Reference Entry

Ludwig

Edmund A. Bowles

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.42869

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American firm of instrument makers. William F. Ludwig (i) (b Nenderoth, 15 July 1879; d Chicago, 14 June 1973) left Germany for Chicago as a boy, and in 1909 founded Ludwig & Ludwig with his brother Theobald (1888–1917). Their first product was a foot-pedal for trap drums. Having played hand-tuned kettledrums in the Pittsburgh Orchestra, Ludwig decided to build his own pedal timpani. With his brother-in-law, the engineer Robert C. Danly, he designed a model, patented in 1913, with a hydraulic pump and an expandable rubber tube filled with water which pressed a hoop against the membrane from inside the kettle for rapid tuning. An improved model with flexible tuning cables operated by a foot-pedal with self-locking device was patented in 1920. The ‘Natural Way Balanced Action’ timpani (patented 1923) made use of a compression spring for tension balance to hold the pedal in place. The firm expanded and made quantities of drum kits and sound-effect instruments for the flourishing silent movie theatres. However, the arrival of talking pictures and the Depression resulted in declining sales, and in ...

Reference Entry.  415 words. 

Subjects: Music

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