Friday, June 17, 2016

Progress Update, June 17, 2016

More shelf space has been added (eight additional 3' by 7' bookcases and two 18" by 12' shelves) for small drum and book storage. Additional drums have been relocated from the attic of building 14 to the archive space in building 15, with many, many more to move. Some of the old kegs and crates of drum parts are also being moved to the archive space for preservation and display purposes. Next steps include opening up additional space on the 3rd floor of building 15, at which point the entire floor will be occupied by NCCHP's Archives and Research Library.

Building 15 at 42 Water Street, Granville, MA., home of the NCCHP Research Library

Some of the additional bookcases brought in today.
A crate of toy ukulele necks, kegs of old drum parts, and a Dictaphone.
You never know what you'll find in the Research Library.
Ba-da-bing, ba-da BOOM!
Two new shelves added above file cabinets, pine boards 18" wide by 12' long.
Building 14, June 17, 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

NCCHP Research Library Welcomes First Researcher

Recently Bob Watrous, a leading expert in bell toys (known in collector circles as the Belltoyboy), became the first researcher to visit the new NCCHP Research Library. Bob wrote an excellent overview of his visit, along with many pictures of rarely seen corners of the Noble & Cooley facility in Granville. His report is posted on Facebook and you can view it by CLICKING HERE.

Although the Research Library remains a work in progress with a great deal of work remaining to collect and organize the extensive Noble & Cooley archives, we were pleased to welcome Bob and open the archives for his research (the NCCHP Research Library is open by appointment only).

Bob is an avid toy collector. His particular expertise is in bell toys, as evidenced by his excellent web site at and Facebook page,
 How was the visit? More fun than a barrel of bells!


Friday, June 3, 2016

Noble & Cooley "Peace Drum"

Today's post is a test of music festival knowledge:

Name this famous music festival based on the following clues:

It was a multi-day festival held in the northeast U.S.; many famous performers of the era appeared at the festival; the event theme was all about peace, harmony and music; the theme was an intentional statement about the terrible cost of war; the event was completely sold out; it was the world's largest music festival up to that time; "The Star Spangled Banner" was performed in a unique manner; the event included a Noble & Cooley drum with "Let Us Have Peace" painted on both sides; and, if you don't have a guess yet, here's the giveaway clue: the event occurred in '69.

If you are saying, "Woodstock! But that was way too easy so it must be a trick question" you're both wrong and right. Woodstock, wrong. Trick question? Right! 100 years before Woodstock there was the National Peace Jubilee. And it was even more spectacular in many ways.

Noble & Cooley created a massive 8' diameter drum for the National Peace Jubilee held at the new Boston Coliseum in June, 1869. The massive coliseum had been constructed specifically for the event. The purpose of the Peace Jubilee was described in the event's program as "the restoration of peace and union throughout the land" in the wake of the devastating Civil War. The program goes on to say, "It will be the greatest feast of sublime and inspiring harmony that has ever been heard in any part of the world."

As for the unique performance of "The Star Spangled Banner," in 1869 it was performed at the National Peace Jubilee by a massive chorus of over 10,000 singers. 100 years later it was performed at Woodstock by one man- Jimi Hendrix. Both performances unique in their own way, but they could not have been more different from each other.

The following Library of Congress stereopticon image shows the Noble & Cooley Peace Drum in the Coliseum hall. Each side of the drum reads, "Let Us Have Peace."

From Library of Congress digital collection
How was the great drum received in Boston? The following is from "History of the National Peace Jubilee and Great Music Festival" by event organizer P.S. Gilmore:

"A bass-drum 'as was a bass-drum,' manufactured by Messrs. Noble and Cooley, Granville Corners, Massachusetts, was one of the curiosities which big as well as little folks gazed upon with astonishment. The heads of this huge instrument were made from the hides of 'prize' cattle, and measured eight feet in diameter, while the shell was twenty-five feet in circumference. It was painted, ornamented, and put together in the most artistic style, and bore the appropriate motto, 'Let Us Have Peace.'

From the moment this great-grandfather of a bass-drum was taken from the manufactory and placed on a platform-car for Boston, its advent was noisy and demonstrative. All along the line crowds gathered to see the 'elephant.' Its arrival in the city and exhibit at the store of Bent and Bush was the 'talk of the town' for many days, and there was scarcely a newspaper-man in the country who did not have a whang at it."

As amazing as the Noble & Cooley Peace Drum is,
 take a look at the person in the upper right corner of the photo.
(from the Boston Public Library DPLA collection)

For more information on the 1869 National Peace Jubilee go to:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Time For A Drum Break

For those who need a break from history- a demonstration of the Noble & Cooley Classic Birch Snare.