B B-Flat Contrabass Horn

B B-Flat Contrabass Horn

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Description (Brief)

This contrabass horn was made around 1878 to 1882 and sold by the J. Howard Foote Company in New York and Chicago. It is a b-flat contrabass, helicon model, made of German silver with 3 string-action rotary valves. This instrument horn has an engraved medallion:


Brass instruments bearing the medallion of J. Howard Foote were likely made for him by the firm of John Stratton or other factories in New York City.

John Howard Foote (1833-1896) was a musical instrument dealer with shops in New York City and Chicago. This instrument listed in an 1880 J. Howard Foote catalog, sold as a double contrabass (#5046), for $100.00. As indicated in the Foote catalog, “the double contrabass No. 5046 is the largest Bass Instrument made. Its key note stands two octaves below the B-flat Baritone, and is highly recommended for large band”.

Currently not on view
Object Name
contrabass horn
date made
place made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
Geman silver (overall material)
overall: 11 in x 37 3/4 in x 29 1/2 in; 27.94 cm x 95.885 cm x 74.93 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of J. Howard Foote
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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