This 9-keyed bugle was made by an unknown maker in the United States around 1840-1850. It is an E-flat bugle made of copper with brass keys, bell garland, key mounts, finger saddle, and lead pipe band. The finger saddle (middle finger, right hand) is of the typical New England decorative curved style.
This bugle was previously owned by Walter F. Smith (1859-1937), cornetist in the Sousa Band (1893-1896) and the United States Marine Band (1885-1893 and 1898-1921).
Walter F. Smith joined the Sousa Band in 1893 and was made acting leader. In this role, Smith conducted Washington, D.C. concerts, various touring concerts, and also went with the band to perform in the inaugural ceremonies for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This experience was a huge success and an article from the Stanley Barney Smith Collection in the Western Michigan University Archives states:
“Played to an audience of 50,000… Although the hour set for appearance of Sousa’s old organization was 3 o’clock, the crowds began pouring into the great playground after luncheon… By 2 o’clock the crowd extended from Van Buren Street to Harrison, lined the East side of Michigan ten to twenty deep. Conductor Smith began his part without any delay and without any preliminaries… Every number was enthusiastically cheered and it is scarcely necessary to say the program was as near perfection as may be.”