A brief look at the History of Stewart Drums


To fully understand the past and present of Stewart Drums, you have to have a good understanding of the who, what, when, where and why of all MIJ (Made in Japan) Kits.

Matthew & Carmen Sorge brought Stewart Drums to life again in 2015 with a new image and outlook. Registered as a business with trademarks in Canada, we believe in the modo of “Same Name, Same Integrity”. Our name and our integrity remains the same and is on par with the offering of the early to mid-1960’s. 1960’s Stewart drums in particular were made with the badge bearing the slogan “World’s Supreme Quality”, we stand by this today and believe it to be true. We are offering Vintage Drum Restoration as well as Modern Drum Manufacturing, which encompasses a wide variety of service including, but certainly not limited to, drum restoration, re-wrapping services, disassembly and reassembly of complete kits and/or individual drums of which polishing hardware and wrap is done, tuning, etc.

Pearl Drums History

Pearl was founded by Katsumi Yanagisawa – who began manufacturing music stands in Sumida, Tokyo – on April 2, 1946. In 1950, Yanagisawa shifted his focus to the manufacturing of drums and named his company “Pearl Industry, Ltd.” By 1953, the company’s name had been changed to “Pearl Musical Instrument Company,” and manufacturing had expanded to include drum kits, marching drums, timpani, Latin percussion instruments, cymbals, stands, and accessories.

Yanagisawa’s eldest son, Mitsuo, joined Pearl in 1957 and formed a division to export Pearl products worldwide. To meet increasing worldwide demand for drum kits following the advent of rock and roll music, in 1961 Pearl built a 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m2) factory in Chiba, Japan to produce inexpensive drum kits that bore the brand names of more than thirty distributors such as Maxwin, CB-700, Stewart, Werco, Ideal, Crest, Revelle, Revere, Lyra, Majestic, Whitehall, Apollo, Toreador, Roxy, and Coronet.

Construction

Pearl has made shells for more than 30 companies. In the 1960s, they ceased making shells for other companies, and began manufacturing drums under their own name and used the Pearl logo for the first time.

Their construction technique is known as SST or “Superior Shell Technology.” All Pearl drums feature this construction. Each ply is placed into a cylinder, and pressure is applied from both sides. While in the press, the shell is heated to bring the glue to a boil, thus forcing it through the wood grain and fusing the shells very tightly. The individual plies are scarf jointed, and all the seams are offset, resulting in a “seamless” drum (Pearl demonstrates the strength by parking a Humvee with its tire on a tom shell). This creates a drum shell of incredible strength.

During the sixties, there were many Japanese drum kits, most of them very similar except the brand tag which was specified by the importer. There were two major Japanese manufacturers, which eventually became Pearl and Tama.