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UK Vintage Drum Timeline by Mike Ellis



Nice job with the Premier and UK drums timeline !

Well done for something long over due here on this side o' the pond.

Now I'm wondering if you might be willing or able to supplement the timeline with a timeline on Premier/Zyn cymbals...?

They're such an integral and important piece of Premier history.

Like the story of how the British government offered a home and wages to any of their WWII Italian POWs when Premier wanted to hire those Italians who were skilled cymbal smiths from UFIP. Apparently, most of them stayed, and they set up a new cymbal shop for Premier, and made cymbals for a very long time there...

I know Premier made their own cheap spun brass cymbals, just Like Ludwig and Leedy did in the U.S., up until the war. I'm guessing they just stamped their brand name, Premier, onto them.

Then, after the war, when the Italians went to work in Premier's newly rebuilt cymbal shop, they put out some rather nice hand-made (B20 bell bronze) cymbals under the Premier brand. Soon after came the Zyn brand, starting in 1950. Most of them were made of nickel-silver (NS12 alloy) I believe...

But in which year did the Super Zyn brand begin...? They were B20, I think.

Then came the Standard Zyn (stamped that way to distinguish them from the Super Zyns?) as a mid-level NS12 cymbal...? What year did they start stamping them Standard Zyn...?

In 1968, Premier launched the 5 Star Super Zyn B20 bell bronze hand-hammered line, which even today are considered comparable to Avedis Zildjians.

Then came the Krut brand (1960s?), which were then renamed as 2 Star Zyn in the 1970s...?

It can seem a little tricky trying to figure out which cymbals appeared in which years, and what their alloys were.... Even more confusing when you try to figure in the stencil brands for Beverly, Ajax, and probably a few others.

Hell of a challenge, a Zyn timeline, but one I believe would be well worth the effort.

Food for thought, my good brothers !

Dig it !

-- Beatnikjazz --

An English cymbal timeline is much needed, if only to beef up the acclaim of these much maligned cymbals. Here are a few observations. All of the Kruts I have encountered seem to be identical to the Zyns I have encountered.The material seems to be Nickel Silver, there are several weights and two distinct profiles----one a more classic bell and arc,which from a distance resemble an A. Zildjian and another with a more pointy bell and sharply declining arc which resembles a chinese hat. The two shapes have markedly different sound----the latter having a more Chinese light gongy sound. All were extensively machine hammered. Beverley cymbals seem to be identical as well but I have recently seen what appear to be hand hammered Beverley's with smaller mounting holes.Did they produce their own line of cymbals prior to the Della Porta purchase?

To turn to Ajax. These seem so different in all ways, that it is hard to believe that they came from the same factory. Ajax had a large and in the 22and 24" sizes an enormous bell with a big floppy arc that curves up and down from the bell. Ajax cymbals despite the silver colour of the alloy are much more prone to denting and bending in use. I have an 18" light from the 50's that I have played since 1967 and it looks to be hand hammered but I can reveal to you its secret======it is stick hammered. Ajax sound completely different than Krut and Zyn---they have a fuller crescendo and in the heavier weights they ride dark and brilliant at the same time ----kinda like a K. They also appeared on the market with the name of Gordon on them but in all other appearances were an Ajax. I also have come across an old (probably 50's) bronze hand hammered Ajax.Standard Ajax and Gordon cymbals were not hammered at all----they appear to be spinnings from sheet alloy. I guess the question is ---is there authoratative verification that they were made in the Zyn workshop?

I have both Super Zyn and 5 star Zyn. Although they are both clearly B-20 and hand hammered with a profile and sound reminiscent of A. Zildjians---it does seem that there was a change somewhere. The 5 star is a more modern cymbal---brighter and more cutting----I guess , the super-zyns were more K- like.

