Our Deagan Resource

Our Deagan Resource serves as a reference cataloguing many of the keyboard percussion instruments manufactured by J. C. Deagan. Many hundreds of different models of an extraordinary variety of Deagan instruments were produced between 1880 and 1984 under various manufacturer names: J. C. Deagan (to 1894), J. C. Deagan Musical Bells (to 1916), J. C. Deagan Musical Bells, Inc. (to 1919), J. C. Deagan, Inc. (to 1977), and J . C. Deagan Div. Slingerland Drum Co. (1977-1984).

In 1984 Deagan was sold to the Yamaha Corporation who owns the name to this day.

The information contained in this resource is primarily from the Deagan "Red Book" in addition to a compilation of Deagan instruments by Hal Trommer, Deagan's Marketing Manager. More information on The History of Deagan can be read in The Mallet Shop Quarterly, issues 1-3, 2004.

Thank you for visiting our site. We hope this information serves as a helpful tool in your research. Please contact us at if you have any questions regarding this information.



John Calhoun Deagan was born November 6, 1851 in Hector, Tompkins County, New York. He was the son of Irish immigrants Michael and Mary Deagan. Shortly after his birth, the Deagan family moved to Syracuse, New York, and later to Youngstown, Ohio, when he was nearing five years old.

The eldest of 10 siblings, J.C. Deagan went to public schools in Youngstown and attended Raines College. He was trained on clarinet and was nationally recognized as an outstanding concert clarinetist by the age of twenty. In 1871, he enlisted in the US Navy and was stationed on the USS Brooklyn. His ship was home ported in England, which allowed him to study music at the University of London. He attended a series of lectures by German physicist, Hermann von Helmholtz, whose principles of acoustics aroused Deagan’s interest in the science of sound. By 1876, Deagan was discharged from the Navy and returned to Youngstown as a carriage painter. He found work as an orchestra leader at Niblo’s Garden and at...

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Deagan produced a large variety of instruments and accessories including mallet percussion instruments, tower chimes, electric operated instruments, breakfast calls, tuning forks, sound effects, pipe organ parts and mallets. The list below comprises 10 Deagan catalogues, A-J, from the 1920's Deagan "Red Book".

Catalogue Label & Contents

Tuning Forks
Musical Bells
Altar Chimes
Orchestra Bells
Electric Musical Instruments
Musical Novelties
Cathedral Chimes
Breakfast Calls
Tone Indicator

The Deagan Range Of

Tone Indicator

As prospective customers for our instruments are always anxious to know what the ranges of our instruments are, beginning with the lowest tone and going up to the highest tone, and where the lowest and highest tones of same are located on the piano keyboard, we have adopted the following method of describing same, so that you may know just exactly from what tone on the piano your instrument starts, and how far same continues.

We have illustrated herewith an 88-note piano keyboard starting with low A and continuing up to high C.

88 Piano Note

We have numbered each key or tone consecutively from one to eighty-eight.

In describing the scale of our various instruments, same will be indicated as follows: for instance our No. 2153 Class A Bells (Page F-11) ranges 2 1/2 octaves chromatic F to C, and the reference to the piano scale of same is made as follows: F33 to C64, which means that the lowest F of this instrument is the same as the F indicated as No. 33 on the piano keyboard, and the highest C of this instrument is No. 64 on the piano keyboard, as illustrated herewith.

The scale of all the various instruments listed in this catalogue will be designated as per the above, so that you may know the exact range of the various instruments listed.