LUDWIG & LUDWIG FINISHES

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The early 1920’s were rather unremarkable for Ludwig & Ludwig as far as pearl finishes were concerned. Until 1928, the company offered natural mahogany, maple, or walnut hand rubbed wood finishes, solid color painted finishes, as well as gold and imitation gold (“Deluxe”) plated snare drums which were often adorned with fancy “Deluxe” engravings.

 

1920’s LUDWIG & LUDWIG NATURAL WOOD DRUMS

 

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Starting in the early 1920’s, Ludwig & Ludwig offered ornamental finishes on select snare drums that included decorative hand engraved designs and fancy plating. “DeLuxe” finish was an imitation gold plating and was applied to rods, lugs, hoops and strainer in combination with a black plated and hand engraved shell. “Genuine Gold Trimmed” models featured gold plated parts and shells that were not engraved. Shells were available in black nickel, white or black enamel and “Ludwigold” (see below). “Genuine All-Gold” models had a satin gold plated shell and parts but were not engraved.  Special “Triumphal” models could be had with genuine gold plating on all parts, including the shell. Decorative engraving was applied to these drums. The shells were hand burnished.

 

NOTE: In 1932, the name “Classic Gold” was used to replace “DeLuxe”.

 

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1929 CATALOG ILLUSTRATION

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(Dave Brown Collection)

 

 

STIPELGOLD and LUDWIGOLD

 

While not a Pyralin covering, the first decorative covering was called “Stipelgold”. Introduced in early 1926, Stipelgold was a textured gold coating that was applied to metal shell snare drums as well as wooden shell snare drums and bass drums.  This finish is quite rare.   In a 1926 Ludwig & Ludwig publication it was described rather eloquently as, “…a special composition producing a marvelous ‘Stippled’ effect in a bright golden hue. It is hard and durable, adhering tenaciously to the drum shell of metal or of wood. The effect is of bright yellow gold with a high burnish on a stippled surface. No other finish compares with it for scenic splendor in the orchestra ensemble and under the lights or spot it gleams with the golden hue of a brilliant sunset.”

 

 

1926 STIPELGOLD SUPER-LUDWIG SNARE DRUM WITH STIPELGOLD FINISH

(this particular example may have been painted over at some point with a gold spray paint)

 

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Some drums were affixed with a special Stipelgold badge

 

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Photo courtesy of Dave Brown

 

 

 

 

Toward the end of 1926 a similar finish called “Ludwigold” was introduced.  It was described as:  “…an iridescent golden finish possessing a brilliant glitter or sparkle.”  Interestingly, both Stipelgold and Ludwigold were available concurrently for a time in 1926. The Stipelgold finish proved to be less durable than advertised and was discontinued by late 1927.   Ludwigold was offered from 1926 until the early 1930’s.

 

1927 LUDWIG & LUDWIG ADVERTISEMENT FOR LUDWIGOLD

(Note that both Ludwigold and Stipelgold were available in 1926-27)

 

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1927 ADVERTISEMENT FOR LUDWIGOLD

 

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1929 LUDWIG & LUDWIG ADVERTISEMENT

 

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(Dave Brown Collection)

 

 

LATE 1920’s SUPER-LUDWIG SNARE DRUMS WITH LUDWIGOLD FINISH

 

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Photo courtesy of Dave Brown

 

 

Photo courtesy of Felix Knusel

 

PYRALIN FINISHES

 

The first Ludwig & Ludwig drums covered in decorative Pyralin finishes did not appear until late 1928. At that time, the new finishes that were introduced were Avalon Pearl (white marine), Peacock Blue Pearl, Emerald (mottled) Green Pearl, and Lavender Pearl.  Although not officially listed as a pearl finish, “Golden Flash” was offered as an option in the fine print in the 1928 and 1929 catalogs. Listed near the bottom on the right, as “765-  CGF Golden Flash Pearl Shell”.

 

 

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1929 CATALOG

 

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(Dave Brown Collection)

 

 

 

 

1920’s Ludwig & Ludwig bass drum in Lavender Pearl  (photo by Mark Cooper)

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PEACOCK PEARL

 

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(Dave Brown Collection)

 

 

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    Photo on left courtesy of Corey DeMello                                      Photo on right courtesy of Rich Kalinsky

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Mike Curotto

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Corey DeMello

 

 

 

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(Dave Brown Collection)

 

 

Emerald Green Pearl

 

 

In 1929, two new pearl finishes were added to Ludwig & Ludwig’s roster. Streaked Opal and Rose Pearl were first introduced in the “Ludwig Drummer” periodical in the Fall 1929 edition. However, Rose Pearl was not listed in the 1929 catalog. These new finishes were described in quite “colorful” terms:

 

Streaked Opal: “It is one of the nicest finishes that we have ever made, and because it is black and white it has dignity.”

