I've been trying to study this thing, harmonicas that is.
I found an instruction book about published in the 1820's for the "mouth aeolian." It's a harmonica but tuned very different. Then I find nothing else published 'till after the Civil War.
And I've seen the Hohner history, the import data and the dug relics and I can only believe that it was cheap, a novelty that was not taken seriously at first, a toy, for you never see them in ensemble nor very often mentioned during the Civil War. I do see accordian stuff.
If popular you'd think the music publishers would have jumped on.