Ludwig Paper Labels from 1971-72 era with Date Codes

KCDrumDad

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3. Paper label inside drum has date of 4272, which I believe is Julian date=30SEP1974?"

I think that this seller thought that the first digit meant it was from 1974 and that the next three digits represented the day in the year - 272nd day. One problem - The 272nd day of 1974 (a non-leap year) was September 29, not September 30.

This approach does not seem to work with any of the other Date Codes, but may have been an independent attempt to explain the 4272 which appeared in this particular drum without reference to any other drum or resource available.

On a semi-related note, some guitar serial number systems followed a system where the year was indicated, usually with just one digit, and then the next digits represented a sequential number for the number of units produced. For example using that approach, 4272 would be the 272nd guitar produced in 1974. This may be contributing to the thinking. However, this does not appear to apply, since there was already a serial number system employed on the badges and it is difficult to believe that Ludwig introduced a second system which it also apparently did not track.

Just my thoughts.
 

bonzoleum

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KC- from your experience, what percentage has the code and what just the date (e.g. DEC 11 1971)?
 

wflkurt

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I have seen actual dates in drums all the way up to Jan 1972. I actually saw and acro once that was dated Jan 3 1972 which is the day my younger brother was born. Maybe I have seen a Feb 1972 but off the top of my head I can't remember. KC do you have a time frame for when Ludwig went from an actual date to the cryptic double secret probation code they started using? Just curious....
 

KCDrumDad

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For Main Line drums:

I have date stamps on labels as early as APR 8 1971 and fairly consistently from then until the end of 1971, with a total of 88 drums with date stamps on paper labels. I have two additional drums with 1972 dates recorded (MAR 21 1972 and MAY 21 1972). There are a few drums during APR 1971 time period which had date stamps directly on their shells (APR 8 1971, APR 12 1971 and APR 19 1971) but none recorded after APR 19 1971. The serial number range of the drums which received date stamps on paper labels is from 816350 to 926902. There were five blank (no serial number) badges with date stamps on labels.

It is difficult to know when exactly the drums with Date Codes were produced or received their paper labels with the Date Codes. If they had received date stamps in addition to the Date Code, figuring out the meaning of the Date Code would not be much of a challenge! The serial number range of the 160 main line drums with Date Codes is from 825829 to 938355. Serial Number 978496 is also reported but seems like a misreport, as it is very much an outler relative to the other drums. An additional 39 drums with Date Codes have blank (no serial number) badges or serial numbers which could not be determined.

Of the Main line drums I have recorded,
Percentage with date stamps: (88 +2) / (88+2+161+39) = 31%
Percentage with Date Codes: 200 / (90+200) = 69%


For Standards:

There are 24 Standard drums with date stamps on paper labels and complete or usable serial numbers. Their dates range from APR 20 1971 to JAN 3 1972. Their serial numbers range from 48489 to 58752.

Standards with date stamps directly on their shells may not overlap date-wise, with no confirmed date stamps directly on shells after APR 20 1971. There are two drums dated APR 13 1971 where I am not sure if there were labels or not, and two which had date stamps directly on the shell.

Blank badges include the following date stamps on labels: MAY 11 1971, MAY 13 1971, MAY 14 1971, MAY 26 1971

There are 37 Standard drums with Date Codes on paper labels with serial numbers ranging from 49590 to 66481. Also recorded - One blank badge and one unknown serial number.

Of Standard drums I have recorded with paper labels:
Percentage with date stamps: 24 / (24+37) = 39%
Percentage with Date Codes: 37 / (24+37) = 61%

CONCLUSIONS:
1. Date stamps were stamped directly on main line shells until about APR 1971, when paper labels were introduced. Some overlap is evident.
2. It is not clear when the Date Codes were used, but could have been used simultaneously with date stamps.
3. About one third of the drums with paper labels recorded so far have date stamps and two thirds have Date Codes.
All of the above are subject to change as more data is collected.

Edits for accuracy and clarity - (two Standard drums reported to have date stamps on labels prior to MAY 1971 were reviewed and did not have paper labels)
 
Z

zenstat

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Thanks for the update Rick.

