Lot 166
  • 166

STEINWAY & SONS | 'Victory' Upright Piano

800 - 1,200 GBP
13,125 GBP
bidding is closed


  • 'Victory' Upright Piano
  • the keyboard cover inlaid in brass 'Steinway & Sons', the wood frame branded A343, the interior transfer painted 319228 twice
  • later ebonised softwood
  • 105 by 147 by 61cm., 41¼ by 58 by 24in.
  • founded 1853

Catalogue Note

The Steinway factory, like many other manufacturers, faced enormous challenges with the onslaught of WWII. Many of the materials they required to produce pianos were restricted as part of the war effort. Initially their factory work force, in Astoria, Queens, New York turned to the production of parts for gliders and coffins for troops.  In 1941, Henry Steinway and Roman de Majewski developed the ‘Victory Vertical’ or ‘GI Steinway’ after it was given a US government contract to supply pianos to commissioned officers. These were robust and each was a piece of utilitarian kit conceived to be used in the arena of war. They were designed to be parachuted to the field so they had to be light weight and crucially survive a drop and were built like tanks, 40inch wide and contained no more than 15kg of metal, which meant troops could move them easily especially as they had built in handles.

The pianos were delivered or dropped with sheet music and tuning instruments (interestingly they were also put in submarines at construction stage). They came in special camouflage colours, and the offered example would have been painted in either olive green, battleship grey or pale blue. Produced until 1953 2,436 Vertical Victory pianos were sent to troops all over the world.

They were an important boost to moral, as one soldier wrote to his family, "Two nights past we received welcome entertainment when a jeep pulling a small wagon came to camp. The wagon contained a light system and a piano. It is smaller and painted olive green, just like the jeep. We all got a kick out of it and sure had fun after meals when we gathered around the piano to sing... I slept smiling and even today am humming a few of the songs we sang’ (Anon, Victory Verticals. Retrieved from https://www.steinway.com).