Norfolk & Western Band uniform

Description

The Norfolk & Western (N&W) Band was formed in 1893 as the Roanoke Machine Works Band. The oldest industrial band in the United States, its members were all railroad employees. Membership varied from 20 to 100 players and rehearsals took place in the old Express Office.

Members had to purchase their own instruments during the early days, but by 1923, N&W paid a director $60 per week for his leadership, instruments and uniforms were provided by the railroad, and a Pullman car was made available to the group for touring performances. Despite its popularity, N&W discontinued the band in 1953 due to the amount of time it took away from work on the railroad.

This uniform was worn c. 1940 by William Randolph Myers, an employee of the passenger station in Roanoke who was later employed in the freight department in Winston Salem, North Carolina. He played trombone and sousaphone.

Uniform donated in memory of William R. Myers

Instrument pictured: Eb Clarinet belonging to unidentified member of the band