The men in these four photos are lost, though I'm sure they knew where home was. But for the rest of us, their latitude and longitude are a mystery. This is the difficulty with unmarked photos and postcards. Sometimes there just aren't any clues. But the scarcity of facts doesn't diminish the artistic and musical quality of the subjects.
However I am fairly confident that these gents are all related.
These two young bandsmen have cap badges with initials LMB which might stand for L..... Marine Band, or L..... M....... Band. Anywhere over the rainbow. The eldest (?) on the right has a helicon tuba around his shoulder and the younger holds a cornet. The set of their ears, nose and jaw has to be a family trait. Their uniforms have a more conservative style without fancy needlework. The blank postcard back has the AZO 4 diamonds up stamp box which suggests a year between 1910-1918.
(Check out this page from Playle's Postcard Auctions for more information on dating old postcards.)
Their band uniforms have the very fancy embroidered jackets and soft caps that were popular with 19th century bands into the first decade of the 1900s. The older brother on the left has a silver mellophone with piston valves played with the right hand. Unlike the horn which must use a hand in the bell to adjust the pitch intonation, the mellophone player only holds the outside of the bell or main tubing.
The other instrument is a silver valve trombone, but pitched higher, i.e. shorter, than the standard tenor trombone. Both were standard brass instruments in the early bands, as they were inexpensive and not too difficult to play. They took the middle voice in the music, usually playing more accompaniment than solo lines. Both instruments were a kind of evolutionary dead end in the history of the brass band, and are now extinct. Compare these fellows to another unknown Drum and Mellophone-duo in my collection.
Look at the vegetation in the background and the construction of the house. This is not somewhere in Kansas. Bamboo grows in many places in Asia but because of the Philippine-American War that followed the Spanish-American War of 1898, I think these two bandsmen are musicians in one of the US regimental bands that served in the Philippines.
And to complete my octet of brothers I offer these two gents. Not musicians as they hold canes instead of instruments, but we can easily imagine them in a music hall. A comedy team perhaps?
This small cdv came from England but has no markings. The photo mount has gold edging so I think 1890s. But the brick wall could be on any street in Britain.
Charlie Chaplin was born in London in 1889. Did he see these two taking a stroll down some seaside promenade?
This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where the theme this weekend is a pair of ladies.
Click the link to find more matched sets.