- John R. Beck
(b Wintonbury Parrish/Windsor, CT, 1781; d 1855). American maker of military field drums. Eli Brown, along with family members Moses, William, and Benjamin, built rope-tensioned snare and bass drums in Wintonbury Parrish, Connecticut (now Bloomfield) in the early to mid-1800s. Members of the Brown family were coopers (barrel makers) and farmers in addition to being drum builders. Eli’s name appears on the labels of the majority of existing drums, some of which are still played in the 21st century by the Moodus Drum and Fife Corps and the Mattatuck Drum Band, both of Connecticut.
The earliest known Brown drums date from 1809, and 110 instruments have been identified as original Brown drums, dated through 1848. These are owned by private collectors and by museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Music Museum, the Museum of Fife and Drum (Ivoryton, Connecticut), and the West Point Museum. Some drum makers copied Brown drum design, so authentication must be verified by the label inside the drum, viewed through the vent hole....