the Tom Mills snare drum

rsq911

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Hi everyone:

Looking for some more information on the "Tom Mills" snare drum.

I know that Tom played for Sousa, his snare drum, which is noted to be a Sonor, prompted Ludwig Sr. to make a metal shelled snare, and that the one from the Ludwig family is in some museum, I think maybe PAS's, etc...

Ok, my question is, are all late 19th early 20th century brass Sonor snares considered "Tom Mills style", or just a Sonor snare? Are more than one of these known to exist? Mike C. do you have one?

Thanks,
Paul
 

CSR

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At one point, Harry Cangany, the founder of the original drum forum (DFI) had it in his Indy shop. When I visited a number of years ago, I had the opportunity to examine and hold it. I recollect that it was very heavy and rather rough. It had metal plates welded to the inside of the shell to prevent the tension from the lugs from warping the shell. It had a very industrial look to it.

It is currently in the National Music Museum. "NMM 10091. Snare drum by Trommel-Fabrik Weissenfels (changed to Sonor in 1907), Weissenfels an der Saale, Germany, ca. 1900. Brass shell, 6-1/2" x 13". Separate (double) tension. Eight tube lugs with rods that attach to studs welded on each hoop and to the shell. Brass rims with edges bent over and rounded. J-hook strainer. Bought by Sousa drummer Thomas Mills on European tour in 1900. Subsequently sold to William F. Ludwig, who showed the drum to Ulysses G. Leedy in a failed attempt to have the Leedy Drum Company begin the manufacture of brass-shelled drums. William F. Ludwig and Theobald Ludwig, who were already selling drum pedals, then began producing brass-shelled, separate-tension snare drums based on this drum. Ex colls: William F. Ludwig II; Harry Cangany. Gift of Harry Cangany, Indianapolis, 2001." http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/Snaredrums.html

From the online Sonor museum...http://www.sonormuseum.com/genesis/genesis.html
"The drum that pushed Wm. F. Ludwig Sr. over the edge and got him into the drum manufacturing business was a snare owned by Tom Mills, John Phillip Sousa's "favorite drummer" in the early 20th century. Nobody in the United States made metal snare drums, but when Ludwig was blown away in a competition with Mills, he determined then and there that he HAD to have that drum. 2 years later, so the story goes, Ludwig bought and redeemed a pawn ticket from Mills for $3. The drum on the right is the Mills drum - the one on the left is from a very early Sonor catalog. Notice any similarities? Below: another Sonor snare from that era."
 

bzzfkt

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At one point, Harry Cangany, the founder of the original drum forum (DFI) had it in his Indy shop. When I visited a number of years ago, I had the opportunity to examine and hold it. I recollect that it was very heavy and rather rough. It had metal plates welded to the inside of the shell to prevent the tension from the lugs from warping the shell. It had a very industrial look to it.

It is currently in the National Music Museum. "NMM 10091. Snare drum by Trommel-Fabrik Weissenfels (changed to Sonor in 1907), Weissenfels an der Saale, Germany, ca. 1900. Brass shell, 6-1/2" x 13". Separate (double) tension. Eight tube lugs with rods that attach to studs welded on each hoop and to the shell. Brass rims with edges bent over and rounded. J-hook strainer. Bought by Sousa drummer Thomas Mills on European tour in 1900. Subsequently sold to William F. Ludwig, who showed the drum to Ulysses G. Leedy in a failed attempt to have the Leedy Drum Company begin the manufacture of brass-shelled drums. William F. Ludwig and Theobald Ludwig, who were already selling drum pedals, then began producing brass-shelled, separate-tension snare drums based on this drum. Ex colls: William F. Ludwig II; Harry Cangany. Gift of Harry Cangany, Indianapolis, 2001." http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/Snaredrums.html

From the online Sonor museum...http://www.sonormuseum.com/genesis/genesis.html
"The drum that pushed Wm. F. Ludwig Sr. over the edge and got him into the drum manufacturing business was a snare owned by Tom Mills, John Phillip Sousa's "favorite drummer" in the early 20th century. Nobody in the United States made metal snare drums, but when Ludwig was blown away in a competition with Mills, he determined then and there that he HAD to have that drum. 2 years later, so the story goes, Ludwig bought and redeemed a pawn ticket from Mills for $3. The drum on the right is the Mills drum - the one on the left is from a very early Sonor catalog. Notice any similarities? Below: another Sonor snare from that era."




great info.....thanx
 

Coelacanth

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To add to that (I remember posting that info several months ago), I have this screenshot that I made from a Sonor History Powerpoint presentation file downloaded from Sonor Museum. The PPS file is 17.6 MB; I can't seem to find the link where I downloaded it from, but if anyone's interested, send me a PM and I'll get the file to you via YouSendIt.com.
 

rsq911

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Thanks for all the replies.

