I just got a 1919 Conn mellophone. It’s not your modern marching horn with the front-facing bell, but the old French-horn shape, but (of course) with valves for the right hand.
Now my dad, who used to play mellophone himself as a kid, said “Don’t put your left hand in the bell; wrap it around the valve casings to hold the horn.” The thing is, his valves were straight up and down and the casing was easy to get hold of. The valves on my Conn are angled so that the caps lean to the left, forcing one to play the horn at an angle like a backwards French horn. The casings are packed in alongside tuning slides and awkward at best to grab, and the angle of the valves means the left hand and arm would have to be forced unnaturally away from the body to do so.
So is this one mellophone that’s actually meant to be played hand-in-bell?