Vintage snare side heads

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Before Remo Weatherking plastic heads were invented in the 50's...what did drummers use for the bottom snare side?

I'm guessing calf but was it as thick as the batter side?

I have a calf head on one of my snare batters and it made me realize that I never considered what pre 50's drummers used for snare side heads.
 
Before Remo Weatherking plastic heads were invented in the 50's...what did drummers use for the bottom snare side?

I'm guessing calf but was it as thick as the batter side?

I have a calf head on one of my snare batters and it made me realize that I never considered what pre 50's drummers used for snare side heads.
They used what was referred to as "slunk" which was the (afterbirth) skin of an unborn calf. It was thinner than the standard batter head made of calf. These were very prone to over streatching, and thus the rim could potentially crush the snare wires where they pass through the gates of the bottom rim.For the longest time I held onto the calf heads my dad used, top and bottom, on his ca 1950 WFL Ray McKinley snare, but don't think I still have them.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
They used what was referred to as "slunk" which was the (afterbirth) skin of an unborn calf. It was thinner than the standard batter head made of calf. These were very prone to over streatching, and thus could potentially crush the snare wires where they pass through the gates of the bottom rim.For the longest time I held onto the calf heads my dad used, top and bottom, on his ca 1950 WFL Ray McKinley snare, but don't think I still have them.
Question. How can you have an afterbirth of something that is unborn? The afterbirth is the placenta, which only comes out after delivery of the animal. Did you mean stillborn calf possibly?
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
We use to go to a local abattoir to get fetal calf umbilical arteries, and other arteries for research purposes. They abort pregnant moms (some near term others younger) and drain the fetal calves of fetal serum and that is sold for tissue culture purposes, other tissues sold as a source for fetal derived cell lines, the fetal skin is used as a source of type I and III collagen, and now I find they make drum heads from them too. I imagine it's thinner for sure. On certain days they "render" everything that isn't used so cook it to death I gather but whatever is smells godawful for miles around on days they do so.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
They used what was referred to as "slunk" which was the (afterbirth) skin of an unborn calf. It was thinner than the standard batter head made of calf. These were very prone to over streatching, and thus could potentially crush the snare wires where they pass through the gates of the bottom rim.For the longest time I held onto the calf heads my dad used, top and bottom, on his ca 1950 WFL Ray McKinley snare, but don't think I still have them.
Wow what a great answer. I had no idea. I wonder if I can still get some.
Slunk. I have to think of some clever way to use that as an inside verbal dig.
Definitely needs to be in the Drummerworld dictionary.

We use to go to a local abattoir to get fetal calf umbilical arteries, and other arteries for research purposes. They abort pregnant moms (some near term others younger) and drain the fetal calves of fetal serum and that is sold for tissue culture purposes, other tissues sold as a source for fetal derived cell lines, the fetal skin is used as a source of type I and III collagen, and now I find they make drum heads from them too. I imagine it's thinner for sure. On certain days they "render" everything that isn't used so cook it to death I gather but whatever is smells godawful for miles around on days they do so.
Thanks Art for the TMI once again. I stand in awe at the myriad of wonders that goes on in that one of a kind brain of yours.
Like you, I enjoy going to my local abattoir too. I mean there's one on every corner practically.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I wonder if slunk is still available for purchase.

I'll have to mosey on down to my local abattoir to see if he has any.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Thanks Art for the TMI once again. I stand in awe at the myriad of wonders that goes on in that one of a kind brain of yours.
Like you, I enjoy going to my local abattoir too. I mean there's one on every corner practically.
Hahaha. Science is so awesome and fun-I've been fortunate to have some really neat experiences. I stand in awe of the great minds I've met-really changed how I look at things. It was an experience at the slaughterhouse Larry. All the folks had on white coats (covered in blood), hair knits and branded big knives-and the owner warned many were ex-felons which I didn't know how to take that warning (technically I'm an ex-felon-long story). I applauded the man for hiring ex-felons-often they don't get a brake. Everybody was nice to me-but everyone felt a good policy to have females go with a male to. We had more issue with creepy med students hanging around the lab hitting on female lab techs than the fearful felons LOL.
Larry I only sound "intelligent" on paper-if you met me in person you'd think I was Southern uneducated and a wild and crazy guy. I only geek out on science/biology related topics-because I'm an educated idiot (you can't go to college long as I did without something rubbing off). It is either the best of both worlds or a handicap LOL.
 
I think I got more than I bargained for when I decided to answer Larry question. LOL. But I believe I first read about that in Mr Ludwig's memoir, how he and Bud Slingerland would race down to the slaughter yards to get the best drum head materials.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Oh man when I was in the Heart Development Group we visited the "Chicken factory" where we would buy a over a thousand fertilized eggs for research -everybody had to attend egg washing day-with long tables we would sterilize them and place in our incubators. A friend of mine used baby piglets for metabolism research-he was a neonatologist. We had a famous eye researcher at the college who used rabbits and PETA would terrorize lab techs, slash tires, they are crazy. No rabbits were harmed-it was anterior chamber of eye research and all ethically done. Dogs are one the greatest genetic models for human disease we have but that's practically forbidden now-as primates out of vogue.
 
From the Urban Dictionary to muddy the waters:

slunk
Slunks are underage calves trailing afterbirths and bacteria, generally in unsanitary and unfit condition. A calf may not be sold as food until it reaches a minimum age of six weeks. Prior to that time it is classified as a slunk.
Slunk trafficking is subject to a heavy penalty.
[/

As someone said earlier PETA was not around thankfully in those days, could you imagine which ones would have sounded like?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Oh man when I was in the Heart Development Group we visited the "Chicken factory" where we would buy a over a thousand fertilized eggs for research -everybody had to attend egg washing day-with long tables we would sterilize them and place in our incubators.
I feel for ya Art. After Georgia, Arkansas is the biggest chicken producer in the US. I am literally within 50 miles of probably 10 chicken plants, and who knows how many chicken farms. Tyson is HQ'd here. The city of Springdale has a permanent stench from the plants. Chicken trucks (live birds) are as common as trees. The game here is don't get stuck behind one. It's the worst smell in the world you can't get away from.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Poor chickens. The ultimate insult is for chickens to dunked in the liquified remains of their unborn chicks and breaded and fried.

I feel so unclean now.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I wonder if slunk is still available for purchase.

I'll have to mosey on down to my local abattoir to see if he has any.
You can buy slunk heads from Stern Tanning. Personally, I use regular calf/kangaroo heads on top and bottom, with no problem.
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I wonder why calf-supposedly djembe were originally made from some extinct species I think. Wonder why skin? The big ligament (ligamentum nuchae) of the back of neck of horses and cows is mostly made of elastin so very elastic-like you can blow up a preserved sheep lung pluck ( that is also elastic) and it acts like a balloon cause so elastic. Elastin is inert so you can’t fix/preserve it generally ( one paper said Clorox but I’m like WTH?) I guess they tried thst snd too bouncy. Yes but what if two ply calf skin/nuchae composite head. The elastic side would increase longevity of head and dents spring back. Need calf super thin and you could experiment with the orientation of nuchae. I can preserve the skin I took an online taxidermy course when I was a kid - liked doing birds made forms out of woodwool bought eyes . It was a hobby for a bit- I gave them all away. A duck and quail came out super good I wish I kept. But anyways, I digress, I bet the secret will be adding a little nuchae to the head to give it more resilience and a longer lived head.
 
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