Posted by Rob Perelli-Minetti on October 22, 1999 at 07:41:52:
In Reply to: Re: 1/2 size sousaphones posted by Joe S. on October 21, 1999 at 23:44:29:
Joe, I think the horn you have is probably a King cadet BBb made in the early '30s.
I recently acquired some King catalogs for the early to mid-1930's. They list a "Cadet BBb Sousaphone" with a .620 bore (as opposed to .687 for the standard sousaphones and .750 for the giant sousaphone) and a 20" or 22" bell. By the 1938 catalog, these horns were gone from the catalog. I can only speculate that these small horns were developed in the mid to late 1920's as part of the whole school band movement (heavily sponsored by the instrument manufacturers like H.N. White (King) and Conn) as more versatile and less expensive alternatives to small Eb tubas and Eb sousaphones. Again I would speculate that they were victims of the depression in that purchases of horns for the elementary/grammar schools which would have been their market dried up and people either made do with what they had or bought cheaper line BBb's.
Remember that young players were often started on Eb horns in elemenatry as recently as the late '50s, moving to BBb horns in junior high and high school. The development of the fiberglass sousaphone removed the weight related need for such horns.