The Ludwig Drum Company introduced the Vistalite series drums in 1972. Vistalite drums were the name for the acrylic drums produced by Ludwig. Acrylic drums had been in production for a number of years before Ludwig delved into it. Companys like Zickos and Fibes were the first few to give light to these shell concepts. It wasn’t until the end of the 1960’s that a rise to acrylic drums became present. The look and the sound complimented a variety of musical styles. John Bonham of Led Zepplin began to play Vistalites in 1973, heavily influencing Ludwig’s second consecutive production boom.
At the time of their launch, Vistalites were available in 6 different colors: Amber, Green, Blue, Yellow, Red, and Clear. The shells were produced by Midwest neighbors Cadillac Motors and outfitted by Ludwig out of their Chicago facility. The outfits ranged in sizes and hardware outfit.
By 1975, design presented some major changes. Rainbow Vistalite shells were introduced in 6 different patterns and two more colors were added; white, and black. Tone control was also added to Vistalite drums, positioned along the same side of the badge. In 1977, the green color Vistalites were dropped from their catalog due to low sales and Smoke (a transparent grey) was added. Green would later become very collectible for their scarcity in production. Thicker 1/2” thick bass curved spurs were added and large lugs were used for all drums. These changes were present to all drum outfits.
Before the production would cease in 1979, Ludwig offered the Tivoli kits. Tivoli Vistalites had lights along the horizontal seam of the 3-Band design. The Tivoli kits had problematic bulbs and power supplies leading to a high failure rate. Ludwig would take a big hit in sales from this, but a Tivoli kit that still functions today is highly valuable and desired.