Antedating of Bazooka(the instrument) 1918

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Mar 25 01:48:37 UTC 2007

>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.

Very interesting.

There's a photo of the band, including the bazooka, in a Syracuse paper
from 1919, at N'archive.

It was speculated in 1920 (reasonably, I suppose) that the name was
inspired by "bashi-bazouk".

But ... is the following relevant?


P. G. Wodehouse, _The Swoop_ (1909) [Project Gutenberg] (Ch. 6):

<<"'Ow about not waiting, chaps?" he suggested. "I shouldn't 'arf wonder,
from the look of him, if he wasn't the 'aughty kind of a feller who'd
cleave you to the bazooka for tuppence with his bloomin' falchion. I'm
goin' to 'urry through with my dressing and wait till to-morrow night to
see how he looks. No risks for Willie!">>


By analogy with the usual "cleave [someone] to the
brisket/waist/teeth/etc." I suppose "bazooka" here refers to a body part.
My casual guess would be that it's an alteration of "bosom" (cf. "bazooka"
= "bazoomba" = "bazoom" = "breast"). Any relation to the musical
instrument's name?

-- Doug Wilson

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