More than any other single instrumentalist, Rudy Wiedoeft helped popularize the saxophone in the early twentieth century. Wiedoeft also left behind a legacy of compositions for the saxophone that remains an integral part of its literature. Born in Detroit, Wiedoeft played with his parents and siblings in the Wiedoeft Family Orchestra, which eventually resettled to the West Coast. Wiedoeft's original instrument was the violin, but he broke his bowing arm at age ten and switched to clarinet. At the age of 15 Wiedoeft bought his first C Melody saxophone, still then an exotic instrument that relatively few American musicians had succeeded in mastering. By 1917 Wiedoeft was attracting attention as a soloist in the pit orchestra of the Broadway show Canary Cottage. He began to record for Edison that year, and in 1918 composed his signature piece, Saxophobia.