Thursday, April 1, 2021

1921 Harry A. Bower Snare Drum

One hundred years ago today this Harry A. Bower snare drum was individually numbered and dated. Handwriting found inside the shell reads "Apr 1/21". The oversized makers label humbly states:

The "BOWER" Drum / TRADE MARK / The "BOWER" DRUM is a new creation. Invented and manufactured by the world's authority on drums and drumming, and the author and publisher of the "Harry A. Bower System." / No. 577 / Harry A. Bower / Boston, MA"

Bower was a well-traveled performer on the Vaudeville circuit, a one-time member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the author of two widely used method books in the early part of the 20th century. He was also prolific inventor having been granted no fewer than thirteen patents, seven of which pertained to the snare drum. His designs were odd even for their time commonly utilizing hollow, tubular counterhoops which doubled as flesh hoops for the drumheads. Shells were often made from an unusual composite material as is the case with this example.
Bower's patented snare system was also highly unique in that the wires remained under tension via a frame which could be engaged with or disengaged from the bottom head using a simple but efficient throw-off mechanism.
Do you have a Bower drum? I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to send Lee an email at And for more on Harry A. Bower and the other early 20th century drum manufacturers of Boston, Massachusetts, please visit or follow us on Instagram: @old_boston_drums.