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).
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