Snare drums of the late 1800s were only beginning to evolve towards the more standardized insturments of 20th century. Some of the earliest steps along this path of transformation can bee seen in this circa 1890s drum attributed to Boston's Blair & Baldwin
Though the makers label has faded to the point it can no longer be read, the lower counterhoop bears Blair & Baldwin's distinctive semicircular snare gate which was used later by their succesor, the F. E. Dodge Company
, and Dodge's succesors Nokes & Nicolai
. The drum also features a prominent "BB" imprint inside of the shell which presumably stands for "Blair & Baldwin".
The drum is formed around a single-ply, birds-eye maple shell with solid reinforcing rings. The shallow shell depth is a subtle forshadowing of the orchestra drums made in Boston during very early 1900s. Tensioning is accomplished via twelve prussian style rods
, common in the 1880s and 1890s, and the snares are adjusted using a traditional snare strainer.
Do you have a drum made by Blair & Baldwin? I would love to see it! Feel free to drop Lee a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
. And for more on the early 20th century snare drum makers of Boston, Massachusetts please visit BostonDrumBuilders.com
or follow @old_boston_drums