Old Photos: Jenkins Music Company

Pretty interesting article about a local (now-defunct) piano seller. It’s notable how in 1940 people didn’t think twice about the phrase “salesman lures the farmer’s daughter into the truck

To find out what manner of people the 100,000 or more purchasers of pianos this year (1940), LIFE sent a photographer to the Jenkins Music Company in Kansas City, Mo. This company, with nine branch stores spread over Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, sells more than $1,000,000 worth of pianos a year.
One of their most successful schemes is a “truck operation”. About twice a week a Jenkins truck, several pianos and a salesman go cruising around the nearby farm territory. At a likely farmhouse it stops and the salesman lures the farmer’s daughter into the truck to try out one of his pretty pianos. He then talks the prospect into moving the piano into the farmhouse “to see how it looks”. Once inside, it seldom comes out again.

A Jenkins Music Co. truck wearing three different liscense plates.© Time Inc.George Strock

A woman testing the keys on the piano.© Time Inc.George Strock

Farmers speaking to business man out in the field.© Time Inc.George Strock

Men moving a $255 piano into the house.© Time Inc.George Strock

Two little boys playing the piano.© Time Inc.George Strock

Children taking free piano lessons.© Time Inc.George Strock

A little girl, with a broken arm, playing the piano while her brother plays with his toys.© Time Inc.George Strock

A woman playing a new grand piano costing $425 for a group of people in a mansion recently acquired by Kansas City Realtor J.H.Edwards.© Time Inc.George Strock

Kansas City Police bought a $110 pianette for their barbershop chord quartet. Rehearsals, with piano are held in the soundproof rifle range in the basement. William Johnson, bass, tallest (6ft 8 in) cop on any force, is also a drum major of police band.© Time Inc.George Strock