Presidential Pianos

Posted by Sarah Czarnecki on

Have you ever wondered what the POTUS plays?
Politics aside, the White House has long been home to an amazing array of art, furnishings, and of course pianos! The White House has two official pianos: a gorgeous hand-painted gilded Steinway made in 1903, and an ornately carved eagle leg Steinway installed in 1938. The gilded piano, with its lid delicately painted with the nine muses, is now on display in the Smithsonian Institute. It was replaced by the eagle leg piano (which features gold-leaf images of five quintessentially American dances) and remains in the White House to this day. 
Gilded Steinway
Steinway #100000
Eagle leg piano in the White House
Steinway #300000

Personal Presidential Pianos

But these works of art aren't the only pianos to take the stage on Pennsylvania Avenue. In fact, most US presidents had their own personal pianos brought to the White House or the presidential residence. From Washington's harpsichord to Harding's player to Truman's upright, the "First Pianos" have brought music to the White House since the birth of our country.


Harry S Truman playing the piano

The Presidents and their Pianos

George Washington
Longman & Broderip Harpsichord; Schoen & Vinsen Pianoforte
John Adams
Currier & Co.
Thomas Jefferson
Astor Pianoforte
James Madison
Square Grand (name destroyed by fire)
James Monroe
Astor Piano
John Quincy Adams
Currier & Co.
Andrew Jackson
T. Gilbert & Co. Square Piano
Martin Van Buren
Hallet & Cumston Square Piano
William Henry Harrison
Haines Brothers
John Tyler
Thomas Tomkinson Upright Piano
James Knox Polk
Astor & Harwood Square Piano
Zachary Taylor
name unknown
Millard Fillmore
name unknown
Franklin Pierce
Chickering Square Piano
James Buchanan
Chickering Grand Piano
Abraham Lincoln
Chickering Square Piano & Chickering Upright
Andrew Johnson
Steinway & Sons Square Piano
Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes
Bradbury Upright & Harpsichord (name destroyed by fire)
James A. Garfield
Hallet & Davis Upright
Chester A. Arthur
piano cannot be located
Grover Cleveland
Combination Piano & Harpsichord (name destroyed by fire)
Benjamin Harrison
J. & C. Fischer Upright Piano, Haines Brothers Square
Grover Cleveland
J. & C. Fischer Upright Piano, Haines Brothers Square (same as above)
William McKinley
A. H. Gale Co. Square Piano
Theodore Roosevelt
Chickering Upright, Steinway Grand Piano
William Howard Taft
Baldwin Grand Piano
Woodrow Wilson
Ernst Rosenkrantz Square Piano, Knabe Grand
Warren G. Harding
A. B. Chase Electric Player Piano
Calvin Coolidge
Sohmer Upright Piano
Herbert Hoover
Knabe Grand & A. B. Chase Grand
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hardman Grand
Harry S. Truman
Steinway Grand, Baldwin Grand & Steinway Upright
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Hallet & Cumston Upright
John F. Kennedy
Ivers & Pond Grand Piano
Lyndon B. Johnson
Style L. Steinway, Knabe Console
Richard M. Nixon
Geo. P. Bent Upright, Baldwin Vertical
Gerald Ford
no personal piano
James (Jimmy) Carter
Ludden & Bates
Ronald Reagan
Steinway Grand
George Bush
no personal piano
William (Bill) Clinton
Baldwin Grand in the Governor’s Mansion.
George W. Bush
Steinway Grand in the White House residence
Barack H. Obama
Steinway Grand Piano moved from their Chicago home to the private living quarters in The White House.

Do you know what pianos the 45th and 46th Presidents owned? Let us know in the comments below!

Sources: Pierce Piano Atlas, World Piano News

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