Wednesday, July 10, 2024

William F. McIntosh Snare Drum, ca. 1908

William F. McIntosh (1876 - 1950) lead a varied professional life working as a machinist, drum maker, musician, radio repairman, and electrician. He is perhaps best known for his snare strainer and muffler patented in 1909 and used extensively by Boston's George B. Stone & Son through the 1910s and 1920s. McIntosh's output as a maker was small but ranged across the first several decades of the 1900s and is known to include snare drums, bass drums, xylophones and traps such as whistles and ratchets. The separate tension snare drum featured here was likely produced around 1908 or 1909.
circa 1908 William F McIntosh Snare Drum
Lettering stamped into the snare mechanism indicates that a patent has been applied for but has not yet been granted. This helps pinpoint the likely date of manufacture to a narrow window of time between October of 1908 and February of 1909. Of course the drum could have been assembled later using earlier components, but the snare machanism at least dates to this very speicific timeframe. A superbly well preserved makers label inside the drum reads "Wm. F. McIntosh / MANUFACTURING DRUMMER, / HIGH GRADE / Drums, Traps and Drum Findings / Professional Xylophones & Orchestra Bells / a specialty, 6 ELWOOD STREET / CHARLESTOWN, MASS."

William F McIntosh Snare Strainer and Muffler
circa 1908 William F McIntosh Makers Label

The drum is outfitted with twelve single-post tube lugs, slotted tension rods, and cast brass hooks all of which have been nickel plated. Of note is the somewhat crudely formed metal shell with rolled over bearing edges and a soldered seam. A wooden band mounted inside the shell offers additional reinforcement while providing a sturdy backing for the mounting hardware. The counterhoops are single-ply maple with the exterior painted to emulate the look of a more exotic wood.

William F McIntosh Snare Drum Shell
circa 1908 William F McIntosh Snare Drum

Do you have a drum made by William F. McIntosh? I would love to hear about it! Feel free to send Lee and email at And for more on the early 20th century snare drum makers of Boston, Massachusetts please visit and follow @old_boston_drums on instagram.