An English Rogers Powertone

As far as the catalogues are concerned there never was a UK Powertone.  The word “Powertone” was not mentioned at all in any of the English Rogers catalogues. The first three catalogues do refer to the drums as being “Holiday” models but after that the drums are just "Rogers". 

The snare drums available in the English Rogers catalogues were as follows: 

1961 Catalogue:  There were three snare drums on offer all in the 14”x5” size.  These were: -

-Wood shell – most of these show up made from beech. 

- Metal shell, all chrome 

- Metal shell, brass lacquer

1964 Catalogue: 

The COB Dyna is added to the above.

1965 Catalogue:  Ditto 

1967/8 Catalogue: 

As before except no lacquered brass now available. 

All these drums are relatively rare. 

Rogers USA Powertone flyer

The late Bruce Felter (as seen Rob Cook’s Rogers Book) on the Rogers Owners Forum said that a Powertone was the the name given to changes made to the Holiday shell. The very first advertising and usage of the name “Powertone” was a flyer that came out in late 1962 which showed the “New Holiday with Powertone”. 

Bruce said that, “Powertone, in the beginning was a new design of the Holiday shell. It was the new sharper bearing edge, but most importantly was the new wide and gradual snare beds, that gave the drum better snare response all over the head, and a larger tuning range”. 

Rogers USA Powertone
An early Rogers USA COB Powertone (6" shell)
A drum which I have seen referred to on a couple of occasions as the English Powertone is this one opposite.  This drum has B&B lugs, tall hoops and a clockface throw. There is no beading in the shell as one would expect of a Powertone. In the English Rogers catalogues this drum is refered to as “Metal shell – all chrome”, and has deep snare beds. This drum has more in common with the American COB Holiday snare drum than it does with a COB Powertone.
English Roger snare drum
English Rogers Metal shell - all chrome snare drum (COB)
English Rogers drums powertone

This is a drum that I picked up on ebay in 2011. The seller had found it in a car boot sale a year earlier along with a childs drum kit.

It uses the same shell type as the Metal shell - all chrome snare drum. The same shell was used by Ajax for their COB snares and is found with both bullet lugs and the Nu-Sound lugs (Metasonic snare drum). However the shell on the COB Dynasonic is thicker and quite different from these drums.

It has 8 lugs, tall hoops and duel beading in the shell. Externally it looked like everything you expect of a Powertone. The only remaining question was the depth of the snare beds.

English Rogers Powertone (5" shell)
English Rogers powertone
English Rogers snare drum bed
English Rogers Powertone snare bed
English Rogers Metal shell - all chrome snare bed

The bed on the drum that I suspected to be a Powertone is indeed much shallower than the Metal shell - all chrome version. So the drum is everything I would expect to see if they ever made and English Rogers COB Powertone.

When I first received the drum I noticed some sticky residue in exactly the place where I would expect to find a serial number if there had of been one. I emailed the seller and he said that there was a piece of tape loose inside the drum and he had removed it and thrown it away. Luckily he retrieved it and very kindly posted it to me. The tape is now back in place. (The piece of fibre board under the damper is fairly usual as these shells are quite thin.) 


English Rogers snare drum
English Rogers Powertone serial number tape label

The serial number on the tape begins in 79*** which puts the drum at about Oct’63 – when the Rogers Powertone concept was fairly new. It is very unusual that the number is on a piece of tape – never seen that before or since. I suspect that the usual serial number stamp could not be used as there wouldn't be enough space between the beads. So they stamped it on a piece of tape and stuck it on! This problem appears to have been remedied when they started to produce the English Dynasonic about mid 1964.

So all things together I’m thinking this drum might have been a small production run, prototype or made especially for someone. If you have one please let me know.