Steinway & Sons (Established 1853)

The emergence of America as leading piano makers

 

According to tradition the first Steinway piano was built in the kitchen of a German cabinetmaker’s house. This man was called Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg. He emigrated to the “New World”, as did all his five sons eventually. Steinweg changed his name to Henry Steinway, as this was more acceptable to the American people. The company of Steinway & Sons was founded in New York in 1853. Within a decade the firm emerged as the only serious rival to Chickering, in America, and was beginning to assert supremacy in Europe.  A London Sales Office/Showroom was opened in 1875. In 1880 the European factory was opened in Hamburg. Leading features of the Steinway (American) System were as follows:

 

1                  Overstringing

2                  One piece cast iron frame

3                  Thick felted hammers

4                  Improvements to agraffe and capo d’astro bar

5                  Consultations with leading scientists (Helmholtz)

6                  Continued research and development work

7                  Efficient and economical production

 

Steinway economized in the use of skilled labour, substituting machinery where possible, and increasing the division of labour.