I dug up all my Ludwig reference books and found the same, and if you look at the first 1911 Ludwig & Ludwig snare, its almost identical to the Mills drum.

I also went through the Sonor sites and forums researching this, and most of the information is the same for Ludwig and Sonor.

Does anyone have any idea how many of the 1895-1900 "Mills style" snares are floating around?

The one I found is a twin to the "Mills", just not sure if the value is there because its the first separate tension tube lug snares, because its a Sonor, or because its a twin to the "Mills" drum?

Thanks,
Paul
 

vintagemore2000

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Give a look at this!!! http://cgi.ebay.com/Ludwig-Family-German-Made-Rich-Ludwig-Brass-Snare-Drum-/360243842066?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e034cc12
 

Scottlogsdon

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To add to that (I remember posting that info several months ago), I have this screenshot that I made from a Sonor History Powerpoint presentation file downloaded from Sonor Museum. The PPS file is 17.6 MB; I can't seem to find the link where I downloaded it from, but if anyone's interested, send me a PM and I'll get the file to you via YouSendIt.com.
You can find the file by going to the Sonormuseum index page http://www.sonormuseum.com. On the left sidebar look for "Powerpoint Presentations". One file is the one I prepared, the other is one the Sonor people gave me.

Regarding the Tom Mills drum - there were a couple of these on German eBay a couple of years ago. I would have liked to have one or both but they had been over restored -polished too much, modern heads, etc. and they wanted way too much money for them. Leave the patina alone, dammit! There are probably more of them out there than you would think. That design was in production pretty much unchanged from the 1890's into the early 1950's.
 

curotto

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Hi everyone:

Looking for some more information on the "Tom Mills" snare drum.

I know that Tom played for Sousa, his snare drum, which is noted to be a Sonor, prompted Ludwig Sr. to make a metal shelled snare, and that the one from the Ludwig family is in some museum, I think maybe PAS's, etc...

Ok, my question is, are all late 19th early 20th century brass Sonor snares considered "Tom Mills style", or just a Sonor snare? Are more than one of these known to exist? Mike C. do you have one?

Thanks,
Paul

I have something similar just for historical comparison...nothing special.
I did just purchase one if not the last snare drum from the William F. Ludwig estate....it's a 1911-12 4x15 6 lugger with the "L&L dog tag" badge just behind the strainer ...photos soon.

Mike Curotto
 

Sonorholic

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I remember a kid showing up at the Chicago show a few years ago with what could have been a Mills style drum. It certainly looked right to me. I put him on to the right folks, but never heard any more about it.
 

rsq911

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This forum is great!

The price on the drum is a bargain, even without historical significance, and its all original, heads, wires, patina, etc...

Thanks again for all the info.

Paul
 

Frank Godiva

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The Just One Ludwig Snare thread got me thinking about the Mills, so a bit of an update to this great thread.

Made in Germany around 1900, this Trommel-Fabrik Weissenfels drum (changed to Sonor in 1907) was purchased by Sousa drummer Thomas Mills while he was on tour in Europe that year. It was built as the top of the line concert drum, for use in orchestras and military bands. Manufactured by Sonor, the drum featured a 6.5x13” welded brass shell, metal hoops, and separate tension lugs. The robust timbre and revolutionary design of this drum caught the eye of a young Leedy salesman. Bill Ludwig Sr. heard Mills play it in 1902 and had to have it -- purchasing it from him two years later.

Ludwig then tried to convince Ulysses G. Leedy of the Leedy Drum Company to manufacture brass-shelled, separate-tension snare drums – but failed. Leedy promptly refused Ludwig’s request to research and develop a similar model as he believed metal was an unsuitable drum shell material.

Undaunted, Ludwig Sr. and his brother Theobald seized on Leedy's missed opportunity. Ludwig began to develop a copy of the drum on his own, convinced that its superior construction and tone would be the key to standing out in the highly competitive drum market. They began advertising their own new brass-shelled separate-tension snare drum (based on this very instrument in the collections of the National Music Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota) in the first Ludwig & Ludwig catalog, published in 1911.

In 1974, William F. Ludwig II inherited the drum from his father. Later he sold it to Harry Cangany, of Indianapolis, who generously donated it to the NMM in 2001.


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sousa-band-poster.jpg
 

D. B. Cooper

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Wing nut, eh?
Love it.
I would kill to lay sticks on that old gal.
 

JDA

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Ludwig then tried to convince Ulysses G. Leedy of the Leedy Drum Company to manufacture brass-shelled, separate-tension snare drums – but failed. Leedy promptly refused Ludwig’s request to research and develop a similar model as he believed metal was an unsuitable drum shell material.
ah those were the days..
 

Seb77

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To think that the snare drum sound of the 20th century has its origins in a drum made for music like this:

This is an Italian banda, by the way, no political implications on my side, Prussia and such. I listened to a few versions and chose this one for the snare and cymbal sound.
 
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