Harry A. Bower Snare Drum

Harry A. Bower Snare Drum

On Loan from Steven F. Kegler Loan 1-2004

Harry A. Bower had a distinguished career as a performer, author, and instrument builder. He was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and performed throughout the United States as a touring theatrical performer with his wife, Ida Wiggins Bower. In addition, he authored two widely used method books for percussion—The Imperial Method for the Drums, Timpani, Bells, etc. (1899) and The Harry A. Bower System for the Drum, Bells, Xylophone, and Timpani (1911).
This uniquely designed snare drum’s shell is constructed from two semi-circles of wooden composite material, which are joined by two vertical seams with brads. Both the top and bottom of the shell are reinforced with 3/4-inch metal bands, each also serving as the bearing edge for a head. The shell is 7 1/2 inches deep by 14 1/4 inches in diameter, and is painted a glossy black on the outside, with some deterioration of the finish.
The calfskin heads are mounted on prominent flesh hoops. These hoops have a slotted construction with 12 tension rods hooked between the batter and snare heads. The tension rods are joined in the middle by a threaded tube that, when turned by a key, will simultaneously tighten or loosen both heads.
Both the snare strainer and butt plate connect to the flesh hoop, with a metal rod running the full length of the wire snares and a small wooden dowel supporting the snares on the butt-plate end. Snare tension is adjusted by either wingnuts or a knurled knob attached to the metal rod.
Bower holds several patents on the construction of drums and percussion instruments, four of which are used on this snare drum, noted on the nameplate as follows:

Slotted Hoop Pat. Dec. 30, 1919. Pat. Jan. 8, ’18. Pat. Aug. 14, ’17. Pat. Apl’d For Pat. Nov 25th 1919
On the interior of the drum is a paper label with a picture of Bower and the following inscription:

“The Bower Drum
A New Creation Invented and manufactured by the world’s authority on drums and drumming and the author
of The Harry A. Bower System. Pat. Aug. 14, 1917 Pat. Jan 8, 1918. Slotted-Hoop Pat. Dec. 30, 1919. No. 1028. Harry A. Bower. Boston, Mass”