My newest snare drum is a bit of a quirky one from 1970s Poland (Iron Curtain era). I got this drum from a European collector named Marek Piotrowski.
This drum has an interesting vibe/mojo to it in that it was produced in Poland by the Polmuz Musical Instrument Company, a government owned musical instruments manufacturer.
Here’s what Marek had to say about this drum:
“I have an interesting snare drum: it is 5" x 14" bare brass shell and hoops. It was made in 1970's in Poland by Polmuz - government owned musical instruments manufacturer. Best to my knowledge it is a prototype drum. I got it from a guy who used work for Polmuz as a brass wind instruments maker. He acquired it when they were closing in 1990's. As you can see the lugs look similar to Ludwig Imperial lugs. Hoops look like a copy of Slingerland hoops. I've never seen a drum like this before - being a user of Polmuz in 1970 myself. No Polmuz stamp/markings on the drum - that again makes me think it was a prototype drum. The condition is very good. It still has original Ever Play /Premier/ made in England heads and New Era made in England wires. Polmuz was working with Premier back than. Let me know if a piece of rock hardware from behind the Iron Curtain will be of interest to you. The full name of the company is Polmuz Warsaw Wind and Percussion Instruments Factory founded 1953 Made in Poland.
I also consulted with my good friend Emmanuel of olDrums Vintage & Custom.
Here’s what Emmanuel had to say about this drum:
“I don't know very well this brand, probably a confidential and rare production because it was behind the "iron curtain"... After some research on the net, I did not find this snare drum model... Find some Polmuz wood snare, some Polmuz metal snare but no Polmuz brass snare... And without badge, it's maybe really a prototype... then very rare ! ! Good deal ;)
olDrums Vintage & Custom
The 5 x 14 heavy brass shell looks raw and “prototype-ish”. The bearing edges are “rolled” over but not tucked back and soldered as we would see on an American heavy brass shell drum. I wanted to keep the “Iron Curtain” mojo intact so I left the shell as is and just cleaned it with Simple Green and a light coat of lemon oil. There is no badge or manufacturer’s marking on the shell but there is an “air hole/vent” just left of the strainer that may have been drilled for a badge but at this time I’ll just call it an “air hole/vent”.
A few interesting things here with the hardware. First off is the nickel plated hardware that you normally would not see on a 1970s drum, maybe that was how they did things in Communist Poland in the 1970s. The 8 hole top and bottom triple flange rims are raw brass and in the style of Slingerland’s Stick Saver rims. The tension rods are nickel plated with hex heads similar to what you would see on a 1930s Leedy & Strupe snare drum. The 8 nickel plated lugs are of a style similar to Ludwig’s Imperial lugs with the slight difference being that the inserts are not flush with the lug casings. The nickel plated strainer and butt plate resemble a crude Ludwig P-83 and generic Ludwig butt plate . The nickel plated tone control has green felt and resembles a 1960s Ludwig Base Ball Bat tone control but with a much bigger “bat”. All of the attachment screws and nuts are metric. I left the rims alone as I did with the shell but I did clean and polish all of the nickel plated parts.
As Marek mentioned above Polmuz was working with Premier at the time so I used the Premier Ever Play heads and Premier 20 strand New Era snares that came with the drum.
I like quirky, unusual snare drums. While this drum would not be considered a high end drum it certainly has an interesting vibe/mojo to it that attracted my interest. It’s an Iron Curtain artifact from a very troubled time in the world.