If that seller meant he was interpreting the 4 digit code as YDDD then he could have said so. Julian Date has a very specific meaning. And of course the 5 digit codes blow that seller's whole scheme of interpretation. I remember some time back when I applied my code cracking skills to these codes all I was able to do was to rule out any interpretation scheme which treated them as YMMD, YMDD, YYDD, YDDD, etc. including all possible 4 or 5 digit encodings using Ys, Ms, and Ds. The same outcome happened with the ink stamped codes on the Ludwig drums from more recent years as YMM or YYM, MMY, MYY, etc. There was always something inconsistent which cropped up.

It occurs to me that the reason we refer to these as "date codes" is probably that they were paced on the paper labels in the same field as the date stamps, and the label was pre-printed with DATE. If "date code" is instead some sort of arbitrary batch number perhaps concatenated with the id of the person who assembled the drum (say Employee 71 :icon_e_wink: ), what then? If you think this is fanciful and complex as an encoding scheme I offer:



which includes an initial year (two letters encoded by simple substitution cypher) followed by batch (and person?) info which Zildjian say also includes the model details for the cymbal. They have declined to release the entire encoding scheme, but offer to check any cymbal for you if you send them the full number.

Now that there is more data I should go back and revisit my previous attempts. But where did I put those files? My disk is too big and my record keeping is not good enough. :happy11:
 

KCDrumDad

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zenstat,

Always open to suggestions to crack this code. K.O. has also postulated that it is not date related. At this point, I am open to any reasonable explanation. I am intrigued by the steps people go through in an eBay or Reverb or Craiglsit ad just just to not have to admit they do not know the answer. Julian Date and YDDD formats were new theories and appear to be incorrect.

Narrowing the time frame when the paper labels were used and determining when paper labels had date stamps and when they had Date Codes would likely be helpful.

I will forward the updated list of drums with Date Codes if you would like. The one on my website is fairly current.
 

K.O.

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zenstat,

Always open to suggestions to crack this code. K.O. has also postulated that it is not date related. At this point, I am open to any reasonable explanation. I am intrigued by the steps people go through in an eBay or Reverb or Craiglsit ad just just to not have to admit they do not know the answer. Julian Date and YDDD formats were new theories and appear to be incorrect.

Narrowing the time frame when the paper labels were used and determining when paper labels had date stamps and when they had Date Codes would likely be helpful.

I will forward the updated list of drums with Date Codes if you would like. The one on my website is fairly current.
I was going to throw that out there again but Rick beat me to it. We have a paper sticker form that was being used that has a space for a date. We have Ludwig stamping obvious date related data in that slot and then they stop doing so and replace the date data with a number that, so far, defies anyone's ability to crack as being a coded date, at least in any way that appears to unlock ALL the codes. The assumption is that since the number is stamped into the space marked "date" that it must be date related but we don't know that for sure. All we know is that Ludwig continued to use an existing sticker beyond the time frame where they stamped an obvious date there. Given that they weren't keeping track of these dates in any real way in the first place there doesn't seem to be any reason to decide to suddenly obfuscate the production date with an unbreakable code. Nor did they likely have enigma machine decoders stationed around the plant to help workers interpret resulting coded info. Possibly they decided that they needed to track some other info, or add an inspection stamp, or some other digital code onto their production and here was a space on the form they already had in stock and no longer being used for a date stamp. Well, you know Ludwig wasn't going to throw away these in stock stickers because they had an unused space marked "date", throwing anything away went against the corporate culture on North Damen Ave,

Those numbers COULD represent a date in some fashion (which we have yet to figure out) and we all probably wish they did, but as far as I know no one has any conclusive evidence that these numbers absolutely DO represent a date. To my way of thinking their very obscure nature makes it less likely that they are dates because why would Ludwig have gone to the trouble? They had a perfectly adequate system that they had been using since at least the late 50's to record understandable dates that they didn't even use too much and then suddenly decided to put the last digit in the year in the 3rd position with the day of the week as the second digit and the phase of the moon represented by the 1st and 3rd digit (or whatever)...I mean it was just a date.

