George Way started the Advance
drum company, then joined Leedy in 1921. In 1942 he left Leedy
and established his own shop selling parts before moving to
Slingerland in Chicago 1945. In 1946 he established the
Hollywood Drum Shop in California. Hard times saw him move
Indiana to once again work for the Conn company, in their Leedy
In 1952 George is put in charge of
merging Leedy and Ludwig & Ludwig into one company known as
Leedy & Ludwig. In 1954 Conn decided to get out of the drum
George solicited investors and
formed a corporation named the George Way Drum Company and
purchases the factory formerly operated by Conn's Leedy and
Ludwig Division located at
225 East Jackson St. in Elkhart. Between 1957 and 1959 Way
introduces his famous line of snare drums including the
Aristocrat and Spartan model snare drums plus a full ine of toms
and bass drums.
One of his investors, John Rochon,
owned Camco, a screw machine company in Chicago which supplied
drum hardware to the George Way Drum Company, Rogers and others.
Rochon acquired control of the
George Way drum company and forced George out in 1961.
Soon after, Rochon changed the name of the company to the
Camco Drum Company,
and moved production from Elkhart to Oak Lawn Illinois, where
his screw machine business was located.
George started working at the
Rogers factory on Monday, October 12th, 1961 but it was not a
In 1962 George starts the GHW drum
company. Seven years later on February 21, 1969 George Harrison
Way passes on.
The George Way Drum Company is now
owned by Ronn Dunnett.
Westend drums, the story
In 1914 Justus de Hooge establishes a store for musical
instruments at Westeinde 176 in The Hague, Netherlands. The name
of the firm: J. de Hooge. Almost every kind of musical
instrument can be bought. In 1947 two sons of Justus, Bram en
Just, become co-owners and founder Justus steps back. The new
name of the firm: J. de Hooge & Zonen (J. de Hooge & Sons).
Bram en Just still sell regular
musical instruments but they decide to specialize in drums. The
brothers indeed do repair more and more (mainly English and
American) drums and after a while there is a lot of knowledge
about repairing drums. Soon they decide to sell and repair only
A Dutch professional drummer,
called Tonny Nüsser, sympathizes with Bram and Just and gives
them lots of practical advise. Also because of that the brothers
decide to build a drum kit, fully produced after their wishes
and in 1954 their first hand build drum set is for sale. The
mark: Westend, named after the Westeinde in The Hague.
The first two, three years are
hard, not more than about eight drum sets are being sold, mainly
to jazz drummers. Bram, the technician of the two brothers, is
constantly looking for approvements and that’s why many details
are different, every time they deliver a new build drum kit.
In 1960 Just decides to leave the firm and Bram is on his own
now. Inspite that the name of the firm has never been changed:
J. de Hooge & Zonen.
During the sixties more and more
drummers hear about the high quality of the mark and a lot of
kits are being ordered. Not only to jazz drummers, but to many
rock drummers as well.
Some names of groups, playing on Westend in those years: Dutch
Swing College Band, Q65, Motions, Shocking Blue (Venus, recorded
in 1970) and Golden Earring (Radar Love, recorded in 1973 with
two 26” bass drums).
In the end of the sixties lots of
relatively cheap Japanese drums such as Pearl and Tama reach the
European market. The American marks as Gretsch, Ludwig, Rogers
and Slingerland are expensive (because of the high rate of the
US dollar), but because of expanding income also in the
Netherlands, Westend is already loosing grip on the market.
January 1, 1976, after producing by hand 300 - 400 Westend drum
sets, when Bram de Hooge is 69 years old, the production of this
remarkable Dutch brand is history.
This article is a short cut of the
history of Westend, as can be found on the website (in Dutch
[Source: thanks to Rob van der Werf, Netherlands. email
Dating Westend drums
Logos over time