad said:
I saw this interesting theory expressed on a Reverb listing today. https://reverb.com/item/4215828-ludwig-14x6-5-snare-402-supraphonic-1974-chrome The Seller was offering a 6.5"x14" Model 402 snare with the following explanation of the date estimate:

"The drum actually looks too good to be forty years old, but I have a basis for the 1974 date:
1. Pointy Badges
2. Serial Number #929155
3. Paper label inside drum has date of 4272, which I believe is Julian date=30SEP1974?"

I had not considered Julian dates before, and I don't really know how they relate to the Gregorian calendar. I will have to see how the other date codes convert if they are treated as Julian dates. I think that this theory does not take into account the relatively few different Date Codes that exist. If they represent individual dates, they would likely not repeat so often and there would be more different codes. The drum has a Blue/Olive badge without the "circle R" trademark indicator, which is the style of badge associated with the lower serial numbers and was likely no longer in use by 1974. Either way, this is a new and intriguing theory about Date Codes.
Urk? 4272 days since the beginning of the Julian calendar is a little older than 1974. Wednesday, B.C. 4702 Sep 12 according to the US Navy converter:

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/JulianDate.php

which explains Julian dates and would make that a pre Christian drum. :happy11: The explanation makes no sense.
 

KCDrumDad

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That is funny. I had not even gotten into figuring it out. For once, someone could legitimately advertise their drum as "rare." That would really throw off the serial number date tables, too.
 

bonzoleum

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What's interesting is that all those 4 digit codes end in 72 (or at least a 7 being the second to last digit). Maybe that's simply when Ludwig printed them up or thought when they'd be used..
 

bonzoleum

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There's a juicy 1971 6.5 Supra on Ebay now with a paper tag. I don't usually see those in the 6.5s..
 

KCDrumDad

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bonzoleum said:
What's interesting is that all those 4 digit codes end in 72 (or at least a 7 being the second to last digit). Maybe that's simply when Ludwig printed them up or thought when they'd be used..
There is only one of these which has a four digit number - 4272.* All of the others have five digits. Almost all Date Codes I have recorded have a "7" as the third digit and "1" or "2" as the fourth digit, but 32372 is the lone exception. Since every Date Code recorded so far has either a "71" or a "72" contained within it and these drums are thought to have come from the 1971-1972 time frame, many have considered them as evidence of a 1971 or 1972 manufacture date. That might be correct, but it fails to explain the remaining digits in the Date Code, which at best is incomplete and at worst adds uncertainty about the interpretation of any part of the Date Code.

*Note: 4272 sometimes appended with a # after a few spaces, appearing as "4272 #". Due to the placement location of the Date Code stamp on the label, I suspect that the "#" character was at times cut off from the label. Also the "#" was not noticed and considered part of the Date Code when I first started gathering information. I do not know if this has any significance, but it should be mentioned for completeness.
 

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