Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another Lyon & Healy / Ditson Example

In a previous post on March 1, 2012 and again in a later blog we touched on the apparent connection between Lyon & Healy of Chicago, and Oliver Ditson of Boston. If the rate at which drums born of this partnership are showing up on ebay serves as any indication, they must not be all that uncommon.

This time a seller located in New Mexico was offering a fairly ordinary single tension drum. The wood shell and hoops are held together by eight early styled single tension rods with claws on either end. The drum is short on detail other than the wooden grommet, the ornamental snare tensioning knob, and it's faux rosewood painted hoops all of which are common on Lyon & Healy drums of the period.

Source: ebay

Source: ebay

The drum drew fourteen bids and was ultimately sold for $102.50 which seems to be on the friendly side of fair. It also reflects the relatively little amount of interest in simple single tension drums of the late 1800s.

Do you have a drum made by Oliver Ditson? I want to hear from you! Send Lee an email at

Sunday, December 2, 2012

1922 Stone Separate Tension Orchestra Drum - Completion

Well it only took me three months to get around to it but the 1922 George B. Stone & Son Separate Tension Orchestra Drum is all finished. The drum was quite dirty on arrival but cleaned up quite nicely. The third pair of pics below provides a glimpse of the before and after.

Stone Catalog H, circa 1915
from Stone Catalog H, circa 1915
George B. Stone & Son 1922 Separate Tension Orchestra Drum
Lee's 1922 Stone Separate Tension Orchestra Drum

The shell label inside the drum bears a very clean date stamp reading 5 FEB 1922, or February 5th, 1922. Stone & Son was in their prime in the mid - early 1920s and this drum is an excellent example from that period. The polished rosewood grommet and pre-"INC" badge are both consistent with George Stone drums produced through about mid-1922. The move to badges with the "George B. Stone & Son INC" lettering occurred at some point mid way through that year. Threaded black Bakelite grommets began appearing in place of rosewood grommets sometime in 1924.

Geo. B. Stone Snare Drum LabelStone / McIntosh Snare Throw-off

The only major structural flaw on this drum is the missing arm for the Stone / McIntosh snare throw-off. This is a common issue. Maybe a correct replacement will come along one of these days. Also, there is a crack in the bottom hoop where the strainer is attached, but so long as the snares aren't tensioned too tightly, at least the problem won't worsen.

Stone Orchestra Drum Before Cleaning
Before Cleaning
Stone Orchestra Drum After Cleaning
After Cleaning

After cleaning, the drum came back together without too much hassle. The original snares and batter side head were re-installed, and a new bottom head (a repurposed Kalfo Timpani head in fact) was tucked on the existing flesh hoop. The new bottom head is admittedly too thick for perfect authenticity, but for display purposes it fits the bill.

Do you have an instrument by Geo. B. Stone & Son? I want to hear from you! Send Lee an email at