This quirky toy popped up on eBay and I immediately thought of Adolphe Sax. I’m surprised he didn’t invent something like this as a real instrument.
The seller described the toy sax like this:
Here’s an interesting vintage toy saxophone. It’s all brass construction and the brass has a dark patina. It’s about 15 1/2 inches long and the bell is 3 1/4 inches in diameter. It plays a major scale, 1 whole octave with reeds that are like harmonica reeds. Pushing one of the buttons sends the air through that reed and sounds the note. You can play one note or as many of the notes as you like at the same time. It doesn’t play when you suck in like a harmonica would though, only when blowing out. This came from the stock of a very old music store.
This toy sax looks an awful lot like the Delinot from France. Like the Delinot, it was made to resemble the Jazzophones that were built by the (mostly) German horn makers in the early 20th century. It also has 8 valves, like some of the Delinot models have, as well as a trumpet style mouthpiece.
I suspect all these saxophone-shaped toys were likely inspired by true sax-shaped trumpets made by (mostly) German horn manufacturers early in the 20th century. Some of these trumpets had double bells with built-in mutes; others had rotary valves; still others came in a variety of sizes. If you’d like to read more about the real Jazzophones, check out the website dedicated especially to saxophone-shaped trumpets.