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Each month Rhythm Magazine tracks-down and checks-out vintage gear in order to marvel at a bit of drum-making history.
Here we have two kits made by the most intriguing figure in American drumset history. George Way’s name is not known so well as Messrs Ludwig or Gretsch, but his contribution was equally special.
He devoted decades of unparalleled marketing and design service to Leedy, Ludwig and Slingerland, devising the first self-aligning die-cast lug with swivel insert, the first pearl drum coverings, the floating head concept and much more.
He also brought Leedy drums to the UK where its designs were nicked by Carlton, Premier and others during the ’20s and ’30s.
You’ll notice that this kit looks like a DW. That’s because the round Aristocrat or ‘turret’ lug is a George Way design, dating back over 50 years.
By the early ’50s Way was employed by the Conn Corporation, who had merged Leedy and Ludwig. Around 1954, Conn sold off its drum business and Way managed to lease the former Leedy manufacturing plant at Elkhart, Indiana. From 1957 to 1961 he produced small numbers of his own line of quality drums.