Antedating of Bazooka(the instrument) 1918

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sun Mar 25 00:02:23 UTC 2007

Nope, not the weapon from 1943.  

OED has 1935 for the "musical" instrument described as "two gas-pipes and a whiskey funnel."  HDAS suggests that comedian Bob Burns created the instrument in the late '30's.  That was certainly in all the papers at the time.

Using Newspaperarchive  17 January 1918, _The Waukeesha(WI) Freeman_  pg 6, col. 5

     Port Royal, S.C.Jan, 15.--U.S. Marines at this station have a new invention.  It's called a "bazooka."  No, it isn't a cannon, nor a flying machine, nor a machine gun, but when in operation it will make you "shake your feet."  The "bazooka" is a simple contrivance, consisting of but two pieces of gas pipe and a funnel, but it's secret is in the playing.  It is said that the Marine Corps Jass Band is the only one in the world that boasts of a "bazooka."

I 'think' this is the earliest cite for this homemade invention, which has thousands of later hits, used in Vaudeville, etc.  But I only searched Newspaperarchive.  Others may find earlier.

Pretty easy to deduce why the weapon of WWII was referred to as a "bazooka."

Sam Clements

The American Dialect Society -

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