The history of Rogers begins in 1849, when Joseph Rogers, an Irish immigrant, moves from Dublin to the United States and begins with the production of skins, but it is only in 1930 that Joseph’s son begins to assemble batteries, using drums and hardware of other companies and mounting family furs.
In 1953 the grandson of Joseph Rogers, Cleveland, having no heirs, decides to sell the company to Henry Grossman who moved it to Covington, Ohio. Under his leadership, Rogers sees his popularity increase greatly, thanks also to designer Joe Thompson and marketing guru Ben Strauss. In this period the greatest drummers want to use the Rogers and therefore the popularity of this brand embraces various musical genres, from Dixieland to classic rock, from big bands to swing.
The “Dyna-Sonic” snare drum is very famous and has brought important innovations with it, especially in the tailpiece and in the wire-tie system. These innovations were fundamental for the evolution of the sound of the snare drum, which in this way can have a very clear and sharp sound.
These snares were produced from the early 1960s until the mid-1980s and are made with COB (chrome over brass) drums. Only some specimens (about 3,000) were made with wooden drums and are those that are still highly sought after by collectors. Other noteworthy models were the Power tone snare drums and the toms and cases of the Holiday model. These models are now considered collectors, as are the tympanums made of fiberglass from the Accu-Sonic series.
The company was purchased in 1966 by CBS who had recently acquired the Fender guitars and the Rhodes plans.
Rogers was a company that brought a lot of innovation in the field of hardware, in addition to the Dyna-Sonic snare drum, developing the Swiv-o-Matic line of pedals for the case, hi-hats, and cymbals. He also invented the “ball” system for toms support, which guaranteed to position flexibility never seen before. The system has been criticized by many and was even called “Bread and Butter”, meaning “bread and butter” because of its fragility, but the line towards new ways of producing hardware was drawn.
“Roger was the innovator for excellence in the hardware field”
This hardware was so innovative that even the great drummers who used Ludwig like Ringo Starr, John Bonham and Mitch Mitchell used it. Neil Pert used the pedal for the Rogers case despite being a Slingerland and Tama user.
From 1964 until 1975 Rogers produced drums with 3 alternating layers of maple and birch, with reinforcement rings. From 1975 until 1978 the layers passed to 5 and from 1978 even to 8 layers but without reinforcement (made by Keller ) for the XP-8 series. These stems marked the beginning of the period of heavy stems that favored attack and medium tones and are considered by many to be the best Rogers stems ever created.
In 1976 the “Memriloc” mechanics introduced by Dave Donoho and Roy Burns were introduced. They were the first super stable mechanics and were soon copied by all the major battery manufacturers. Due to the growth of the European market, production was also made in the UK under license from Rogers USA using drums of other companies and Rogers hardware.
In 1983 CBS sold Rogers and Fender and battery production stopped. In 1984, after another change of ownership, the Rogers brand was used to produce economical batteries, which were only a reproduction of the most glorious series.
Instead, in 1998 the brand was bought by the Brook Mays Music Company (BMMC) of Dallas, Texas. BMMC starts the production of low-cost batteries using the Taiwanese Peace Drums company. This was considered by many an affront to Rogers’ history, although the success among the very young who wanted a Rogers battery was discreet.
In 2006, after various vicissitudes, the brand is owned by the Yamaha Corporation of America after having purchased it at a bankruptcy auction. The debut at NAMM 2007 of the new Rogers batteries (by Yamaha) was received very negatively by the old Rogers fans. Currently the brand has passed into the hands of Dixon Drums, which has not yet created anything, leaving a great shadow of uncertainty.