Judging by iconography, the rear-facing trombone has probably existed for roughly five centuries, through most of the trombone’s long history, although it became most widespread in the 19th century (see 70 examples in Backward Advances: Rear-Facing Trombones Throughout History). Iconography also reflects that the most common use of the instrument was likely in the military. By contrast, the example below shows rear-facing trombones decorating a pipe organ in The Netherlands, an example that has an interesting early predecessor, a rear-facing image on an organ shutter in early 16th-century France. Photos are by Iris Tjoonk.
1850—Den Bosch, Netherlands: The pipe organ is built in Annakerk, or St. Anna parish church. Decorative trophies on each side of the organ pipes include what appear to be rear-facing trombones (see right detail, left detail, and full image below; special thanks to Iris Tjoonk).