A rare and historically important instrument, the RCA Storytone piano was built in 1939 in a joint venture between Story & Clark and RCA. The case was designed by John Vassos, the famous American industrial designer. This piano is one of only 500 made. It is the world’s first electric piano and debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair, which was truly a great event for musical instruments — the similarly famous Hammond Novachord, the world’s first polyphonic tube synthesizer, debuted there in 1939 as well.
The piano has normal strings and action but no soundboard — the sound is amplified through electromagnetic pickups, a power supply and power amplifier combo, and a speaker system, making it the world’s first commercial electric piano. It works especially well for sustained styles of playing, as notes can last up to a minute or more with its unique form of resonance. It sounds more authentic and much more like a real piano than a Rhodes, Wurlitzer or Helpinstill, and sounds richer, fuller, and thicker than a Yamaha CP-70 or Kawai EP-308. It really is the king of all electric pianos.
This piano has yet to be restored, but will be when it finds its new owner and home. Help us to preserve this one-of-a-kind treasure. If you’re interested, please contact us!