Swiss Army Piano

Charles Hess patented this combination piano, couch, and bureau in 1866, intending it for hotels and boarding schools in which some bedrooms are used as parlors during daylight hours. Closet F holds the bedclothes, and closet G holds a washbowl, pitcher, and towels.

“It has been found by actual use that this addition to a piano-forte does not in the least impair its qualities as a musical instrument, but, on the contrary, adds considerably to its reverberatory power.”

Charmingly, the stool doubles as a writing desk (P), its seat conceals a looking glass (U), and its body serves as a lady’s work box, complete with a cushion for holding pins and needles.