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Premier Olympic history

Information will be added to the site as time goes on and if you own Olympics, have photographs, catalogues or stories please Email me via the contact page and we will add it to the site. 

More detailed history of Olympic drums will become available within each decade page when the answers to the many questions we have are known.

A Brief History

The Premier drum Company started life way back in 1922 by Albert Della-Porta and George J. Smith in London England. The Olympic line however did not arrive until 1937 by which time Premier were doing well and the Olympics became the first step on the ladder to hopefully owning a shining new Premier set.

The first Olympic drums sported lacquer finishes and the cheaper nickel plating on a choice of separate or single tension lugs. The Olympic snare which did receive chroming was in fact the renamed Premier Popular model which had six tube style lugs similar to ones used by drum makers today. Snare drums did not have badges but the name was stamped on the straight hoop.

It wasn't long before the second world war took hold in Sept 1939 and Premier began making gun-sights for the artillery. During the blitz of 1940 the Premier factory was destroyed and the government moved the company to the safety of Leicester, England. After the war when rationing was still in force the first drums made around 1947 only came in either black or white and a snare drum was available in only one size. I don't think any Olympics were made during the 40's, however if anything new is known it will be added to the 1940's page. Things slowly started getting back to normal during the 1950's and Olympic range began its comeback giving young drummers a great start to their musical careers while craving for that new Premier kit in one of the many finishes which were now available.

By the time the swinging 60's came along music had changed big time and a certain group called The Beatles made hundreds of youngsters determined to become guitarists or drummers and Premier battled for sales of kits along with the other British manufacturers at the time namely Carlton with their Gigster kit, John Grey with the Broadway kit and Ajax with their Edgeware and Stratford drums. Premier had their own line along with Olympics and also built Beverley drums during this boom time, mind you if Ringo had stayed with Premier instead of moving over to Ludwig it could have been a different story today.

Olympic moved on into the 70's and throughout the decade hardware was improved to cope with the louder music and drummers playing harder. A wide range of drums, kits and finishes were available and a great deal of these kits must have been sold as they still keep cropping up on the second-hand market today. A range called Super Olympic was introduced and had the full compliment of lugs etc unlike its little brother.

The Olympic line did well all over the world with America being a large market and this resulted in drums and finishes being available which were not to be had here in the UK. More details of this is in the USA page.
Sadly the Olympic name disappeared at the end of the decade to be to be replaced by the Premier Club range. 

During the 90's a kit of Taiwanese origin was badged Olympic by Premier but is similar to a number of kits with different brand names which are targeted at beginners. These kits are still available today.

 

Thanks, DRUMDMC