1923-25 Leedy Multi-Model Field Snare : 12 x 16
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1923 – 1925 Leedy Multi-Model Field Snare Mystery
Finish : Turquoise Pearl
This Leedy Mult-Model field drum has logged some heavy road miles hopping antique dealers across the country. Starting in an estate in Fort Wayne, Indiana it made its way to Atlanta Georgia, then Seminole Florida, and finally to Houston Texas. The drum belonged to a gentleman by the name of Keith D. Kirbach who was an avid drummer in the Fort Wayne area. Keith performed in the Fort Wayne Gospel Temple orchestra while also participating in the Three Rivers Festival Parades as a part of the Second Time Around Band. It isn’t known how long Keith was in possession of this particular drum or what the history of the drum was prior to his ownership. What is interesting is the snare spans a couple of decades in parts and finish availability however does show heavy signs of restoration work or modifications.
The shell is a 12” x 16”, solid mahogany build with reinforcement rings at both the resonant and batter sizes. It features the first self-aligning lug designed by Leedy in 1923. This design allows the swivel nuts to slightly rotate independently of the lug casing, allowing for a higher tolerance of angles to accept tension rods. This was an effort to move away from the direct tapped tube lugs which were more prone to stripping. These lugs have two mounting points to the shell and were later replaced in 1925 by the four point mounting lugs which are more commonly found on Leedy Elites and other models from the later 1920s into the 1930s. While these lugs,
along with the strainer and butt plate, are finished with nickel plating, the drum has chrome plated Multi-Model hoops and slotted tension rods. Chrome plating was not offered by Leedy until roughly 1929. This brings into question whether: a) The hardware was replaced sometime after production. b) Only portions of the hardware were replated at some point. c) The drum was assembled sometime in the 1930s with on hand parts. The “Utility” strainer was one of the very first strainers used on Leedy snares. It is a very simple design, allowing for six strands of wire wound silk snares to thread through the perforated faceplate and disengaging the snares with a hinged lever. The drum also features a unique nickel plated metal ‘7’ decal that covers the butted joint of the seam wrap. It is possible that this decal indicates a number in a sequence of builds that Leedy may have made a limited number of. The decal shows similar age to the rest of the nickel hardware, suggesting the age of the wrap job.
The drum is wrapped in a pearl pattern wrap that has resemblance to the Ludwig & Ludwig Turquoise Blue Pearl shown in the 1928 catalog. Only four drums with this Turquoise Blue finish are known to exist as of the time of this article, and while the pattern of this pearl is slightly different, no Leedy drums are known to have this Turquoise finish. As mentioned before, it is possible that this drum underwent some post factory work as these earlier 1920s Multi-Model drums did not have wrap options up until the later 1920s, which began with White Marine Pearl and Sparkling Gold. However looking at the bearing edge and vent grommet, it does not seem as though this shell has experienced any sanding or modifications within recent years. In addition, the wrap shows appropriate aging and fading as any vintage make would.
This all leaves quite a bit of questions left unanswered, but as with many of these vintage drums, the mysterious histories result in more mojo!
A special thanks to Mark Cooper, Mike Curotto and Harry Cangany for their continued sources of information.
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