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A well known Drum manufacturer in America. William F. Ludwig was born in Germany in 1879 and emigrated to Chicago with his family in 1887. His father was a trombone player, but William was fascinated by the drums which he learned to play. He invented a new design of foot pedal for his own use. Originally in wood, his brother-in-law re-designed it in metal and William and his brother formed a company (Ludwig and Ludwig) together to produce it. 

They went on to develop a reasonably-priced spring -action Timpani and the business grew steadily as a drum manufacturer. During the depression, Ludwig merged with C.G.Conn to survive and Ludwig resigned from that in 1936 and started a new company eventually buying out the part of his old business still owned by Conn. Ludwig was acquired by Selmer in 1981.

The rise in popularity of the Banjo led several of the Drum manufacturers to start to make them, given the head construction was similar to a drum. Ludwig made Banjos and related instruments (such as the Ukulele) from 1925 to about 1932 and was in direct competition with Slingerland.