The first known sighting of chromatic harmonica was in August, 124 BC, when either Longinus or Calvinus found one on a shelf in their Uncle's home. Prior to that time, it's clear that no chromatic harmonicas existed... anywhere.
This statue represents the plight of harmonica players—naked, abandoned, and left out in the cold to be decorated by pigeons.
(ask David Naiditch for further historical information)
Probably due to some early childhood trauma, I'm not all that interested in Harmonica History, I'm more interested in just playing the instrument. To be fair, nor was I interested in who invented the sax, clarinet, flute or oboe, when I played those instruments for a living. The occasional silent curse in the direction of whoever, back in history, decided that the 'octave' key of the clarinet would raise the pitch a 12th?, sure, I've done that....loudly and often-ly.
HOWEVER, there are quite a few people in various online communities who seem to take an interest in the historical aspect of The Instrument. One knowledgable person, named John Broecker, who I don't know, and who doesn't know I'm writing this, seems to have posted a huge amount of historical harmonica information on a whole bunch of online harmonica forums.
Another one is Winslow Yerxa, who I sort of know, who is big in the Harmonica Community, (and rightfully so), and who has written books.
Mostly on diatonic harmonica, but that's mostly ok.
Buy them, make him happy. Happy is good. Plus, you might get good information.
When you're done practicing and want to learn about harmonica history while you take a break, do a Google Search on either of those guys, perhaps adding the word "harmonica" to the search, and you'll have a fun time.
BUT, before you move on from your Daily Practice to your historical research, take a look at the very last thing you were practicing, and be sure that you didn't move away from that out of frustration. Focusing on the point in time when you decided to change what you were doing, is a very good thing. We tend to move on when we find the going rough, and tend to justify it in many (12) inventive ways.
As a late-starter on chromatic harmonica, I focus my time on the present, with an eye to the future, not so much on the past, except Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 11 AM to noon, during my Court-Mandated therapy sessions.
N.B. The Court's mandate is mostly unrelated to my harmonica playing.
Early Harmonica Pistol
Early Harmonica Pistol on
Mid-Century Modern White Cloth