The only thing I can think of that would be semi-accurately called the "Bb vent key" is the side key, which was present from the very beginning.
I'm not sure when bis Bb appeared, probably around the time the upper and lower stacks were connected (1880s maybe?)
People have a lot of trouble understanding the fork Eb key and what it is and what it does, especially after generations of teachers and technicians deriding it and mutilating instruments to get rid of it. That one was certainly introduced before the 1920s as all the saxophones I have had from the 20s have had it.
At that point I think I'm tapped out on speculations as to what is being referred to.