Weser Bros. Transposing Upright Piano

<< >>
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.
date made
Berlin, Irving
Weser Bros.
Place Made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
felt (hammers: material)
iron (frame material)
wood (case: material)
cast (frame production method/technique)
overall: 45 in x 60 in x 25 in; 114.3 cm x 152.4 cm x 63.5 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
serial number
Credit Line
Gift of Irving Berlin
Musical Theater
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Price of Freedom
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


"We have a transposing piano, on the inside is written Louisiana Exposition 1896. We are trying to learn more about this piano. Can you help me?"
I have a few questions about your piano before I can give you an answer. Is there a name on the fallboard (keyboard cover) or on the metal frame inside the piano? Are there patent numbers listed on the frame? Is there a serial number (which would be on the frame)? What kind of transposing mechanism is on the piano?It's likely that the company that made this piano exhibited keyboards at the 1896 Louisiana Exposition and perhaps even won an award. Is the "Louisiana Exposition 1896 " cast in the frame or hand-written? Any additional information would be helpful - use our comment form. Thank you.

Add a comment about this object