[Skip to content] [Skip to main navigation] [Skip to user navigation] [Skip to global search] [Accessibility information] [Contact us]


A similar model of piano by JB Cramer was taken by Captain Scott on his first expedition to the Antarctic in 1901. It returned, reputedly in good working order, and was subsequently used by Cramers in their promotional material. An article on the Cramer Portable Piano including a drawing of the instrument, appears on the Ladies' Page of the Illustrated London News (p.132) dated 28 January 1899. The drawing has the instrument set up on a table with a decorative cloth or rug underneath. It claims that the weight is 140lbs or 224lbs when packed in a case. It gives the dimensions as 3 feet 8 inches long, 2 feet 2 inches high and 1 foot 2 inches deep. These measurements correspond more or less to those of this instrument.

See full details Description

Small upright piano without legs called 'Portable Piano'. Five octaves chromatic, C-c4. One pedal for raising the dampers. Wooden case adorned with two brass sconces and candle holders, one on either side of the integral music desk. The music desk, hinged to the upper edge of the front of the case, can be folded away under the lid flap. The keyboard, projecting when in use, can be folded upwards into a recess in the case, yielding a smooth front surface to facilitate transport. The instrument would have stood on a stand or table with an aperture allowing the pedal linkage to be connected to the damper raising mechanism located just within the instrument's case and accessed through a hole in the bottom boards. Also referred to, erroneously, as a yacht piano due to this compact model's popularity aboard ships. Inscribed on the nameboard 'J.B. Cramer & Co./Patent Portable Piano'.


patent portable piano, also known as yacht piano
Musical Instruments

314.122-4-8 True board zithers with resonator box (box zither) sounded by hammers or beaters, by keyboard
Broad category
Musical Instruments, Chordophone
Additional names, titles, or classifications
catalogue name:  patent portable piano, also known as yacht piano
object name:  yacht piano
catalogue title:  314.122-4-8 True board zithers with resonator box (box zither) sounded by hammers or beaters, by keyboard

Additional maker information
Cramer & Co., J. B.
London, England, UK; Europe
Date made
Additional date information
date made:  1897 

Materials & techniques
wood; ivory; copper alloy; iron; metal; textile
Additional material & technique information
material: wood (overall)
material: copper alloy (overall)
material: iron (overall)
material: textile (overall)
material: ivory (overall)
material: metal (overall)
material: paint (overall)
overall: 660 mm x 1120 mm x 495 mm 73.65 kg
Additional measurement information
overall: 660 mm x 1120 mm x 495 mm 73.65 kg

Further reading
Anonymous, 1899. A novel pianoforte. Illustrated London News, 114 (3119), 28 January, p132, p.132 (describes similar; discusses similar; illustrates similar)

Related subjects
object name: pianofortes

Record created 1999-12-26
Record last updated 2019-08-03

Collections information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. More information on the objects listed on our website.

This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be some errors. The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us.