Wurlitzer Bros Bb Tenor Helicon

Article number: WBHEL
Availability: In stock

This R. Wurlitzer and Bros. Bb Tenor Helicon was likely built around the 1870's, supposedly in Cincinnati.

Rudolph Wulitzer began the business in 1856 by selling off instruments imported from Germany- a strategy Wurlitzer continued for decades, frequently importing European-made and other American instruments and "stencling" their name on them (thus it's quite possible the instrument was made elsewhere; stylistically Boston Musical Instruments, among others, seems a possibility). In 1872, a partnership with his brother formed "R. Wurlitzer & Bros.", which lasted until 1890 when Rudolph incorporated as "Rudolph Wurlitzer Co."

The helicon is considered the predecessor of the modern-day Sousaphone, which was developed in the 1890's. Its smaller bell produces a quieter, more directional sound. Quite popular in Germany, the instrument made the transatlantic journey to the United States as a convenient instrument for marching. As with most brass instruments of the late 19th century, a full consort was formed from Soprano all the way down to Contrabass, of which Wurlitzer offered Alto (Eb), Tenor (Bb), Baritone (Bb), Bass (Bb), and two Contrabass variants (Eb) in their 1880 magazine. By 1890, Wurlitzer had stopped producing rotary valve Helicons in favor of piston models, and by the 1920's, Helicons had vanished entirey in favor of Sousaphones, which only appeared in low voices. As an alto voice, this instrument is in the same pitch as the American Bb tenor horn.

The instrument is in non-playing condition but otherwise aesthetically good looking with all parts present. There is no case present with the instrument.


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