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During World War II America Air-Dropped Pianos for Troops in Battlefields

You thought pianos dropping from the sky is a gag for cartoons? Then hear this story out. During World War II, all kinds of production involving metals, such as iron, copper, and brass, that was non-essential to the war effort were halted by the American government. This was because these metals were needed to make guns, tanks, and artillery. Many musical instrument makers were affected by the new regulations, which meant that either they had to manufacture something else the military could use, or wait for the war to end, which was as good as going out of business.

Piano makers Steinway & Sons was also affected by the restrictions. Instead of shutting down their factory, Steinway decided to bide their time manufacturing parts for troop transport gliders.

Steinway’s patience was rewarded when the US Military granted them a contract to make heavy-duty military pianos. By June 1942, Steinway’s workers had designed a small upright piano, no more than forty inches wide and weighing 455 pounds. It was light enough to be carried by four soldiers. Each piano was treated with special anti-termite and anti-insect solution and sealed with water-resistant glue to withstand dampness. The best part was— the piano used only 33 pounds of metal, about a tenth as much as a typical grand piano.

Known as “Victory Verticals,” these pianos could be packed into crates and conveniently dropped by parachutes along with tuning equipment and instructions. An estimated 2,5000 pianos were dropped to American soldiers fighting the war in three continents.

Steinway’s pianos continued to serve the military well after the war was over. When the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thomas A. Edison was built in 1961, a Steinway upright was installed in the crew’s mess area at the request of its captain. The instrument remained on board until the sub was decommissioned in 1983.

Possible Preaching Angles: The US military knows the importance of music and singing for the morale of the troops. God’s people have also sung through the ages, from the shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-21), to the battlefield (2 Chronicles 20:21-23), and from deep within dungeons (Acts 16:25). Believers know that singing “songs, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16) is a powerful encouragement and an act of worship.

Source: Kaushik, “That Time When America Air-Dropped Pianos for Troops in Battlefields,” Amusing Plant (7-12-19)

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