Sunday, March 23, 2008

1841 Porter Blanchard Snare Drum on eBay is Talking, But What is it Saying?



Handwritten Inscriptions on Drum Head:
This 16-1/2" diameter x 17" tall pre-Civil War snare drum currently offered on eBay as item #260222582719 has an India ink inscription in fancy script on the batter head reading, ""- - - t Canterbury / New Hampshire / April 20, 1841", and another reading, "John Wheeler".



Label is Familiar:
The seller reports being able to see a partial label, "Manufactured and for Sale by Porter Blanc[???] / Concord, New Hampshire." Well, readers of this blog will readily recognize those clues. This is a Porter Blanchard, for sure.


The label on another Porter Blanchard drum:
Porter Blanchard drums have been the subject of a previous posting in this blog at "Civil War or Earlier "Porter Blanchard" of Concord, New Hampshire" And there can be seen a small photo of a label that looks like it might be the same vintage as the label in this drum.

"Bass and Tenor Drums / Ebony Drum-sticks / B and C FIFES / Manufactured / and For Sale / by / Porter Blancard. / A few rods north of the State-House / Concord New Hamshire.

That label is from another Porter Blanchard drum described at eBay #220210748329. That drum, reported to be 16" diam. x 18" tall, sold at eBay auction March 16, 2008 for $786.00 to ebayer "horncollector", a collector and dealer in brass instruments with 1001 eBay evaluations under his belt. See horncollector's webpage.

Chalk Markings Inside Shell:
The auctioneer also reports two appearances of chalk numbers "41". Just a guess here, but when I was in Basel two years ago, I learned that Swiss drums come in several sizes, including 41, 42 and 45 cm in diameter. Is it possible that Porter Blanchard was using the metric system in 1841? Note that 41 centimeters @ 2.54 cm/in. is 16.14 inches. The auctioneer reports the diameter as 16.5 inches (let's assume that is the counterhoops' outer diameter). Assuming counterhoops were 3/8" in thickness, that would be twice 3/8 or .75 inches, plus 16.14 inches equals 16.89 inches. Add a slight clearance and we have a Bingo at 17 inches. But the auctioneer reports only 16.5 inches. The George Castanza answer is "shrinkage; what, you never heard of shrinkage?"

Auctioneer's Comments:
"THE WOOD DRUM BODY AND UPPER AND LOWER DRUMHEAD RIMS ARE IN SOLID SHAPE, AS IS THE UPPER CALFSKIN DRUMHEAD. SEVERAL OF THE SNARE CORDS ON THE SIDES HAVE BEEN REPLACED AND REPAIRED AT SOMETIME IN IT'S LONG HISTORY, AS HAVE SOME OF THE LEATHER TIGHTNING STRAPS ON THE SNARES. A HANGER STRAP OF WHITE AND BLUE CORD FABRIC IS ATTACHED TO TWO SNARES WITH A LEATHER BUCKLE & STRAP. THIS FABRIC HANGER STRAP HAS BEEN TORN AND IS CLOSED WITH AN OLD SAFTY PIN. VERY SIMILAR SNARE DRUMS CAN BE SEEN IN SHAW'S "THE CIVIL WAR CATALOG" Pg. 153. THE CONSIGNER ADVISES THAT THIS DRUM WAS IN THE POSSESSION OF THEIR LONG DECEASED PARENTS FOR MANY YEARS AND HAS BEEN RESIDING IN AN ATTIC FOR MANY MANY MORE!"




A Restored Porter Blanchard Drum:
James D. Julia auctioned this beauty, restored by Bill Reamer of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for a reported $230 (including the buyer's premium; I could not determine the date of sale). Yikes, someone got a buy!


"PRE-CIVIL WAR NEW HAMPSHIRE ROPE-TENSION SNARE DRUM. This is a very nice, orig, late 1850s-style, American, plain-sided, maple, rope-tension snare drum with an orig affixed label for a well-known Concord, NH manufacturer. Drum is 17-1/4” tall x 16-1/2” wide. There are no decorations painted or otherwise applied to the exterior of the drum shell. It has bright red drum hoops. Drum has on orig period label fixed to the interior of the drum shell body that has been covered with a clear, acid-free sheet as part of the restoration/preservative process. Period printed label reads, “Bass & Tenor Drums / Ebony Drum-Sticks / B & C Fifes / Manufactured / and for sale by / Porter Blanchard / Concord, New-Hampshire”. This drum was restored (new antiqued ropes and leather tighteners, repainted orig hoops) by William Reamer of Lancaster, PA, in 2004, and is marked as such on the interior. This drum would add charm and display very nicely in any living space or gun/collection room. CONDITION: Good. 4-32932 JS267 (700-1,000)"

More Interesting Stuff on Porter Blanchard:
Porter Blanchard, b. 16 Aug 1788, d. 25 May 1871; m. Ann Stickney Souther, per "History & Geneology, Merrimack, Hillsborough County, N.H." The date of Porter's marriage to Ann appears to have been 4 Nov 1810, per "History of an American Family.

According to Sherry Gould posting to rootsweb, Porter Blanchard "...furnished drums and fifes for the militia in New Hampshire as found in old record books in the Adjunct General Archives office in Concord, NH from an account book dated July 20, 1835 - 1836; pg 89. There were several other entries; I only copied this one where he furnished 78 drums at $5.00 each for $390.00 and 78 fifes @ .75 each for $58.50."

Yet More Interesting Stuff:
Blanchard butter-worker, The
Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc., The, Sep 2003 by Hall, Elton W.

The Blanchard Butter Churn:
"This is an example of a Blanchard butter churn. It was made by Porter Blanchard's Sons Company. Porter Blanchard was a craftsman in Concord, New Hampshire who started in business in 1818. His sons, George and Charles, joined him in the business and then Porter passed away in 1871. George and Charles continued the company under the name Porter Blanchard's Sons. On June 4, 1878 George was granted a patent for this butter churn. The patent dealt with the design of the dasher blades. In the patent papers George said his patent was for an improvement in the well-known Blanchard churn. He implied that the Blanchard churn had already been available for sale and well accepted. In fact an 1876 catalog of the International Exhibition in Philadelphia had a claim that the celebrated Blanchard churn had been proved for over a quarter of a century and over 100,000 were in successful operation." Doug & Linda's Dairy Antique Site. More than 100,000! I guess the Blanchards didn't need to make drums any more.


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