Zyns have been reintroduced as hand hammered B-20'S made in China. By all accounts ,they are very good ,especially for the price. Not sure if these qualify as English cymbals. The last Zyns I saw new at retail and actually bought were a pair of 6" 2 star high hats. They are actually quite lovely. Premier still listed Zyn's(I think made by Paiste) in their catalogue in 1999 here in Canada.

Posted on 13 years ago

hey, i have a 60s premier kit ( not sure of exact date as there are no serial numbers) could be as early as 61 to 68 i think, its a mahogany duroplastic finish in good condition, i know ringo star had one of these kits when he first joined the beatles as there are pictures of him playing it, i have the throne and 1 flush base cymbal stand but no hi-hat stand or cymbals, all hoops and lugs are in good condition and dampners inside toms and snare are all in tact and working. im just wondering if u knew anymore about the date of this kit and how much it might be worth and also how much it would cost to get it back to its full former glory. all help would be greatly appreciated.

reguards. rob

Posted on 13 years ago


I think Hayman is about to be relaunched in the UK site is under construction go to

back in 1976 after i just bought my pearl fiberglass drums i was at a company christmas party and alot of the workers got together and made up a band to play at the party and the drummer had a set of haymans nice set what craftsmanship even though my drums were new his were so far higher quality and yet they were from the 60,s i never got a invite to play cause they thought i was just a bull**** artis but later after that party and spring time came i showed them a picture of me behind my drums and they took a second look and relized it was me too bad they were a bunch of jerks i would have loved to try his out .

Posted on 13 years ago

any infos about 1982 Melanie drums ? Just bought 10" 12" 14" 16" in good shape. How long did the factory last ???? Help2

Thanks for the answer

Posted on 10 years ago
Posts: 2433 Threads: 483

Anyone here able to shed a little light on Shaftesbury drums from the Rose Morris Co?...I have a 3 pc and the shells are painted a light grey inside, not sure why or with what. I,ve been told they are mahogany shells but its hard to tell...Were these a pro kit for the time, they seem very sturdy....I also need a slotted key for the tension rods as a Sonor does not fit...thx

Hit like you mean it!!
Posted on 10 years ago

Shaftsbury drums were made by Rose-Morris, essentially they were rebadged RM Drums introduced in 1970 which continued until about 1976 when Rose Morris acquired the distribution rights for Ludwig drums and drum production was finally discontinued. Rose Morris were also UK distributors for Zildjian cymbals around this time.

Sadly, when the factory finally closed, the remaining inventory was destroyed along with the tooling and many finished but unsold drums were simply dumped. Rose Morris still operate their music store at Denmark Street in London.
Premier spare parts
Posted on 10 years ago


any infos about 1982 Melanie drums ? Just bought 10" 12" 14" 16" in good shape. How long did the factory last ???? Help2

Thanks for the answer

Well there really isn't anything at all about Melanie Drums I can find even for They did exist because I remember them on sale looking like flying saucers. I seem to recall them being made in Croydon south London but they came and vanished leaving no trace in the 1980s..

Posted on 9 years ago

This is my first ever Post and was wondering if someone can tell me the age and Model of my Premier kit?

I have serial # 62134-Tom, #68609-tom, #61478-tom, #64231-bass, #62830-snare

Thanks so much for any help

Posted on 8 years ago


Just thought I'd add my 2p worth - when I was a lad my dad used to work for the BBC and was in charge of scenery and ( oddly ) getting drums in for ToTP in those days - all the kits were supplied/loaned by Len Hunt.

I was lucky enough to get to spend a day in the LW Hunt Drum Factory thanks to my dad - and the great man himself gave me a pair of Hi Hat cymbals as a gift at the end of the day. Never forgotten it - great characters all of them.

Posted on 8 years ago
Posts: 6287 Threads: 375


Well there really isn't anything at all about Melanie Drums I can find even for They did exist because I remember them on sale looking like flying saucers. I seem to recall them being made in Croydon south London but they came and vanished leaving no trace in the 1980s..

The second item listed when I Googled was this article from Mike Dolbear


Posted on 8 years ago