I have a mini-score of Beethoven's Eroica Symphony (Edition Eulenburg).
In the first movement, the timpani line specifies Eb and Bb which is not surprising since the piece is in Eb. The surprising bit is that no key signature is used so it appears to indicate E and B natural. I guess that before the development of pedal timpani, the precision was regarded as redundant but it looks rather odd to modern eyes.
I don't have any scores for newer pieces that require pedal timpani. I presume that key signatures will be used.
The question: was this lack of key signature standard or common and what is normal in newer music?
The second movement of the Eroica requires C and G. So, I expect that pre-pedal timpani, four would be required. What would be usual today?
Edit: For the benefit of future readers, I have corrected my original phrase "chromatic timpani" to "pedal timpani".