And I don't in any way mean to disparage my friend Rick's voluminous work in these areas of serial numbers and dates and I applaud all the effort he puts into his papers and he is always careful to err on the side of what is known and not speculate (something I'm often all too keen to do....like here). I'm just pointing out that there may not be an answer to this question as we don't know for certain that the question itself is valid.

I wish they were representations of dates...and MAYBE they are...but....

If anyone can crack the case I'm sure Rick is the man, but, even Colombo can't find the murderer of a man who died of natural causes.
 

KCDrumDad

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Up until now, I have only compared serial numbers and Date Codes to see if any pattern emerged. Each Date Code seems to be connected with a large range of serial numbers, with so much overlap, that it is not possible to really show which Date Codes probably appeared first and which appeared last. It seems that Date Codes were used over such a relatively small number of serial numbers (or for such a short period of time if serial numbers can be viewed as a surrogate for time) that it may not be possible to show a pattern. To look at this I first wanted to establish a level of variation that might be expected between serial number and date stamp (the randomness that might result from the badges being used out of order relative to the date stamped shells) for shells that had date stamps. I graphed date stamp and serial number for 1971, including date stamps on shells and those on paper labels. The correlation is not particularly tight, so it clouds attempts to determine if the Date Codes tended to be serial number related. I decided to go in a different direction.

As K.O. states so eloquently above, it is entirely possible that there is no date element involved in the Codes. I wanted to test the theory that the Date Code might represent an individual or operation in the production and assembly process, like an inspector or assembler. I decided to consider shell construction (metal vs. wood) under the hypothesis that if these different types of shells received different Date Codes, it may have been because they were produced in separate operations by separate people. I looked at only drums with paper labels with either date stamps or Date Codes.

My results:

[SIZE=10.5pt]MAIN LINE:[/SIZE]


[SIZE=10.5pt]DATE STAMPS ON PAPER LABELS:[/SIZE]

From APR 18 1971 to MAY 15 1971, 30 main line drums with date stamps and paper labels - 25 have wood shells and five have metal shells.
From MAY 17 1971 though DEC 31 1971, 60 main line drums with date stamps and paper labels - two have wood shells and 58 have metal.
For the entire group of 90 drums with paper labels and date stamps, 27 have wood shells, 63 had metal shells.
[SIZE=10.5pt] [/SIZE]
[SIZE=10.5pt]DATE CODES:[/SIZE]
Date Code Wood Shell Metal Shell
4272 9 13
11717 9 0
12717 5 0
13727 0 1
14717 0 1
14720 0 1
14727 14 3
21720 12 7
21727 0 1
31720 9 5
32372 1 2
56717 0 24
57717 1 13
58717 1 16
59717 1 16
60717 2 15
61717 0 5
81720 0 1
64 124

Of the 188 main line drums with Date Codes, 64 have wood shells and 124 have metal shells.


STANDARDS:

DATE STAMPS ON PAPER LABELS:
Of 35 drums with date stamps on paper labels, APR 20 1971 - JAN 3, 1972, five have wood shells and 30 have metal shells.


DATE CODES:
Date Code Wood Metal
4272 1 0
11472 0 3
11717 5 0
12717 1 0
21720 0 5
56717 13 0
57717 3 0
58717 1 0
59717 1 0
25 8

Of the 33 with Date Codes, 25 have wood shells and eight have metal shells.


There may be some differences between procedures used to make main line and Standard drums.
There may be some differences between wood shell and metal shell drums. Although a few are timbales, the majority are Supras and Acrolites. Are these just sold more often so they end up on eBay and get included in the data used for this study? Are the labels more likely to still be stuck on snare drums because they did not suffer through the period when resonant heads were removed for sound reasons and paper labels were torn off? There certainly seem to be many more main line metal drums represented in the data than any other type of drum.

Thoughts?

Edit - typos and clarity
 

bonzoleum

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Nice! So you have 22 drums with the 4272 number on the paper label?

I suspect it was an accounting method that they used briefly and then abandoned. It's surely no accident 71 and 72 appear in each and every code.