Rose Pearl: “…a red hot finish for red hot drummers. It has the Zipp, and the Pep, and is just what the collegiate chap has been looking for.”

 

 

ROSE PEARL*

 

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*Rose Pearl was also offered by Slingerland (see “Slingerland Finishes”).

 

 

1929 ROSE PEARL STANDARD SENSITIVE

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Photo courtesy of Mike Curotto

 

 

 

Also new for 1929 were Marble Pearl and Turquoise Blue Pearl.

 

 

 

 

 

FLASH PEARL and FLAKE PEARL”

Sometime during the year 1931, Ludwig & Ludwig decided to add some sparkle and “pizzazz” to their drum products with the introduction of Silver Flash Pearl and Gold Flash Pearl. A 1931 advertisement declares, “Countless thousands of tiny facets that sparkle and gleam with all the verve and fire of a perfectly cut diamond, dazzling and distinctive behind the footlights or under the spot and appropriate in any setting….Silver Flash and Gold Flash Pearl Shell Drums are the latest, and probably the most outstanding of the Ludwig Pearl Shell Drums….”. The metallic sparkles were very fine and had a “mist” look to them. In later years, the size of the sparkles was increased.

 

It wasn’t until 1932 that an actual illustration of the finish appeared in a catalog. By that time, the name had been changed to “Gold Flake”.

 

 

1930’s GOLDEN FLASH PEARL BASS DRUM WITH DELUXE GOLD HARDWARE

(note the very fine sparkles)

 

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In 1933 a new, extra durable painted finish was offered called “Hi-Luster” and was advertised as being several times harder than ordinary paints. This automotive grade painted finish was available in blue or green and could be ordered with decorative diamonds and Pearl inlaid hoops. At this time, “Full Dress” diamonds were optional on most drums, both “skeleton” diamonds or full diamonds. The following year (1934), multi-colored Duco lacquer finishes became available. These two-tone painted finishes could be had in Blue and Silver, Green and Gold and other combinations. These were usually accompanied by Gold Flash Pearl or Silver Flash Pearl inlaid hoops and gold fittings.

 

 

 

1930’s LUDWIG & LUDWIG HI-LUSTER BLUE STANDARD MODEL

 

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The term “Flash” as in “Golden Flash” or “Silver Flash” was changed to “Flake” in 1932.  Then in 1936 (the Silver Anniversary year), the size of the metal flakes or sparkles was increased and the name was changed to “Gold Flash”. These new light catching chunks of metal added even more sparkle to Ludwig & Ludwig drums. Along with Silver Flake and Gold Flake, Green Flake was also offered. Finshes seemed to come and go, according to the catalogs of the 1930’s. While Emerald Green Pearl was no longer listed, Streaked Opal, Avalon, Peacock, and Lavender Pearls were still on the list of available colors. Curiously, Lavender Pearl drums were often listed in catalogs under the heading, “Rainbow Pearl Outfit”.

 

GOLD FLASH PEARL

 

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1935-36 Gold Flash Pearl Standard Model with Classic Gold hardware

(courtesy of Mike Curotto)

 

 

 

Ludwig & Ludwig returned to the name “Flash” in reference to their sparkle finishes in 1936. Perhaps the term “Flake” did not do justice to their flashy sparkling drums which were now available in Red Flash Pearl, Green Flash Pearl, as well as Silver Flash Pearl and Gold Flash Pearl. Also new for 1935 were Abalone Pearl and Black Avalon Pearl. The very popular Peacock Pearl, Lavender Pearl and Streaked Opal Pearl were discontinued.

 

LUDWIG & LUDWIG PEARL FINISHES 1935-1939

 

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In addition to decorative Flash Pearl diamonds, other geometric shapes could be ordered on Ludwig & Ludwig drums at additional cost. These were usually composed of two or three contrasting colors and were applied over top of the finish.

 

1930’s GOLD FLASH PEARL DRUM WITH  FLASH PEARL DECORATIONS

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SILVER FLASH PEARL

(faded to “ginger-ale” color)

 

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By 1940, most of the exotic finishes had been discontinued in favor of more standard pearls and sparkles.

