For almost four years now I have been searching for a reference to the Sousaphone in a newspaper published shortly after J. W. Pepper built the first one in 1895. I figured that horn had to have attracted attention - not only because of its unusual size and shape, but because it was named after the biggest "rock star" of the day - John Philip Sousa. I mean, how cool is that?! Surely some reporter would have at least remarked about it, don't you think?
Well, as far as I could tell, that first Sousaphone managed to fly under the radar while on tour with the Sousa Band in early 1896, and then dropped out of sight shortly after that time. After months of searching, I couldn't find a single mention of a Sousaphone in the press until Conn's first one appeared in January of 1898.
That is, until now.
Check out what appears in the third paragraph of this brief report in the March 30, 1896 edition of The Allentown Daily Leader (Allentown, PA):