They very cool looking stickers. I remember many times finding an older kit and looking in the hole and seeing date stamps and those stickers. The squeezing the drum and the blast of soothing LUDWIGSCENT that would help burn those images into my mind!
 

KCDrumDad

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23 with code 4272 - There is one Standard on the list.
56717 is the code with the most reports - 37 drums.
 

bonzoleum

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Have you seen any with a number as well as a date on the sticker? Say, 56717 SEP 11 1971?

It's really neat you've been doing this!
 

KCDrumDad

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bonzoleum said:
Have you seen any with a number as well as a date on the sticker? Say, 56717 SEP 11 1971?
Nope. Date stamp or Date Code, not both.

Can you send me the serial number from the 9x13 that had the handwritten 56717 Date Code? I have a few others already recorded that fit that partial description (9x13, Granitone interior, 56717 handwritten Date Code).
SN 51704, Blue Mist wrap
SN 5xx41, Avocado Strata wrap
 

Rotarded

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Don't know if this will help your data being an early '73, but the label is still intact on the outside of a timpani tom shell.

Serial # 1011844
Label Date 2 21 73
No Date stamp

View attachment 310222
 

KCDrumDad

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Thanks Rotarded. I have seen a few other paper labels on later drums, all place on the outside of the shell rather than the inside. These are not the same style of paper labels seen during the 1971/72 time frame, as they have only one color. That color seems to vary quite a bit.

Serial number 1001973 = ?x14 Tom
View attachment 310225

Serial Number 1073134 - 10x15 Tom
View attachment 310227

This was a label placed on the resonant side head, Serial Number 211xxxx - 16x16 Floor tom
View attachment 310226

This one was inside a later concert tom (size not noted) with Serial Number 2046512
View attachment 310228

One of the later Date Stamped paper labels of the style typically found with drums from the 1971/72 time period - Blue and Olive colors
View attachment 310230
 

Gajeman

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Hi Rick,

I took some pictures tonight just to have a better view of the drum. Not sure why they appear sideways when I put them here. Sorry about that.

The serial# is 667391, (late-1968?)

Date Code is 12717 (a very faint first "1" can be seen in the photo)

Model No. 1037, maybe the 7 is a 4 or even a 1?

Any other Keystone badges with Paper Labels? Maybe someone stuck this on AFTER the fact?

View attachment 323398 View attachment 323400 View attachment 323401

View attachment 323402 View attachment 323403
 

TheElectricCompany

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davengmusic said:
Here we go:

Kick drum (24x14) serial: 891896, tag 56717, model was partially torn off, but it looks like 924?
Rack tom (13x9) serial: 891815, tag 56717, model 944
Floor tom (18x16) serial: 891873, tag 56717, model 952. Interestingly enough, this one had two tags inside of it. One of them was placed under the washer for the floor tom leg.

What are the initials in the top right hand corner? The rack tom had a "D", and the kick and floor had a "J".

Hope this helps!
Whoa! Looking through this thread I realized I have a 13x9 stamped 891816, the badge pressed after your 13x9. Small world!

Same paper tag code, too.

Okay, this is even weirder... you live in Webster and I live in Houston... I know the band in your avatar... I recognize your name... you used to play in Whole Lotta Led... and I'm the guy that got the gig after you left the group last summer. Talk about a small freaking world.

Dang! Just saw that davengmusic hasn't signed in since July 2016. I guess he won't be seeing this anytime soon!
 

cwdrums

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Wish we could put out an "All Points Bulletin" in the Chicago area for any Ludwig employee from that time frame. Go to the source and get the answer or the truth. Can we handle the truth :). Surely some must still be alive and living somewhere in the area. Yes?
Coy
 

Gajeman

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Wish we could put out an "All Points Bulletin" in the Chicago area for any Ludwig employee from that time frame. Go to the source and get the answer or the truth. Can we handle the truth :). Surely some must still be alive and living somewhere in the area. Yes?
Coy


Maybe theyve all come down to Brazil to retire, or to flee from the inquisition of maniacal Drum Forum members. I'll keep an eye out...
 


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