Object of the Day

Irving Berlin's Transposing Upright Piano

December 19

This transposing upright piano was made by Weser Brothers in New York, New York in 1940. According to the inscription on the case, it was made “expressly for Irving Berlin.” The transposing mechanism moves the action and keyboard so that the player can play in any key. Irving Berlin was a self-taught pianist who preferred to play on the black keys.

Image 1 for Weser Bros. Transposing Upright Piano
  • thumbnail for Image 1 - Weser Bros. Transposing Upright Piano
  • thumbnail for Image 2 - Weser Bros. Transposing Upright Piano
  • thumbnail for Image 3 - Weser Bros. Transposing Upright Piano
  • thumbnail for Image 4 - Weser Bros. Transposing Upright Piano
  • thumbnail for Image 5 - Weser Bros. Transposing Upright Piano

Weser Bros. Transposing Upright Piano

See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Pianos
Exhibition
Price of Freedom
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
date made
1940
ID Number
MI.73.30
accession number
305340
catalog number
73.30
serial number
117,728
Description (Brief)
This transposing upright piano was made by Weser Brothers in New York, New York in 1940. According to the inscription on the case, it was made “expressly for Irving Berlin.” The transposing mechanism moves the action and keyboard so that the player can play in any key. Irving Berlin was a self-taught pianist who preferred to play on the black keys. This piano is serial number 117728 and has a compass of AAA-c5, tape-check upright action, felt hammers, single-, double-, and triple-strings, 3 pedals: :soft,” transposing mechanism, and dampers, 1 hand lever under the keybed: keyboard and action shift, one-piece cast-iron frame, cross-strung, and a black lacquer case.
Credit Line
Gift of Irving Berlin
user
Berlin, Irving
maker
Weser Bros.
Related Publication
Kendrick, Kathleen M. and Peter C. Liebhold. Smithsonian Treasures of American History
subject
Musical Theater
Place Made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
felt (hammers: material)
iron (frame material)
wood (case: material)
cast (frame production method/technique)
Measurements
overall: 45 in x 60 in x 25 in; 114.3 cm x 152.4 cm x 63.5 cm
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Object Name
piano