Ongoing History Daily: The drummer’s foot pedal

About 175 years ago, people played drums with their hands, often with sticks. Playing with the feet wasn’t really part of the equation. The first mechanisms for playing a drum with the foot first appeared in 1850 but didn’t really catch on until some time later when an American inventor named G.R. Olney came up with a practical solution, which left the drummer’s hand free to do other things.

By the late 19th century, a Chicago company called Ludwig started making the first commercially viable drum pedal. This led to the development of the modern drum kit. That, too, was introduced by Ludwig back in 1918.

Innovations in design and construction continued until the 1960s when the drumkit was more-or-less standardized with a bass drum, a snare, some tom-toms, and cymbals. And it all goes back to G.R. Olney in the 1800s.

Friday’s post was on weird eBay collectibles.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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