 

1940-41 CATALOG PAGE

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In 1940, a new, less expensive finish was offered on an experimental budget line of drums that also incorporated plastic (bake-lite) tension casings. The finish was called White Crystal and was described in the 1940-41 Ludwig & Ludwig catalog: “This exciting new finish gives you a drum outfit which has all the smooth, eye appealing beauty and attraction of higher priced finishes and is extremely durable, too….. Crystal is a laminated sheeting similar to Pyralin, but with a smaller flake design….you’ll agree that the Ludwig & Ludwig Crystal finish is the most beautiful you have ever seen at such an amazingly low price!”.

 

1940-41 LUDWIG & LUDWIG MODERN BI-TONE DRUMS

 

 

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1940 LUDWIG & LUDWIG WHITE CRYSTAL DRUM

 

 

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Also new for 1940 was a vey unique finish called “Top Hat”, which featured a design made up of decorative top hats, musical notes, canes and gloves. This design was printed over the avalon pearl and sealed within the Pyralin laminate. This attractive finish was discontinued with the onset of World War Two. As a result, very few Top Hat drums exist today and are extremely rare and valuable.

 

1940-41 LUDWIG & LUDWIG TOP HAT “SWING SENSATION” DRUM OUTFIT

 

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TOP HAT

 

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During World War Two drum production was drastically reduced for the duration.  Ludwig & Ludwig continued to produce drums on a limited basis and the finish options were few.  Duco (lacquer) finished drums were offered as well as Black and White Avalon Pearl. Sparkle finishes may have been available but I have never seen any wartime examples.

 

White Avalon Pearl  Victory drum set with White Duco floor tom

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Victory snare drum in Black and Gold Duco

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After World War Two, Ludwig & Ludwig resumed drum production. The company, now located in Elkhart, Indiana began churning out drums that were very much the same as their pre-war drums. The finish options listed for 1948 were reduced to only four Pearl finishes: White Avalon, Black Diamond Pearl, Gold Flash Pearl and Silver Flash Pearl. Of course, duco lacquer finishes were also available. Around 1949-50, Blue Flash Pearl was added to the roster. Green Flash Pearl may also have been available at that time as well.

 

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GOLD FLASH PEARL (two slightly different versions)

 

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1950 LUDWIG & LUDWIG SPARKLING BLUE PEARL STANDARD MODEL

 

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In 1950, the Ludwig & Ludwig Drum Company was merged with the Leedy Drum Company. The newly formed company was aptly named Leedy & Ludwig and was in existence until 1955. For finishes on these drums please read the previous section entitled “Leedy Finishes”.

 

1950’s Leedy & Ludwig Zebra Stripe drum set

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                                                                                                       Photo by Bun E. Carlos

 

In 1956, William F. Ludwig (owner of the W.F.L. Drum Company and original owner of the Ludwig & Ludwig company), purchased the Ludwig name and started The Ludwig Drum Company in 1956. That year, drums were available in Sparkling Green Pearl, Sparkling Red Pearl, Sparkling Blue Pearl, Sparkling Silver Pearl, White Marine Pearl, Black Diamond Pearl and Jet Black Ebony Pearl. Multi-colored duco lacquer finishes were also offered.

 

 

In 1959, several new and interesting finishes were added. Colors like Oyster Blue Pearl, Oyster Black Pearl, and Oyster Blue Pearl were reminiscent of the older exotic finishes. Of course, many duco lacquer combinations as well as natural wood finishes could be ordered as well.

 

 

 

OYSTER PINK PEARL CONGA DRUMS

 

 

 

By 1962, Oyster Pink Pearl was dropped from the list of available finishes, while Sparkling Pink Champagne Pearl was added. Around 1963, a color simply called “Galaxy” was introduced.

 

 

 

In 1964-65, Oyster Black Pearl was made famous by Ringo Starr of the Beatles and his Ludwig drum set.

 

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CONTENTS:

LUGS

LEEDY LUGS

SLINGERLAND LUGS

LUDWIG LUGS

 

STRAINERS

LEEDY STRAINERS

SLINGERLAND STRAINERS

LUDWIG STRAINERS

 

DRUM FINISHES

VINTAGE DRUM FINISHES

 

MISCELLANEOUS

HOOPS, MOUNTS, PEDALS, ETC.

 

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