William F. Ludwig wanted to play drums at age 8 after seeing the First Regiment Illinois National Guard drum corps.
His father said he was allowed to play the drums as long as he took violin lessons too.
Excitement turned to disappointment when he found out he would be using a practice pad and practicing rudiments. Rudiments are basic rhythmic patterns every drummer needs to know.
In 1893, William auditioned for a 12 piece orchestra that would be an attraction at the World’s Fair in Chicago. • He did not get the job. He was disappointed and embarrassed but he didn’t give up! • He vowed to practice harder than ever!
Ludwig was inspired by Sousa drummers and began timpani lessons. • He played in the Chicago Marine band.
Ludwig made changes to foot pedals and built rough models. • Word spread that he made an innovative, new pedal. • Requests were being made for him to make them.
He opened up a drum shop called Ludwig & Ludwig with his brother, Theobold. • In 1909, William had a patent for his “drum and cymbal playing apparatus.”
In 1911, he added at first all metal, separate tension snare drum to the product line.
1913: Introduced the first pedal tuned timpani drums in America. 1923: Ludwig was the largest drum factory in the world. 1933: The Ludwig Parade Drum became the official drum for the Boys Scouts of America.
Ludwig began experimenting with plastic, which became more popular after World War II.