Pianos for bedridden musicians were real inventions from the 1930s

10 March 2023, 14:50

‘Invalid piano’ played by bedridden invalids is the bizarre invention of the day
‘Invalid piano’ played by bedridden invalids is the bizarre invention of the day. Picture: Alamy

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

As an invention, it was the height of science and logic.

Today’s bizarre musical invention award goes to this 1935 foldable piano, specifically designed for bedridden individuals.

So, on those days in the 1930s when you were far too sick to keep to anywhere but between the sheets, you could still get your hours of practice in.

The contraption, believed to have been invented in Great Britain, sits at the foot of the individual’s bed and extends towards their hands.

It’s not dissimilar from a modern-day keyboard, just a little clunkier (see above).

Read more: The medieval ‘Shame Flute’ was used to punish bad musicians

This cat has found true happiness inside a PIANO

‘Invalid piano’ appears to be from the Spaarnestad Collection in the National Archives of the Netherlands.

The collection, one of the largest image banks on the history of the Netherlands, holds more than 13 million historic photos looking back to the important events of the 20th century.

Curiously, though, this particular image is sourced to Great Britain.

Spaarnestad has a beautiful Instagram account, where you can find a rich collection of photographs of Dutch musicians, ballet dancers and a 1938 miracle cure for baldness (really) – as well as a smattering of images of the British Royal Family.

Listen to our ‘Calm Piano’ playlist here on Global Player.