During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Ludwig&Ludwig company was forced to merge with the C.G. Conn Company. William F. Ludwig, who disliked his lack of involvement with the design and manufacture of the instruments after the merger, left the company in 1936. He opened his own company, the W.F.L. Drum Company, in 1937. The first product of W.F.L. was the Speed King Pedal, a product still manufactured by Ludwig. In 1955, the Ludwig division was purchased back from Conn and renamed the Ludwig Drum Company.