The verticalization of the piano was nothing new. Invented around 1740 in Italy and Germany, it was certainly inspired by the clavicytherium (with plucked strings). Towards the end of the 18th century, the English returned to the concept of a vertical back on four legs. The giraffe piano is said to have been invented in 1798.
Then in 1800 the American Hawkins and the Viennese Muller simultaneously imagined filling the space left free under the keyboard: the base of the upright piano was taking shape. It was the time of the spectacular piano-cabinet, secretary, cabinet, lyre, pyramid, harp, etc. And above all the “giraffe”, which is not the least elegant nor the least common. No doubt galvanized by the arrival of the first giraffes from France, England and Austria in 1827, the giraffe piano will be manufactured until around 1850.
(Source: EuroPianoFrance website, from an article published in the magazine Pianistik n°96, December 2012)